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SXSW: Berney, SnagFilms, IMDb

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 16, 2009 at 8:47AM

originally posted on Variety.comEx-Picturehouse chief Bob Berney is chasing financing for a planned new distrib outfit--still unnamed. He did try to retrieve his Picturehouse name, but it was impossible. Here at SXSW, he's tracking possible later acquisitions. Here's what Berney told John Pierson at the SXSW Q & A, reports Indiewire in its report on indie distribution:
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originally posted on Variety.com

Thompson on Hollywood

Ex-Picturehouse chief Bob Berney is chasing financing for a planned new distrib outfit--still unnamed. He did try to retrieve his Picturehouse name, but it was impossible. Here at SXSW, he's tracking possible later acquisitions. Here's what Berney told John Pierson at the SXSW Q & A, reports Indiewire in its report on indie distribution:


“I definitely feel like my heart is in independent distribution,” Berney said, when asked to talk a bit about his intentions. In other conversations he’s said his new company would distribute on multiple platforms and on Saturday he only added that the company will be “very different than Picturehouse.” And concluding the thought, Berney said, “Hopefully in a few months we will be back.”

The Wrap profiles SnagFilm CEO Rick Allen, who threw out some provocative stuff on Monday's digital distribution panel (well-moderated by Scott Kirsner); the room was packed. Note to fest organizers: always ask Morgan Spurlock to be on your panel; he's money. The reason that folks like Cinetic Media's Matt Dentler can't reveal numbers on streaming revenue during this transitional period is that "the numbers are pathetic," Spurlock told the room. "When they're ready to crow about their numbers, they will. If you're looking to pay rent, not so much. Phone bill? You got a good chance."

The panel agreed that the split between DVD sales and digital downloads and streaming was 90 to 10%. But digital is growing and will get bigger, even as it steers more customers to buy DVDS online. "It's at an infantile stage," said Snagfilm CEO Rick Allen, who stunned the room with his reveal that Snagfilm's widget/players are embedded on 20,000 sites and are on 300 million web pages. "It's the way things go. The traditional business model is by definition broken."

At Monday's Q & A by IndieWire's Eugene Hernandez, UK-based IMDb founder Col Needham said that a "play button on every page" was his long-term goal. Click and ye shall stream, for free, the movie of your choice. That movie data site, owned by Amazon, is huge and growing by leaps and bounds, mostly into foreign countries, like Germany.


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.