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Thursday, May 12, 2016

What's UP At The Movies by Seymour Flix

The Mouse Quits Gaming
The Fun at Infinity Ended Last Week

Disney canned its in-house video game business, Infinity, this week and announced its complete withdrawal from the video gaming business.  In doing so, Disney will take a one-time hit to earnings of $147 million.

Launched three years ago to compete with the big video gaming manufacturers, Infinity had released just three games since its conception.  Although the Infinity games won high marks from critics sales were dismal.

An official statement released by Disney stated, "We have modified our approach to console gaming and will transition exclusively to a licensing model.  This shift means we will cease development and production of Disney Infinity products."  

Infinity's closing demonstrates how very competitive the entertainment business has become and how very hard it is to draw in consumers to new products and content even for the most established and successful of  media/mass entertainment companies.

Cinema's Competition Never Ending

It seems like each week a new scheme pops-up to replace the cinema experience.  Someone with 'a formula' decides they have the answer to what and how consumers will ingest movie entertainment.

The latest is an on-line streaming service called FilmStruck, which was conceived and will be brought to market by the Turner Channel and TCM networks.  FilmStruck will offer its subscribers access to the vast TCM  movie archive. Problem: FilmStruck is only for die-hard, old movie buffs which have been viewing these oldies for years on the TCM network.

Only a few weeks before, the scheme was the day-and-date at-home movie distributor 'Screening Room' which was hot news but quickly fell from grace.  Distribution outlets for movies are never-ending and vary only in their complexity and stupidity. Several others that have come to my attention include:

-  Using film festival rejects as fodder for at-home VOD.  The scheme works like this. Films that are at the end of their festival life and did not obtain a theatrical distribution deal are 'sold' to streaming video companies for VOD. Problem is, movies that don't make the theatrical cut, are mostly 'crappy movies' or movies festival goers didn't like. So why would consumers want to pay-to-view these movies at home?

- Another scheme aims at using museums and other event spaces to 'sell' movies, bypassing cinema distribution all together. This scheme offers a very limited distribution model and is really only suited for PG-rated documentaries or nature films.  Again, not a viable or sustainable scheme.

Over the next five years movie exhibition will be much the same as it is today, with cinemas living from studio blockbuster-to-blockbuster. But there will be pressure on cinemas to upgrade their presentation experience. Schemes to over-thrown the in-cinema experience will continue and only by delivering a superior presentation, coupled with value-added concession, will the cinema survive.

Seymour Flix

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