Indies see hopeful signs in VOD debuts

By mattdentler | Matt Dentler's Blog June 7, 2009 at 6:40AM

Indies see hopeful signs in VOD debuts
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Over at Variety, Dave McNary has the latest article examining the growing trend of specialty VOD releases. McNary chats with IFC and Magnolia about the increasing trend, and growing business, found in the realm of straight-to-VOD or day-and-date for VOD/theatrical. Currently, IFC has the titles Summer Hours and Pontypool available on cable VOD. Magnolia has Surveillance and The Girlfriend Experience. From McNary's article:

Pessimists see trouble ahead with collapsing traditional distribution windows in this way. Optimists note that while the films and their grosses are relatively modest, the implications are huge for specialty films and indies -- and even small-scale studio offerings fighting to hold onto screens in an increasingly competitive market.

"The guy in Lincoln, Nebraska who reads about a movie in the New York Times is now getting immediate access to it," says Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. "He doesn't have to wait for a theatrical release or remember months later what the title was so he can get the DVD at the videostore. So your geographic footprint is much wider."

Auds outside of the handful of cities that play foreign films are particularly benefiting from VOD premieres. And with auds increasingly reluctant to pay $10 and up per ticket for specialty films, the VOD fees of $4-$10 per household are starting to look pretty attractive to viewers.

IFC, the biggest buyer at this year's Cannes film fest, and Magnolia, the frontrunners of releasing pics on VOD, think there's plenty of potential in the delivery method, saying pics will soon be making two and three times their theatrical takings via VOD.