iTunes Dominates Digital Movie Sales

This is an interesting piece from Variety. Somewhat surprising to me too with all the competition Out There. But also a bit scary to see the real numbers... AND to see how strong DVD sales still really are (although declining, but still far bigger than digital downloads).

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iTunes dominates digital movie sales
Apple gains market share despite increased competition
By ANDREW WALLENSTEIN


Apple's iTunes reasserted itself as the top seller of movies in the U.S. on digital platforms in the first half of the year, according to new research from IHS Screen Digest.
Even as more aggressive competitors pour into the space, iTunes ticked up after two consecutive years of declines. Apple commanded 65.8% of spending in the category, up from 64.9% in the first half of 2010.

Though also-ran services from Microsoft and Sony registered declines over the same period, Walmart's Vudu service also posted a gain on the strength of increased visibility from the retail giant's stores to a new iPad app.

That there's any growth at all in this category, which IHS focuses on digital services that handle streaming-rental or download-purchase transactions of the a la carte variety, is somewhat surprising given that the monthly subscription model epitomized by Netflix has captivated the industry.

An NPD Group study in February found that 61% of video streaming and downloading on the Internet in the U.S. belonged to Netflix, which doesn't even allow downloading. Apple was a distant third in a three-way tie with DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, all with 4%. Comcast finished second with 8%.

But even as its overall share of the digital-movie marketplace falls behind the dominant but declining DVD, surging Internet subscription VOD and cable/satellite VOD, a la carte entrants like iTunes and Vudu are finding there's still room to grow. Getting theatrical product day and date with homevideo release and positive user experiences may be key reasons why.

Though iTunes' .09% increase may not seem much, it's significant given Apple's market share dropped nearly 12 percentage points in the first half of 2010 vs. the same period in 2009.

IHS attributed iTunes' renewed dominance to a variety of factors, including the increasing popularity of the iPad and AirPlay, which connects iTunes with TVs.

Remaining a distant second is Microsoft's Zune Video Marketplace, which fell from a 18.5% share in 2010 to 16.2% in 2011. Jumping two places to No. 3 is Vudu, which showed the year-to-year gain, moving from 1% to 5.4%.

Walmart has been aggressive in its deployment of Vudu since acquiring it 19 months ago, broadening its footprint across connected devices and expanding its presence on the Web via its own website and Walmart.com.

Falling out of the third spot was Sony's PlayStation Store, which dropped from 8.2% to 4.4%. IHS chalked up the decline to both Vudu's growth and the hacking that disrupted Sony's service worldwide during that period.

Amazon sunk to fifth, having remained relatively flat at 4.2%. That number could potentially sink further as the company shifts gears from an a la carte offering to monthly subscription service Amazon Prime.

Some big names in this space that haven't made the list yet are Facebook and YouTube, which both introduced a la carte options earlier this year. There are still plenty more market entrants just beginning to get their feet wet in this space that have yet to amass marketshare, including Blockbuster, Best Buy and Sears.

One would-be entrant that still hasn't made up its mind as to how exactly to enter the market is Redbox, which has indicated a willingness to go digital but hasn't yet specified a gameplan. It could opt to go the SVOD route like Netflix, but its kiosk business has already accustomed its massive customer base to an a la carte model.

The figures take into account both rental (Internet VOD) and purchase (electronic sell through). IHS projects EST will deliver revenues of $247 million in 2011 versus $240 million for 2011. Combined, that $487 million will put the digital a la carte market for movies well ahead of its 2010 tally of $385 million.

While both sides of the digital business represented relatively even spending levels in the first half of 2011, IHS projects that iVOD will likely eclipse EST going forward as the rental model seems to have much more momentum in the digital marketplace. Regardless, both EST and iVOD together are still just a fraction of spending on DVDs, which may be in decline but are still dominant.

U.S. spending on discs in the first half of 2011 amounted to $3.87 billion, down 18.3%, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.

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Definitely something to think about as an indie filmmaker too. Should you do a digital distro strategy only or still do a DVD release too?

-Blake

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Streamy Awards on TV?

Yep. Maybe... Seems Dick Clark Productions has teamed up with Tubefilter (the folks who own the Streamys) to develop a show for TV - not Web TV - but television.

At first glance this might seem counterproductive... why would an awards show geared towards "web video" be on (traditional) TV? Shouldn't that be online?

Some will definitely argue yes it should be online, and some will say what the heck are the Streamys? Most will fall in the latter category.

And that's the point.

Most people have no clue what "web video" is... oh sure, they've seen the Evolution of Dance or David After the Dentist... but have they heard of The Guild (some) or The Bannen Way (a few) or even my show Pink (a handful)?

By putting the Streamy Awards on TV with some of the "rising stars of online entertainment" (meaning new media is it's own entertainment or could lead to other forms like TV or film) along with established industry players who have been early adopters of online entertainment (see Joss Whedon, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Pollack, etc.) and this nascent industry we like to call "new media" just might have a fighting chance.

Perhaps mainstream acceptance could mean mainstream revenue streams (and/or ad dollars, sponsors, brand integration, et al) for more shows?

