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Apple's iTunes may soon become favorite of indie studios

post #1 of 19
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Hordes of independent film producers lacking larger-scale distribution deals may soon find themselves flocking to Apple's iTunes Store, where batches of indie action sports videos have begun to crop up.

A report published at Variety notes that on Tuesday iTunes began selling "That," a snowboarding action flick made for DVD by independent film producer Forum Snowboards.

The move represents the first time the Cupertino-based iPod maker has sold video content on its iTunes service that didn't come from an established network, studio or distributor.

Variety adds that iTunes has also started to sell content from Wasserman Media Group's Studio411, a financier and distributor of skateboarding, motocross, ski and snowboard vids. According to the report, the action sports films are being sold in iTunes TV section at $1.99, instead of in the feature film section, where most videos are priced $9.99.

For Forum Snowboards, arrival of its content on iTunes reportedly followed a near 10-month negotiation process in which the studio eventually agreed to sell its content at the lower price point. The 30-minute "That" movie was released on DVD in September and initially sold in specialty sports shops for as much as $29.99.

"Forum first asked its DVD distributor to get "That" onto iTunes," said the report. "When it didn't succeed, the company started talking to Apple directly."
post #2 of 19
Great news for the indies... more power (and profits) to 'em!

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post #3 of 19
This is great for all of us!!!! Were finally gaining a "real media" across the board! for bonding uniting and enlightening each other.... and sharing new creations!


just like Itunes is great for indie artists no longer do we need to rely on massive out of touch dumbed down soulless corporations..... yay apple!
post #4 of 19
I'm surprised they are selling for $1.99. Didn't PBS or discovery or someone put some TV shows on itunes at $7.99? (I think it was the TV show NOVA) This seems like it would be worth a bit more than $2.
post #5 of 19
Low price for movies is great. That's when the step from watching the preview to pressing the buy button is really really small. If the preview looks just half interesting I can just buy it and watch it. And if it turns out it sucks I just spent $2 on it. And if it's a hit it's a bargain. This is where the strenght in digital distribution lies. Buying cheap movies online could potentially get more popular than movie rental stores.
post #6 of 19
This is good for us as consumers but I dont necessarily think this price point is good for independant film makers. Sure more people will have the chance to buy their films (a good thing) but at this price are the benefits going to be that big for them?

Having said that I am probably completely wrong and this will be the best thing for independant film. I guess only time will tell.
post #7 of 19
iTunes is another avenue of promotion and sales. The people that browse or search iTunes are not necessarily the people that would find it by social networking sites or forums.
post #8 of 19
Hey, as long as they are happy with the slice they get, it doesn't hurt the consumer to get these for $2 if they normally retail at $30...
Who knows there just might be an increased demand, which might make it worthwhile for my supply... And so the game begins.
post #9 of 19
How many folks here have bought a 30m sport video for $30? I've seen quite a few Warren Miller movies but don't own one. Mostly its like 1 guy or gal in the ski club that owns these and they show them at a party or something. So ownershipwise its probably 1 for every 30 or so folks that would even WATCH the silly thing.

For $2 I think a lot more folks will pony up in that once in a blue moon moment when they are in the mood for that kind of flick.

Vinea
post #10 of 19
Low cost Indie movies are a fantastic idea for Apple. Apple makes the very tools that people are using to create said videos.

In fact there should be a highlight film every month that is under the "Made on a Mac" banner. Showing films made in iMovie, Final Cut Express and Final Cut Studio.

If Apple wants to have a similar impact on video as they have with music then reach out to the indies and cover the wide area that is Indie to Major releases.
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post #11 of 19
If Apple were to open iTunes to indie films then Apple itself becomes a film distributor.

That would be great from the indie filmmaker perspective as more distribution avenues are good. Hollywood is a particularly closed and insular system. The people who are allowed to thrive are not always the most talented but often are people whom navigated the system best.

Opening iTunes also opens Apple to bear some responsibility for the content of what it puts on iTunes. By obtaining content from major film and television studios Apple does not need to deal with that process.

There would likely still need to be some intermediary system that actually watches films submitted to iTunes to judge whether the film is appropriate for distribution through iTunes.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

If Apple were to open iTunes to indie films then Apple itself becomes a film distributor.

That would be great from the indie filmmaker perspective as more distribution avenues are good. Hollywood is a particularly closed and insular system. The people who are allowed to thrive are not always the most talented but often are people whom navigated the system best.

Opening iTunes also opens Apple to bear some responsibility for the content of what it puts on iTunes. By obtaining content from major film and television studios Apple does not need to deal with that process.

There would likely still need to be some intermediary system that actually watches films submitted to iTunes to judge whether the film is appropriate for distribution through iTunes.

For all intents and purposes, Apple is now a studio, distributor and venue to consume filmed entertainment. They have the whole pipeline covered, except for the content itself.

How long before there is an Apple film/video festival, or American Idol-like vote for your favorite musician/filmmaker through iTunes (or iPhone)?

