Notes on Film
Apple prepping movie cloud service…

Looks like they’re about to take a pretty big bite out of the movie business…

As independent filmmakersl scramble to get their footing in the digital distribution realm, of course the big guys can simply “meet with studio execs.”  Must be nice, right? But that’s the way the business works. Those with more clout get to start at the top. Most indie filmmmakers still scamper around and try to do what they think is best with little or no knowledge of what is going to happen with distribution over the next couple of years. They are falling for all sorts of weak models…upload yourself and self distribution are not at all how the big boys do it. Yet the newbs in the industry are latching-on to some of these proverbial teats by the gaggle. Well, I’m happy to dispense with some different and better information. Its going to “the cloud” folks. If you’re still thinking you can “do it yourself” and/or “I want DVD releases,” you may be sorely mistaken. If you don’t do this right, you could end up even more in the hole than you were before.  If you want a way to get in at the source for digital distribution, contact me and I’ll show you how you can cash-in much like the big guys. We have a patent-pending IPTV platform just itching for excellent content. If your entertainment project is great and you are confused about how you can get it out to the most people, I’d be happy to show you. In the meantime, read how Apple is ready for the big shift.  -RH

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Apple Inc. is preparing to put movies in the cloud, entering a market in which it may be both competitor and ally to a similar offering backed by most Hollywood studios.

Representatives of the iPhone and iPad maker have been meeting with studios to finalize deals that would allow consumers to buy movies through iTunes and access them on any Apple device, according to knowledgeable people who requested anonymity because the discussions are private. The service is expected to launch in late 2011 or early 2012.

The talks come as the first movies from the multi-studio venture known as Ultraviolet are launching this week: Warner Bros.’ “Horrible Bosses” and “Green Lantern.”

People who buy DVDs or Blu-ray discs for those and other upcoming titles, including Sony Pictures’ “The Smurfs” and Universal Pictures’ “Cowboys and Aliens,” will have access to digital cloud copies they can instantly watch on their Internet-connected TVs, smartphones and tablet computers. Ultraviolet purchases via the Web, without discs, are expected to come in 2012.

Every major studio except Disney is working on Ultraviolet with a large group of retailers and electronics companies that notably does not include Apple.

The studios are eager to boost purchases of movies, which have flat-lined in the face of competition from less expensive video on demand and Netflix and Redbox rentals. Sales of DVDs and digital downloads are still crucial to the studios’ bottom line, as they are much more profitable than rentals.

However, despite the increasing popularity of digital distribution, online movie purchases are on track to bring in only $231 million this year, about the same as in 2010, according to IHS Screen Digest.

Storing digital films in the cloud, instead of making buyers manage the digital copy themselves on a computer or other device, could help spur online purchases by making it easier for people to access the movies on any device.

On Wednesday, Apple began rolling out an update to its operating system for mobile devices, called iOS5, which enables users to access music, photos, and some other media from the cloud, but not yet movies.

Though studios have spent years building Ultraviolet, people familiar with the thinking of several studio executives say they’d be happy to see Apple join as well, since it accounts for 66% of online movie sales and rentals.

"This is going to be a huge boost to a struggling online movie business," said Arash Amel, digital media research director for IHS. "Apple is going to make it work right off the bat."

Building a cloud movie business without iTunes would be difficult, Amel noted, as it accounts for 66% of online movie sales and rentals.

Under the plan Apple is proposing, users could stream movies they buy via iTunes on any device the company makes, such as the Apple TV, iPhones and iPads, as well as on PCs.

In addition, though Apple is not part of Ultraviolet, its devices could be compatible. The people who have talked to Apple representatives said the company is considering allowing people who buy and store movies with Ultraviolet to easily watch them on Apple devices via apps. That would be a big help to Ultraviolet, as Apple dominates the market for tablets and is one of the top two players in smartphones.

Movies bought on iTunes, however, would continue to work only on Apple devices and computers. That’s because the company makes its biggest profits on hardware and wants to encourage people to keep buying its digital devices.