I personally find this very exciting for the space and all the very talented folks involved.

And by the way, my being a Streamy winner for Best Director of a Dramatic Web Series (ahem, for Pink) has nothing to do with my feeling this way. I've said for a long time that we need "the average TV joe" to at least know about web series before things will really start to take off.

Will "average TV joe" watch this new show (if it gets made mind you)? Maybe not. At least not at first. But overtime it will create awareness of the space and ultimately could/should bring new viewers to all our shows.

In the end that's the most important thing.

Here's the full story copied from Variety (you have to have a subscription to read it otherwise)...

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Dick Clark Prods. eye Streamy Awards for TV


DCP, Tubefilter to shop Internet programming kudos to TV outlets

By Andrew Wallenstein

EXCLUSIVE: With the fate of the Golden Globe Awards in the hands of the courts, Dick Clark Prods. is developing another kudocast.

DCP has pacted to produce the Streamy Awards, a two-year-old franchise devoted to recognizing the best in Internet entertainment. The company is currently looking for a TV home for the event, though some if not all of the Streamys will be situated online. No date or location for the next Streamys has been set.

DCP aims to make the Streamys as big an event as any of the ones currently on its roster.

"The goal is to create another franchise along the lines of our American Music Awards or the Academy of Country Music Awards," said Ariel Elazar, VP of digital distribution and brand licensing at DCP. "I believe in it."

The rights to the Streamys are owned by Tubefilter, an online publication devoted to online video. "It's very validating that a Hollywood stalwart like Dick Clark Prods. is coming on board with us," said Drew Baldwin, co-founder of Tubefilter.

Both orgs see the time as right to expand the Streamys to capitalize on the bustling intersection of entertainment and technology. DCP and Tubefilter aim to mine star power from the overlapping spheres of Internet sensations like Rebecca Black and the increasing amount of artists with legs planted in both the online and offline worlds, from Justin Bieber to the Old Spice Guy.

A relaunched Streamys could also be in position to recognize the increasing number of premium programming efforts that are in development from non-traditional TV sources like David Fincher's "House of Cards," a series in the works that will initially be exclusive to Netflix, and Hulu's "A Day in the Life," from documaker Morgan Spurlock.

Turning the Streamys into a mainstream staple of awards season would amount to quite a reversal of fortune for the franchise, which was roundly criticized after its 2010 edition was marred by numerous technical problems. That fiasco prompted the Intl. Academy of Web Television to disassociate itself from the Streamys after teaming with Tubefilter to produce that event.

The Intl. Academy decided to launch its own event in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association. The IAWTV Awards will be held in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

The Streamys have been loosely structured like the Emmys or Oscars, handing out dozens of awards for acting, directing and writing in mostly short-form entertainment restricted to the Internet. While mostly a niche attraction for the indie scene that has arisen around digital entertainment over the years, Streamys has drawn appearances from Hollywood glitterati as prominent as Neil Patrick Harris and Lisa Kudrow, who have produced and starred in webisodes of note like "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and "Web Therapy," respectively.

Back in April, MTV Networks tried a similar concept with the O Music Awards, an online-only event that handed out huzzahs for everything from best tweet (winner: Kanye West) to best viral dance (Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair").

And the appeal of launching a new franchise for DCP is likely further whetted by how even the established kudocasts like the Academy Awards have been supplemented in recent years by aggressive social-media components that are credited with helping to stem the long-term trend of declining ratings for televised awards fetes.

While many of the details of the new and improved Streamys are still being worked out, DCP and Tubefilter are already conceiving it as less a one-off event than a multi-month interactive extravaganza that incorporates audience participation including voting on select categories well in advance of the show itself.

Also in the works is a blue-ribbon panel of digital-minded figures from the music, TV and film industries whose votes would be tallied for nominations and winners. Elazar is hoping to recruit so-called influencers who could be in position to maximize exposure for Streamy winners in the same fashion as the Oscars helps raise visibility for some of the more obscure films the Academy honors.

Meanwhile, DCP and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. await a decision on the Golden Globes. U.S. District Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank is said to be close rendering a judgment that will determine which entity will control the future of that franchise.

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Last year's Streamy Awards bombed and was trashed throughout the industry (I won't relive it with links) and really actually hurt the new media space I think, but that's behind us and we've all moved forward (most of us) and I think now this could be a really great thing.

-Blake

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Cowboys & Aliens Comic-Con Premiere

My friend and actor Julio Cedillo has a nice role in Jon Favreau's new film "Cowboys and Aliens". He plays a character named "Bronc". I haven't seen the film, but here are some cool pics he gave me to share from the shoot and the Comic-con premiere...

















Julio on red carpet at Comic-Con















Julio on red carpet at Comic-Con



















Julio and director Jon Favreau on set


Julio is probably best known for his title role in Tommy Lee Jones' directorial debut "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada". If you haven't seen that movie definitely check it out. He also starred in my indie action flick "Killing Down" and my WB web original "Exposed". A very talented and versatile actor!

-Blake

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Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and TheWB.com. And speaking of TheWB.com, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network JTS.tv - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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