TFC Tidbit of the Day 19-Theatrical Exhibition

July 21, 2010
posted by sheric

Every filmmaker wants a theatrical exhibition for their film because of the prestige and the classic appeal. Key, in our opinion, is to know what’s possible and what you’re paying for. There are lots of services that charge big fees to book your film. Be knowledgeable about when you can book yourself (Landmark, Film Forum, Quad, Laemmle Theatres, Cinema Village, lots of others), or spend less on theatrical.

Publicity is the most important part of theatrical and that’s what you should spend money and time on. A New York Times review is usually a key goal, and it won’t come from having just a NYC release (that’s new NYT policy). A Theatrical release is important to directors for the obvious reasons and it is a very useful marketing component, but the operative word is “useful”. It’s useful only if it does not cost you more than you’ll make back from it and ancillaries that are enhanced by it.

According to one of our VOD partners, Comcast and InDemand have said, off-the-record, that they will start insisting on a 10-city day & date release for films to have access to their service. This policy would be implemented to help sift through the glut of the content in supply. We caution, before filmmakers rush into that spend, to think whether their film is likely to make it onto key Cable VOD platforms. Will the spend on theatrical likely be recouped on VOD? Also, cable VOD wants day and date releases, but theatres don’t so be cautious when planning your distribution route.

Are you a filmmaker who has worked with a distributor or service company for theatrical exhibition? Tell us about them in our Distributor Report Card.

TFC Tidbit of the Day 8-Success with VOD

July 6, 2010
posted by sheric

Cable VOD likes films with a theatrical profile. VOD is very marquee (name) driven and genre driven. Its marketing effort is limited, hence the need to have films with a recognizable name in the marketplace or with recognizable “stars”. Regarding Day and Date, cable operators like to note that the film is in theatres while it’s on VOD. In the past, Comcast had asked for a 90 – 120 day window ahead of all digital distribution, but is now sometimes doing Day and Date releases.  It depends on the film, the platform, the distributor, and the campaign.

These figures are accurate as of Dec. 2009 (reference NACTA). Take these figures into consideration when negotiating with an aggregator who promises to get your film onto these platforms.

Rank MSO BasicVideoSubscribers
1 Comcast Corporation 23,559,000
2 DirecTV 18,560,000
3 Dish Network Corporation 14,100,000
4 Time Warner Cable, Inc. 12,859,000
5 Cox Communications, Inc.1 5,195,000
6 Charter Communications, Inc. 4,824,000
7 Cablevision Systems Corporation 3,063,000
8 Verizon Communications, Inc. 2,861,000
9 Bright House Networks LLC 2,264,000
10 AT&T, Inc. 2,064,000

* DirecTV usually does not take films for VOD with grosses less than $10,000,000 in box office.