2013 has been a vibrant year: this summer was one of the most merciless ones for movies in years, crowdfunding reached its all time high with “Veronica Mars”, Netflix original series became the first ever to receive Primetime Emmy nominations, and the list goes on. That does trigger curiosity – what’s gonna happen next year?
Here’s a list of 14 Trends for Filmmakers to Look Out for in 2014:
1. The Mini Content Marketing
Over the past couple of years brands have been carefully steering their marketing efforts towards short-form social media like Twitter, Instagram and more recently – Snapchat. Ditching the one-size-fits all model and actually engaging with their potential customers in a more personal, down-to-earth manner has proved itself as an immensely beneficial strategy. According to a report by Bain & Company, people who get more involved with brands via social media display a deeper emotional commitment to those brands and spend 20 to 40 percent more than other customers. 2014 is out to establish the mini content marketing as the new norm for marketing.
2. The Death of Film
In April 2013 Fujifilm announced the discontinuation of Motion Picture Film production. The notion of such prospect was around for quite some time, but nothing was definite and some were still hoping that it was just another claim of digital revolution entusiasts. It all ended last
spring. The cost-effectiveness of shooting films digitally makes it a tempting option for majors and indies alike. Similarly, small independent theaters and corporate-owned multiplexes are shutting down their 35mm projectors and installing digital projection systems. The DCDC (Digital Cinema Distribution Coallition) fuelled up this conversion and is aiming to have most of the major theatre chains under its wing over the course of next year.
However, there‘s something I‘d like to add to this point. The producer of the digital vs. film documentary “Side by Side” Keanu Reeves insists that it is not about “whether digital is better than celluloid. It’s about giving an artist the choice … about the individual’s style.” So, perhaps, there is no need to write off film just yet.
3. Investment by Advertisers
Everyone is trying to get rid of advertisers. Thanks to DVRs and VOD it actually seems possible. Not so fast! Since they are being pushed out of television, advertisers are trying to get into film. An example of that could be the Hasbro toy company that got so captivated by the success of “Transformers” franchise ( based on Hasbro’s toy line) that they invested in the film “Battleship” (based on a Hasbro board game) and even opened its own studio on a lot at Universal. Other companies are sure to follow and we should expect substantial increase in direct ownership and funding from advertisers in 2014.
4. Investment by ‘Retailers’
Removing the middleman has been an ongoing challenge for many years now. The time has come when technologies are allowing this to happen. Creation of content by companies that have a direct link to consumers (let’s call them ‘retailers’) seems to be the new threat for film studios, cinemas and other middlemen out there. Netflix with its production of “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” proved that such endeavour can not only work, but be very successful as well. Consequently, the trend is likely to hasten in 2014 which will put the studios in an uncomfortable position of being superseded.
5. International Reach of VOD
Something of particular interest for the indies. VOD companies like Netflix have been working on a mighty goal – take over the world. In other words, people all over the globe will have the opportunity to become their customers and choose what language they want to watch the film in. More importantly, this will change the way independent film get financed. Now the common practice is to raise funds by selling films through “presales” on a country-by-country basis to local distributors. Worldwide VOD reach will mean that independent film will be financed by presales to VOD companies as the value of DVDs and pay TV to local distributors will get diminished.
Netflix is very likely reach its world domination goal next year as they have already surged to 40m members worldwide.
6. Collapsing Windows
The collapse of traditional release windows is the present-day reality of content creators and distributors in the film industry. Netflix’s Ted Sarandos made it even more obvious at this year‘s Film Independent Forum with his statement that films should have a day-and-date release on Netflix together with cinemas. There were loads of speculations regarding the matter, but it is unlikely to happen in the nearest future. Nevertheless, the sharp increase of VOD users over the past year shows that consumers are no longer willing to wait three-four months for a film to reach their home. It might not get to a full day-and-date release in 2014, but the delay from the theatrical release to the video/VOD release will get significantly shorter.
7. Optical Fiber
In a modern bandwidth-reliant society need for faster transmissions speed is of substantial importance. The constantly growing number of users sharing a network, using advanced applications, faster computers and network servers contribute to traffic congestion – slow speed and possible disruptions. However, the technology of lightweight, hair-thin fibers may leave all of this behind by providing its users with fastest transmission speed ever. For example, it put film industry on the same page as the music industry because movies could be downloaded just as fast as audio tracks. This relatively new optical fiber system is predicted to reveal its full potential next year.