Sales of Blu-ray players are rising steadily (New York Times, 12/14/09), which is great. And that rise is coming as the price point comes down, which anyone with even a slight grasp of product releases has seen coming.
But I’m disappointed there wasn’t a second page to the story that dealt with the state of the market for Blu-ray discs since what’s going on there is more likely to signal the future of the home video market than the sales of a set-top box. Right now there’s so much conflicting data on the Blu-ray disc market it’s hard to know what’s accurate. If people are buying Blu-ray players but using them to spin their existing standard-DVD library and then stream stuff from Netflix that’s important to know, as is if they’re upgrading movies they already own or just buying new releases or anything else.
With more publishers and media companies – the latest being CBS with its package of online properties – dropping third party ad networks I think we’re seeing that those networks, which exploded like wildfire just four years ago or so, were indeed transition tools. They helped publishers monetize sooner rather than later online as they built out their own staff and were eventually able to take on those responsibilities themselves. The move to self-contained media ad networks that stretch through all their online properties makes a ton of sense at this point, where I might have said differently as little as three years ago.
I’d love to add my voice to the chorus of those hailing Paramount over their announcement (Los Angeles Times, 12/11/09) that they would allocate $1 million from their existing production spending to foster movie projects that each cost $100,000 or less to produce. The idea is to springboard off the success of the micro-budgeted Paranormal Activity and produce a stable of films that could be success themselves, show off a new talent that can be put on other projects or flesh out ideas that could then be remade with a larger budget.
Sounds great, right? But see there’s this whole independent film market that already exists. So I’m confused why they wouldn’t look at the movies that have already been made, the sorts of passion projects that a hungry filmmaker has put him/herself into debt to tell.
So why not apply the same thinking and purchase some of the movies that have already been made? There are so many filmmakers who would give their left arm for a bit of support from a major studio like this. And the advantage for Paramount is that they don’t have to engage in a from-the-ground-up development process.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the thinking at Paramount that’s behind this decision, even if I think it’s a little funny considering Paramount, like most other major studios, has spent the last two years shutting down all their niche-market divisions. But with such a rich market of filmmakers already out there with completed movies in their back pocket it seems odd to me to not reach into *that* community either first or as part of a complimentary effort.