A spokesman for Apple declined to comment.

Thank you Los Angeles Times

Netflix sees Mexico profitability in two years as Latin America launches…

So further proof that digital distribution is expanding. Follow the big dogs, folks. Watch what they do. That’s where you should be going.  -RH


Netflix is now available in 43 Latin American countries but expects to lose money there for a while.

At a news conference Monday in Mexico City, Netflix Inc. Chief Executive Reed Hastings celebrated the online video service’s launch in that country along with the rest of Central America and the Caribbean, except for Cuba. It debuted in Brazil on Sept. 5 and the rest of South America on Sept. 7 and 9.

Hastings said at the news conference that it would probably take two years for the company to reach profitability in Mexico. “We are going to lose money for a while,” he said, according to Reuters. “It will take a lot of subscribers to get to profitability. “

The company is charging $7.99 in Latin America, the same price it charges for Internet streaming in the U.S., or the local currency equivalent. It’s not offering DVDs by mail, an option available only to Americans.

Netflix launched in its first foreign market, Canada, in September 2010. Since then, the company has grown fast enough in that country that the company said its Canadian operation could break even or earn a small profit in the quarter that ends Sept. 30.

This year it is expected to move to Europe, starting with Great Britain and Spain, according to people familiar with the matter not authorized to discuss Netflix’s plans publicly.

— Ben Fritz

Thank you Los Angeles Times

Do NOT solicit for funds on the internet…

This has come up so many times and I’ve posted little portions of this in my blog. I thought I would just go directly to the source. This comes from Mr. Peter Levitan, Attorney. You can find his site’s practice on the internet. He’s a juggernaut of information, experience and talent. 

“The quick mention of SEC regulation needs to be clarified to avoid serious problems:

1. Securities laws cover any situation where funders receive some portion of any profits. Those laws are avoided only by taking funds as loans or donations, with the funders receiving no share of profits.

2. Even if you qualify for an exemption from registerin­g your offering by limiting yourself to “accredite­d investors,­” you’re still subject to securities antifraud laws. So all investor materials must be vetted by a securities specialist­.

3. It only takes one disgruntle­d investor who’s irate that your film wasn’t the next ‘Paranorma­l Activity’ to turn you into the SEC for securities fraud prosecutio­n.

4. Exemption from registerin­g your offering limits you as to who you can solicit. Any offering to the general public keeps you from qualifying for an exemption and, if you haven’t registered your offering, constitute­s a violation of the securities laws. THIS INCLUDES SOLICITING FILM INVESTMENT­S ON THE INTERNET.

5. Offshore structures are used to take advantage of favorable tax laws to minimize the tax bite on any profits. I’m sure Jeff isn’t suggesting participat­ing in some kind of tax fraud (yours or an investor’s­) by not reporting income. That’s just major trouble.

It’s folly to attempt to fund film production without the aid of a veteran experienced in both securities and production legal areas. The massive time and effort you’ll save and the valuable business guidance is well worth the expense.”

"Ready-to-Shoot" (I love when I hear/read this)

What you’re about to read is a response I posted on Linkedin. The post I read was about people wanting to start a specific group for “ready-to-go” projects.

**This is a great idea, in theory. There are a great number of people here who claim they have a project that is “ready to go.” So with all due respect to those who know, I would suggest you make it very clear what “ready to go” actually means. First, if you have already done the legal legwork necessary to make a real/commercially viable motion picture or entertainment product, then your attorney will most likely (hopefully) have told you something similar to what Mr Levitan’s post says. Which means you have to be very careful as to how you “advertise” that you’re seeking funding. Because doing so on the internet is illegal and when the Feds are done with the big boys, they will start cracking-down on those soliciting funds on the internet. (Ask your lawyer, this is not legal advice, but it is advice that I have received on several occasions)

Then we move on to what it meas to actually be “ready to go.”  Do you have a complete package or do you just have a script and a budget?  A truly COMPLETE film package means upon clearing escrow you either shoot tomorrow or you’re ready to call everyone on your list and tell them they need to show up on your (already established) shoot date.

