The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Archive for October 5th, 2010

The real cost of Free http://bit.ly/cd8njl

I read responses like these and I really wonder why anyone cares about mainstream media, with their lack of research, wholesale publication of press releases (without disclosure) and the tendency to push headlines (and page views).

Apart from Guardian columnist Helienne Lindvall publishing material with zero research, making claims that were simply not true about Doctorow’s speaking fees, but manages to completely misunderstand that no-one has ever said that “content wants to be free”. Many business models include free content: commercial radio, broadcast Television and newspapers have long used free content as part of their business model.

Doctorow makes the point:

The topic I leave my family and my desk to talk to people all over the world about is the risks to freedom arising from the failure of copyright giants to adapt to a world where it’s impossible to prevent copying. Because it is impossible. Despite 15 long years of the copyright wars, despite draconian laws and savage penalties, despite secret treaties and widespread censorship, despite millions spent on ill-advised copy-prevention tools, more copying takes place today than ever before.

As I’ve written here before, copying isn’t going to get harder, ever. Hard drives won’t magically get bulkier but hold fewer bits and cost more.

Networks won’t be harder to use. PCs won’t be slower. People won’t stop learning to type “Toy Story 3 bittorrent” into Google (NSDQ: GOOG). Anyone who claims otherwise is selling something – generally some kind of unworkable magic anti-copying beans that they swear, this time, will really work.

So, assuming that copyright holders will never be able to stop or even slow down copying, what is to be done?

What is to be done are that new business models must be created around free content and there have been any number of success stories, particularly in film and music. Remember that all Corey Doctorow’s books are available free under a non-commercail Creative Commons license. He has had two books on the New York Times bestseller list for the past two years. He knows what he’s talking about from his own experience.

Read the whole article, it’s well worth it.

For Independent Films, Piracy Is A Red Herring http://bit.ly/bpLA5Y & http://bit.ly/dkXHqq

To date no-one has actually been able to prove a single penny of lost revenue due to unauthorized distribution. The RIAA/MPAA surveys on the subject are great works of fiction, completely without factual basis (or even rational discourse).

So when the LA Times published an article with filmmaker Greg Carter claiming that he had lost “hundreds of thousands” of dollars due to unauthorized distribution. Unfortunately, like all these type of articles, any fact, substantiation or – dare I say – proof, is completely lacking. The article is a fact-free zone supporting the assertion.

Well, both Techdirt.com and some other independent filmmakers take on the assertion and dismiss it.

From Techdirt:

Reader jjmsan was the first of a few of you to send over this silly piece in the LA Times claiming thatindependent filmmakers are being hurt by unauthorized file sharing, but it’s completely devoid of any actual evidence. It kicks off with the story of one indie film director who released a movie and insists that he’s been harmed. But what’s the evidence? Well, a lot of people have downloaded his film. Ok. So? When other movie makers saw that, they put in place smart business models toencourage people to buy something, and they did quite well because of it. By embracing file sharingand combining it with smart business models, tons of filmmakers who never would have been able to do anything with their film have now been able to build an audience and make a living.

But probably more relevant is the response on incitecinema.com from other independent filmmakers :

It’s undeniable that piracy has substantial impact on studio films. The higher profile the film, the more ‘leakage’. For independent films, though, it’s extremely rare for piracy to noticeably affect revenue. The independent film audience by and large has no interest in stealing content. They just don’t. The fact that a film is out there on file sharing sites doesn’t prove that a single person has downloaded the film and watched it. In fact, some of the most visible file sharing sites aren’t file sharing sites at all. They’re fishing sites that use every film title under the sun as bait to lure unsuspecting users into thinking they’re downloading a film or other content only to have their machine infected by a virus and/or taken over by a bot.

I think they’re wrong in the (again unsubstantiated) assertion that “piracy has substantial impact on studio films. Once again, no-one has provided evidence that would support that assertion. High profile “leaked” films have gone on to set box office records and do great business with no apparent harm.

Grow an Audience for your Indie Production http://bit.ly/cjASZ9

Unfortunately Rich Harrington is unable to make the Boston Final Cut Pro User Group meeting this week due to back problems. I’ve been there and wish Rich all the best.

Good news is that I’ll be pitching in to help. I lack Rich’s understanding of iPod apps for production, so the subject has shifted a little to “Grow an Audience for your Indie Production”, a subject I know well.

Distribution Time: Can You Succeed?
Join Philip Hodgetts, digital media strategist and author ofThe New Now: How to grow your production or postproduction business in a changed and changing world as he shares how to market your independent project and grow an audience you can monetize. Since the advent of low cost production equipment almost any project can find a suitable budget. However distribution has not been democratized to the same degree. Learn how others have built substantial and profitable audiences for their independent film and video projects and successfully monetized the audience.

Learn the common themes and how you can apply them to any independent production.

“On this occasion his topic was “Growing An Audience for your Indy Production.” Phillip pointed out that a major paradigm shift has taken place. Where once distribution (as well as advertising, promotion and building an audience for that distribution) was the job of a distributor or a network, it now falls to the filmmaker or content creator. Hodgetts presented case histories of creative and successful self-distribution, talked about piracy, blogging, using the internet and tribal marketing, among others.” – John Coleman at MediaBootCamp, San Diego

October 2010
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