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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lower-budget 3-D Releases on the Way ... Delivering Critics' Screeners Digitally

Two pieces worth a look from the weekly edition of Variety:

- "Lower-budget titles try on 3-D" focuses on a $4 million budget British film, 'The Mortician,' and a $7 million US film, 'Dark Country,' being released in digital 3-D.

- "Networks to shift screeners online", about delivering critics' screeners of new TV shows over the Internet, rather than on DVDs. From Josef Adalian's piece:

    [Newark Star-Ledger TV critic Alan Sepinwall says] "DVD screeners occasionally give picture problems, but they're vastly more consistent and reliable than any form of streaming video I've yet encountered."

    Perhaps, but the networks are convinced online screening is the way to go.

    It can cost a network in the ballpark of $1 million per year to send out a full assortment of DVD screeners. In contrast, once startup costs are amortized, digitizing shows and posting them online costs just a fraction of that amount.

    "We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars we can save," says Sharon Williams, the ABC senior veepee who's helped lead the Alphabet's digitial screener initiative.

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  • Screening movies digitally makes a lot of sense from a cost standpoint, but I can't help but wonder whether or not the critics will get the most enjoyment out of the program. If they allowed you to download the film in a portable format, then they could not only save money, but also make it easy for someone to watch it on a big television set instead of their desk. There are lots of times where I can watch something on Netflix Watch Now, but I still rent the DVD because I want to watch it from my couch. Someday, portability will be something that is consider a default option, but the studios might be doing themselves a disservice by making it less convenient for a critic to watch something on the device of their choice.

    By Blogger Davis Freeberg, at 3:15 PM  

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