Roger Ebert Explains The Long Tail To The Movie Business; Supports Simultaneous Theater And DVD Release
from the good-for-him dept
Petréa Mitchell writes in to let us know about Roger Ebert's introduction to his 2007 Video Yearbook, where he discusses a bunch of the things we normally discuss around here, explaining why theater owners are wrong to condemn simultaneous "day and date" releases of movies in both theaters and on DVDs at the same time. He notes that the best way to see a movie is in the theater, but only releasing it there is a mistake:
"Moviegoers know that all movies will eventually be on DVD; they choose to go to theaters because they like that experience, but they can’t see every film that way. Imagine a scenario in which Landmark, say, sells DVDs in its lobby. A hypothetical customer buys a ticket to "Lonesome Jim," and on the way out runs into friends who have just liked "The Notorious Bettie Page." On an impulse, he might buy the "Bettie Page" DVD. If theaters limited themselves to movies currently in release, it wouldn’t involve a lot of inventory and sales space; it would be more like the CDs displayed at Starbucks."That certainly sounds familiar. Ebert notes that the industry fought hard against the VCR, and yet now "the studios get more of their revenue from DVDs than from ticket sales." He points out that thanks to Netflix and others, there's a huge market for "the long tail" of movies, who benefit greatly not from typical blockbuster treatment, but in getting movies out to the people who want to see them in any manner possible. None of this is new or surprising -- but it's great to see it all coming from someone who the industry actually pays attention to.