In recent years, online streaming services have demonstrated a capacity to disrupt traditional distribution methods. When Sony’s recent release, The Interview, was threatened by hackers, the stuido chose to distribute the movie digitally. The online success of The Interview may have been a turning point for streaming, as more big-name directors take to digital.
Director Spike Lee has decided to take his latest project, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, to Vimeo before releasing it in theaters. This is a smart move by Lee, who raised money for the production via Kickstarter: In many ways the film was made possible by the online activity of fans.
There was also an announcement recently that Amazon commissioned director Woody Allen to create a TV series for Prime.
According to The Verge:
Without seeing a single episode or announcing a single casting decision, Amazon has ordered an entire season of a TV show to be written and directed entirely by Allen. The series will consist of half-hour episodes, though Amazon hasn’t yet said how many. There’s no title for the show either, nor is there a description of what it’ll be about. It’ll debut on Prime Instant Video during 2016 in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.
Since the inception of video streaming, the debate about simultaneous release has remained in the background. But releasing movie and television content online and in theaters at the same time could create potential for attracting a wider audience at launch. Whether or not piracy decreases is still up for debate, but the streaming releases of Snowpiercer and The Interview indicate that video-on-demand release may stifle cinema attendance.
Unlike The Interview, however, both Lee’s film and Allen’s series have been created and marketed with digital-first distribution in mind. The Interview may not have changed the market entirely, but it’s possible that Lee’s and Allen’s offerings will show the strengths of well-managed digital distribution campaigns.
Images courtesy of Da Sweet Blood of Jesus Facebook page.