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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

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Facebook Sucks

Facebook Sucks. Okay, that’s not the headline, or even the gist of this article, but with Zuckerberg being grilled by Congress as I write this, I couldn’t resist.  Actually, the linked article is a pretty good in-depth story by IndieWire (from a week ago or so, but this seems to be bash Facebook week) about how the many recent changes to Facebook’s algorithms are impacting indie filmmakers. In short – you have to pay more to reach your fans, and even then you can’t count on your fans seeing your posts. So what used to be a helpful resource for artists isn’t much help anymore, and as Facebook moves more into video, it’s algorithms seem even more arbitrary making it hard for any indie artist to turn it into a revenue source or even a creative venue.
My QuickTake: Well, I left Facebook a few months ago and haven’t looked back, and I feel so much better about the world. I didn’t leave because of Cambridge Analytica but because it’s just become such a caustic place that I don’t need it sucking away my soul, and my creative energy, anymore. Everyone in the article seems to be saying: well, yeah, but we have nowhere else to advertise. And… that’s true. But Facebook won’t survive from you selling a ticket to an indie film; it survives from selling a Chevy truck (or really, by selling all of us to Chevy to sell us a truck).Like TV, Facebook isn’t made to help you or me be creative, so we need to find another platform, and if we can’t figure out a way to do that because we don’t want to miss out on someone’s latest post about Trump, well, we deserve our demise.

Stuff I'm Reading

MoviePass buys MovieFone – Score two for MoviePass, after last week’s deal announcement with Landmark.
My QuickTake: While 777-numbers and Mr.MovieFone won’t come back, the nostalgia factor works well with the only people reliably going to see movies in theaters – Boomers and older, who remember anything about what I just said. And MovieFone brings some 6MM+ customers a month, a lot of data, and for those in the know, a surprising amount of forward-thinking plans about the possibilities for the future of connecting fans with films, which is what MoviePass is really all about. If MoviePass can keep this up – and quit f-n up with shitty customer service (driven by their desire to prove to AMC that they can send traffic to other theaters), then they have a chance to live past December of this year, which is what I – and almost everyone else – gives them as of now.
How many non-English language films get a US theatrical releaseNot a lot. According to Stephen Follows it’s just 18.8% of all releases, and only 1.1% of total US box office. My Quicktake: as someone noted in the comments to Stephen’s post – it begs the question of why all the hoopla around banning Netflix from Cannes? If we want these films to be seen, and they aren’t landing in theaters, then we should applaud Netflix or anyone else who will showcase them online. Sarandos is right to pull his films out of Cannes – why get booed when you’re spending millions of your billions to bring these films to audiences that just aren’t showing up in theaters?
Sow the oats. Indiewire and others report on OatsStudios – Fuel Oats campaign-  Watch the video for all the details, but Neil Blomkamp’s idea is to crowdfund a studio one film at a time, but say fuck it to all the hard work – no perks, no rewards, save getting the film when it’s done. As he says: every dollar ends up on the screen. My Quicktake: Well, he actually has a few rewards- behind the scenes footage, and those downloads, so I’m not sure he couldn’t do this via one of the existing platforms. But it’s been a slow-news year from the crowd-funding platforms, so it’s good to see someone doing somerhing in the space, and I’d love to see him raise enough to make more than just a cat video.
Branded Content
Conde Nast’s Video Efforts – The NYT has a nice little article about Conde Nast’s efforts to shift just about everything to video in hopes of capturing more eyeballs and thus advertising dollars.
My QuickTake: If nothing else, this article is worth it for the deep-link to the (PDF) of the CondeNast ad-sales guide, used to pitch advertisers on why they should, well, advertise with one of the CondeNast brands. Lots of interesting, if biased and possibly falsified, data there. Is the web moving to video because that’s where consumers are going? Or is it because that’s where the platforms and brands want them to go (because of ever elusive ad dollars)? Is the whole thing just a big Ponzi-scheme that’s not much better than television? You decide, but this article will have you wondering all that and more.
I mentioned last week that I’m teaching a Branded Doc workshop at UnionDocs in early May, but right after I posted, they launched this cool little video for the class – check it out.
Copyright © 2018 Brian Newman, All rights reserved.

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