Variety launches The Biz entertainment biz social network

Variety has launched a new social network geared toward the entertainment profession, The Biz. The site is powered by Jobster and is meant to connect members of the extended Hollywood and larger entertainment community, allowing them to connect with colleagues and co-workers and recommend others while also getting endorsed themselves. I’ve signed up and will be taking it for a spin in the near future as time allows.

Shocker: Few people see Best Picture nominees

oscar.jpgOh yeah. It’s really surprising that this year’s Best Picture nominees are having trouble finding an audience. Real surprising, especially since these movies receive limited marketing support, even more limited distribution and generally are as hidden as it’s possible to make them and still consider them “released.”

  1. Again, here’s the general formula:
  2. Greenlight prestige project
  3. Realize it has no potential to make more than $50 million.
  4. Decide to bury the movie with no marketing support and a release pattern that puts it in a handful of theaters that no one can get to.
  5. Act shocked when no one sees it.
  6. Spend more money on ads to get it an awards nomination or win than you did on ads for the movie’s release.
  7. Decry how no one is seeing your highly touted movies.

And then it’s punctuated by my smacking my head on the nearest wall.

Embrace distributed content

watchingcomputer.jpgThe future of media is in distributed content, especially in the form of TV shows that are sent far and wide around the Internet, finding the people where they are instead of trying to drive people to the one official outlet.

That strategy is being used by a lot of TV networks and others as they look to drive viewership (and ad revenue) of their programming.

While it’s TV shows that are using it right now I think it’s inevitable that movies are going to go the same way sooner rather than later. Studios need to be less worried about where movies get watched and more concerned with having them watched at all. That’s going to lead to more titles being made available across a variety of platforms as they try to replicate what their TV brethren are doing.

Indie films look for ways to overcome distribution, marketing hurdles

cracked-wall.jpgAnne Thompson has a very cool story up at Variety about the troubles faced by independent movie producers in both distributing and marketing their non-mainstream fare.

The problem of finding distribution is in part being addressed by producers finding home video or online outlets that let people find their movies.

But letting the audience find the movies is another matter. Advertising can be prohibitively expensive, and recommendation engines can only go so far. So there still needs to be some sort of combination of the two in order achieve success.

It’s still word-of-mouth that helps niche films find those audiences. Sometimes that’s being facilitated by the filmmakers themselves engaging in publicity campaigns.

While Anne’s story is great at looking at formal marketing campaigns in some form or another, I think the one thing it overlooks is how online outreach can play a part in the efforts for these niche movies.

A director blog that converses with the rest of the movie community can go a long way toward building relationships that can boost a movie’s prospects. And it can help with search engine results when people go looking for that movie. Combine that with some sort of mechanism for buying the movie right there online and you can see some significant ticks on that sales chart.