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post #13 of 19
As an independent film Producer without Distribution, I certainly hope there is something in the work for this.

http://www.veganfilm.com
post #14 of 19
That's pretty cool, if apple eventually makes an easy submission process I might even be able to make some money off itunes.
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post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

How many folks here have bought a 30m sport video for $30? I've seen quite a few Warren Miller movies but don't own one. Mostly its like 1 guy or gal in the ski club that owns these and they show them at a party or something. So ownershipwise its probably 1 for every 30 or so folks that would even WATCH the silly thing.

For $2 I think a lot more folks will pony up in that once in a blue moon moment when they are in the mood for that kind of flick.

Vinea



Interesting question/point of view!

I own a snowboard/skateboard shop. We sold the video mentioned in the article ("That") this season. We actually sell a LOT of DVDs every year (majority are 30-45 minutes), and we're what I would consider to be a small, and young, shop. Videos are a very, very large part of our industry. The "new" videos of the season generally come out late August/September, and sell contantly through the end of that year. In fact, in our shop, that particular category is one of our largest during the Holiday shopping season! That is surprising even to myself, but true. Most DVDs like we sell are $25-30. So, I would say there are a lot of folks buying them, although it is a very specialized market.

Regarding the price, not knowing the details, this concerns me. As mentioned, this is a pretty important part of our business. It's all about marketing/hyping the brands/riders, and the videos heavily influence how the season goes (what gear is hot, how kids ride, etc.). We'd be OK without the sales, but obviously would rather retain them. I would say, ideally, the early season "new releases" would either not be sold on iTunes, or be sold at a price comparable to a retail store price, much like the music. Once the main "season" is over (maybe December 26th?), the $1.99 hits. "Classic" videos could be sold at $1.99 right off the bat.

Should be interesting to see what comes about. Obviously the production studio mentioned in the article (for "That") would like to avoid this completely, I would think, so this could change up their game completely. They generally handle the manufacturing and distributing of the DVDs.

Of note, Forum Snowboards is now owned by Burton Snowboards, the largest (but privately owned!) company in snowboarding. Burton is very good at protecting dealers as business evolves, so that's comforting. They could also be looking to distribute their team videos, which are generally free, but extremely scarce.

Coincidentally, I'm finishing up our 2008 Burton orders right now! Took a few minutes to read some Apple news and here we are!

Holy crap that was long. Apologies in advance!


*It was a mild hell this year dealing with a DVD called "That". "Do you guys have 'That' in?" "Have what?"

Man it's late...
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprockets View Post

Interesting question/point of view!

I own a snowboard/skateboard shop. We sold the video mentioned in the article ("That") this season. We actually sell a LOT of DVDs every year (majority are 30-45 minutes), and we're what I would consider to be a small, and young, shop. Videos are a very, very large part of our industry.[/SIZE]

Hmmm...different demographic I guess. Skiiers are more casual and older I think right?

Given your comments I would think the team videos are more for marketing than as a real revenue source.

Vinea
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Hmmm...different demographic I guess. Skiiers are more casual and older I think right?

Given your comments I would think the team videos are more for marketing than as a real revenue source.

Vinea



That has generally been the case (skiers), but there are lot of kids starting out. A lot of it has to do with twin tipped skis, which are relatively new to market. Kids that are into that pretty much look like snowboarders on skis. It's interesting to see, for those that've been around since snowboarding was "new".

The team videos would definitely be a marketing tool, but they could generate revenue through iTunes, which they've never done before. Wouldn't hurt? As mentioned, they're scarce, we get a limited number and give them to preferred customers. If people could outright buy them, especially for $1.99, I can see them selling a LOT.

The videos like That are definitely big business. It'll be interesting to see what happens!
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Hmmm...different demographic I guess. Skiiers are more casual and older I think right?

Given your comments I would think the team videos are more for marketing than as a real revenue source.

If it's just marketing, then I'd think that the same videos would likely be downloadable from the team's web site. The pay model isn't the only way to get into the iTunes store, the videos could have been listed as a video podcast. Who knows, I suppose that isn't the only school of thought though, charging a little bit might increase the percieved value, to get above that "if it's free, it can't be good" mindset, and have an added bonus of preventing the team from breaking their bank on bandwidth bills.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprockets View Post

That has generally been the case (skiers), but there are lot of kids starting out. A lot of it has to do with twin tipped skis, which are relatively new to market. Kids that are into that pretty much look like snowboarders on skis. It's interesting to see, for those that've been around since snowboarding was "new".

I was in Åre a couple of weeks ago and when you looked at the dream parks they had there the skiers (kids) was in a big majority, granted Åre has always been a skiers place, but 5 years ago there where a LOT more snowboarders, especially among Kids (where it was almost 100%)

Seeing these new dream parks made me want to be young again, we had to go skiing offpist in the woods to add some excitement to our skiing. :-)

Another thing you noticed was that there was at least on kid in each group with a video camera.
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