Tuesday, April 04, 2006

DVDs, The Future, and Kong

Bill Cunningham of DISContent works in the Direct to DVD industry and sees the future of the entertainment industry in the models being developed due to DVD sales. That is to say that he understands that there has been a sea change in the sources of filmmaking profits. The majority of profit, and revenue, comes from DVD sales. Bill, as he mentioned in his piece on Netflix, understands that DVD sales (like any other medium for entertainment delivery) are not the "future" of the film industry, they are the "now." The future will lie in an even more demand driven model. Whether that model will be On Demand, or another, remains to be seen. One thing is certain, the industry had better remain flexible. For the most part it has, but there are some dinosaurs who see projected celluloid (or digital images) as the only medium there is to watch movies.

Let's face it, I love going to the theater to catch movies on the big screen. I even believe that many movies are best seen in that environment. But I also believe that the best way to see La Boheme is in a theatre. That doesn't mean that it should, or rather will, be the primary means of distribution. Come on, are you really missing any of the subtleties of Herbie: Fully Loaded on your good sized television? And even if you have a film with subtle sound design like Kill Bill vol. 1 (vol. 2's sound isn't as "intentional" but that is another discussion), the film is still damn fine on the television. So long as you are watching movies in the proper aspect ratio, which varies from film to film, you aren't missing any of the director's vision and if you have a sophisticated sound system you are probably getting better sound at home than you would at the googleplex. Those Baby-Boomers don't want to shut up, if you know what I mean. For John Rogers over at Kung Fu Monkey it's the teens (BTW, it would cost almost $7.00/hr in CA not the $4.65 he proposes), but for me it has always been the Boomers.

"Honey? Why are their frogs raining from the sky? And what does that have to do with Exodus 8:2?"

For the record: "8:2 And if thou refuse to let [them] go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: "

Late last year, drudge and crew wanted to create a narrative wherein Kong was demonstrably a "flop." I responded fairly sternly. Well..it appears that not only was Kong not a flop in the theaters (its gross so far is $218 billion in the US and $544 billion total), it has apparently set a DVD sales record. Yet another sign that the now of visual entertainment is the DVD, and that market is largely about ownership not rental.

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