AMC, Regal partner on movie acquisition and distribution

It’s hard not to read the news that AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment are partnering on a new joint venture (Los Angeles Times, 2/10/11)  to acquire and distribute independent movies and have the following handful of thoughts:

First, this is the exhibitors reacting to studios plans to get into “premium” on-demand home video distribution themselves and cutting theatrical release windows as they do so. What’s interesting though is that instead of sticking with their traditional exhibition strength they’re deciding to instead become studios themselves, albeit one that acquires and doesn’t do (at least for the time being) original production itself.

Second, I’m not sure how this brave new world where distributor/exhibitor lines are all different sorts of blurred as being a return to the days prior to the 1948 US Vs. Paramount case that ended the old studio system and prohibited studios from also owning movie theaters, an arrangement that used to give them almost complete control of the vertical.

Third, it will be interesting to see what sort of movies this new entity winds up acquiring. While the independent film market could certainly use a new buyer right now I’m anxious to see if movies that are truly challenging and truly “independent” are actually picked up or if it’s going to be mostly movies that are easier to sell to middle America. And similarly I’m incredibly anxious to see what sort of marketing is done for these movies.

Don’t get blinded by social media metrics

My latest contribution over at AdAge is only peripherally about the Super Bowl and what commercials racked up lots of buzz before, during or after the game’s broadcast over a week ago. What it’s really about is how while counting YouTube views, Twitter followers or any other social media metric is great and should absolutely be done, it’s not enough to end there. There needs to also be counting of how those efforts are contributing to the bottom line for a movie or any other product. To that end, there needs to be a clearer commerce chain put in place so that someone who watches that trailer on YouTube can then take action on their interest and buy a ticket for the movie. So really it’s a long an extrapolation on the AIDA part of Alec Baldwin’s monologue in Glengarry Glen Ross, which I only now kind of realized.