Distribution Models–where are we headed?

I’ve heard a lot of debate on film dis­tri­b­u­tion in the recent past. Con­sid­er­ing that stu­dios are start­ing to stream their own con­tent, Ama­zon and YouTube are work­ing to cut the dis­trib­u­tors AND the stu­dios out of the pic­ture entire­ly, and Net­flix’s crazy push-me-pull-you is piss­ing-off their sub­scrip­tion base big-time, it’s obvi­ous that this is an area of the busi­ness that is ripe for inno­va­tion.

So, where are we head­ing?

Well, that depends on who you ask.

Peter Brod­er­ick has sketched out a hybrid mod­el, that he says is work­ing right now:

Hybrid dis­tri­b­u­tion com­bines direct sales by film­mak­ers with dis­tri­b­u­tion by third par­ties (e.g. DVD dis­trib­u­tors, TV chan­nels, VOD com­pa­nies, edu­ca­tion­al dis­trib­u­tors).

The New York Times ulti­mate­ly gives the rights and respon­si­bil­i­ties to the film­mak­ers them­selves, while still tip­ping their hat to Brod­er­ick above.

Anoth­er (much old­er) arti­cle, by the Wysi­wyg team, actu­al­ly under­stands that most of what gets described as “inno­va­tion,” isn’t. But even they are still look­ing to  sim­ply dis­trib­ute con­tent bet­ter, not to change the mod­el entire­ly.

All of these ideas are still improve­ments, though, and NOT true “dis­rup­tive inno­va­tions.”

(Thank you, Clay­ton Chris­tensen)

What do I think? I think that Ama­zon is the clos­est. YouTube might come up with a way to mon­e­tize their mod­el, but I don’t see it chang­ing things for indie film.

In any case, some­one’s going to find a way to tie the audi­ence more direct­ly to the con­tent they want–and that per­son will be the win­ner.

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