Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Indiewire
September 10, 2013 4:49 PM
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Digital On Demand: Show Us The Numbers

Let's take a look at them:

VOD : Almost half the country is watching VOD via cable. 8.9B transactions in 2012, 78% of which were "Free On Demand" (FOD), 19% were "Subscription On Demand" (SVOD), and 3% were "Transactional On Demand" (TOD).


Not surprisingly, among FOD content, the "TV Entertainment" category is the leader with over 2.3B transactions and 1.3B hours of viewing in 2012.

The availability of more long-form content is driving the categories growth.


Extending the IP's value via FOD... The "TV Entertainment" category reaches 30% of cume transactions by Day 3, 50% by Day 7, and 72% by Day 15. 

In other words, a significant amount of viewing is happening beyond 7 days, which means there is an opportunity to monetize content well beyond the "7-day window."

Among the three SVOD PROVIDERS, we see a lot of activity on a monthly pay model.

NETFLIX has 37.6M Global streaming subs, *HULU PLUS - 4.0M subscribers, available on more than 350M mobile/connected devices. * AMAZON PRIME, 10.0M subscribers, and so on.

In 2012, PRIME members accounted for roughly 4% of AMAZON's 182M active customer base, but they accounted for nearly 10% of purchases and they spend twice as much as non-prime customers on the platform, $1,224 vs. $505 per year.

iTunes is a little different, it's a TRANSACTIONAL platform but practically ubiquitous, and some of those VOD numbers on your accounting statements are coming from rental on the platform.  Apple's iTunes music store is now home to 577M users, adding nearly half-million new accounts every day.

At its current rate, Apple will add another 100M iTunes accounts by the end of 2013, and have served up over 15 BILLION media downloads.

But you and I don't know anything about them beyond what the analysts tell us in aggregate or what Apple or Amazon chooses to reveal.  And that is a LOT of valuable information that we are missing out on. 

Consumer behavior varies greatly across these platforms and is measurable against entirely different things.

At the moment, cable VOD has virtually no user experience, no algorithm offering more movies similar to those you have watched or paid for, no metadata - it is, as people lament, an alphabetical list of titles "foldered" into a growing number of categories.

To put it mildly, discoverability is a bitch. Now, of course the cable companies are working on this because they too would love to be able to serve up more transactions by title than 3% of the overall usage on the platform. And believe me, business will grow when discoverability gets better.

By comparison, Netflix allows you and your household to curate your own content library, Amazon can correlate film recommendations to things you purchase and read. Oh, and it controls the Internet Movie Database which is a sleeping giant of a film network. And iTunes has a ton of information on price sensitivity around content.

The fact that this data exists and we still can't see it or cross-reference it across different films is truly an oversight whose time has come to bear.

We can't have any leverage in a market if we don't have access to this information.

 Simply stated, the player that controls the information has the upper hand in a deal.

We're missing out on opportunities here. Transparency breeds efficiency - it shows what's working, what isn't. What programs, genres, nights, talent, themes are generating audience interest. Where audiences are, go after they watch, to whom they tweet and post and share.

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  • Ruth Saunders | September 13, 2013 2:11 AMReply

    ISAN (International Standard Audiovisual Number) is a voluntary numbering system and metadata schema for the unique and persistent identification of any audiovisual works and versions thereof including films, shorts, documentaries, television programs, sports events, advertising, etc.

  • Dan Mirvish | September 11, 2013 3:26 PMReply

    Very nice piece, Liesl, and you raise excellent points. But lack of transparency is only problematic if there's an expectation of making money. If you assume from the start that you won't make any money, then it doesn't matter. An Oscar-nominated director friend asked me yesterday: Wouldn't it make more sense for an investor to just give to a tax-deductible entity than invest in the charade that they'll make their money back? This speaks directly to my piece in Indiewire and HuffPost a few months ago that crowd-funding is fundamentally changing the paradigm of how we get and contribute to films: from an "investment" paradigm (that we've had for the last 100 years) to a "donation" one. If you think of film as an art form (like opera, symphony, public radio, or anything else with tote bags and mugs as perks), then you can quit worrying about crap like volumetrics, data currency and analytic black holes. Embrace the fact that you're going to get screwed on the back end. For years we've treated films as "don't profits"; now we need start thinking of them as "non-profits".

  • J.A.S. | September 17, 2013 2:01 PM

    In agreement with Ted, the "don't profit" model isn't as ubiquitous of a funding format if we can use data to connect with an audience early on. The niche-market distribution culture of the '90s has been subdivided into individual-market distribution based on individual streaming libraries, but filmmakers still make movies for broad theatrical demographics. It's just inconsistent and results in a waste of money and waste of talent as filmmakers can't steer their projects knowledgeably. Knowing how much money your film is worth in this new stream-based marketplace can bring more reliable profits to filmmakers and open us up to a broader range of available films.

  • Ted Hope | September 12, 2013 11:48 AM

    Dan, there can be many finance models, and there certainly is a place for not-for-profit film finance. And frankly not just a place, but a real need. As America is currently virtually fully a market-based entertainment economy, we need need nonprofit funding to diverse the creator base as well as the style and content. That said, it is precisely the market focus that has made the US the most diversified film culture there is. To me the point, we now have the opportunity to diversify the funding models significantly and with that we all will benefit -- audiences, creators, and entrepreneurs.

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