With people being barred from leaving the house, the film industry has greatly suffered within the course of the pandemic. Because of this, the interest in in-cinema viewing has dwindled greatly and people have been turning to video-on-demand (VOD) platforms to watch movies and shows.
In response to the change in distribution processes, Facebook has recently announced that they will be holding their first-ever official film premiere on the platform. The platform will be featuring a documentary called “The Outsider” on August 19 and the said film will be a Facebook ticketed event.
According to Axios:
"The premiere can be viewed by any Facebook users in countries where Paid Online Events are available. Currently, they are available in more than 100 countries worldwide. Facebook will be providing some paid promotion to help market the event. The tech giant has committed to not taking a cut of any ticketed events or revenue from independent creators until 2023."
The featured film, “The Outsider”, focuses on the construction of the 9/11 Museum in Manhattan. The reason for the film’s premiere being held on Facebook is due to the wish for the film’s distributors to reach a wider, international audience, despite the majority of cinemas still being closed.
Depending on the premiere’s success, this could be the first of many amazing opportunities for Facebook, possibly providing the platform with a new avenue for growth.
For the past few years, Facebook has been looking to build and expand its Watch platform. A number of Facebook Watch exclusive shows have been released, however many have fallen flat and not succeeded. However, despite the failures, Facebook videos still account for almost half of the time users spend in the app, making it a key element to the success and growth of the app.
With the number of people availing of subscription services such as Disney+ and Netflix for leisurely watching, online film distribution seems like it will stay a trend, even when cinemas eventually re-open.
Due to the online distribution trend, the film industry has been shaken up, leading to a number of incidents, such as Hollywood stars suing production companies over back-end deals based on box office sales. With normal cinema being impacted, the flow of distribution and revenue has changed and contracts have been meeting quite a few complications.
While the number of changes caused by the shift to online distribution may limit film investment opportunities, they have at the same time allowed VOD platforms, such as Facebook, to expand and provide a whole new set of distribution tools to both small and big companies. With the use of major platforms like Facebook, small distribution companies will be able to reach huge audiences and get the credit that they deserve for their amazing work.
However, the real question brought about by these changes is how much money will companies and artists be able to make. As traditional film distribution deals still tend to be more lucrative than what Facebook can ever hope to provide, people are still quite on the fence with things. However, the use of Facebook for film premieres may end up providing small filmmakers with the opportunities they need to get their work out into the world, which is especially important as cinemas start shifting to release only big-name movies and guaranteed hits.
Facebook’s film premiere is for sure an interesting experiment and, with the crazy number of advertising opportunities that could possibly be tied into select premieres and screenings, whether it succeeds is definitely something to look forward to.