Tuesday 8, February 2011
cont’d from previous blog entry
The Magic of Winning 8 Times
Freakonomics, the movie includes the story of fixed race of Sumo tournaments.
Did you know that a Professor of Freakonomics exists in Japan as well?
and is always seen sporting a checked flannel shirt.
I am sure he really is the professor of AKIBA-KEI (Akihabara style computer geeks).
He is Tatsuo Tanaka, who is a professor of Economics at Keiô University.
Recently, Professor Tanaka, I call him “Tacchan” secretly,
published a controversial report. In this he stated that
his analysis showed that although
”YouTube viewer numbers increased, so did DVD sales as well.
Don’t be afraid of illegal downloads.”
He published under the imprint of RIETI
(Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry agency).
However, the book contains a disclaimer at the beginning,
“This is my personal opinion that I take full responsibility for it.
It does not reflect the opinion of (Incorporated Administrative Agency) RIETI.”
What kind of perilous economics are in this paper?
Professor Tanaka’s notable point is that,
the Japanese entertainment industry’s way of thinking that
any content that attracts large numbers of viewers on YouTube
cannot have any commercial value remaining.
However, the opposite is true, in that,
DVD sales increase in line with YouTube viewership.
So it is a nonsense to introduce a law that destroys illegal downloads.
You unconciously miss the nice film.
That is called opportunity loss in economics.
The professor said in his book, “YouTube doesn’t damage sales,
if anything it increases sales. It is desirable to widen distribution via YouTube.
Any right’s holder who deletes content from YouTube,
will by it’s own accord become the loser. I mean by this sentence
that I think that stopping illegal downloading is a faulty policy.”
However, it needs a real example to be able to corroborate this opinion.
Don’t be bound a policy until it comes into force. Learn positively by trial and error,
by circulating a production, and then judge the loss or gain for the copyright holder.
It is logical that the independent business is judge by an independent party,
rather than the copyright management organization.
This is the assertion of the professor.
Professor Tanaka’s profound opinions.
According to Tacchan’s analysis, “YouTube viewership increases DVD sales,
not decreases them.
1% extra YouTube viewership equates to a 0.25% increase in DVD sales.”
You can read the full text of the discussion paper from this link.
A while ago, I was in the habit of watching some episodes of a variety programme
called “How Do You Like Wednesday?” on my iPad before going to sleep.
But one night they had all been deleted.
The next day I saw on a news programme that the affiliate of the copyright owner
has asked for them to be removed.
Well the affiliate is engaged in a cat-and-mouse game to get them deleted periodically.
I must admit I really enjoyed an episode showing a Journey Around Europe.
It made me burst out laughing, and allowed me to sleep well.
I was thinking about buying the DVD of “A Journey Around America”
after its European tour episode ends, but when the European tour episode was interrupted,
as a consequence I cannot be bothered to buy the America DVD now.
I simply lost my tension which I think this the consumer psychology of a great many people.
It is a strange thing to say, and I might be criticised for stating,
given that I work in the film industry sales arena,
but I honestly feel that as Japanese films cannot be sold overseas
I would rather people watched them for free rather than not all.
This really is my honest feeling.
In the case of a film that is worthy of appreciation,
we have to show it to people, it should not just be left on the shelf
because the market is not mature enough.
I think nothing shown, nothing gained.
However, I want to make it perfectly clear now that I do not mean
“dumping the films which cannot be sold”. That is not my opinion.
“It is possible to show films via internet distribution.
It is the one kind of a strategy for sale with the films that are worthy of a sale”.
This is my opinion.
It is possible to try and find “the appropriate size”
by aiming at the specific audience niche.
I wrote about this in a previous blog.
However, in the case of a premature market,
for example the position with Japanese films –
raise awareness >>> gain support >>>
win popularity >>> the market fixes the price.
When facing a new market the Market Penetration Pricing Strategy
described is needed. This is based on personal experience.
This is not an academic formula it is based on actual market criteria.
If it does not sell, keep it safe and sound in storage.
This vicious circle exists in the Japanese film industry
because it is overly conscious of protecting rights entitlements.
For example, the most widely used form of publicity in Japan
is the “free preview”, but it is only in theaters.
If you are not interested in that movie from the first place,
people don’t move to get your pen to write a postcard for lottery.
Sometimes the streaming video service, like Hikari TV
distributes a film for a limited time period, known as “Free preview at home”.
However, people have to apply and win a prize to watch the film free.
So audiences think it is a pain to spend time and effort on the entry application,
so it is not worth it. Then people lose the information
and the chance to watch the film. Finally, the film fails to garner an audience
and attract the attention of people who are not interested in it.
