If you are like us and have watched so much TV during the pandemic that you are now struggling to find new things to watch, click on over to Watch Now and find amazing independent films that were funded on Kickstarter and are available to watch on iTunes.
Last night at dinner we got to talking the film Barfly, which came out the year the Gotham Gal and I were married, so a long time ago now. We decided to watch it after dinner with our family and friends we are quarantining with.
Well it turns out that Barfly is not available to be streamed on any of the many streaming services we have on our AppleTV (at least ten of them). After a frustrating twenty minutes figuring that out, we thought about torrenting it and watching it that way.
But for a bunch of reasons, we decided not to do that and went with another film.
This morning I was talking to one of our friends over breakfast and said that I am going to put a bitorrent client on the Mac Mini that is connected to our family room TV because if we try as hard as we can to pay for a film legally and cannot, then I feel OK with getting it some other way.
I am just a bit shocked that is even necessary to do in the golden age of streaming.
Certainly getting into the streaming game will be good for Disney. But I am less sure that content matters that much when it comes to Netflix.
A friend of mine shared this with me earlier this week:
When I saw that data, I replied to him with this:
It is the frustrations of the prior model (interruptive advertising, by appointment consumption, etc) that open the opportunity for the next model
Given that the new model, streaming, is well entrenched now, I am not saying that functionality alone will save Netflix or anyone else.
But I do believe that the functionality of a service (no ads, binge watching, user interface, curation, notifications, price, etc) are just as important, or possibly more important, than whether or not you can watch The Incredibles on it.
And most importantly, it is the frustrations of the prior model, as I mentioned above, that creates the opening for the new model.
So if you are working on a new model, for anything (it could be crypto, health care, education, finance, etc, etc), you should look very closely at what are the most annoying and frustrating aspects of the current model and focus on leading with features that remove them.
The Gotham Gal and I have been at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend. We’ve seen a nice mix of documentaries and feature films. And in the feature film category we’ve seen mainstream crowd pleasers like Mindy Kaling’s Late Night which Amazon bought for a bundle and indie films that may struggle to find a mainstream audience.
We tend to prefer the latter and among the best of the indie variety that we’ve seen was a film called Ms Purple that we saw yesterday morning at its world premiere.
Ms Purple raised almost $75k on Kickstarter (a USV portfolio company) a few months ago which funded much of the post-production costs and licensing expenses. A total of 373 patrons invested an average of $200 each (some way more, some way less) to help this film come to life.
From my experience yesterday morning, I would say it was a fantastic investment. Ms Purple is about the challenges that immigrant families navigate in the US, and about the tensions that exist in sibling relationships, particularly when a parent is dying.
Ms Purple’s filmmaker (writer and director) Justin Chon is exactly the kind of artist that Sundance and Kickstarter exist to serve. While I hope his stories can and will go mainstream, they need to be heard even if they don’t.
And funding mechanisms outside of the studio model/system insure that they will.
It is about a group of girls who turn into a vigilante gang because of a sexual assault on one of them.
So it is a serious topic, but it also a fun film about young people growing up in NYC.
The team is starting with a short film that kicks off the story and will use that short film to introduce the four young women who are at the heart of this story and to build support and audience for the larger feature they plan to make over the next year or two.
When our friends approached us about helping them make this short film, we both said “Do A Kickstarter!” and so that is what they did.
Last month I wrote a post called “The New Entertainment Bundlers” in which I talked about the emerging group of companies that are bundling subscription entertainment (and other services) into an offering that makes it easier and less expensive for consumers to acquire streaming entertainment services.
But something has happened on the way to the forum. Amazon has decided to unbundle its streaming video service and sell it in the US for $8.99/month. Amazon’s Prime service remains a massive player and bundler of entertainment in the market but the decision to unbundle video suggests that bundlers like Amazon and YouTube will also unbundle and compete on multiple dimensions. That makes sense.
Of course, it remains to be seen if a bundler like Amazon will allow another bundler, like Verizon or AT&T, to bundle their unbundled services. From a consumer perspective, that would be best. The more options and the more competition in the market, the better for consumers. It’s nice to see the market evolving in that direction.