Marketing: Clicking towards a hit
Before the trailer for Visioning Tibet was attracting an impressive 10,000 hits a day on Apple’s Quicktime site, New York filmmaker Isaac Solotaroff had little evidence with which to contradict broadcasters who considered his film too niche for their needs. Completed in early 2005, the doc chronicles a U.S. doctor’s efforts to help end cataract blindness in Tibetans. The online traffic is now Solotaroff’s main selling point. ‘It made the film credible as a general audience film,’ he says. He’s currently speaking with KQED and HBO.
‘It’s marketing I couldn’t have paid for,’ adds Solotaroff, who credits sites like Apple’s with leveling the playing field for small indies like himself.
The factual community is realizing there’s power in numbers. To lobby for better protection of format rights in Germany (one of the most significant importers of formats in the world after the U.S.), 12 of the country’s leading prodcos banded together in April to form the Association of German Entertainment Producers (AGEP). Modeled after PACT in the U.K., it hopes to improve the terms of trade between producers as rights holders and local broadcasters. Munich-based Blue Eyes is the latest recruit, with major players expected to join soon. Membership is open to companies in Germany with an annual turnover of &euro 5 million (US$6.3 million) or a minimum of 10 hours of entertainment programs – both scripted and factual content.
TV: American Idol vs. current affairs
In a year when reality tv dominated the Canadian airwaves, viewers were watching more news and public affairs programming. A study released this spring by Statistics Canada noted that Canucks spent 38% of their TV time watching current affairs shows on conventional TV and an additional 15% of tv time watching these programs on specialty TV – a jump of 36% according to a similar study done five years earlier. The latest study surveyed households across Canada for four weeks in October, 2003, the same year the U.S. entered Iraq. It also found that instead of spending time in front of the tube, a younger demographic is watching DVDs, surfing the Net or playing video games. Men aged 18 to 24 watched 11.1 hours of TV per week, down from 14.3 hours from the 1998 study. Young women went from 17.1 hours to 15.5 hours per week.