On the music scene, via Napster Shawn Fanning
built up a downloading culture rapidly.
He changed the face of music distribution forever.
I learned about this from the film THE SOCIAL NETWORK,
which is the running for Oscars. (LOL)
The film contains a negative attitude toward downloading,
in that it says “streaming is forgivable,
but downloading is outrageous”.
I am interested in what transpires.
In the case of the current target generation,
they have already moved away from TV
and the printed word to the Internet.
Time marches on, and we cannot resist any longer.
If you work in the reproduction business,
I have no doubt it is time to find a new business.
Tsutaya, a Japanese multi-media retailer,
has been moving toward an alternate delivery style for some time.
(Mr Takafumi Horie, popularly known as Horeimon said so too).
According to the analysis of Professor Tanaka, alias Tacchan,
it is still in the minority yet. It has been stated by the professor also.
Of course, we can’t agree with it unconditionally,
without taking the time to verify an example in a multilateral manner.
It is definitely “Freakonomics” now.
Time has proved the American professors arguement is sound.
I am sure that although the enthusiastic Japanese professor’s point of view
is in the minority at the moment, history will prove him right.
Professor Tatsuo Tanaka is attacked a lot for his point of view,
but he keeps proposing it in an attempt to change peoples minds
to a more positive view of his idea. I support his proposal.
Besides, the true meaning of “one man’s intuition
becomes everybody’s confidence” is shown in
Gem Partners, Ms. Umezu’s very precise “Box Office Market Analysis”.
I think the film industry should use a tool like this.
Somehow, we have an inclination to understand
something when it is proved with statistics.
However, the numbers can beguile, and so should not be taken on blind belief.
We need to look at a decision from all angles.
We must remember it is only a tool, and avoid being tricked by the magic of numbers.
I call it the magic of “US No.1 Film”.
Recently a lot of films are promoted
using the catchphrase “America’s No.1″.
What is the point of calling a film “No.1″.
Anyway, apart from this question,
I really want to write about the style of advertising the hones on on this phrase.
Although this style of advertising is so old-hat and has lost it’s magic sheen.
Firstly, film marketing needs a sense of intuition, and then,
quantative analysis to back this up. This is what I think.
The important thing is not to reduce the width of
“choices” and “possibility” with one’s own accord
with a pre-conceived idea.
We have to chose a tool that includes distribution to deal correctly.
Choose the best tool “strategically” for each film.
This is my reasoning.
That is why I am keeping an eye on Professor Tanaka, aka Tacchan.
I feel intuitively, “This is true”.
I want you to read the report for more details pertaining to economics and
He specialises in IT and Game industry analysis,
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
cont’d from previous blog entry.
(c) 2010 Outrage Film Partners
Well, now I want to write about the business.
The target markets for the Takeshi Kitano’s and
Noboru Iguchi’s films are quite different.
Of course, the scale of the market is also different.
In days gone by, the business target for a film to be
widely successful was to cater to a “broad but shallow” profile.
Nowadays, it is possible to reach fans even with a small scale niche film.
The output of these two directors clearly illustrates this scenario.
The important thing is to be the “proper size”.
Where… and who do we want to see the film?
How many regular customers are there?
How much is a reasonable “cost” to reach them and make a profit?
If we take all these things into consideration and plan accordingly,
I think it should be a hit.
What is a hit?
A hit film is when it is seen by a great many people,
but nowadays it can be a hit if it is taken to somebody’s heart deeply.
However, it is very important to plan and
think about the profitability of a film of that size.
You might think that “such an idea is obvious”,
but you would be surprised how many films are in existence,
simply because “I made a film, because I wanted to make it”.
The fact is, that the purpose of initial calculations is
to get the film made not to recoup on the investment.
It is the pitfall of film art.
However, the producer has to think about the realities,
not the director or creator.
In the future, it will be necessary for the creator’s talent and
artistry to be sublimated to the mindset of a producer
on the stage called business.
I am already feeling like this for several years now.
To be a director oneself or to be a strategist in partnership with a director,
I think is fine as long as you keep a producer like perspective.
If you are young and you want to be a film director,
you have to seek out a partnership like this,
or instil in oneself the mind of a producer.
I think that this is the key to becoming
a successful “evergreen” film director.
Oh, well I planned to write about the loincloth to film business today,
and it took an unexpected turn.
Samurai Blue, the Japanese National Football Team,
won a glorious victory.
They did not hesitate in their course.
The day will come when a young talent will appear
with a meteoric rise in the film industry.
I get excited thinking that day may be soon!
Well, too much talk about business.
it is subtitled like,
“Mind your business, asshole! ”
Okay, I’m outta here, have a nice day!
