on February 27, 2015 Media Industry News Good Reads

Can Streaming Screeners Save the Film Industry?

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Ok “save” might be a stretch but streaming screeners can help stop up the leaking money hole made by the current process. In decades past, the film industry has seen countless changes and advancements due to technology. We’ve gone from watching movies on clunky standard definition televisions to consuming them like popcorn on wallet sized phones--in HD no less. However, given all the technology Hollywood has embraced, the system of Award submissions are astonishingly decrepit while the cost to mount an Oscar campaign continue to soar.

Award season is essentially an ROI negative business. The cost to take out a full page “for your consideration” ads in Variety or a Homepage takeover on “deadline.com” can cost upwards of $20,000.  Tack on travel expenses for actors to play “flip cup” on Jimmy Fallon two weeks before the SAG awards or other miscellaneous marketing stunts and the overhead can add up. With that said, these are all a part of the necessary costs of getting traction leading up to nominations and the award shows themselves.

The one thing in the campaign cost equation that is not necessary and is mysteriously clung to like a three year old’s teddy bear is the creation and dissemination of DVD screeners to award voters. According to Variety, “It can cost up to $800,000 and take three to six weeks to manufacture, watermark and ship discs.“ All the while a significantly less costly (both in time and money) way to market a campaign is at voters’ fingertips. Streaming Screeners.

Streaming Screeners reduce several things including:

  • Piracy - It was reported Hollywood lost $40 million to piracy. Many DVD screeners are the source of this. Password protected streaming screeners can track any potential leaks using technology like digital watermarking or IP overlays.

  • Time - It takes seconds to upload assets and send a link to hundreds of people.

  • Cost - It costs zero dollars to upload assets and send a link to hundreds of people.

  • Accessibility - Internet access is everywhere, whereas access to DVD players is limited especially to younger voters.

Quality - Variety noted streaming on mobile may do a disservice to cinematographers -- clearly they have never watched and compared DVD image quality to Netflix. Streaming can have significantly improved image quality compared to DVDs.

A lot of the push back regarding streaming comes from the Baby Boomer generation who are resistant to utilizing streaming links due to comfort in the old way of doing things. Despite this push back, as competition grows and profit margins decrease the right people will start to mandate a more cost effective way to campaign. It’s as inevitable as it’s necessary.

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Shannon Hawkins

I'm a content marketing/strategist at MediaSilo. I'm also the first person on record to ever feel "whelmed".