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Author Topic: Day and Date Update
Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2332
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-09-2016 06:38 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The latest attempt to wipe out movie theaters for fun and profit:
quote:
Studios, Exhibitors Consider Revolutionary Plan for Day-and-Date Movies at Home (EXCLUSIVE)

Brent Lang
Senior Film and Media Reporter
@BrentALang

Studios, Exhibitors Consider Revolutionary Plan Day-and-Date

MARCH 9, 2016 | 03:41PM PT
Tech moguls Sean Parker, Prem Akkaraju pitch industry on premium service offering $50 rentals of new releases

Five years ago, major studios attempts to offer first-run movies in the home months early set off a fierce standoff with theater owners.

Now, a startup backed by Sean Parker of Facebook and Napster fame is trying to encourage Hollywood studios and exhibitors to wade back into those controversial waters. Called the Screening Room, the company offers secure, anti-piracy technology that will offer new releases in the home on the same day they hit theaters, sources tell Variety.

Individuals briefed on the plan said Screening Room would charge about $150 for access to the set top box that transmits the movies and charge $50 per view. Consumers have a 48-hour window to view the film.

To get exhibitors on board, the company proposes cutting them in on a significant percentage of the revenue, as much as $20 of the fee. As an added incentive to theater owners, Screening Room is also offering customers who pay the $50 two free tickets to see the movie at a cinema of their choice. That way, exhibitors would get the added benefit of profiting from concession sales to those moviegoers.

Participating distributors would also get a cut of the $50 dollar per view proceeds, also believed to be 20%, before Screening Room took its own fee of 10%.

Representatives from the Screening Room have been pounding the pavement in recent months, meeting with all of the major studios and feeling out exhibitors, more than a half dozen industry insiders confirmed to Variety. Parker, who is the major investor in Screening Room, has tapped former Sony Pictures worldwide marketing and distribution chief Jeff Blake in an advisory capacity. He has been working on the project and has deep ties to both the exhibition and studio communities.

At the presentations, Screening Room officials have told studio executives that they are close to finalizing a deal with AMC, which is poised to be the world’s largest exhibitor if its acquisition of Carmike Cinemas is approved by regulators.

There is serious interest from several of the major studios, including Universal, Fox and Sony, people familiar with the matter say. Those studios are continuing to study the business plan and deal terms and remain engaged in discussions with Screening Room. However, many cautioned that the talks are still in the initial stages. For its part, Disney, does not appear to be interested in the plan.

One potential deterrent for distributors is that Screening Room is looking to be the exclusive content partner. This may give pause to studios like Universal, that makes movies available through parent company Comcast, or Sony, which has family ties to Playstation.

On the other hand, the company’s anti-piracy technology could be appealing to studios who struggle with global content theft. Major films can be widely available illegally on line in file-sharing sites within hours of their release.

However, some exhibitors worry that they would essentially be midwifing their demise by agreeing to shrink the windows–which continues to be a hot-button issue for theater owners. Regal, for example, has steadfastly refused to screen any films that do not agree to a standard, exclusive theatrical run of roughly 90 days. Box office hit record levels last year, crossing $11 billion for the first time in history. But attendance has been essentially flat in recent years.

Although a few studios, such as Paramount and Universal, have tried to cook up alternative distribution strategies in recent years, most distributors have been wary of upsetting exhibitors. Last fall, Paramount teamed with a few chains, such as AMC and Cineplex, AMC and Cineplex, on a plan that allowed them to release the pictures on home entertainment platforms 17 days after the number of theaters showing the films dipped below 300.

There have also been efforts to create technology that allows consumers to watch major studio films in the home. Prima Cinema’s, for instance, boasts a box that allows customers to screen new releases, but is priced at a much steeper, $35,000.

In addition to Parker, Prem Akkaraju serves as CEO of the company and its co-founder. He was previously a partner at the electronic music company SFX Entertainment and was a partner at InterMedia Partners. In addition, he worked at JP Morgan Entertainment Partners and Sanctuary Music Group.

Representatives for Screening Room declined comment, as did AMC and the major studios.

Variety

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Lyle Romer
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Davie, FL, USA
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 - posted 03-09-2016 07:50 PM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The article appears to confuse $ with %. Assuming the entire split is in $, first of all, how do the exhibitors split their $20? Who gets the credit?