Most foreign audience think that KItano tried to go the other stage,
but actually, THIS is original Kitano.
Maybe people became knowing him for KIKUJIRO, so you found the dirrent taste as
the directors foundamental world, but it is not.
He just look back his original and I think this is masterpiece.
It is also a good ABC to 893(Yakuza) world!!
Tueday, 25 January 2010
Hollywood’s awards race is in full swing.
(C) 2010 See-Saw Films. All rights reserved.
Today, I am going to talk about the Producers Guild of America.
It seems that the winner of the Darryl Francis Zanuck Producer of the Year award
went to THE KING’S SPEECH, defeating THE SOCIAL NETWORK.
This result contradicted expectations and was a big surprise in Hollywood.
Well, what kind of award is this Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year award,
from the Producers Guild of America?
It is an enormously long name. Zanuck was the legendary producer behind
ALL ABOUT EVE. This prize is given as a reflection of his distinguished services.
It is attributed as being an index that is closest to the Academy Awards.
By the way, in comparison with the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards
these Producers Guild awards are relatively unknown.
Members of the PGA (Producers Guild of America) vote on this prize.
Only producers who meet the requirements laid down can become a member.
They must have credit on more than two theatrically released films as a producer.
Beginners luck does not exist here. They must also keep their status a secret.
Producers who work for a major studio for several years
can easily increase the number of films they gain credit on,
but how do independent producers gain the right to vote??
1) One feature length film with Exclusive Theatrical Runs in a minimum of 2 markets
one of which must have a population of over 1 million.
Theatrical runs must be at least one week to qualify; or
2) VOD (Video on Demand) – One feature length film that has gone direct to DVD
and is distributed through Netflix, Blockbuster, etc; or
3)One feature length film in any of the following major film festivals:
AFI Fest (USA) / Berlin International Film Festival (Germany) /
Cannes Festival International Du Film (France) / New York Film Festival (USA)
Sundance Film Festival (USA) / Telluride Film Festival (USA)
Toronto Film Festival (Canada) / Tribeca Film Festival (USA) / Venice Film Festival (Italy)
It you meet one of these requirements you gain access to membership.
It feels that No.2 more than No.1, and No.2 than No.3…
I mean that I feel that No.2 is the easiest way to gain a chance of entry.
I heard from a producer that the films made for Internet streaming/download
can also be considered as your resume.
The particular point of reference is regarding “a feature film”.
Is seems the budget does not matter.
However at the moment it seems insurmountable.
It has to have the reference from one member of the PGA
and two people from the industry.
They have to have worked in the same project before,
so it is not only about the paperwork.
The guild signature is like a stamp of approval on any cirriculum vitae.
It is seems to be a pretty good society to join,
but does seem almost impossible.
It somehow reminds me of the Harvard University secret society in
THE SOCIAL NETWORK.
“an application form that is submitted without recommendations
will be returned immediately without consideration”.
Pheeew, that’s cheeky.
For all of these reasons, I guess any producer who receives the prize
should feel very happy, given all the seemingly insurmountable
difficulties they have encountered.
Well then, a producer that who has faced the relentless judgement
should achieve great success commercially and artistically.
The producer of THE KING’S SPEECH is one such person.
The film has been nominated in 14 categories
at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts awards,
which is the greatest number ever.
Although I do not doubt it’s high quality
I wonder how it will fair in the current climate in Japan.
Personally I am looking forward to seeing it,
and to viewing the bewitching performance of Geoffrey Rush,
who received the Academy Award for his role in Scott Hick’s SHINE.
Come to think of it there are a lot foreign films this year,
that make me want to go to the cinema.
It is so exciting to watch an American film, with popcorn.
Ooops, this is an English film.
I’m sure if I was a cinema owner,
I would make you watch the film with afternoon tea served with silverware.
Sunday, 24 January 2011
Development Department Executives in Hollywood read more than
10 scripts in a day. Of course, I think they get their assistants to read
most of them, and they actually only read the ones highlighted
by the assistants.
Despite this it is an extraordinary feat to find that golden script,
which is like a treasure in a vast desert. Moreover,
it is sometimes like the beautiful blue ocean that is turned completely
red as all the rivals swarm together.
It’s abnormal increase of phytoplankton.
Sometimes, there is somebody wonderful left unnoticed
amongst all the scriptwriters and their work falls from
the hands of these executives.
One of these was MARGIN CALL, which is showing currently at Sundance.
In fact, it was big news in the film industry at script stage
even before it’s premiere in Sundance.
In Hollywood, there is a list put together by important people and
superior assistants called the “The Black List”.
“The Black List” means;
“In reality these are brilliant scripts but they have not yet been produced”.
