Friday, December 14, 2012

Blu-Ray & Indie Film Distribution, 4K Coming Soon

A conversation I had today with a filmmaker made me write this blog and it's a question I get asked a lot. Should we go to Blu-Ray & DVD or just DVD with our movie? Blu-Ray is a great format with awesome possibilities, but is a very tough market especially for the indie filmmaker. The manufacturing process to replicate Blu-Ray's in a factory is much more costly than DVD, because of the licensing fees and unlock codes you have to pay to the BDA (Blu-Ray Disc Association). Who's the BDA you ask? Mostly Sony I'm pretty sure...

So you've got much higher startup costs, currently around $2,500.00 per title, then you have the actual manufacturing costs. But it gets worse from there, because the bigger studios have been trying to push Blu-Ray on the consumers, they keep lowering the price of the discs to try and get people to splurge on the expensive HDTV setups. It's tough for an indie movie to enter the marketplace at $24.95, with virtually no advertising supporting them, and compete with a large studio release for $5.99 and national advertising. I was in Fry's a couple of weeks ago and saw a kiosk on Blu-Ray discs for $5.99 each. They weren't brand new releases, but studio catalog titles from about five years ago.

The Blu-Ray market is also much smaller than DVDs. Last I read Blu-Ray was doing about 18% of the business DVDs are doing as a whole.

There was an indie retro-label that launched and was planning to do nothing but Blu-Ray's with fully restored transfers of old cult horror films. They folded after their initial release.

So I say enter the Blu-Ray market with trepidation. I always suggest selling direct to customers with BD-R's if you want to offer Blu-Ray's of a small indie movie.

Interestingly enough as slow as Blu-Ray has been growing, but it is growing, Sony & LG announced the arrival of 4K resolution Blu-Ray Discs.

"Sony and LG are gearing up for new Blu-Ray discs that offer 'Ultra HD' definitions far higher than normal Full HD, such as 4K - four times higher than normal HD, and near the resolutions offered in Imax theatres.

'We're expecting the arrival of 4K Blu-rays in 2013,' said John Taylor, LG's Vice President of Communications told website Pocket-Lint."

Read more:

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Service Deal or No Deal?

First off let me apologize for the fact I haven't written a blog post in the last two weeks, we got wrapped up in Holiday affairs. But we're back on schedule now, at least until Christmas...

Let's talk about service deals. If you don't know what a service deal it's where you press and ship your own product and pay a distributor to place the film in their catalog, stores, theaters, digital outlets etc. is probably the most well known and reputable service deal distributor in the home video world. Where is probably the most famous service deal distributor in the theatrical business. The little known secret is most labels and studios handle service deals, but they just don't advertise it. We've offered service deals in the past.

Now a lot of people say "I'm not going to pay for distribution!" My question is why not, you paid to make your indie film or borrowed the money to do so. So why the refusal to pay for distribution? Think about it for just a second, if you are pressing your own product and shipping it for the distributor, you have a lot more control then someone who licensed a film to a distributor. If the distributor owes you money and is late on payment, you have some leverage, you can stop shipping product.

Service deals are a great option especially if you have been turned down by the traditional distributors. That's how we launched our distribution label. We had taken our catalog out to the larger wholesalers and labels and couldn't get any deals we liked. So we signed (or paid) for two different service deals, one worked out very well and was quite lucrative and one did absolutely nothing for us. But the thing is we believed in our titles, as I'm sure you believe in your film, and if no one is willing to distribute your film you should be willing to put the cash into your film to get it to the market. Let's face it, no one can predict what film is going to sell or big studios would never have hundred million dollar flops.

The other thing about service deals is you'll learn exactly how the distribution machine works first hand. Plus some of the contacts we made through our service deals were invaluable. Many we still keep in contact with today.

So next time you put together a budget for an upcoming project, set a side a chunk for service deal distribution, it's always a great contingency plan if nothing else.

The Official Apprehensive Films Store:

Everything Apprehensive: