What does electronic sell through mean for you, the content creator?
Recently, Comcast announced that they are entering the war of electronic sell through. And make no mistake, it is a war.
1. The Current State of Affairs:
The undisputed fact is that DVD is decreasing. We all know this. It’s just a matter of time before we dig a grave for our DVD machines. Can you even remember the last time you walked into a store to rent a DVD? Probably not.
The war is being fought by the platforms that deliver the content to you. Apple iTunes. Amazon Instant. Microsoft Zune. Walmart’s Vudu. These are the heavyweights.
The truth is that as a consumer, you want it to be easy. You want to be able to find the movie you want, buy or rent it, be able to play it where you want and when you want. But it’s not nearly that simple.
Not all movies are available on all platforms.
Not all movies or tv shows can be transferred to your mobile device or tablet.
And then there’s this pesky little thing called content ownership. When you bought a DVD, you were able to hold it. Take it with you. Display it nicely on your shelf for the world to see (loved those days!).
Now, it’s digital. It’s stored in the cloud. Sure, you own it… but only as long as you are tethered to the service or carrier that you are are with.
Bought a lot of movies with Apple — try moving to another platform. Not so great is it. Your movies are stuck in the Apple verse.
Comcast isn’t nearly as seamless as Apple, but the same problem will exist with them as well. As long as you have their set-top box you’ll be able to access your content. But try moving it around, not so easy.
The war is being fought on many fronts. Between the platforms for market dominance (i.e. Apple vs. Amazon vs. Comcast v. Walmart etc.); and, in the studio world as well as they try to replace DVD revenue.
The simple truth is that Hollywood wants this to be the savour of DVD. Home entertainment revenue is a major source of income. Rental is low margin. Purchasing a DVD or EST revenue is high margin. DVD is going be gone someday soon and that revenue is being displaced by EST.
The net effect for you, the consumer, is that Hollywood doesn’t care where you get the content from, they just want you to get the content. Because to the distributors, their content will be available, more than likely, non-exclusively on all of these platforms. You’ll be able to buy your favourite hollywood movie from any of these platforms. Great!
Well, not really. Because soon, consumers will realize that they don’t like the platform they are working with… What happens when they want to change. When they want to movie from iTunes to Google to Amazon. People’s their online life is a lot more fluid than the hard goods they were used to use.
It’s quickly becoming no longer about what kind of computer you use… you will want access to this information when and where you want. And soon, consumers en mass will realize that the wool has been pulled over their eyes. That they have been living in a “matrix”… well, lets just say there’s going to be a shift.
3. The Content Creator:
But what does this mean for you? What does this mean for the content creator?
As a content creator, well, is this really a bad thing?
Content creators just want to get their product out to as many people and on as many platforms as possible. The content creator on an individual basis is no different, really, then the hollywood studio. They have a product and they want it to be placed — in other words, they want shelf space.
The EST war, for the time being, is good for you. Because the more entrants there are into this party, the more shelves there are to place your content.
And, given the above, Hollywood wants this to happen. They want more shelf space too. Because the more people that use devices, tablets, online tie-ins to their home entertainment system, the more chances they have for you to purchase their next movie.
The downside, however, is that with the proliferation of shelf space, so too is there a proliferation of content. Having more access to content isn’t necessarily going to help get your product seen. It will get your product on the shelf, but it may be buried behind so much other “stuff” that its value is otherwise meaningless.
So, beware, there is a war going on. Currently, there are skirmishes and battles being fought every day. The war is no where close to being over. In fact, it’s just beginning. Maybe it’s time to dust off those old Beta’s…
DIY FILM DISTRIBUTION: How to Sell Your Film Directly to Your Audience, FREE!
Learn the secrets of DYI distribution from the CEO’s of the top film distribution platforms including: VHX, Tugg, Gathr, Seed & Spark and more. Get access now to this 30 page eBook.