View this email in your browser
Sub-Genre Media Newsletter:
Semi-frequent musings on indie film, media, branded content and related items from Brian Newman.

In This Issue

Brian Newman & Sub-Genre Media

Learn more about Brian Newman & Sub-Genre at 

Keep Up With Brian:

The Next Marwencol?

Many years ago, David Naugle took some photos of his neighbor in NY, Mark Hogancamp, which were then published in Esopus magazine. Esopus subscriber Jeff Malmberg turned this story into the great film Marwencol, which is now being made into a Hollywood movie with Steve Carell by Robert Zemeckis.  

Well, now Naugle has taken some photos of his neighbor in Decatur, GA, Randy S. Jones, who is a retired attorney and teacher, and who has been making abstract art in his home for three decades, showing them to no one. David went over, met him and documented the work, which is now in Esopus 25, is hanging in a Pop-Up gallery in NYC til June 2nd, and is featured in Collecteurs Magazine now. David made a great video about it too, which is better than whatever Zemeckis will make about Randy eight years from now, and if any fest programmers are reading this, you should program this short now.
photo credit above: David Naugle

Stuff I'm Reading

More MoviePass Lessons: Another week, another article on MoviePass, this time from Business Insider on MoviePass Powerusers. When all is said and done and MoviePass fails, it will likely be because of the drunken sailors leading the ship not the actual business model. But they’ve uncovered a few interesting tid-bits about the movie business that Hollywood and theater owners would do well to consider:
1. “MoviePass is making [sic] indifferent cinema-goers into fanatics”
Just one example from the article: “Kristie Pyle had not been to the cinema in three years before joined MoviePass at the end of March 2018. The 43-year-old North Carolina finance professional said it "had been so long that I needed to figure out how to use the kiosk." In the less than two months since then, she's seen 30 movies.”
Everyone in the business likes to claim that movies aren’t too expensive (here’s the
Hollywood Reporter showing that the 2017 average ticket price of  $8.97 is cheaper than prices in 1970 when adjusted for inflation). But there’s a reason most Americans go to just 4-5 movies a year, and MoviePass seems to be showing us that price has something to do with it.
Perhaps it’s not about how the price compares to a ticket in 1970, but how it compares to other things you want to do today, in a world where Netflix costs you $8-14 a month depending on the plan. But I suspect that in NYC and other major cities, where the average cost is closer to $14.30, it’s just the cost. I am basing this just on the unscientific survey of the workers at my gym, all of whom are movie fanatics- not just Avengers, one quotes Big Lebowski daily – and who all complain about the cost keeping them away.
Audiences who know about it are in love with MoviePass, and that’s all because of price. Unsustainable? Maybe, but I’ve not heard one person speak about Cinemark’s MovieClub, so there has to be some middle-ground. Since the same article says that 80% of their users go to less than 4 movies a month anyway, it doesn’t take rocket-science to come up with a plan that could work for everyone.
2. Anyway, BusinessInsider’s survey also showed a strong increase in people watching films multiple times. In fact, MoviePass had to institute a policy stopping people from doing this. Several customers in the article were going to see films 10, 15 or more times on MoviePass. This is another area where if Cinemas and distributors had data about their fans, they could reward these super-fans and encourage them to keep coming back, even without MoviePass existing, by sending them offers for cheap tickets, or giving them a free viewing for every 5, or concession rewards, etc. But right now, only MoviePass even has this data. Any future subscription plan or rewards card needs to think about incentivizing this crowd.
3. They also found that people with disabilities are starting to use it a lot. One customer was using it as much as five times a week because he’s out of work due to a disability. Again – a target audience that’s underserved and that could be targeted via data.
With MoviePass’ stock down to 54 cents this week, it likely won’t be around much longer. My fear is that the powers that be will just breath a sigh of relief instead of actually learning anything and doing something smart.
Image Source: Unrest.Film
Sundance Creative Distribution’s Report on Unrest is finally out, and it’s a must read. It’s also a long-read, and I’ll save most of my thoughts on it for later, except to say that if you are making documentaries and/or thinking about film distribution in any way, shape or form, this study is pure gold. It covers everything from motivation to hard costs, and even gives you hints at the numbers it can’t share (thanks for nothin’, Netflix…). 
Studying Impact – But their report leads me to one more thing - I’ll delve into this more later, but I still find it shocking that filmmakers who are distributing for impact aren’t measuring and reporting much more about impact – which is the one and only thing this report is missing (they report on impact screenings, but are missing a lot about their actual reach and impact). But this is the case with every other film, so I’m not placing blame on them.
Just one example – they list 300 great press outlets that covered the film. Well, in my world (brands), we’d count those as earned media, and they come with both audience metrics and demographic metrics that are measurable and could show how many people heard your message. And you’d have to buy ads to reach those people usually, so you just accomplished something amazing, for a relatively cheap price. Which is much more important than how few people watched the film on Google Video. That study may be for another report, so for now, read this one and learn how they got the film out there.
Facebook Video is “a fun adventure not a business” says the Weather Channel to DigiDay, as they stop publishing video to the platform. Over time, they noticed they were “being paid in all types of currencies — followers, shares, views — that did not feel like money” said Neil Katz of Weather Channel in the quote of the year, for sure. While this is a business story, I think it’s relevant for film and other “content” publishers as they try to figure out what to do as Facebook takes over the world. Translating fans into dollars ain’t as easy as it seems.
Amazon has funded an Alexa Storytelling App: It’s called Novel Effect, and it follows along as you tell a story – for now, to your kids, and adds sound effects. It’s kinda cool, and is a great example of just one more way voice is taking over our future. Watch the video at the link.
Congress is trying to extend Copyright again ­– and it’s a bad idea. Larry Lessig  has all of the reasons this idea still sucks over at Wired.  Considering he argued this case to the Supreme Court the last time Congress did this – and they essentially said, oh this can’t be bad because we can’t imagine Congress would ever do this again – he’s worth reading.
Top 3 Opportunities for Branded Content: BrandStorytelling is back at it with another great one: a survey of C-Suite execs on what they see as the top 3 opportunities, and I’m not surprised that they align with what I’m hearing from my clients:
1. Diversity and Advocacy – especially in regards to closing the gender gap behind the camera; reflecting more diversity and more LGBTQ perspectives;
2. Making stuff that lasts – whether that’s pushing for better budgets, making better stuff with the budgets they have, or spending more to make feature films, it’s all about investing in making things better;
3. Partnerships – between brands and agencies, creative and even between brands.
These are all needed, but my take is that they all tie together. Brands can have a much better impact and make better films if they work with diverse directors and cast/subjects, and if they work together to make and market the work- that will be content that lasts.
Memorial Day
I’ll be taking off next week for Memorial Day, so enjoy a little break from my missives.
Copyright © 2018 Brian Newman, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp