A couple of guys came down from Bristol Uni to interview me last week - Louis and Joe. They are making a documentary on product placement and were interested in the Circumference way of working as a possible future direction. In my mind I don't see Circumference as using product placement but I can see their angle. Just to be clear...
I don't like product placement.
That seems an odd statement from someone whose new film business model is about integrating adverts into the plot of a film. But the difference is small - yet massive. It is about honesty.
We are very clear with the potential audience for Circumference. "It's a free film. It's free because it contains some adverts. But don't worry - we're convinced they are good fun and that you'll enjoy them. Does that sound like a fair deal? Then please watch it."
Contrast that with the product placement way... "It's just a movie, please pay £10 to watch it." but really "and look at that BMW because they gave us some cash. Look hard enough to notice but not hard enough that you think its an advert. What? No. You still have to have paid £10. Er, can I go now?"
In fact, if we add to that the fact that we know cinemas make more profit from food than from ticket sales AND the fact that we know that a cinema release is really a giant advert for the DVD release (which makes 3 times the money) then you wonder if it hasn't just all gone wrong.
What we need is a new contract with the audience. So they know where they stand and don't feel both ripped off and told off (don't pirate this movie etc). The way the film business works has moved on - but the deal with the audience hasn't. That can't work long term.
Photo from the Director's Cut competition
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