MGM to distribute movies on YouTube

I’m a week late to this news, but wanted to weigh in regardless.

MGM has turned out to be the studio that will distribute some of their feature film catalog via YouTube. The studio will start by showing movies like Bulletproof Monk and other catalog titles in full along with clips from other movies like Legally Blonde. While, as the story says, the titles might not be the biggest draws around it’s a starting point for a further relationship. And YouTube kind of needs Hollywood more right now than Hollywood actually needs YouTube. The site continues to struggle for legitimacy, even with its two new ad options.

The story pegs the fact that YouTube has a lot of ground to make up against sites like Hulu that have overcome early skepticism with a nice clean design and the fact that they only have professionally created content there. As Karina points out, this sort of mealy-mouthed half-assed approach to YouTube speaks volumes more than any official statements might.

In the end the studios will pick a mainstream distribution outlet that works the best at meeting their needs, not the needs of the audience. But considering there’s now rampant speculation that Hulu might actually exceed YouTube’s audience sometime next year those two interests might actually wind up aligning for once.

But back to MGM for a moment: The studio is likely to achieve greater market penetration via their new deal with AT&T to carry the high-definition MGM-HD channel than anything with YouTube. That’s simply because the viewing experience will be better for the average viewer.

Listen to Karina’s Denver Film Festival panel

The Denver Film Festival has posted the audio from the “DIY Filmmaking in an Indie Apocolypse” panel that she proposed and then moderated. As usual it’s more than a little interesting and it’s great to hear so many new opinions on the future of this sector from those who are actually making it happen.

Economy leads to theater goers making smaller-scale concessions decisions

Two theater chains have reported that income from concessions sales were down as people going to the movies opt for smaller sizes or fewer snacks because of the economy in the U.S. Both chains expect that to turn around in the fourth quarter, bolstered by the films that are playing, which they say is the primary driver of food sales.

Concessions are where theaters make most of their money since the studios take a large percentage of ticket sales. That’s why it costs twice as much to get popcorn, soda and candy as it did to walk in the door in the first place.

It’s kind of a made up job title anyway

As someone who until recently bore that title, I have to laugh at Hugh Macleod’s series of “social media specialist” drawings:

You’re a Social Media Specialist?

SMSs Waiting in Line

Celebrating Diversity

Corporate Dude

Potential Client


Community-driven reviews

Let me be clear about this from the get-go: I do not hope for the disappearance of the professional critic.

While I appreciate the role of the professional critic plays in helping some deserving movies get exposure, help people make entertainment (and other) decisions and more, the professional critic is not (and never really has been) the end-all-be-all voice. Everyone has always shared with friends their opinions and recommendations in the hallways at work and in other social situations. Sometimes those conversations will include comments like “Well the reviews were really good…” and then continue to point out that said positive review was either very right or very wrong.

But now, in the age of social media, professional critics are not the end-all-be-all to an even greater extent. They are but one voice in a veritable cacophony of opinions and reviews that stem from mainstream media outlets, high-tier websites and someone’s personal journal.

I got to thinking about this when I saw that Ian, who does most of the managing for Spout’s Twitter account, posted the following there:

Do you agree with the critics that Twilight falls flat? Have your say, add your Twilight review here:

Movies, like most entertainment media, are extremely subjective. One opinion is not exactly representational, so having as many people as possible lay out what they did or did not like about a movie and why, the next person who passes that way point – in this case the Movie Detail page for Twilight – benefits from the (yes, I’m about to say it) wisdom of the crowd. The review has been, for lack of a better word, crowd-sourced.

Except that unlike most examples of crowdsourcing where there’s one cohesive finished product that everyone is adding to and editing, Spout-based movie reviews are a sum of their parts. This person liked it, that person did not. The reader can make up their own mind, a process that’s helped by checking out the profiles of the people doing the reviewing. By viewing that the reader can say “Yeah, that person seems to have similar taste as me” and assign the review the appropriate weight.

When you add your voice to Spout you’re not just influencing one person, you’re influencing unknown dozens, perhaps even hundreds. You’re adding to the permanant, community-driven record of that movie. Here’s how to help Spout visitors benefit from your insight:

If You Don’t Have an Outside Blog: You can either create your own Spout FilmBlog. When you write your review, just add a link to the Movie Detail page (there’s a button to do this when writing a post) and it will be added. Or write the review directly on the Movie Detail page.

If Your Already Have an Outside Blog: Say you’re this guy and you just saw Quantum of Solace. All he (or you) have to do is import your blog’s RSS feed into your Spout FilmBlog. Then write the review to your regular blog and include the link to QoS’s movie detail page and the post will be pulled in. None of your other posts will, just those that include a link back to Spout.

