After reading The App Revolution (in Filmmaking)
by Horace Dediu
I tried to make sense of the changes to how we interact with films over the last forty years. Dediu aims to apply the law of new media to cinema
Once you change the method of distribution, the medium itself has to change.
However, the Internet itself has not had any effect on long-form cinema so far ....
One reason has been that film is still a very difficult product to distribute digitally as most of the world does not have the capacity to buy, consume and enjoy films digitally. Another is that the current distributors have had an allergic reaction to the option. As existing products have been crammed into the new distribution chain (e.g. Netflix) the established distributors are experiencing channel conflict and are raising the costs of digital distribution rights. Netflix has seen its costs triple as it ate into Cable market share. Fundamentally, the incumbent distributors are reluctant to open a channel of distribution which conflicts with or reduces margins of the existing channels.
I think digital is starting to disrupt how we watch films and the affect will be greater than that wrought by television, video cassette and DVD.
The most natural way to engage with a film is at the cinema. That point of view has been challenged by television. After that anything with ‘home’ in the title; many of us remember home video that gave way to the DVD. In between we had the quirky laser disc. Then we had what was a contradiction in terms; home cinema.
Through out this period despite predictions of its demise enough people have left the house and gone to the cinema. This is what I have done for more years than I care to remember. Over time the price has gone up, the tickets smaller and usherettes have all but disappeared.
Cinema in the digital era is starting to be disrupted by technology but not yet to the extent that newspapers, books and shopping have undergone. But its happening, the film theatre is no longer the hallowed ground of cinema viewing.
The availability of cheaper digital projection equipment allows films to be screened in all sorts of different environments from the community hall to a restaurant. Some films are released for the theatre and online at the same time. How long before the big blockbusters are released this way?
Whilst the studios produce content that is optimised for the big screen experience of the cinema theatre people will still go but for how long?