More Indie Movie Makers Realizing The Benefits Of Releasing Movies Free Online

from the good-for-them dept

There really isn’t that much new in this recent article in Time Magazine about indie film makers releasing their movies for free online. The article covers some of the more well-known cases of filmmakers doing so. But what’s interesting is to see this in such a mainstream publication like Time. Now, since we’ve already discussed most of the examples used in the article, I know what the critics will say immediately: that none of these count because they weren’t huge multi-million dollar successes like Avatar. But, of course, that’s the wrong comparison. These are indie filmmakers, and the comparison should be to where they would likely be right now if they had not released the film for free online. In most cases, it seems quite clear that they would have a lot less attention, a lot fewer people having seen the movie, and — for those who implemented smart business models to go with the free release — would have made a lot less money.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “More Indie Movie Makers Realizing The Benefits Of Releasing Movies Free Online”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Nina Paley (profile) says:

My only quibbles with the article are that it refers to my Share Alike/Copyleft license as simply “Creative Commons” (a popular and false generalization which bugs me because most CC licenses are un-Free) and this odd conclusion:

Soon, the middleman could be a thing of the past. And it may only be a matter of time before movie theatres — popcorn and all — are on the way out, too.

Obviously I disagree with that – the roles of cinemas and middlemen are changing, but plenty are embracing change, just like the filmmakers in the article.

Rasmus says:

Re: Re:

I’ve been following techdirt for some time now and your statement is just not true. There is a fundamental difference between most of Mikes conclusions and this one.

Mike takes one or two “blips” and then use logical reasoning to point to what kind of trend this might be a sign of. This is a very valid method in forecasting of the future. Forecasting of the future is in many ways a creative task, often the same as actually creating the future.

The example you point at in the Times article is nothing of the sort. From the “blips” the article writer draws the logical conclusion that the middleman’s role is diminishing and might eventually vanish. From that the author use a logically false reasoning based on the assumption that if a trend points to the destruction of one prominent feature of the present, then all other prominent features of the present will also be destroyed. And based on this the article writer concludes, logically falsely, that theaters will have to go too.

Anonymous Coward says:

"There really isn't that much new in this recent article..."

This story reminds me when Merriam Webster looked up the word “dictionary” in The Dictionary. When Merriam looked this up, he was surprised to find a picture of himself looking up the word “dictionary” in The Dictionary, within this picture, he found himself looking up the word “dictionary” in The Dictionary. And when he looked extremely closely at the very small picture, there was yet another picture of Merriam looking up himself in the Dictionary.

I have it on authority that shortly after this, Merriam was sucked into a parallel universe, and while history does not fully document this, to prevent any re-occurrence, I don’t recommend you research this. Besides, all the information you require can be found on this blog.

For more information on this concept, see page 782 of Mike’s Book “Approaching Infinity

Sushil Malani (profile) says:

Free Psychology

Though it looks very ridiculous to give on line free movie, it makes lot of sense… On internet WoM publicity can happen faster than light. If movie maker has confidence in his content, packaging and presentation, there will be huge user generated content to promote the movie- free of cost – then after lot of endorsement, advertisement revenue can flow in (unconventional source of income for movies). But it could turn the tide exactly in reverse if movie is disliked by the majority. There could be good idea to give pre-launch promo with multiple climax options.

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

In Nina’s case, it seems like a little bit of a re-write of history. Nina, correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think your original intention was to give the movie away for free, and that giving it away was only a defence mechanism against the copyright issues you faced, right?

Also, as someone else mentioned, the Time article suggests you are 55k to the good, yet all the stories that we have seen here pretty much have you crying the starving artist blues. Which one is right?

From the article, I can take only this: Plenty of people are making movies they are passionate about, but that have little hope of being commercially viable. Only through giving the product away and praying that people do something else (buy the proverbial t-shirt) do they have any hope of making their money back. In rare cases, it would appear to be a profitable enterprise.

ChimpBush McHitlerBurton says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Still not grasping any of Mike’s actual points when he talks about this, are you?”

Ok, since you admit a certain amount of cognitive retardation, I’m happy to help:

Mike’s point is that there is a clear (and effective) business model surrounding the concept of “giving away” content. While a simple (very simple) analysis would suggest that there is no profit in giving away a product that cost you something to make, the (rather old) idea of a “loss leader” comes into play.

Sure, it cost you something, but you may not be able to get much for it, while if you give it away, you attract a ton of people who are willing to pay for something else that is related.

In the Star Wreck example, a little over 20 grand was spent creating a product that if shopped to distributors would have arguably resulted in a loss. But when that same product was given away, it created a shitstorm of interest in *other* products that the creator sold, to the tune of over 400 grand. I submit this is a much larger number than the creators would have managed from the “make it/market it/sell it” model.

Grasping any of this yet?

You’re welcome.


Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...