Second, how does this make any sense for studios. Again, assuming everything is supposed to be in $ not %, the studio only gets a 40% cut when they are getting a 50% cut now.

If this company is pitching that they will get more total revenue, they are nuts. The vast majority of people that shell out $50 for a PPV movie are going to invite a bunch of people over. In 4 months or so, they can rent the Blu-ray from Redbox for $2 and the studios think people will shell out $50 and sit and watch by themselves or with 1 other person?

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

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From: Lakeport, CA USA
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 - posted 03-09-2016 08:07 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't really understand the constant desire to get theatrical movies into homes so quick. It's not like that demand won't be there several months down the line. The only thing this accomplishes is minimizing movie theatres.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

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From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-09-2016 09:55 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Not totally sure what is going on, but since they seem to be making a deal with AMC here's what I think they are suggesting.

The distributors, for their cut of the $50 dollar fee, make the feature available to the Screening Room company for in home distribution day and date.

The exhibitor, AMC in this case, gets the exclusive rights to sell home viewing tickets as part of their deal when the book the film. They get $20 (or 20% if that's a typo) for every home view ticket they sell.

I'm guessing the only way this can work is for one exhibitor to have exclusive rights to selling the home tix, thus undercutting the competition who may have booked the film, but won't profit off of the home viewer. And that Screening Room doesn't sell tix while it is still on screen at the partner's theatre. Studio gets money no matter how tickets are sold, so they don't give a rats ass about the theatre.

Will viewing public pay $50 to watch a movie at home? If you have enough people, I guess it makes it worthwhile if you don't mind viewing at home.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 03-09-2016 11:34 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think this concept has much of a chance at all at any kind of success. They're over-selling the dollar value of watching movies at home. Only the most douchey of home theater owners would be keen at all to spend $50 to watch a new movie at home the same time it opens in first run theaters.

People do already spend $50 or $60 to order premium pay per view events at home, but those are typically LIVE events such as a UFC fight night or a high profile boxing match. It's not something where the viewer has a 48 hour window to view the product.

There's no problem organizing a house party around a live pay per view UFC fight event. The fights are happening live and anyone interested at all in that kind of thing will adjust his/her schedule to watch it. Getting a group of people to do the same thing just to watch a freaking movie on a home TV screen will be a far more difficult task, especially if the viewing environment is just an ordinary living room and ordinary TV set.

I think this "Screening Room" thing will end up being yet another failed Day-and-Date movie release scheme gone bust. And I hope things like this fail and keep on failing. Because if any of them achieve a significant level of success it may push commercial movie theaters over the brink into failure.

If commercial movie theaters fail the entire movie industry will follow them into failure. Without movie theater screens the movie studios would just be making TV shows. No movie studio is going to spend $100-$200 million making a 2-hour movie production if it only plays on home TV screens. They're sure not going to spend tens of millions marketing made for TV movies either.

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Lyle Romer
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From: Davie, FL, USA
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 - posted 03-10-2016 05:16 AM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Martin,

The only problem with one exhibitor getting the exclusive to sell the home tickets is that the other exhibitors won't play the movie.

A scheme like this would make a lot more sense as some kind of premium home release. For example, after a 16 week theatrical window, there would be a 6 week premium PPV window. $50 is too much for that but since the exhibitors would be ok with it and wouldn't need a cut you could drop the price to $25.

Towards the end of the window, nobody is going to pay that much when they can pay $5 a few days later. That is why I made my hypothetical window 6 weeks. The first 2-3 weeks will be relatively far from the normal value menu release.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

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From: Montgomery, AL
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 - posted 03-10-2016 07:51 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lyle: yeah, your version makes more "sense" in a world where this whole scheme makes sense, but they are the ones who are talking about a cut going to the disturbs. I was just trying to figure out a mechanism for that working.

I anxiously await the final product.

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Scott Norwood
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 - posted 03-10-2016 01:44 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Justin Hamaker
I don't really understand the constant desire to get theatrical movies into homes so quick.
Neither do I. At $50/screening, it would only be cheaper than cinema tickets for people with large families or groups of friends. And the average home television set does not compare with the average cinema for picture and sound quality. I wonder what the target audience of something like this would be? Maybe people with young children?

