The Future Waves Hello

4 02 2008

I forgot to mention this when I first read about it. Perhaps my having the flu had something to do with it. Maybe. Or maybe not.

In any case, Variety reports that Showtime isn’t sending out a gazillion screeners to Emmy voters this year. Instead, they’re posting the full seasons of it series on a special website that Internet TV mega-giant Brightcove will host for them. I’ve mentioned in an earlier post about Apple and movie rentals that NBC had supplied iTunes cards to readers of Variety and Hollywood Reporter to push its shows for Emmy Awards. As a member of the Academy music branch, I got offers to download music from some films from iTunes. Many of the studio’s awards websites had their films’ soundtracks available for streaming (you had to do some audio hijacking to download them).

The upshot of all of this is that it’s becoming increasingly more clear that, in cases where the studios don’t feel the consumers/users need to have a physical copy of their intellectual property, they are beginning to realize that web-based assets are far more effective at reaching their audience. In fact, since studios weren’t allowed to send out CD’s of their soundtracks this year (a music branch decision that made me crazy — but I didn’t go to that meeting, so I can’t complain), in some cases it’s their only alternative.

We’re talking about letting finicky voters see compressed streams instead of higher quality DVDs. In the case of television shows, we can’t even go to a theatre to see them. The streams will be the only way to review them.

And the incredible thing about all of this is that … no one is objecting. We’re all so used to getting our media through our computers now, that it seems illogical NOT to let us see it that way.

It will not be long before consumers get their material delivered this way all the time — audio and video.

The wheel keeps turning.

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2 responses

5 02 2008
David J. Bondevitch, MPSE, CAS

Actually the web distribution is being done to save money. Studios were spending millions of dollars on Emmy screeners.

Of course streams aren’t the only way to view them. I’d prefer to watch them on TV.

The Spirit Awards and the Student Emmys this year did their judging via downloads. I complained to both organizations. Both include awards for Cinematography and the quality of the video is worse than my cell phone. It’s no way to judge things.

5 02 2008
Norman

Completely agree about the low quality of the streams for judging most awards. However, I was just at an industry screen of KATYN, up for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, and one entire reel was projected out of focus. I ran back to wake the projectionist up and, when he finally got to the projector to rack focus, he was able to bring the edges of the screen, and most of the subtitles into focus, but not a good chunk of the center.

Luckily, this screening was on reels, so the problem went away after 20 minutes. Interestingly, when he returned to that errant projector for a later reel, the focus was fine. Feels like a stupid threading issue to me.

And no one from the releasing company cared. They were probably long gone by then.

After a while, if you lower your sights consistently enough, the audience isn’t going to expect anything better.

[This might be worth a rant/posting all its own someday.]

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