J.C.Chandor’s MARGIN CALL was a rumoured script,
and in 2010 it was in the top 10 on “The Black List”.
Although it did not get selected by any studio,
it caught the attention one day of a certain independent film producer,
who decided to make the film before the 2010 “Black List” was circulated.
It is quite a Cinderella story.
The man who spotted the possibilities in this script was Cassian Elwes,
who is credited on the film as an Executive Producer.
Oh, I know this man!
Six years ago, I was a acquisition executive in my former job at StyleJam.
I had my eyes on a documentary film about the police called
EVERYONE STARES, THE POLICE INSIDE OUT,
and I flew to the Sundance Film Festival to watch it.
First of all, I watched the film, and then asked to speak to the producer directly.
That producer was Cassian Elwes. I am sure, he was a producer
working out of the William Morris Agency at the time.
I really thought he was quite tough man to deal with.
Moreover, the director also came to the negotiating table,
and this turned out to be the drummer Stewart Copeland!!
I remember I was so tense that my body was covered in sweat
and my tongue kept getting twisted, despite the severe cold of Utah, USA.
What I really want to say is that he is a doer,
and creates quite an intimidating atmosphere, very professional.
Of course, the real reason for my perspiration was the fact that
“I am talking with Stewart Copeland, now”; it was like a dream.
Stewart Copeland surprised Japanese fans at press conference.
Anyway, to return to the main topic.
MARGIN CALL, which had caught Cassian Elwe’s attention,
was a hot title at the American Film Market last November.
This is an industry film festival that is held in Santa Monica every year.
Though the film was not complete, the film rights were sold to
17 territorries on the strength of the script and the those wonderful cast attached.
It will open to the public in Germany, Italy, Australia, Scandinavia, Mexico, Brazil,
Canada, Argentina, Latin America, Peru, China, Russia, Near & Middle East,
Turkey, the Ukraine, former Yugoslavia, and Romania.
It is always delightful to know that one film can go to so many countries
after it has been born.
China purchased this foreign film at script stage,
which is a very noteworthy point at this time.
Will it get approval from SARFT, which is the very strict administrator
over the performance of foreign films.
It’s interesting to keep an eye of this.
Saturday, 21 January 2011
The other day I wrote about the fact that the
number of attendances in Korea was the lowest
it had been for the last 5 years.
Today I am going write about
the rising dragon (meaning “powerful”) China.
In 2010 the Chinese box office had a 64% rise.
It was 62 billion one thousand million Chinese yuan
(about 781 million yen) in 2009, rising to
100 billion two thousand million yuan (1,284 billion yen) in 2010.
Fresh in our memory is the record attendance’s of
1,300 million in Korea for TSUNAMI.
The most successful film in China last year was
TANGSHAN EARTHQUAKE, where the attendances topped
2,000 million. It is also a disaster films.
(However, it is a melodrama, not just a disaster film.
The film will open in Japan through Shochiku
Distribution on the 26th of March).
© 2010 Tangshan Broadcast and Television Media Co., Ltd.
Huayi Brothers Media Corporation/Media Asia Films (BVI) Limited
The number of Chinese films produced rose by
15% over the previous year with 526 productions.
In 2000 it was 83 films, so it is an amazing
increase over the last ten years.
In China, the government controls film making.
SARFT (State Administration of Radio, Film and Television)
looks at the content of the films and administers them.
It is an approval system. Underground films, so it is said,
are still made outside of this approval system.
In China at present the digitisation of cinema
is progressing at a tremendous velocity.
It is said that China will be the first country
in the world to fully digitise all its cinema’s.
Recently I heard the news that China ordered
a large quantity of digital projectors from NEC.
Everything in China “goes fast”.
By the way…
In Korea, 824 million people watched AVATAR,
which equates to a box office of about 204 billion yen in China.
This amounts to 10% of the total world box office for the film.
All of this despite the fact that AVATAR was prevented from
showing in the cinema up to the end of its run.
With a population of 13 billion the power of China is really amazing.
McKinsey & Company predicted in 2008 the city populations of China
would continue to increase. Last year, the market was worth
1,200 billion yen, and this will rise to 3,600 billion yen within 5 years.
Attendances are estimated to rise to 11 billion people in that time.
By the way, the admission fees in China are 18 dollars for 3D
and 12 dollars for 2D films. We feel that it is cheaper
because of the strength of the yen,
but it almost the same admission charge as that in Japan.
It is obvious that the market for film in China is extremely large.
Hollywoods hunt for Japanese animation and Manga originals
has wained to the point where it has all but dried up.
However, they are opening branches in China and investing there.
Everyone will point to this being the tone of
the entertainment industry in China.
“It makes sense!”