Whenever we talk about new business models, we get questions about how company x can stay in business with such a business model -- often with the implication being that if company x (e.g., a record label or a movie studio) can't do this, then it can't possibly work for the overall industry. But the fact is that markets are changing, and some of the end results may mean that non-traditional players end up making music and movies. We've already seen how different consumer products brands like Kraft
have jumped into the music business, and now it appears that UK supermarket chain Tesco is getting into the movie business
, producing a series of movies that are designed on purpose to go straight to the DVD shelves in Tesco. The company is working with some well known authors (the first movie is an adaptation of a Jackie Collins novel) and a small studio set up specifically for this kind of thing.
While they admit there's some stigma with direct-to-shelves DVDs, they're hoping to get past that with the name recognition associated with the author. The article also notes that Tesco has taken a complete hands-off approach to the film production. There's no product placement and no attempts to weave in Tesco-related marketing. Apparently, Tesco's only requirement is that the film not stray into pornography.
I have no idea if this will be a success. In fact, I have my doubts that this particular setup will work well for Tesco. But it does highlight an important point. There are alternative means to finance a film, and if there's demand for this kind of creative work, someone will figure out a way to get it made, even if it's not some big Hollywood studio.