Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Digital Distribution: "Gigantic" Exposure? "Pathetic" Revenues"?

By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire March 17, 2009 at 1:50AM

With limited theatrical options for getting their films in front of audiences today, numerous filmmakers have explored (or at least pondered) the Internet as an outlet. While most seem to covet a slot on iTunes -- the platform that generates the greatest revenues -- the need to work with an aggregator and the service's limited offerings have led filmmakers in other directions. Sites such as Hulu, Joost, and SnagFilms, among many others, as well as services ranging from iTunes and Amazon, are aiming to draw filmmakers.
0

With limited theatrical options for getting their films in front of audiences today, numerous filmmakers have explored (or at least pondered) the Internet as an outlet. While most seem to covet a slot on iTunes -- the platform that generates the greatest revenues -- the need to work with an aggregator and the service's limited offerings have led filmmakers in other directions. Sites such as Hulu, Joost, and SnagFilms, among many others, as well as services ranging from iTunes and Amazon, are aiming to draw filmmakers.

The challenge, of course, is balancing the widespread awareness afforded by the Internet with still emerging revenue models.

"This isn't where we are going to be making money now," "Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock told a large crowd on Monday at SXSW. "If you are looking to pay your rent, not so much, if you're looking to pay your phone blll, you have a chance."

Later, when the discussion shifted to panelists' reluctance to talk about the hard traffic numbers, Spurlock offered a line that has already been picked up by media and bloggers: "The reason numbers aren't releaed is because the numbers are pathetic." He continued, "It's because the numbers are sadly low by what we would expect from film and television."

For all the talk, panelists showed signs of life. "Helvetica" filmmaker Gary Hustwit, here in Austin with his new doc, "Objecified," said that he earned as much as $60,000 in digital sales for "Helvetica." SnagFilms' CEO Rick Allen noted that his company's widgets are available on some 20,000 websites and social network pages. Cinetic Rights Management's Matt Dentler said that revenues from Hulu are showing promise.

Spurlock also noted, optimistically, "The fact that it continues to garner eyeballs is the most important thing...the exposure is gigantic." And he later predicted, "Down the road, [revenues] will grow."

"We are looking at a transitional business model that is broken," SnagFilms' CEO Rick Allen noted, "We are at the front end of this." The current revenues, however small, "are hundredfold, a thousandfold, the size of the checks that most independent documentarians have received from theatrical release," he reiterated.

"I agree that the traditional distribution model is broken," concurred Gary Hustwit, "But I feel that the way to fix it is to go directly to the audiences," he continued. "Why are we building other people's businesses when we could be building our own business." Seated in the audience, an industry insider answered the question aloud, "Because not all filmmakers want to be businessmen."

DISCLOSURE: indieWIRE is owned by SnagFilms.

This article is related to: Features, Festival Dispatch






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More