Finding an Audience: Distribution Notes for 7/31/09

movie-ticket-and-popcornTheatrical

The debate continues as to whether 3D exhibition is still building steam or is leveling off as measured by per-screen takes and such.

Home Video

Studios used the Comic-Con get-together to try and drum up interest in their upcoming home video releases, an effort to staunch the bleeding that’s been going on in that category in terms of consumer spending.

CinemaNow is launching a new service that puts a movie – including the necessary video player software – on a USB drive.

Jimminy Christopher…RedBox is being called by someone the home video equivalent of the cheap second run theaters that – and I’m not sure the person quoted is aware of this – used to be all over the place but now are being squeezed out by shrinking home video windows. It’s a distribution point but lets not go nuts over this.

Paramount is plowing ahead with a terrible, terrible idea, that of staggering home video releases. Beginning in September with their Dance Flick release, the movie will be available for sale on Blu-ray but the standard DVD will only be available for rental. The Blu-ray is a packed special edition but the DVD just has the movie. The DVD will go on sale eight weeks later but it’s not clear if it will be the bare-bones edition or have bonus features. I remain convinced that offering DVDs with just the movie – and at a reduced price point – is the key to wringing a bit more money out of the format since that’s all people are getting when they buy a digital download and that’s a category that’s growing.

Online/On-Demand

Seems some movies that are available through Starz Play are being blocked from the XBox Live Dashboard, though it remains to be seen if this is intentional or just a technical SNAFU.

Epix, the new movie channel from Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate, has its first distributor agreement but it’s not on cable TV, it’s on the Verizon FiOS subscriber network. There’s talk of tiers being offered in terms of how much of the programming can be accessed based on what package people have and it may eventually be expanded to Verizon’s V Cast mobile service.

A handful of movies managed by Cinetic Rights Management are now available on Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” service, including the very funny Melvin Goes to Dinner.

According to Pew’s recent study of online behavior, 35 percent of internet users have watched a movie or TV show online in the last year, over twice as many as had reported doing so (16 percent) in 2007.