Can VOD & Theatrical Exhibition Both Benefit Each Other?

by Ted Hope

Is there a model where both can further film culture, audience development, and overall cinema appreciation?  With very few critics left with a mass market soap box, where do we turn for curation?  With a global onslaught of 50,000 feature films generated per year, how do we connect with the films that are best for us?  When audiences enjoy cinema in any form, they are far more apt to engage with more film soon after?  Is there a model that leads to a a win/win for everyone?

MUBI recently announced a partnership with Picturehouse Theaters where members get 90 days free access on MUBI.  One wonders if there are similar deals to be done with online aggregators and exhibitors in the US…

Our community theaters are just one of the curators we have in this country for cinema culture.  Film Societies, like the San Francisco FIlm Society and Lincoln Center, also help develop audiences and advance the dialogue.  Critics, blogs, friends and family, all help with discovery, recognition and appreciation.  Yet in a world with a plethora of leisure time options, it’s critical for one’s love of an art form to run deep if it is to become habitual — which our industry and business models currently require.  Discovering and enjoying great cinema goes a long, long way to building a long term relationship.

I have to think that there is something to be said about getting access to great classic cinema alongside a membership into an organization that gives you access to the latest of world and arthouse cinema.  Of course, the level of each would have to line up well.

What else would help this model work well?