Movie Distribution in the Age of Online Streaming

Whenever we speak of “evolution”, we always have to keep in mind that it’s a process with both winners and losers. Winners are those who are better at adapting to the environment that’s changing. Losers are those that can’t. The same goes for every aspect of our lives, not only in the plant and animal kingdoms: from industry to technology and society as a whole. The evolution of technology was felt in its entirety by the movie industry, both in the way the content is produced and distributed. Today, let us take a look at the way the latter has evolved over the years.

From movie theaters to home media

Movies were, at first, shown to the public in a way similar to our movie theaters. People would buy tickets to sit through a motion picture showing – for lack of a better alternative, that is. Then TV was created, and things changed – the moving pictures invaded our living rooms, turning them into spaces like TIFF 17: slim, slick & packed with movie magic. Traditional movie theaters didn’t disappear, though – their entirely different experience (and the fact that they were the ones to show new movies) has kept them alive to this day. As time passed, new ways to consume media were invented.

The first VCRs appeared in the mid-1960s, and they reached mainstream success in the 1970s, ruling the home media industry until the late 1990s when DVD first appeared, which was itself replaced by Blu-ray later, which brought a truly high-quality movie experience into people’s homes.

Rentals to “DVD by Mail”

The first video rental store was created by German film enthusiast Eckhard Baum in Kassel, Germany, in 1975. He had a collection of films on Super8, which he often lent to his friends – and later turned this into a business. George Atkinson created the first professional video rental business in the US in 1977, with 50 titles licensed from 20th Century Fox and rented them out on VHS and Betamax cassettes created by home video duplication service Magnetic Video. This has led to the creation of massive rental chains like Rogers Video, West Coast Video, and the famous Blockbuster in the early 1980s.

The first major attacks on this business model were the creation of “VoD” (Video on Demand), offered by cable TV operators since the 1990s, and the creation of VHS-by-mail services, which later turned into “DVD by mail”. Netflix, today’s best-known media distribution company, was born in the late 1990s as a “DVD by mail” company, offering a subscription-based service to its customers.

Transition to streaming

Netflix first introduced online streaming in 2007, offering its subscribers around one hour of online streaming per each dollar spent on subscription in addition to their agreed services. By the next year, the company lifted this limitation, and later, it separated its physical rental service and its streaming service and slowly continued growing into the service we know today.

The company has played an important role as a film distributor, too. Initially, it licensed and distributed independent productions through its division called Red Envelope Entertainment, which later transformed into in-house content production. The production of its famous “original” series “House of Cards” began in 2011, and the series debuted in 2013 to major success. The range of content produced and distributed by – or for – Netflix grew fast, covering everything from family entertainment to drama and science fiction shows like Sense8, Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things.

At the same time, several competing streaming services have appeared, usually backed by content creators or distribution companies creating their own original content – usually in short form. Movie theaters have remained the medium through which new feature films reach the audiences but after their premiere, they reach viewers less through TV channels (even subscription-based ones like HBO) and more through online streaming, which seems to dominate the market in the age of computers and smartphones.

Indican Pictures Aquires “Radio America” for Distribution

Indican Pictures, a major distributor of independently made films, has announced their latest acquisition, the musical-drama “Radio America.”

Written and directed by Chris Showerman and produced by Showerman and Clint Morris under their Showerman label, “Radio America” tells the story of two farm boys who dream of escaping their rural roots to achieve fame and fortune as rock stars.

“If Indican were the stage, and we were musicians, we couldn’t ask for a better stage to present our act. With their passion, knowledge, and skill, they are undoubtedly the right distributor to bring “Radio America” to the masses”, says Morris.

“Radio America” will be released later this year.

MouseTrap Films Snaps up Four Pix for the Launch of Film Festival Flix & Redefines Indie Film Distribution

First appearing on the scene at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, newly launched MouseTrap Films has been rapidly snapping up films for distribution via its FILM FESTIVAL FLIX monthly theatrical series and ancillaries. Acquisitions include “Face to Face,” “The Calling,” “The Holy Land of Tyrol,” and “Rancid.” MouseTrap President / CEO, Benjamin Oberman, has teamed up with VP of Theatrical Distribution, Jill Gray Savarese, to roll out the films theatrically.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) February 29, 2012
First appearing on the scene at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, newly launched MouseTrap Films has been rapidly snapping up films for distribution via its FILM FESTIVAL FLIX monthly theatrical series and ancillaries. MouseTrap President / CEO, Benjamin Oberman, has teamed up with VP of Theatrical Distribution, Jill Gray Savarese, to roll out the films theatrically.

Early acquisitions include Michael Rymer’s (QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA) “Face to Face” which won the Panavision Spirit Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress at the Newport Beach International Film Festival. The film, which is based upon a play by Australian Playwright, David Williamson, is frequently compared to “12 Angry Men.” Awarded Best of Fest at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Jan Dunn’s “The Calling” stars Oscar®-nominated actress Brenda Blethyn and was the last film of Oscar®-nominee Susannah York. “The Holy Land of Tyrol” (aka “Mountain Blood”) is a visually stunning German foreign language film by director, Philipp J. Pamer. Alastair Orr’s “Rancid” is a highly-anticipated sci/fi horror film. An additional 10 films are in negotiations and expected to close soon.

Oberman, who founded MouseTrap says, “MouseTrap Films was started to find the film festival gems that regularly fall through the cracks. The FILM FESTIVAL FLIX platform was created as a solution to the traditional challenge of marketing and branding a great film that lacks star power or other elements associated with a traditional campaign. We present great films and the film festival experience, monthly in your community, and make the films available to independent film enthusiasts on multiple platforms.”

The FILM FESTIVAL FLIX series will host actors and filmmakers for Q&A in 25 theaters nationwide, while simulcasting the events in up to 200 more. In an unprecedented move, filmmakers and actors may earn the right to screen their 5- minute short films theatrically before the features. Rewarding one local artist who coordinates the event-screening in their community, MouseTrap will screen their short film in that venue. The winner of the monthly online nationwide contest will be screened in all FFF theaters and distributed online at

According to Savarese, who will establish and head-up the theatrical division, “My belief is that we, as distributors, can strengthen the reach of independent films by giving merit-based opportunities to new filmmakers and actors and by supporting the small exhibitors. To that end, we will strive to make our films available to even the smallest venues (including those without digital conversion) and offer them cross-promotional and grassroots marketing support.”

Branching out into film distribution is a natural progression for Oberman after 7 years of producing films, documentaries, and commercials. Savarese, who was a child performer and had a long career as an actor and producer on stage and film is also at home here. A curiosity that some don’t know, however, is the “consultant” parallel between them. Oberman, a former professional pairs figure skater who performed in the 2002 Olympic Games Opening & Closing Ceremonies, was a Figure Skating Consultant on Paramount / Dreamworks’ “Blades of Glory.” Savarese, a political interpreter who interpreted for President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair, was the Sign Language Consultant on the Fox Searchlight film, “The East.”

About Mousetrap Films:
MouseTrap Films offers an alternative releasing strategy, with FILM FESTIVAL FLIX functioning as a powerful new platform to launch and distribute Independent films. MouseTrap, via FILM FESTIVAL FLIX, plans to release 3 films a month in theaters across the US with day and date VOD/DVD. The films will be available for DVD Purchase, Download to Own, and Streaming Rental through the soon-to-be launched website and through additional partnerships and platforms.