Movie Distribution Revolution

Mark Cuban, who created Broadcast.com before selling it to Yahoo, and Steven Sorderberg, who directed many box office winning pictures like “Ocean’s 11” and “Traffic” have decided to partner up and revolutionize the movie industry by offering “films that would debut simultaneously in movie theaters and on DVD, pay-per-view cable and satellite television.”

Frequent reader of TNL.net will know that this is a move I have advocated for a long time (see here and here for examples). Part of the interesting issue here is how Mark Cuban is approaching the issue. In a recent Wired magazine interview, Cuban was recently saying:

“People get frightened about all kinds of things in Hollywood,” he says. “That’s not my system. I don’t have a business to protect. I have a business to build.”

This business has brought Cuban to fundamentally believe that bits are bits and is now putting serious money behind the idea. I would like to applaud the effort and hope that it will be successful. If it is, expect the rest of the movie industry to follow.

Combined with the recent calls by Blockbuster Video executives to release movies on DVD at the same time as they are released in theaters, it seems the idea has potentials for taking hold.

Since the first step has now been taken, I think they need to also ensure that DVDs of those movies are available in the movie theater (the ticket could get you a dollar off?) so that people could buy the DVD if they liked the movie they just saw.

The whole idea could revolutionize the way movies are distributed, in a fashion similar to the FairShare model I talked about in earlier entries. It will be fascinating to see how the titles fair. I know that, come hell or highwater, I will be attending the first weekend opening of the first movie to come out of this partnership, just to show the rest of hollywood that simultaneous release in the theater and DVDs can be done without hurting theater box office sales… and I hope others will join me in this.

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