25 March 2010

Cameron as Future Avatar of Film Industry

For some months now, I've been touting "Avatar" as a good example of how the film industry should be concentrating on enhancing the experience of watching films *in the cinema* - something that no copied DVD can reproduce - thus making unauthorised copies pretty much into marketing devices that encourage people to go to the cinema for the full experience.

It seems that one person who gets this is James Cameron himself:

He said the music industry made a critical mistake by trying to stop piracy instead of innovating to give consumers new experiences that the industry could use to generate more money.

"The music industry saw it coming, they tried to stop it, and they got rolled over," he said. "Then they started suing everybody. And now it is what it is."

Instead, Cameron said he has tried to innovate to give movie goers a reason to go to theater. And in creating a rich, "reinvigorated cinema experience," Cameron said he discovered that people are willing to pay money to experience the same content in different ways. Not only are they willing to pay $10 or more to see Avatar on the big screen in 3D, but they also will pay to own the DVD and to take it with them on their phone or portable device.

"People are discriminating about the experience," he said. "They want to own it, have it on a iPhone when they want it, and they want the social experience of going to the cinema. These are really different experiences. And I think they can all co-exist in the same eco-system."

Cameron said the fact that people are still going to the theater to see Avatar now nearly four months after it was released supports his conclusion. He said he has had several discussions with the movie studio trying to figure out when to release the DVD of the movie. Typically DVD's are released after the film has left movie theaters. But he said since people are still going to see the movie in the theater, they decided to release the DVD next month with the movie still playing in some cinemas. The movie will also be available soon on iTunes.

What a perfect summary of what can be done, and what should be done. Let's hope Cameron is the future of cinema - at least in this respect.

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PV said...

I also wrote about this too. http://dasublogbyprashanth.blogspot.com/2010/03/film-industrys-next-avatar.html I came to essentially the same conclusions, though I'm a little apprehensive about using gimmicks like 3D viewing to attract viewers to theaters.
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Glyn Moody said...

@PV: it doesn't have to be 3D - it might just be the social experience.

John said...


great post, people will always pay for the social experience of movies like you say and movies that are funded enough to push the envelope as much as avatar will always get the crowds cause there's simply no other place to experience it but in a 3-D theatre.

but that leaves the other 99% of film and media makers with budgets under 10M, 5M, 100K out of luck. We're tackling this issue at INCUMEDIA.com, launches in a few days. Would like your thoughts, you can check out our fan page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/INCUMEDIA/107461872607618

Glyn Moody said...

@John: I think the secret here is that for such films the biggest problem is obscurity, not people sharing copies. You actually want digital copies to be shared to get word out. The social experience will always be the trump card of films, even low budget ones.

ZZ said...

Actually, the 3D argument (not being able to repeat the experience in your home) just went up in smoke:


So they have to keep innovating with new stuff all the time and the exclusivity window is fairly short, as technology advancement keeps accelerating exponentially (Moore's law).