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On-Demand Culture

Digital Delivery and the Future of Movies

Chuck Tryon

Publication Year: 2013

The movie industry is changing rapidly, due in part to the adoption of digital technologies. Distributors now send films to theaters electronically. Consumers can purchase or rent movies instantly online and then watch them on their high-definition televisions, their laptops, or even their cell phones. Meanwhile, social media technologies allow independent filmmakers to raise money and sell their movies directly to the public. All of these changes contribute to an “on-demand culture,” a shift that is radically altering film culture and contributing to a much more personalized viewing experience.

Chuck Tryon offers a compelling introduction to a world in which movies have become digital files. He navigates the complexities of digital delivery to show how new modes of access—online streaming services like YouTube or Netflix, digital downloads at iTunes, the popular Redbox DVD kiosks in grocery stores, and movie theaters offering digital projection of such 3-D movies as Avatar—are redefining how audiences obtain and consume motion picture entertainment. Tryon also tracks the reinvention of independent movies and film festivals by enterprising artists who have built their own fundraising and distribution models online.

Unique in its focus on the effects of digital technologies on movie distribution, On-Demand Culture offers a corrective to address the rapid changes in the film industry now that movies are available at the click of a button.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Writing this book has been both challenging and invigorating. Given that new technologies and movie distribution strategies emerge almost daily, the pace of change invariably seems to surpass the ability to research and document those changes. At the same time, I have been excited not only to observe this moment of media in transition ...

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Introduction: On-Demand Culture; Digital Distribution and the Future of Cinema

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pp. 1-17

In May 2012 comedian Mark Malkoff embarked on an unusual challenge when he sought to watch as many Netflix streaming movies as possible over the course of a single month. Reasoning that he wanted to get the best value possible for his $7.99 per month subscription, Malkoff managed to watch 252 movies—approximately eight per day ...

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Chapter 1. Coming Soon to a Computer near you: Digital Delivery and Ubiquitous Entertainment

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pp. 18-40

In an interview discussing the closure of all of the Blockbuster Video stores in Canada, Kaan Yigit, president of Solutions Research Group, commented that “this is the Netflix decade for movies. Kids growing up will hardly ever know there was a time you actually went to a store to get a movie.”1 ...

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Chapter 2. Restrictive and Resistant Mobilities: Negotiating Digital Delivery.

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pp. 41-57

This chapter offers a more extended exploration of the issues related to the practices and the business of digital delivery. It starts with the observation that, despite the promises of digital utopians, on-demand culture is characterized not by universal access but by the process of limiting and restricting when and where content is available. ...

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Chapter 3. "Make any Room your TV Room": Digital Delivery and Media Mobility

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pp. 58-75

In March 2011, Time Warner Cable launched an iPad application that would allow subscribers to stream some of their television content to their iPad, a total of approximately thirty cable channels, as long as they were connected to a Time Warner wireless router associated with a cable account. Like other digital delivery platforms, the app was announced as a transformative way of watching television and movies. ...

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Chapter 4. Breaking through the Screen: 3D, Avatar, and the Future of Moviegoing

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pp. 76-96

At ShoWest 2005, one of the pre-eminent trade conventions for the motion picture industry, Avatar and Titanic director James Cameron, in cooperation with Texas Instruments, sought to promote the emerging format of digital projection in theaters. At the time, theater owners were reluctant to change over, given that conversion costs were estimated at $100,000 per screen. ...

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Chapter 5. Redbox vs Red Envelope, or Closing the Window on the Bricks-and-Mortar Video Store

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pp. 97-116

The digital delivery of movies seems to democratize access to a wide array of movies, but it also threatens to disrupt some of the traditional ways in which studios have been able to produce revenue, especially after a film leaves movie theaters. Specifically, the persistent availability of movies in streaming catalogs lessens consumers’ need to buy a copy of a film ...

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Chapter 6. The Twitter Effect: Social Media and Digital Delivery.

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pp. 117-135

Even as digital delivery made it possible to access movies on demand, movie fans faced the challenge of navigating the different platforms where content was available. At the same time, consumers were introduced to the notion of more personalized and fragmentary media experiences. ...

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Chapter 7. Indie 2.0: Digital Delivery, Crowdsourcing, and Social Media

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pp. 136-154

At the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, prolific indie filmmaker Kevin Smith announced that he would be holding an “auction” for his latest movie, Red State, a low-budget horror film that satirized the homophobic and publicity-hungry Westboro Baptist Church, survivalist groups, and media sensationalism, among other targets. ...

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Chapter 8. Reinventing Festivales: Curation, Distriution, and the Creationg of Global Cinephilia

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pp. 155-172

In July 2010 stalwart directors Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald engaged in what was billed as “a historic cinematic experiment” when they invited YouTube users to submit video footage for a planned two-hour documentary entitled Life in a Day. The filmmakers stipulated only that the footage had to be recorded on July 24 ...

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Conclusion: Digital Futures

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pp. 173-180

Digital delivery not only affects the economic models of the movie industry but also promotes an on-demand culture, in which the practices of moviegoing and the perceptions of media culture are transformed. Movie viewers are now re-imagined as individualized and mobile, able to watch practically anywhere or anytime they wish, ...


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pp. 181-206


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pp. 207-212


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pp. 213-218

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About the Author

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p. 225-225

Chuck Tryon is an assistant professor in the English department at Fayetteville State University. He is the author of Reinventing Cinema: Movies in the Age of Media Convergence, published by Rutgers University Press, ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813561110
E-ISBN-10: 0813561116
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813561103

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013