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David Buckley
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Oxford, N. Canterbury, New Zealand
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 - posted 03-10-2016 01:56 PM      Profile for David Buckley   Author's Homepage   Email David Buckley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Justin Hamaker
I don't really understand the constant desire to get theatrical movies into homes so quick
Once they figure out how to make the same dollar with direct-to-home distribution, that's the end of exhibition. That's the plan; exhibition is an unnecessary step between production and monetization.

However, as others in this very thread have pointed out, the economics just don't stack up. Won't stop them looking for the holy grail though.

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Dan Puma
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 - posted 03-10-2016 03:16 PM      Profile for Dan Puma   Email Dan Puma   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I really can't see people paying $150 for a device that only give you the right to stream movies for $50(!). I can imagine $50 new releases cutting into box gross a little bit if it was attached to On Demand, or even Apple TV or Roku, but can't imagine this will have much of an impact.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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 - posted 03-10-2016 03:18 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: David Buckley
exhibition is an unnecessary step
That's the problem -- they don't realize that exhibition is a NECESSARY step to lend legitimacy to their productions. Like Bobby points out, without exhibition they're just making TV shows.

I get the feeling these articles are written by avid "home theater" buffs who are just breathless at the thought of getting movies day-and-date with theaters. As soon as the latest crackpot idea comes up these articles are just bursting with anticipation.

What really irritates me is the way exhibition is always painted as the "bad guy" in these articles, as if we're a bunch of greedy bastards. It's always 'theater owners were furious' or 'a fierce battle with theater owners' or whatever. After all these alternative distribution methods continue to flop, why don't those assclowns GET IT? We are the engine that pulls the entertainment train. It would be a monumental job to get the kind of money from a straight-to-home release that they get when theaters come first. And they would get even more money if they stretched the window out to 6 months or more, like the good Lord intended. Like Rodney Dangerfield, we don't get no respect, no respect at all.

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Justin Hamaker
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 - posted 03-10-2016 05:15 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
What really irritates me is the way exhibition is always painted as the "bad guy" in these articles, as if we're a bunch of greedy bastards.
This attitude trickles down to the general public, perpetuating the notion that movie theatres are just raking in the money and making ungodly profits. We recently had someone post a review on our Facebook page calling us greedy bastards because we don't have the newest luxury seats. He went on to say that he would be taking his money 40 miles down the road.

His attitude did a 180 when I explained that our seats haven't been replaced because of the money we had to spend on digital projectors. I also explained that the theatre 40 miles down the road was part of the largest chain in the country which had plenty of cash flow, while we are an independent theatre.

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Jim Cassedy
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 - posted 03-10-2016 07:44 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Several weeks ago, I met with someone, who I'm pretty sure represented
this company, to do a public demo of their device here in San Francisco.

They wanted to be sure their 'server'could interface with the equipment
at the screening room we were meeting at that day.

Beyond that I can't say much, other than:
1) I have yet to hear back from them;
2) No, it wasn't the Dolby Screening Room where I work at.

I was given some technical details but asked not to share them publicly,
but from the info in the article that started this thread, it sure seems like
they guy I met with was representing that company- - or else two companies
are planning to offer the exact same service . . . . .

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Buck Wilson
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 - posted 03-12-2016 12:54 AM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Justin, Just looked up that review. The sheer fact he said "Wow can't believe you responded" shows, and rightfully so, the low expectations of the average patrons to typical theater management(the big guys).

Not only did you deescalate the dude, you made him apologize and made him realize not all theater companies suck! [thumbsup]

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 03-12-2016 05:17 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: David Buckley
That's the plan; exhibition is an unnecessary step between production and monetization.
So, the long-term strategy here is to cut out those greedy bastards in the exhibition industry and replace them with 10-dollar a month subscription plans from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Google and Apple? Because you know, they're nice and totally not greedy at all...

I'm pretty sure this plan will never fly. Maybe they get the contracts all right, but then... crickets. Paying 50 bucks to see a movie at home just isn't happening. Yeah, you can share with friends, but like Bobby already mentioned, getting a bunch of people together and watch a movie at someone's home, while sharing the costs, how often does that ever happen? Maybe for a special, one-off happening, broadcasted live, but for a movie from "tape"?

For most people, going to see a movie in a proper movie theater is still something special. It's a night out or an impotant part of a night out. Something most people are willing to spend more money on than watching a movie at home. This is also where the beef is for all those studios, let's hope they don't forget it.

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