Friday, August 13, 2010

Business Plan

So remember Video On Demand (VOD)? That was the thing which was supposed to completely change the movie industry. That's why the price of DVD's plummeted (apparently an actual decision by some guy who thought he could see the future from Warner Brothers.)
Instead, the DVD part of the industry plummeted and VOD never took off -- except for porn in hotel rooms.
Part of this is that the VOD interface that most cable companies have is horribly obtuse. I mean, I can (with a bit of frustration) figure out how to get it to work, but my parents will simply never ever order a movie on demand through their digital cable provider.
But today I heard of a plan which might actually work. It's the first good idea for a business plan in this pathetic movie economy I've heard which doesn't involve convincing someone to pre-buy movies before you shoot them (and there are fewer and fewer of those kinds of buyers anymore anyway.)
That is to take advantage of the low ad rates which are happening right now due to the advertising slump and buy ad time on the same cable systems which have your movie on VOD. Run ads on shows and channels which might have similar demographics to those who might actually watch your picture on VOD.
And then here's the kicker -- the cable company can put a little tag at the end of the ad: "To rent this movie now, click '2' on your remote" or whatever. The advertisement itself serves as what would normally be the difficult part of the interface.
They: but in 9 months this market will be totally saturated if this works.
We: yeah, but our movies are so much cooler than theirs are.
They: that's true.
Television advertising does indeed work. It's direct-to-consumer. And in the case of VOD it's measurable. Yes. Like real numbers.
You know, like science.
Ahh... science.
So this will be an interesting experiment. And it's finally realizing the dream of cutting out the other arbiters like Netflix or Blockbuster.

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