19 mars 2012

Theatrical Distribution Without Distributors (Tugg)

"The DIY movement may have a new champion with the launch of Tugg, a crowdsourced exhibition site whose partners include Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and AMC Theaters, and with Richard Linklater, Ben Affleck and Terrence Malick as board members.
Launched by "The Tree of Life" producer Nicolas Gonda and marketing executive Pablo Gonzalez, Tugg is designed to allow anyone the opportunity to book a film screening through one of the partner cinemas. If you want the theater to screen a film that's part of Tugg's library, you drive users to express their interest at Tugg.com.
Once the numbers hit a threshold, the screening's on. Tugg will handle the details with the theater, including print and theater rentals and ticketing; your viewers then pay only the ticket price. [..]
However, the most compelling elements of the Tugg model are what it could mean for indie films that do and don't have distributors. For example, will Tugg allow small cities to see indie films that would otherwise pass them by? [..]
Users have tested the service in Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Boulder."
Source: indieWIRE (22 Feb 2012) 

Finally, there are a few smart Americans who are actually trying to do something about that fucking lackluster distribution system! About time. Although this is the kind of operation designed for infrastructure-deprived nations such as in Africa (where they lack physical presence of a permanent, brick-and-mortar theatres, let alone arthouses). It is ironic that this kind of distribution method would be needed in the country with THE MOST SCREENS PER INHABITANT on Earth (except for Iceland). In fact, it is quite embarrassing...

You gotta wonder how bad is the normal distribution when big (cinephile/universitary/cosmopolitan/densely urban) megapoles such as San Fransisco, Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Houston... need to resort to "grass-root begging" in order to get a certain film screened (assuming these events didn't ask for a repeat screening of a title that already came out there). Don't they get it automatically with everyone else, when distributors plan their release circuit... why would distributors want to exclude these cities full of students and cinephiles??? This is mind-boggling.

Anyway, this is a constructive endeavour that will hopefully get the full support of theatrically deprived fans of independent and foreign cinema (which unfortunately gets embargoed by the official American distributors without American film journalists giving a shit!)
If it works for this start-up, then maybe the major distributors will pay attention to the Long Tail consumers and revise their "protectionist" distribution planning that only gives exposition to Hollywood-made products (well done deservedly distributed widely or utter failure forced down the "take-the-money-and-run" getaway).

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