I got an inquiry from a fella recently that said he needed my help because he had a project “ready to go” that had Johnny Depp attached. (can you imagine the likelihood of this?) He requested an immediate phone call because he “needed to close this deal in two weeks.” I said that I wouldn’t even schedule a phone call until I saw some paper on Depp. If you truly had this, the rest would be pretty easy and every time I’ve heard that someone “has” Depp on board, they don’t. 

Not only was there no paper. (it was only an company letter “claiming” that Depp had read the script and was “excited” about the project…it wasn’t even from an agent, manager or attorney. At least not one that represents Johnny Depp.) So also in this “package” was the equivalent of a distribution deal memo (not a contract) 18 months old and a few other documents of that age or older. This “deal memo” also indicated the distribution fee of somewhere in the neighborhood of $9M. Remember…real distribution is paid for in some way or another. The really big deals, like the kind where Johnny Depp is in your movie, will have distribution in place before the movie is produced. That distribution will most likely be by one of the major companies and it will be paid for…right out of the budget of the film.

If you don’t have a distribution deal in place, do you think an investor will take you seriously? To roughly quote my buddy Tom Garrett, “Even if you know how to build the house who is going to sell it?”  (Sorry Tom, I know that wasn’t totally accurate, but the readers get the idea) Folks, these are examples of script packages that are not ready-to-go by any stretch of the imagination. There is a very long list of things required to be considered “ready-to-go.” If you don’t have all of them, the reason you’re having trouble finding funding is because you’re not ready. Or you’re talking to the wrong investors.

So give yourself a test:  If someone were to electronically move the amount of money you believe you need into an escrow account TODAY, how long before you could be on a set anywhere in the world? How long before you could cut a check to a casting company to BEGIN finding the major and/or minor players for your project? Or I could make this very simple with this one question: Has your lawyer told you that you’re “ready-to-go?” If you don’t have a lawyer, then this will answer most of these questions.  That will tell you how not “ready-to-go” you are. More than 9 times out of ten the film packages I see are not even close. No script coverage, no attachments, no distribution, not enough or significant co-production deals, little-or-no marquee value at all. There is ALWAYS something that is not ready. You may only have one shot at an investor…if you blow it, that investor may never talk with you again. That only slows your career down, folks and quite frankly, makes the rest of us “independent filmmakers” look bad. Its amateur hour. Make sure you’re truly ready. If you need help getting ready with these and any other item on this (or other) list, feel free to reach out to me. I can help.

And if I haven’t yet said this enough, get a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer, find one that will at least consult pro-bono until you’re funded. He or she may need a contract that states that you will hire them upon funding. Sign it. Do it. Get your movie going, but do two things. 1. Don’t tell people you are “ready-to-go” until your lawyer says you are. 2. Don’t solicit for funding on the internet.

Now good luck and go make some movies! 

-RH

Analysts: CBS Corp.-Amazon Streaming Deal Bodes Well for Sector Giants

Well, even if you make indie products, you don’t have to left out. If you’ve been following this blog, this is already no surprise to you. If you want digital distribution for your independent film, episodic, documentary, etc. then contact me.  -RH  www.commodityfilms.com


"Digital media distribution is an incremental boon to core film/TV studio economics," says Barclays Capital’s Anthony DiClemente.

