The cable bill was the biggest selling point for me: I already pay $100 bucks a month for my service – what’s an extra $15-20 every month or two on top of that to watch a couple new movies I want to see? If I go to a theater, bring my girlfriend and some A-hole(s) can’t shut up and let me enjoy myself…that’s $30 (at least) down the drain for the sake of one unsatisfying night. I already pay Netflix $17-20 a month to rent three movies at once for as long as I want – maybe one month I run through 15 films, but another month I’m super-busy and end up getting through just two or three. In that latter case, I’ve paid $17-20 to let movies gather dust next to my DVD player.

With SDOD or DD, I only spend when I’m SURE I’m going to watch a film, and my personal satisfaction is entirely up to my own discretion and imagination ;-). Sounds pretty freaking worthwhile to me.

HOLLYWOOD, TIME TO ADAPT

This whole SDOD/DD issue really boils down to market perception, IMHO. Right now, it still feels as though movie studios view SDOD/DD as a sort of dumping ground, rather than a legit way to market movies to the masses and therefore, movie goers also view the services that way. To stimulate the market, I think studios need to change how they utilize it by taking some key steps:

  • Offer more digital-based releases that premiere before theatrical releases – What’s there to lose? Offer your movies on digital cable, smartphone or computer (in HD quality) a few days to a week before a theatrical premiere and already you’re cutting out one of the main incentives for pirating. And let’s be real: if your movie is good enough, people WILL shell out again for the “big-screen experience.” You may end up making more money than you would’ve. If Zombieland had been available on cable same day as in theaters, would a sequel be hanging in the balance? Maybe, but then again, maybe not…
  • Market the $mart way – If you’re taking full advantage of the digital market, what’s the need for huge billboards, three different trailers, TV spots, print ads, etc… If you’re selling a movie to the online/digital consumer then use the free promotion you get from blogs like Screen Rant (HINT!) – or maybe loop your trailers and spots on cable on demand menus ad nausem. Archive movie info in one place (on cable menus, websites), use fan reactions and early screening promotions to build an interactive rating/review system to let perusing viewers know what new movies are worth their time and money. Once the consumer adapts to the new digital model (i.e., learns where to go to find out about movies), you can spend less, more effectively, to reach them.

At the end of the day, trying to stop the times from a changin’ is like trying to hold onto a hand full of sand in the middle of a thunderstorm – all your going to end up with is a messy hand and no sand left to hold. The movie biz should learn from the mistakes of the music biz: Make it easy for your consumers to get what they want, how they want, when they want, and they will pay for the comfort and convenience.

To quote 80s Gen X punks, “I want my SDOD/DD!”

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