Monday, March 10, 2008

ABC's of DVDs

Brent Hoff Exec Producer, Wholphin DVD

Patrick Kwiatkowski Founder, Microcinema International

Liz Ogilvie Head of Programming, Docurama Films

Scott Shooman VP of Acquisitions and Productions, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group

The last format war was won by VHS, and created home video. Now DVDs account for 60% of profit for major studios.

DVD has become more and more relevant. You don't make a profit on a theatrical release because you are spending so much on producing and distributing the film to theaters. Theatrical campaign is now the ad blitz for your DVD release.

DVD is the best way to get independent films exposure. Its a viable business. 2007 domestic DVD sales were $16 billion which was a 3% drop from 2006. The big studios are noticing this trend and they can feel the 3% loss.

Hoff and Ogilvie agreed that the internet is not hurting business at their levels, which is more geared to independent films and documentaries, it is actually beneficial for their businesses.

Shooman-our business (Sony) is feeling competition from the web. Shelf space is getting harder to hold onto. There are a lot of problems in the DVD market. Distribution is changing as well.

When DVD first started, they could throw anything out there. They could use the same marketing team they use for major releases to create a product that would be purchased. They could be sold in the dump bin at Wal-Mart. Now, those bins are filled with theatrical releases.

Shooman spoke about BlueRay-its better than going to see a film. DP's need to know how to shoot for BlueRay. Its a format that requires higher precision in production. Sony's focus is on Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, etc.

Hoff-BlueRay is amazing.

Kwiatkowski-BlueRay is extremely expensive. Sony charges a $2,000 licensing fee and there is a charge per disc. DVD shouldn't be your only focus; there are a lot of options. iTunes is already behind the curve.

Ogilvie-retail space for films is getting smaller.

Kwiatkowski-The future of DVD is exciting. They are not going to go away.

Shooman-DVD is not going away.

Hoff-People want the physical object, especially in terms of ancillary footage, etc.

Ogilvie-DVD is going to be here for a while.

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