NEW YORK - A streaming video deal between CBS Corp. and Amazon.com, which was announced earlier on Wednesday, is latest proof that entertainment giants stand to gain financially from online content distributors, according to analysts.
"We continue to see new entrants into the content ecosystem - first Netflix, now Amazon in the domestic market with potential for international sales and additional domestic entrants in the future - driving up the value of TV content," Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne said in a report.
He added: “While CBS is the most levered name to improving monetization of TV content (TV studio is roughly 25 percent of segment [operating profit] for CBS versus about 5 percent-15 percent of [operating profit] for large-cap peers), we view today’s announcement as a positive for the media industry, where improving content monetization is a key tenet of our “attractive” industry view.”
In case of similar deals, Time Warner’s Warner Bros. TV studio “is likely the property with the most near-term upside” given estimated annual revenue from streaming agreements of less than $25 million, he added.
Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett similarly called Wednesday’s deal news “positive for content, challenging for Netflix” as it “clearly suggests that Amazon is stepping up to be a more meaningful rival to Netflix in online streaming.”
Concluded Crockett: “We see more online bidders for content rights as positive for content. We see the expansion of distributors as positive for content rights holders, such as entertainment conglomerates, as it increases bidders for content and the value of content.”
With a CBS deal done, Amazon is likely to do deals with other companies over time “and that other distributors will follow Amazon,” the analyst argued.
Or as Barclays Capital’s Anthony DiClemente put it: “digital media distribution is an incremental boon to core film/TV studio economics, as media content owners like CBS continue to benefit from the simple laws of supply and demand.”
He suggested that CBS sibling “Viacom may be on deck for a similar type of broadband licensing agreement.”

Thank you Hollywood Reporter

Online Video Will Replace Pay TV in 4.5 Million Homes by Year-End

IPTV rocks and soon, believe it or not, it will be rocking the screens in your house. If you have not made the switch or at least tested Netflix or some form of digital entertainment, soon its going to be like trying to find a VHS tape. (almost non-existent) We’ve had a PC hooked to our TV in the living room for over 3 years. When we first tried this, the videos were sparse, the stream locked-up almost every time, but we did get to watch what we wanted to watch on-demand. We didn’t have to wait for a particular night to watch our favorite shows and we didn’t need to set any kind of recorder to capture those shows for us. We weren’t “bound” by any network schedule…and that was good.  Today, we watch all of our content online and with the very same PC. Its not fancy. It has no special video card and the shows come in high-def and as long as our cable internet is “on” we have all the entertainment we want/need. Not to mention that when we do want to watch a DVD, the machine has a player in it. (as most computers do these days) So we’ve covered our music, TV and movie needs. I’ll be honest, we did have to go out to watch both the Superbowl and the Academy Awards.  The latter we paid to go to a VIP party and saw it on the big screen. (very fun and with other like-minded folks, so double the fun) So even if you subtract what it “cost” us to see those two events and tack-on drinks and food, it is still considerably less than what we would spend in a year on a cable or satellite bill. I almost forgot. The Netflix subscription (digital only) is $7.99/mo. So its really time to try this. There are stacks of places on the internet to get VOD/PPV and even free movies and television. If you were one of those people who continued to fuss-around with VHS in 2002, then this is your wake up call. Get on the digital bandwagon. Or you could just sit back and listen to your 8-track collection.  -RH 


SNL Kagan estimates that nearly 4 percent of occupied U.S. homes will opt for Internet video options, with those numbers likely to grow to 12.1 million and nearly 10 percent in 2015.
NEW YORK - The cord cutting debate may move back into the spotlight.
Research firm SNL Kagan in its latest U.S. multichannel TV report on Wednesday predicted that while absolute pay TV subscriber numbers will continue to grow slightly, those gains will not keep up with household formation as “over-the-top, ” or broadband, substitution options will erode pay TV subscriber penetration. It estimated that 4 percent of occupied U.S. homes, or 4.5 million households, will opt for Internet video as a replacement for pay TV packages by the end of 2011.
SNL Kagan projected that homes that rely on Internet-based distribution to view professionally produced content in lieu of a traditional pay TV subscription will grow from 2.5 million at the end of 2010 to 8.6 million in 2013 and 12.1 million in 2015. Those estimates amount to 2 percent of occupied U.S. homes in 2010, about 7 percent in 2013 and nearly 10 percent in 2015.
Pay TV subscribers returned to slight subscriber growth in the fourth quarter of 2010 and the opening quarter of 2011 after two consecutive quarters of decline last year, which marked the first-ever drops driven by cable TV sub losses, which were only partially offset by satellite TV and telecom gains.
Wall Street observers have suggested that subscriber momentum will remain choppy over the mid-term, but some have highlighted that the cord cutting concerns of investors seemed to have subsided in recent months.
BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield, for example, recently said that online video services “increasingly appear complementary rather than competitive to the existing multichannel video industry.”
"The evident subscriber plateau posted by multichannel service providers supports the moderate emergence of over-the-top substitution, " SNL Kagan said. "The industry reversed the first-ever declines in the second and third quarters of 2010 to produce a small overall increase for the full year. The modest subscriber gain was neither convincing enough to dispatch the threat of cord cutting nor dismiss the impact of over-the-top substitution. "
The company estimated that at the end of 2010, about 84.9 percent of the occupied U.S. households subscribed to a multichannel TV package when eliminating the overlap of customers with multiple subscriptions. That was down from nearly 86 percent at the end of 2009, which SNL Kagan argued “illustrates the potential peak in multichannel penetration. “


