Business and Aesthetics of Modern Digital Cinema

Lots of vignettes as the industry recognizes that, for the moment anyway, it’s not a growing pie (see the Mission Impossible: III analysis). And questions about how the medium influences content (again, an old story): Big Picturespdf

In a theatre, you submit to a screen; you want to be mastered by it, not struggle to get cozy with it. Of course, no one will ever be forced to look at movies on a pipsqueak display—at home, most grownups will look at downloaded films on a computer screen, or they’ll transfer them to a big flat-screen TV. Yet the video iPod and other handheld devices are being sold as movie-exhibition spaces, and they certainly will function that way for kids. According to home-entertainment specialists I spoke to in Hollywood, many kids are “platform agnostic”—that is, they will look at movies on any screen at all, large or small. Most kids don’t have bellies, and they can pretzel their limbs into almost any shape they want, so they can get comfortable with a handheld device; they can also take it onto a school bus, down the street, into bed, cuddling it under the covers after lights-out.

The movies currently offered by Apple and other downloading services are the first trickles of a flood. Soon, new movies will come pouring through the Internet and perhaps through cable franchises as well, and people will look at them on screens of all sizes. For those of us who are not agnostics but fervent believers in the theatrical experience, this latest development in movie distribution is of more than casual interest.

[…] What should the studios do? They could cut production costs, or they could reduce the cost of getting movies to the public. Loaded into cans, movies weigh between fifty and eighty pounds; they have to be flown to regional depositories, and then trucked to theatres. If a movie flops, the theatres have to wait for a new one to replace it. But once the theatres convert to digital projection—a change now in its beginning stages—the studios could bounce movies to theatres off satellites or send them on portable hard drives. I spoke to Barry Meyer, the chairman and C.E.O. of Warner Bros. Entertainment, in a wood-panelled conference room adjacent to his office, in Warner’s venerable Burbank headquarters. “Digital distribution is easy, ubiquitous, and inexpensive,” Meyer said. He took a deep breath. “We have to adapt, or we’ll become dinosaurs.”

Listen to the Market? What’ll They Think Of Next?

Well, this is just speculation from Billboard, but you never know what’ll hgappen: Ailing music biz set to relax digital restrictionspdf

The anti-digital rights management (DRM) bandwagon is getting more crowded by the day. Even some major-label executives are pushing for the right to sell digital downloads as unprotected MP3s.

In 2007, the majors will get the message, and the DRM wall will begin to crumble. Why? Because they’ll no longer be able to point to a growing digital marketplace as justification that DRM works. Revenue from digital downloads and mobile content is expected to be flat or, in some cases, decline next year. If the digital market does in fact stall, alternatives to DRM will look much more attractive.