Digital distribution and ownership is commonplace for music, but for movies the digital process is still in its early stages of transition. Music’s exposure grew thanks to its accessibility online. Movies are making a similar transition, but the change did not reach music’s success level. A small number of online distributors exists and these few distributors face a tougher task putting movies into a new digital age. Yekra Theater aims to add its name to the distributor list with a plan to increase movie exposure and a seamless online viewing experience.
Subscribers on Netflix, Amazon and other online distributors need an app or on a specific webpage to view their movies. Yekra presents a different kind of plan to give online viewers a better online experience. Instead of taking viewers to a new destination, Yekra Theater embeds its movie player onto any website and lets users stream, download, purchase and rent movies straight from the embedded theater. Viewers do not need to click on an external link or log in to an account on another page. All they need to do is press play.
“We sat down and brainstormed and came up with a solution of the evolution and beginning of Yekra, which is a player that can be embedded into absolutely anywhere. What we’re doing is reversing the typical model. Instead of spending all this time and energy pulling consumers to a destination, lets instead push content out to where people already are based on common interest like fans, community owners and website owners to curate content for their audience. Similar to like a Pinterest board. You can really target it to a niche audience, but you’re pushing the content out to them, taking it to where the eyeballs already actually are. There’s the human element of content curation. The ultimate goal is to help filmmakers, distributors, and producers basically sell the digital and physical content online direct consumer in a way that suits them best,” says Lee Waterworth.
The online theater curates content based on common genres. If the presets does not match a specific audience, users are able to customize their own lists for their online visitors to enjoy. The curation of content from fans and movie enthusiasts allows more films to reach the right audience. This helps filmmakers and studios to promote and gain the right audience they need.
Studios need a great marketing tactic and the budget to capture an core audience to gain profits. Not many films, however, have the blockbuster budgets of some. Yekra offers filmmakers and studios to market their films with a better return on investments and reach a core audience with a smaller budget. Warner Bros. and The Dove Foundation are some of the high-profile partners Yekra developed to further expand their movie database.
Lee Waterworth, Founder of Yekra Theater says, “In order to reach your audience, you need to either have an audience or be motivated and have the toolset to get you to an audience or you have to have a lot of money to buy advertisements to reach a slice of that audience in search of impressions. We have thousands of theater screens and we have thousands of shops that sell your DVDs and Blu-ray, yet we have 10 people – if we’re lucky – who we are relying on to take us to the future of online distribution. Every one of them has a business model where it’s all about pulling consumers to a destination, which is their website and then pedaling a single editorial solution. You get to iTunes and my movie is not on the front page, the likelihood is, you never even heard of it. So how on earth are you going to find it even if you might be interested in it?”
Right now, a lot of problems are hindering the online movie industry. Illegal downloads is the number one reason why online distribution has not gained traction. Movie studios are afraid of losing profits and tried to battle various illegal sites such as BitTorrent and PirateBay (unsuccessfully). The legal battles against illegal downloading sites created some unsuccessful solutions such as DRM, slowing down the digital movement further, and the Net Neutrality fight causing further disruption for the future of online distribution. Music was able to easily transition into the digital age thanks to Napster, Youtube, MP3 players and other companies embracing the MP3. Of course that is not to say the transition did had zero hiccups, but many of the problems have been solved to let the digital music industry grow. Netfilx and other streaming services provides some momentum for the digital movie movement, but does not help the idea on owning a digital movie. Many kinks need to be fixed before any online distributor can launch a quality service for the public to enjoy.
Music advancements on the digital front provides a glimpse of what movies can do online. Movies and music are still two different form of entertainment, but movie distributors can take a page out of music’s online developments to grow further enhance the online experience. Yekra’s idea expands upon the online distribution in a new way and may further push movies into the digital age.