Music Biz Is Quicker Than Film Biz (again!)

Doesn't it bug you how everyone knows the world has changed but so few folks do anything about it?  Or even worse, how whole industries choose to ignore the realities of today.  We call something the the way it is, because THEY say it is, not because it actually is.  Instead of moaning about it though, I find it heartening when some adjustments occur, bringing us closer to reality, even when it is not my community doing the readjustment.  Each step closer to the reality gives me hope.

My twelve year old boy likes to point out that curses are curses only because we call them curses.  Well, what we call success is only success because of how we define it.  I do think we have to get far beyond money as the basis of most achievement, but all that aside, even in the revenue reporting we've got a lot of ground to cover.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Music Biz's paper of record, Billboard, has changed the way that they determine chart toppers, adding in digital download sales and streaming data.  Yes, this has it's share of problems too, but I do think it more accurately reflects how people consume music (but what do I know).  And I do wish something similar would occur in the Film Biz.

Imagine if we had VOD data and streaming data.  Wouldn't that show what people are really watching?  Yup.  So when will we start having access to the VOD & Streaming numbers.  Not until the numbers HAVE to be reported.  Indiewire recently tried to explain the problem. But unfortunately there is even more to it. I found that many distributors have confidentiality clause in the contracts with the VOD companies & digital platforms, where they can report numbers but not terms. Even numbers though are difficult to extract. A producer recently complained to me how a distributors statement did not even break out digital revenue, let alone all the varieties thereof.

If we don't have the numbers available, we can not use success as something we can build upon.  And it is not just the filmmakers, their supporters, and the fans that want this number.  Theater owners want it too.  What's it going to take to get the Film Biz to follow the Music's lead?

Maybe The Film Business Is Getting Better

Or rather: maybe some people are making some money again. Some...

This week brought some signs that things were picking up in some sectors.  Hollywood Reporter reported that "Home Entertainment Spending Is Up For The First Time Since 2007".  I can't remember when the last time I bought a DVD.  Was it really 2007?

"As of Sept. 30, 2012, consumers this year have spent an estimated $12,342,020,000 on home entertainment, up from $12,215,030,000 in the same period last year.

Subscription streaming spending nearly tripled, from $463,560,000 in the first nine months of 2011 to $1,682,710,000 in 2012 as of Sept. 30"

It's good, right?  It's nice that even the NY Times is publishing the good news.  I wonder when they will start reporting the real story.  

You know, the one about how artists and their supporters are not rewarded for the work they do?  Or maybe the one on how filmmakers can not support themselves with the work they do.  I mean, I can't expect them to actually start digging around to learn how digital rights are sometimes taken without permission by large distributors of small films, and how most income statements don't even break out the digital revenue.  Or can I?

I don't mean to get cranky.  I know the clouds of confusion even have a silver lining, right?  Does it ever feel to you that the structure, and it's promoters, do more to obfuscate than illuminate?