Thank you Hollywood Reporter
Netflix chief Reed Hastings extols the virtues of writing big checks

Don’t get your hopes up…this is for what they call “premium” content. That means studio stuff, with big names, short windows after theatrical, etc. They’re paying “big bucks” for content they know will get watched. -RH


Once upon a time, Netflix Inc. Chief Executive Reed Hastings was the tech guy Hollywood loved to hate. These days, he’s received more like a doting uncle who gladly hands out big checks.

Hastings acknowledged Wednesday that his movie subscription service is playing a role in driving up the cost of delivering entertainment content online — but not to an unaffordably high price.

"Definitely, we’re on this virtuous cycle, where the more content we have, the more members we get, the more we can pay for content," Hastings said during an interview Wednesday at the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes. "We are paying more for content every time we renew."

AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher pressed Hastings to disclose how much Netflix might pay to renew its distribution agreement with the Starz cable network, which expires in early 2012. The original licensing deal, struck in 2008, cost a reported $30 million per year, and analysts have speculated that Netflix could pay as much as $200 million annually for a new agreement.

"We haven’t done the deal yet, so it’s hard to know. [But] that wouldn’t be shocking," Hastings said. "We’ve grown a lot since then, and we can pay a lot more for content."

Hastings said Netflix’s subscriber growth has paralleled the addition of new television shows and movies. A year ago, the service had 14 million subscribers; now it boasts 23 million.

The next wave of growth, Hastings said, will come from global markets.

Netflix conducted a trial last September of its Internet video streaming service in Toronto. Hastings said he wanted to learn whether consumers would pay a monthly subscription fee for a video service that did not include the ability to receive DVDs by mail.

"It was a huge success for us in Canada; it continues to grow rapidly," Hastings said. "That gives us confidence."

The international expansion should begin in the second half of the year, Hasting said, noting that the more rapid the growth abroad, “the more money we’re going to lose” as Netflix moves country to country. It could take up to three years for each new market to become profitable, he said. 

Hastings declined to identify which countries Netflix would target, although he noted that certain Asian markets look promising — including Korea, Japan and India.

Entertainment industry insiders told The Times that Netflix executives plan to expand soon to Latin America — with Mexico and Brazil considered particularly inviting — and Britain.

Asked to identify Netflix’s biggest competitive threat, Hastings said his biggest rivals come not from the digital world, but from more traditional distributors of entertainment: cable, satellite and telecommunications companies. 

Media giants such as Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable are offering programs to Internet-connected devices as part of a monthly subscription fee. Hastings singled out Comcast’s Xfinity TV application for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch as “a nice piece of work.”

Such developments push Netflix to continue innovating, striving to improve video quality or harness social networks in a way that people are comfortable with, Hastings said. For example, the service is trying to figure out the right way to integrate with the sprawling Facebook social network to find new ways for friends to recommend new TV shows and movies without intruding on people’s privacy.

