The experience of going to the cinema has kept the film industry in business for generations, but as VOD takes its hold, getting audiences to leave their homes will become increasingly difficult in the years ahead.
It’s no secret that VOD is shaking up the film industry. In just 4 years, the VOD market will be worth over $60 billion ($25 billion in 2014). Top directors have been predicting a film industry implosion, while indie filmmakers have been celebrating the dawn of a new era. Digital distribution is no longer an unattainable goal for people making content on a shoestring budget, but the competition for content has never been so high.
An emerging format to take note of will be the theatrical VOD or VOD premiere. We have yet to figure out how to ‘translate’ the cinema experience into a digital one but as more and more films make their way onto the internet first, audiences will also expect a digital-first product. This will be the case particularly for younger generations who are growing up with VOD and mobile content experiences and want to consume video faster.
Getting the theatrical VOD model right will be key to ensuring that blockbusters and indie films can monetize their content when they are first released at a ‘premium’. In order to get audiences to pay for a ‘digital’ box office ticket, the experience has to be different than a standard VOD screening. That differentiation is the problem. How does one make the first viewing of a film at home as epic as going to see it at the cinema? In practice, it’s not the same, but this is where technology is taking us and if content producers and distributors can get this right, then the era of the digital box office will begin, which will ultimately ensure the future of film production and the industry.