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Let’s Talk About Theatrical Distribution Window!

Recently James Murdoch said that theatrical window “is gone for good”.

If it’s true, what that means for us, indie filmmakers and content creators, who rely on video/film as part of our creative work?

Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash

Well, this is what I think will happen:

  1. Film/video distribution will become more democratised and having films screen only in theatres to be eligible for the highest industry awards will become a thing of the past (industry will simply become less snobbish about having your film screened in “real” theatres, which would be a nice change). 
  2. Marketing and promotion costs will go down since the marketing and promotion will become even more targeted than it currently is. However, social media platforms, collecting users’ data and using it for marketing purposes will become even more powerful. 
  3. Building a niche audience will be one of the most critical parts of our job. Having the right audience will unlock interest from streaming services and indie studios, which perceive projects with the audience already interested in as a less risky venture (indie bands and writers have been doing that type of groundwork for years).
  4. Independent/small studios and production companies will thrive and access the funding they didn’t have before, so productions deemed too risky before may be easier to be greenlit. Still, the key to that success will be the niche audience, who the filmmakers will have to bring to the table with.
  5. Local productions in local languages will take off and be more and more competitive with the English speaking productions.
  6. Understanding creative distribution (combination of DIY and traditional distribution) will be a key to successful film distribution.
  7. The focus will be shifting even more towards making products (films, videos, shows) that target a specific audience, instead of targeting the general public (many big Hollywood productions target a broad audience with their adverts).
  8. Hollywood big-budget productions aren’t going to go away but will become even more reliant on the franchise, creating Universes and remakes (Basically using the same script but with different character names and different obstacles. Main theme, as it is now, will be to save the world as we know it. I know I’m simplifying, but you get the gist.)

So, if you work as an indie filmmaker or a content creator, just like I do, pretty exciting times are coming our way. Finally, our years of hiding in the nooks and crannies of the Internet may be paying off soon. The niche audience is where the power is shifting to now. Of course, I’m not saying that the gatekeepers aren’t going to keep their guard; yes, they will. However, the pressure won’t be on turning a profit on the first opening weekend but on building a long-lasting audience-content-creator relationship. An audience that will follow that creator and will happily pay for the content they create. 

PS. I know that the 2021 production year may not be a reflection of the reality, but just look how many A-list directors and actors are moving to streamers, and there is a reason for that. 

PS2. Please do share your thoughts and suggestion in the comment section below. I would love to hear what your take on that is. 

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