In Broadcast - February 2015 - 46

46

www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 5 - Issue 2 | February 2015

InUSA

Opening Day Digital
Movie Distribution
Contributing Editor Michael Grotticelli
examines the issues surrounding the
first real test for early release digital
movie downloads...

S

ay what you will about the
recent hacking of Sony Pictures
Entertainment (SPE)'s website, but the
controversial opening of the SPE movie
The Interview has provided a look at
how easy it is to rent or buy movies on
their opening day via digital download
and the paying public's willingness to
do so.
In the face of heightened tensions
between the U.S and North Korea
(whose government has been accused
of bringing down the Sony website
due to the film's depiction of its leader
being assassinated), the film became
the first major film that moviegoers
were able to watch online ahead of its
theatrical release.
Consumers could rent the movie for
US$6 or buy it outright for US$15... and
they did, more than two million times
over its first four days of release. It has
also been downloaded illegally more
than 750,000 times, according to filesharing site TorrentFreak.
Indeed, while the movie itself was
mostly critically panned (causing some
cynics to claim that Sony knew it had
a dud on its hands and sought to stir
up publicity with the controversy),
The Interview earned more than
US$15 million through online sales
in those first four days. (It also made
about US$4 million in the 331 small to
midsized independent theatres that
defied conventional fears and showed

"By releasing the
controversial film on
the Internet before
it hit theatres,
SPE has done what
has been talked
about..."

it anyway. Several major movie chains
chose not to show the picture for fear
of a terrorist attack).
"The fact that people actually left
their houses when they had the option
of staying home is amazing," said Seth
Rogen, the movie's co-director and
co-lead actor, in a statement about the
opening weekend box office numbers.
Digital Sales
Sources say most of the digital sales
were made through Google's YouTube
and Google Play, although the
movie was initially available through
Microsoft's Xbox video store as well as
Sony's own dedicated website, www.
SeeTheInterview.com. [Interestingly,
The Interview was still not available
through Sony's PlayStation video store
as of the first of the year.] A bit later in
the opening weekend, it was also made
available through Apple's iTunes store.
Rental through iTunes costs US$5.99,
the same price as through the other
sites.
Many saw Sony's online release as
a way to "save face" after a month
of harsh criticism about giving in
to rogue computer hackers or,
even worse, foreign government
intervention. However, by releasing
the controversial film on the Internet
before it hit theatres, SPE has done
what has been seriously discussed in
back rooms and openly at trade shows
and other industry gatherings for more
than two years now. It just might have
opened the floodgates for delivering
movies straight to the home.
Of course, this won't happen
overnight - there are many existing
distribution deals with the major
movie chains that prohibit this for
now - but it's clear that the Internet
can support such an opening day event
and that there's a market for it. (Some
of the big theatre chains now say they
would have considered showing the
movie, but they objected to its online

Sony Pictures Entertainment's The Interview might have
started a war of digital distribution

distribution while the movie was in
theatres.)
Popular Demand
In the US the demand for television
shows on demand has been steadily
increasing in popularity with pay-tv
subscribers over the past two years.
Consumers like the convenience
and appear willing to pay for it. Sales
of television shows and movies on
the Internet increased by 47% in
2013 to US$1.2 billion, according
to market research firm the Digital
Entertainment
Group.
Rentals
increased 5%, to US$2 billion, in that
same period.
The tide is slowly turning. This past

September, The Weinstein Company,
one of America's largest movie studios,
agreed to show its Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon II: The Green Legend
on Netflix, and the sequel would be
released simultaneously on Netflix and
in selected IMAX theatres on August
28, 2015.
After much stalling, it's time the
motion picture industry joins music
and TV content providers in offering
first-run movies on opening day.
Theatre owners might miss out on
popcorn sales (the only significant
revenue they make), but the viewing
audience will be much larger than
what would typically go out to a movie,
given the convenience factor.

Donnie Yen as Silent Wolf in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Legend
which will be released simultaneously on Netflix and in selected IMAX theatres


http://www.inbroadcast.com http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/ http://www.SeeTheInterview.com http://www.SeeTheInterview.com http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2652118/

In Broadcast - February 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - February 2015

In Broadcast - February 2015 - Intro
In Broadcast - February 2015 - Cover1
In Broadcast - February 2015 - Cover2
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 3
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 4
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 5
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 6
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 7
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 8
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 9
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 10
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 11
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 12
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 13
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 14
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 15
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 16
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 17
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 18
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 19
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 20
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 21
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 22
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 23
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 24
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 25
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 26
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 27
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 28
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 29
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 30
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 31
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 32
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 33
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 34
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 35
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 36
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 37
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 38
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 39
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 40
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 41
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 42
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 43
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 44
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 45
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 46
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 47
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 48
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 49
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 50
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 51
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 52
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 53
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 54
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 55
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 56
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 57
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 58
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 59
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 60
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 61
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 62
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 63
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 64
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 65
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 66
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 67
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 68
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 69
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 70
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 71
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 72
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 73
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 74
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 75
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 76
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 77
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 78
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 79
In Broadcast - February 2015 - 80
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S1
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S2
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S3
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S4
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S5
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S6
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S7
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S8
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S9
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S10
In Broadcast - February 2015 - S11
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