As the music industry has shown, digital sales are worth a fraction of physical sales. There are already signs that the movie industry is changing.
There was a new player in town at the Sundance film festival this year, one who had financed 17 of the movies on show. That player was you. Kickstarter, a three-year-old Web site that hosts crowdsourced fund-raising for creative projects, had funded 17 films at Sundance, about 10 percent of the total, and had another 33 films at the South by Southwest festival in March. The company is now a significant player in independent film, allowing cinematic hopefuls to take their case right to the people. It’s just the beginning of a major change in the industry, Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler says.
“I think we are at a point where we are asking whether you really need a film industry for a film to be made or a music industry to make music. People can now speak directly to their audiences,” he said. “And the demands of an audience are very different to the demands of an industry. An industry wants to know about merchandising tie-ins with McDonald’s — that’s not necessarily what the audience is looking for, or what the artist is concerned with.”
Strickler was at Sundance this year, where a number of Kickstarter-financed films were offered distribution deals. However, many people were also rejecting deals they saw as disadvantageous.
“Going straight to the Web, or video on demand, or doing a deal with independent cinemas — these are all viable options now,” Strickler said. “Look at the success of that Joseph Kony video. This is just the beginning.”