Exit film industry crisis by live streaming premiers from festivals to theatres and mobile terminals
Global Cinema is when we can all watch a film launched at a festival, at the same time, no matter where we are in the world. One way the film industry can exit fast the pandemic crisis is by linking theatres, VODs, mobile terminals & film festivals through live streaming premiers.
Distributors will just have to adjust their operations model, but their role will just become much more important. The question mark is how ready are the technology and the internet band for this scenario? To what degree and in what conditions is it possible? Then, what does it mean in terms of investment for the broadcasters and receivers (here the main ones being theatres).
We are in the soup and how to exit the pandemic and the post-pandemic crisis is the hot potato in the film industry, especially because we are always the first who have to deal with budget cuts and the last who get help, if any. My rejected-before-pandemic reality TV Show concept "S.O.S. I'm in the soup" would be a hit during such times, but it's good it happened like this because I realized once and for all that I am not able to survive in a partnership with visionless people.
Leaving that aside, here it is my 2 cents as a conservative-reformist (or a trouble maker by some), an 8-year old idea that I called "One Global Cinema" at the time, an exit crisis model or venue, if you wish, whose time might have come now, having much better technology today than a decade ago.
The core idea: "One Global Cinema" model turns all theatres, TV stations (incl cable), VOD platforms and mobile terminals (smartphones, tablets, etc) into one cinema by live-streaming world film premiers from festivals to them all at the same time, everywhere in the world. Connecting worldwide cinema theatres and the world through live-streaming premiere films from festivals. Bringing online and offline together. Don't get scared! And here I point my finger to distributors and sales agents first. We are 7+ billion people and there are only 182,000 digital cinema screens worldwide (in 2018) - a figure which includes both digital 3D and digital non-3D formats, 27,831 TV channels in the world while only half of us have smartphones (3.5 billion). There is room for everyone under the sun many years to come.
"One Global Cinema" is a film promotion and distribution approach that I proposed 8 years ago for the "Disruptive Innovations" challenge launched by The Economist on the open innovation American platform Innocentive in 2012. Back then, the film industry was hit by the 2008 crisis and from this perspective, I highlighted the need for an upgrade of the film marketing model to exit the crisis.
Now, I highlight it again to exit the pandemic crisis in faster ways than we may think because I know they (festivals directors, big studios and cinema theatres chains CEOs, producers, film funding platforms rulers, and policymakers, etc), are digging the internet and all the research data bases they can find for any possible idea, so I hope they can find also this one, as they organized now the beginning of it, something called "We Are One. A Global Film Festival", a sort of partial outsourcing of festival activities combined with live streaming films from old editions (probably) and S.O.S. donations for the World Health Organization in fighting COVID-19 crisis (but I say it is for its gross incompetence). Sorry, but I agree with the UK and the USA most-hated-leaders-in-the-world on this one.
As the film world splits now into abrupt jumpers in the cybercrime dominated online medium (fragile futurists if I am to be asked) and middle-ways thinkers (fragile conservatives, on the same note), my guess is that "A Global Film Festival" is a sort of test to make a better sense of the surrounding reality and find some solutions. The festival world was very much against Netflix and everyone alike, I even heard voices saying these platforms have a plan to kill cinema theatres, so as I see it, they are "babies" in the virtual world. On another note, it is their worst nightmare coming true.
However, this type of response is not quite linked to competence and democracy. It triggers my childhood communist and socialist memories. Just because you don't invest in finding solutions to present or future problems, in innovative models, products, and services, or just because you don't know how or don't want to align with new trends, to adapt, that doesn't mean someone plans to kill theatres. It's a bit...crazy if you ask me, so you'd better not ask.
I understand frustration better than many people, as I am counting among those who lost too much in this life and faced a lot of injustices and humiliations, but at the same time we live in a world where cross-industry knowledge is essential and if you don't want to learn more, then you have to pay more the ones who know how to cross realities, mediums, and industries. If you don't do any of that, then...I am sorry, I don't know what you expect. Just banning Netflix films from festivals and being upset in the newspapers won't stop the future. This is valid for any industry, leader, and decision-maker coming from countries too slow when it comes to innovation, and Europe is quite a champion at being slow and outdated.
It does not matter if someone wants to destroy cinema theatres with intention (as part of a digital dictatorship plan or whatever madness) or that it is its model that threats the offline. With or without intention the effect is the same and change is required as the game is filled with players, not to mention the new ones we never heard of that are now coming. I'd focus more on this type of thinking. On how to play to win. Hoping things and rules never change, it is simply delusional.
The chain is broken or it is highly vulnerable for a lot of time in at least 4 spots. The worldwide network of cinema theatres is a network where cinemas are disconnected from each other and for this main reason:
a film premiere does not reach its financial, marketing and strategic potential and impact in society and economy, regardless of the reputation of the festival, only big players afford premiers in thousand of theatres at once;
a film is still very vulnerable to piracy;
new markets and business opportunities are missed out;
independent, young, and emerging filmmakers hardly and seldom break through, while at the same time giants like Netflix need giant volumes of content to feed "the beast" or, to use the industry language and have a look at the garbage, "to fill the pipe".
One Global Cinema is a vision that pushes live streaming technology into cinemas and festivals and turns film premiers from local, isolated, and disconnected events into global, intercultural, and open happenings by broadcasting the national, international, regional and world film premiers to all terminals at the moment when they happen.
I don’t know all the ups and downs from all sides of the equation as it is a very complex industry, now connected with many more other fields and industries, I am just a person, and hey... there are also the IT, the internet and the tech challenges, but I think it worth exploring it.
Bringing online and offline together is our next step towards escaping fragmentation and towards a more normal world and way of life, especially of filmmaking life. We'll only create more opportunities, even a more sustainable and inclusive medium where more filmmakers to find a steady home and more players from other industries to benefit from the limitless power of film and of the cinema world.
You will find more ideation details on my website In The Soup. I'll leave you below a sketch design of my idea, it should make more sense than all these words.
Then, you should check out my debut film made in quarantine "Sunmoon | Trust Your Star", on forum or on blog; with a drop of luck, my baptize in this industry will happen just as it always did, in crises and in fire, so y may want to follow this story.