Thinking Differently

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Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Doesn’t it amaze you how having a simple lunch (or coffee) with a very smart individual gets you thinking differently about the world?

Just yesterday, I grabbed a coffee with Sebastien Provencher (one of the guys behind Praized and one of my favourite Bloggers at The Praized Blog), and we got to talking about the difference between people using feeds, RSS and subscriptions versus the power and serendipity behind mass media (that, in and of itself, is a worthy Blog posting for another day). We then started talking about the troubled music industry and how all industries really need to pay attention to trending, the Web and how their business is shifting.

I look forward to the day when a major motion picture is released simultaneously on the big screen, DVD and pay-per-view. I know this is not a huge idea and it has been done before, but I’m talking about a real blockbuster – like The Dark Knight or Star Wars big.

Thinking differently, I bet on all three platforms it would outsell and out-perform versus the traditional cycle of going to theatres, then pay-per-view and staggered DVD release dates. Why not release them all simultaneously? What is the movie industry afraid of?

In this day and age of one thousand dollar fifty-inch plasma screens and home theatres, isn’t there a bigger opportunity, more chance for word of mouth and much more money to be made by making it available to more people, in the format they desire it most?

Seb says that he would be willing to pay double the price of the movie ticket admission to see it in the comfort of his own home on opening night.

I said I would be willing to pay more.

I’ve never been a fan of the saying, "that’s the way it’s always been done," and I think our new media world calls for more radical thinking. I believe that the pay-per-view version would have a longer shelf-life (as would the DVD) and if the movie is that much of an epic, some (like me) might even make the pilgrimage to the movie theater after watching it in the comfort of our homes just to get another kind of experience.

Thinking differently sometimes reads like babble and blather, but for others it is a lucid moment of opportunity.

Great Marketing needs to start thinking differently too.


  1. Hey Mitch,
    I agree with you about the music / movie industry and how these industries and others (newspapers and “traditional” media) really need to pay attention to trends and the web.
    Recently I watched Kevin Kelly’s talk at TED about the web in the next 5,000 days. It’s hard to believe the web is only 5,000 days old.
    What will the next 5,000 days hold?
    I don’t know the answer to that question but I do know that it will be fundamentally different then it is today.
    If the music, movie and traditional media industries don’t start offering people what they really want – they are in more trouble then any of us can possibly imagine.
    I can’t remember the last time I sat in a movie theater.
    Thinking differently is only the beginning.
    Seth Godin recently had a great post about popcorn.

  2. Let me play devil’s advocate here. Don’t you like going to movies? How about live music concerts? Do you not find that the experience of enjoying a performance, whether on film or live, together with hundreds or thousands of other fans adds to the experience? Personally I do. Oh sure, there are times when the audience can get annoying, but seeing a big blockbuster in a great theatre packed with others who are as excited to see it as you are, is for me, an integral part of the experience.
    To your point about simultaneous release, sure for those who want to see it at home on opening day, that would be an option. But the reality is that if the box office goes down by 20% or 25%, theatres will start to close, so that option will go away.
    Same with live concerts. With your background, I assume you know that the promoter’s profit is the last 10 – 15% of the house. If attendance at live shows dropped because of simulcasts, there would be far fewer live shows. Simple.
    As for paying twice as much to see it at home on opening day – really?
    I’m a big fan of choice – more of a maximalist than minimalist. But sometimes I think we get too clever for ourselves.

  3. What a fantastic idea!
    I’ve been thinking about the cinema – dvd – ppv – terrestrial link up recently. Why not do it backwards?
    Maybe start with PPV, then offer the DVD then have the cinema showings for the true fans who want the atmosphere of enjoying the film together

  4. Hey Andy,
    I think we’re both saying the same thing. My only addition is let me make the choice. Just because I can watch it at home or PPV it, doesn’t mean I will. It’s the idea that I can 😉
    I don’t think sales in any channel will drop. I think it would give them all a longer sales pipeline and open the content up to much more consumption.
    And yes, there are moments where I am willing to pay a premium to get what I want, where I want it and how I want it. I believe the entire food delivery business is based on that.
    But, again, I was just thinking differently.

  5. Mitch, while I agree on principle, there’s one assumption that I think you’re making prematurely: that the idea of “going to the movies” has been cultivated into its own institution.
    Without a real, differentiating tradition behind it, I feel that the theatres would be getting the short end of the stick.
    Films were a new way of seeing “a show” (a need formerly satisfied by plays/musicals), but we’re only now seeing instances of movies being released and pumping up the hype around a theatrical production (Chicago, Dreamgirls, Mamma Mia). Films didn’t have that generalized effect back in the days of Oliver! and Annie.
    “Going to the theater” became a tradition, and it’s alive and well. “Sitting down with my new store-bought album” didn’t, and look where that is. “Reading a book” has an experience built into it; but “reading the newspaper” was rarely, if ever, about much more than reading the news.
    If different media will share a release date, there needs to be a special, intrinsic value that each media holds if it’s ever going to “outsell and out-perform [on all three platforms] versus the traditional cycle”. And I don’t think “going to the movies” is there yet.

  6. Fair enough Aidan… like I said, I was just thinking differently.
    I wonder if that “special, intrinsic value” could be the overall experience of how you consume the content?
    Maybe just being in a theater with others, or watching it in the comfort of your own home or listening to it through headphones in a cafe is the new intrinsic value?

  7. Just today, I was reading on PunkNews that a band I really like (with a cool name), “Of Montreal” are rolling out some wacky packaging formats.
    The album will fold out into a three-foot by four-foot horse poster, and the CD sounds like it will be pony-sized.
    Get this. They are also going to sell
    the album, as a T-shirt, tote bag, button set, paper lantern, and wall decal set + a digital download of the tracks.
    From the punknews site…
    The band stated that their goal is to “expand the perception of music packaging beyond traditional flat, square artwork and to bring consumers back to record stores to get it.”
    How cool is that!!!!

  8. Thank you very much for knowing the difference between an adjective and an adverb and the sense not to use the former in place of the latter.

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