Thank you Hollywood Reporter

Not much demand yet for premium video-on-demand…

I would have titled this piece with this line:  As once reliable DVD sales continue to decline, Hollywood is scrambling to come up with new business models that yield additional revenue streams.

A lot of what you read here is with regard to the biggies, the studios or the networks. In independent entertainment, often times we have to scramble to follow what the “big guys” could afford to do quite a bit prior. At the moment, we have an opportunity to be ahead of the curve. A great deal of technology exists for the indie filmmaker and now is the time to take advantage of that technology. At Commodity Films, we focus on the little guy…the “indie” filmmaker. Why? Because that’s where we come from. Everyone involved at the company has produced, co-produced and/or distributed independent features or some form of entertainment. When you know your clients, you can relate to them better. If your project could benefit from a truly independent release, an IPTV platform or if you have a live event you’d like to see brought to the world, contact me.  -RH

The recent public flap between theater owners and studios over premium
video-on-demand appears to be much ado about nothing — at least for now.

Initial consumer response has so far been tepid to an experiment by four studios
that signed up with DirecTV to offer movie rentals at home for $30 as little as
60 days after theatrical release, executives from three of those studios
acknowledged privately because they were not authorized to speak on the record.

Beginning in April, the studios -– 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal
Pictures and Warner Bros. -– began testing so-called premium VOD. They have thus
far offered 13 films, ranging from the comedies “Hall Pass” and “Paul” to action
films including “Battle: Los Angeles” and “Sucker Punch” and dramas “Water for
Elephants” and “The Adjustment Bureau.” The pictures became available about two
months after they debuted in theaters and one or two months before they were
released on DVD.

Under their agreements with DirecTV, each of the four studios is expected to
provide at least four premium VOD films to the satellite television service by
the early fall.

As once reliable DVD sales continue to decline, Hollywood is scrambling to come
up with new business models that yield additional revenue streams.

Theater owners were outraged in April when the studios teamed with DirecTV and
executed their plan, arguing that it would encourage consumers to skip watching
a movie on the big screen in favor of waiting to see it at home. The flap has
since quieted down, though, with the cinema operators no longer publicly
threatening to pull the studios’ trailers or take other retaliatory actions.

Several studio executives, who declined to speak publicly about the matter, said
that more testing would be necessary to determine whether — and on what terms
— so-called premium VOD could be a viable business.

But they said that won’t happen imminently. Instead of working exclusively with
DirecTV after the current agreements expire, those studios want cable companies
such as Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable to take part in the next premium VOD
test as well.


Thank you Los Angeles Times

Why Amazon’s Streaming Video Service Is Good for Hollywood…

Well, its good, but what about all the indie filmmakers out there? What about the kind of content that is not going to be entertained by “the biggies.” That’s what I’ll do. My intent is to give a fare shake to those kinds of entertainment projects that will not be looked at by the larger companies…and you know what? There’s a lot more of YOU out there. If you need distribution for your independent content, contact me. We’ll figure something out. Together!  -RH


