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National Association Of Theater Owners Also Speak Out Against Sean Parker’s Premium VOD Plan

National Association Of Theater Owners Also Speak Out Against Sean Parker's Premium VOD Plan

The early narrative surrounding Sean Parker‘s premium VOD service The Screening Room suggests that it would be good for the industry, an argument bolstered by the support of filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Brian Grazer, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard and even Peter Jackson. But pushback towards the plan, which would see customers pay $50 to watch new films at home the same day they open in theaters, is starting to gather momentum. The Art House Convergence, which represents 600 theaters, issued an open latter against the proposal, and now the biggest cinema group in the country has followed suit.

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The National Association Of Theater Owners has circulated an open letter making it clear that The Screening Room model represents a threat to the brand value and artistic intention behind the business and the art of filmmaking. Here’s the open letter:

The owners and operators of movie theaters genuinely appreciate the vision and creativity brought to the big screen by motion picture directors. Nothing entertains movie fans better than a great movie exhibited in a modern movie cinema.
Recently there have been various reports in the media regarding a proposed movie release model called “The Screening Room”. Within a few days of the first report, several different high profile movie directors publicly stated their support for the model, some claiming that the model is good for motion picture exhibitors. Movie theater operators, however, will individually decide what business models work for movie theater operators.
The owners and operators of movie theaters genuinely appreciate the vision and creativity brought to the big screen by motion picture directors. Nothing entertains movie fans better than a great movie exhibited in a modern movie cinema.
The exclusive theatrical release window makes new movies events.  Success there establishes brand value and bolsters revenue in downstream markets.
NATO has consistently called on movie distributors and exhibitors to discuss as partners release models that can grow the business for everyone. More sophisticated window modeling may be needed for the growing success of a modern movie industry. Those models should be developed by distributors and exhibitors in company-to-company discussions, not by a third party.
It’s an interesting statement, in that NATO acknowledges that the landscape is changing, but that the organization wants to be involved in any discussions affecting an upheaval in the film industry. A fair point, perhaps. Let us know if you believe The Screening Room is a threat or the way of the future.

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