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Sub-Genre Media Newsletter:
Semi-frequent musings on indie film, media, branded content and related items from Brian Newman.

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Brian Newman & Sub-Genre Media

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What Will Cannes Bring?

The entire film business and its various hangers-on, except for me, are over in France for the Cannes Film Fest and it promises to be an interesting year. Tons of business will surely get done - this is always the case, it's one of the biggest markets, and right now thanks to a good economy, there's a lot of free money running around looking to be spent; there seem to be several great movies there and no one is expecting any kind of disaster. But on the other hand...things look shaky.

Behind the scenes, there’s a gigantic freak-out happening in the market – no Harvey (that's a good thing for many reasons, but he purchased a lot of good foreign films to bring to American audiences, and no one has taken that place yet); no Netflix making major deals or any real acquisitions (or will they?); a bottoming out of the electronic sell-through market all around; a super-abundance of content where only the same titles rise to the top; and a general lack of fuck-all knowledge of WTF to do in this situation by anyone behind the wheels of the various cars. 

Will this mean new opportunities for the old stalwarts like Sony Classics? Will Hulu fill the doc buying gap from Netflix? Will Netflix buy a ton of films even though it didn't premiere any? Will Amazon make any moves? Will any of the gazillion new Blockchain companies show a compelling business argument (See below)? How many new film funds can launch in one Summer? We'll learn this and more.

But the number one question is: after all this pizzazz, will audiences show up to watch any of it in theaters six months from now, or should we be begging Netflix to just take it all and put it on SVOD?

Stuff I'm Reading

Sinemia launches plans for as low as $4.99 a month. MoviePass-like system, Sinemia, based in Europe, has launched a bevy of new plans, with one as low as low as $4.99 for one ticket per month and various plans up to $14.99 a month for 3 films per month including 3D, 4D and IMAX.
Another day, another blockchain-based film delivery system. This one is called TaTaTu and it aims to offer free content, rewards to users for sharing, and hopes to reach a billion users in six years. Meanwhile, Hollywood Reporter sums up some of the hype around ICOs and Bitcoin in Hollywood, Sitges Film Fest starts accepting a digital currency for tickets and the Oracle of Omaha thinks crypto-currencies are rat-poison squared. I think my money would follow the brains in Omaha over those in Cannes, Catalonia or California…
Apple Prime? What’s Apple going to do with video? That’s the question on everyone’s mind, and Redef takes a stab at answering the question, coming down kinda in the middle of every possible answer and saying it will probably be a mix of ho-hum strategies that add up to an Apple Prime service with video alongside music, magazines, cloud storage and maybe even cellular service in the future. Maybe.
The Holodome is open. Not film, exactly, but in the content world, Paul Allen’s Vulcan and MoPop in Seattle have opened the Holodome, a 360 experiential, immersive reality experience in a room without headsets. Geekwire has a couple of reports from inside the rooms. I’m headed to Seattle soon, and will have to check it out and report back on whether it’s any better than the (crap) experience of 360 video headsets.
Patagonia is suing Trump over public lands and National Monuments, and the NYT has the full story. Full disclosure: Patagonia has been a client for about five years, but this is why – because they stand up for what they believe in and do the right thing. They’ve been dedicated activists since the beginning, and you can see this in their messaging and their films, but this lawsuit takes it to a whole new level – which is needed. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen this kind of leadership in this space – not even from the nonprofit sector or the foundation world, where you should expect it. Makes you think a little differently about the power of brands.
Refinery29 is launching an OTT Channel. Variety reports that the web platform, which already features a lot of video, will launch the channel soon, with a mix of documentary and narrative series and features. Seems like a new OTT channel launches every day, but Refinery29 has a sizeable audience, so this might have a chance.
Brands and Marketers are increasing their budgets for original video, says the IAB. With 81% increasing their budgets after the 2017 Upfronts. The IAB is biased here, but there’s no doubt that the money is flowing to video content. Check out their nice infographic and video at the link as well. 
Copyright © 2018 Brian Newman, All rights reserved.

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