We try to make it as easy as possible to share your opinions on movies because, as I said, we firmly believe more voices make the community as a whole smarter.

Chris Thilk, Director of Marketing (chris-at-spout-dot-com)

Amazon gets Cinetic movies

Amazon has signed a deal with Cinetic Rights Management that will have the distributor giving the e-tail powerhouse around 20 titles a month for both its Video on Demand (formerly Unbox) and CreateSpace DVD services.

The pact will bring not only new releases but catalog titles from CRM to the site, which allows people to either view immediately or order DVDs, which are custom created and shipped.

This is a great move by both parties that should bring a number of worthwhile movies to the audience.

Marketing them, though, is still the tough part. Without support from the stakeholders like director, producers or other key people these will continue to languish. There needs to be some audience awareness building in order to get them seen. That’s where some grassroots-type efforts need to come into play and it’s something that cannot be overlooked.

Too much information

Sarah Perez is having a crisis with people who over-share items through Google Reader. Too much, she says, and it makes it hard to find the interesting/valuable content amidst so much clutter.

This is really annoying, yeah, but not nearly as much as those times when people have entire conversations through the Notes feature on the same item that gets shared, like, 30 times as we they all have to try and top each other with the latest witticism.

Who is authoring your corporate blog?

I’ll risk losing a number of cool points here by admitting that I’m a fan of the band Chicago. The band, as you might know, made the decision early in their careers that their record covers would not feature the band members but instead the band’s logo. The decision was an attempt to keep the personalities in the band secondary to the music, a strategy that worked pretty well until the early 1980s, when Peter Cetera wound up dominating and the band decided to pursue more commercial friendly pastures.

That springs to my mind every time the question of who should be involved in a corporate blog comes up. Paul Chaney at Marketing Profs Daily Fix does just that, once again exploring the question of whether a corporate blog should be a single author effort or one that brings in multiple people from within the company.

Paul concludes, and I completely agree with this, that if possible there should be more than one behind the blog. He lists a handful of reasons why it makes sense from a search point of view to have as many people piling on the thing as you can. But the most important, I think, is the third:

It gives the company many human touch points.

Even if you don’t go as far someone like Microsoft or Sun with their hundreds of employee blogs and just have two or three people contributing to a single blog, there’s a lot of value there. It gives readers – whether they be potential business partners, industry watchers or media that are looking for pull quotes – a variety of people to get to know.

It’s kind of been just me here on Inside.Spout so far but as things straighten out I’m going to be encouraging others here to chime in from time to time on issues they’re authoritative and informed on, probably introducing themselves first so you, the reader, can get to know them and their voices.

Andy Angelos on the Zocalo Group blog also serves up a healthy reminder that’s important for corporate blogging efforts: It’s more important to measure the quality of the viewers than the quantity. Corporate blogs are, by definition, meant for a niche audience. While there can certainly be a broader audience in some case (especially if you’re using your blog not so much for company perspectives but as an extension of your customer service efforts) for the most part it’s going to be a handful of targeted readers that tune in time and time again.

Karina’s at the Denver Film Festival

Our very own Karina Longworth is out right now at the Denver Film Festival for her role on a panel titled DIY Filmmaking in an Indie Apocolypse and she’s actively soliciting questions to ask via Twitter here so be sure to drop her a line if you have thoughts.

Spout is also thrilled to be sponsoring the DFF’s Emerging Filmmaker Award, which is being awarded by a jury containing…wait for it…Karina. Just part of our core mission of helping new and important film voices be noticed and begin their path to finding an audience. We’ll be back with more after the panel and the jury.

UPDATE: Karina’s been posting some pictures from Denver on Flickr. Here’s a shot of the board advertising her panel.

Participation by the few, but for the many

“Well everyone has a blog now” might be a popular thing to say, especially among those who would warn lifestyle product makers not to run ad campaigns that are mildly insulting to their core consumer base. But it’s not exactly true. Whether you’re talking about blogging, contributing to Wikipedia or most anything else in the social media space, there’s a small percentage of people who actually create content versus those that are reading or otherwise consume it.

If you’re looking for way to easily explain this to your boss, co-workers, clients or anyone else you can’t go wrong by pointing them to the new resource site from Jake McKee: 90-9-1. It’s meant to easily explain how 90 percent consume and nine percent edit but only one percent create.

That rule applies here at Spout just as much as it does anywhere else on the web. But if you’re already creating content in the form of movie reviews on your own blog you can easily import them via RSS into a filmblog on Spout, reviews that are then added to the movie’s detail page, adding to the community-driven picture of that movie. Visit your Weblog Settings page for details on just how to do that.

Anyway, back to Jake’s site, I’d highly recommend checking it out. Personally I’ve downloaded that pyramid graphic and will be pinning it up to remind me of just how this world works on a regular basis.