By taking aim at Netflix, Jeff Bezo’s company is helping content owners.
It should be no surprise that Amazon has entered the streaming-video market with a subscription- based offering tied to its Prime service.
The move provides the online retailer a new hook for acquiring profitable customers. But more important, it shows how the digital economy is allowing big companies to use media as a means to grow or protect legacy business models. Ironically, the same dynamic that has let Netflix flourish will also allow well-capitalized players to follow its lead. It’s only natural that new competitors will emerge — whether it’s Google looking to media to protect its search business, retailers using media as a loss leader for traffic or Apple needing media to sell more devices. The new round of players in the landscape might care less about running an entertainment business and more about using media to grow or protect their core businesses. 
This is good for content owners and bad for established players like Netflix. Here’s why:
1. Healthy Competition
Competition from Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and others will boost the cost of content and increase pressure to gain and retain streaming subscribers. This could help reverse damage to existing business models created by inexpensive rental providers like Netflix and Redbox, which have marginalized the value of studio product by allowing viewers to watch content at a fraction of the historical cost. 
2. Creative Windows
Just as cable fragmented the old broadcast TV audience, digital media will further fragment viewing audiences. Some subscribers want live content and the latest movies; others will accept a more limited library in exchange for lower pricing. Amazon’s service might lead some to consider whether free two-day shipping (a perk of Amazon Prime) will warrant abandoning existing platforms like Netflix. The potential for fragmentation and the flexibility of digital distribution should allow content owners to get more creative with windows to maximize the value of their assets. New windows might emerge as timing on legacy windows is modified to improve returns on investment. We should expect to see a spectrum of players in the streaming-video market, with all finding it more difficult to build a traditional mainstream subscriber base — especially because digital will make it easier to turn one service off in favor of another.
It’s foolish to rule out new players and business models, just as it would have been foolish to think AOL would rule the Internet based on early sub growth.
3. New Pricing Models
Amazon’s library is not as strong as Netflix’s, but this is not an accurate reflection on the platform’s potential. Netflix launched with a weak library and improved its quality over time. There is no reason Amazon and others can’t follow Netflix’s lead and cut deals with pay TV networks to improve the quality of its library. Netflix bulls will say the cost of content is too high to allow this, but we are seeing more signs of variable pricing that would lower initial content-acquisition costs for new players while increasing the cost for established players. Content owners should favor this pricing dynamic because it hedges cord cutting/shaving risk, fosters more competition for their product and prevents any one distribution player from gaining a scale advantage that could manifest as future pricing power (e.g., Apple in music).
4. Studio Control
Unlike packaged media, rights to digital content can only be acquired through deals with content owners. So each new player in the digital realm pushes the market further away from the harmful effects of the First Sale Doctrine in copyright law, which essentially allowed rental outlets such as Netflix and Redbox to obtain cheap DVDs and resell them even if the content owners objected. The move to digital will enable content owners to limit the supply of content, which should allow them to maximize the benefits from an increase in demand.
Amazon’s move is a harbinger of what could be on the horizon. Usage-based billing, new pricing models and new entrants will shape how the market evolves. Content owners retain the power because they can be more platform-agnostic and get to re-evaluate distribution deals. It’s foolish to rule out new players and business models, just as it would have been foolish to think AOL would rule the Internet based on its early subscriber growth. 
Tony Wible is a financial analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott who covers media and entertainment. 

Thank you Hollywood Reporter

Thick skin…you’ve either got what it takes or not.

I had an interesting encounter today with a woman who contacted me on LinkedIn. She requested my contact and since she did not ask any specific questions, she got my standard copy-and-paste response that everyone gets if they do not inquire with anything specific.

That response is basically to state their business and tell me a little about themselves, what they’re working on and why they believe this connection would be beneficial.

So this gal proceeded to lay-out for me some sort of plan they had to create some various kinds of entertainment content. She had links to a website and her Youtube page.

I viewed about 90% of what she sent and it was pretty awful. I was as kind as I could be and basically told her why I believed she wasn’t receiving any funding options. Most of what she showed me was really poorly designed, poorly displayed and very amateurish. So I expressed this and told her that this may be why she’s struggling.

We have to be honest with people when they come to us for help. Most people would either not respond or say “pass” but not explain why. 

My point to this is that if you are not able to accept rejection and criticisms, you’re in the wrong business, folks. This is the business of show and if you can’t “show” someone something that truly knocks their socks off, then you’re going to get what you get. I was kind, but she felt the need to respond to me and define what I wrote as “rubbish” and get this…to “not contact her again.”  How nice. 

How far to you suppose she will get in this business by responding in such a way. I could very well have just not responded at all and hit DELETE, but how professional would have have been. This is NOT the kind of thing that should be applied to the theory, “if you can’t say something nice…” This is a business folks, so the rejection you feel today should be nothing other than fuel for you to become better. You’ve either got what it takes or you do not.  -RH