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Finding your Niche

I just read an article about the success of movie trailers on the web, as opposed to in theaters or on television. My first thought was “Fucking MPAA hypocrites. The web’s great when you can get something for free, but you throw a tantrum whenever there’s the slightest chance you’re losing so much as a penny!”, but that irritation gave way to a deeper set of considerations.

Near the end of the article, Jeff Reichert, the head of publicity and marketing for Magnolia, an independent movie distributor says that promoting trailers is identical to any other product [on the net ] – “You should be able to easily find a niche group and sell directly to its members”.

The fact he uses the phrase “niche group” is very interesting. First and foremost, because the big Hollywood studios of the MPAA operate on the premise of producing movies that appeal to the widest audience with the most disposable income possible. They don’t spend $20 million on an action film to connect with a “niche”. “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Half Nelson” are niche films. Kevin Smith films appeal to a niche (of which I am a member, thank you). Clint Eastwood spent ten years trying to get “Million Dollar Baby” made because the studios didn’t think anyone was interested in the story of a girl boxer.

But as we’ve seen over the past however many years, seemingly “niche” films have found their way into the mainstream. Whether Sundance is the impetus or just a beneficent of this phenomenon is debatable, but I’m quite pleased to be able to see “Thank You for Smoking” on the big screen next door to Spielberg’s latest opus. And now I’m reading a movie distributor speaking about marketing trailers to “niche groups”.

So when do you think the big studios will get the hint, and stop spending exorborant amounts of cash on CGI, big name actors with questionable mental statuses, and blowing stuff up? When will they stop whining about losing money to *cough* piracy *cough*, and concentrate on producing quality products for the very audiences who appreciate it enough to spend money on it? Will it ever happen? Probably not as long as there is a generation of teenagers whose parents buy them the latest gadgets and fill their pockets with unearned cash.

If only they’d encourage them to read a book instead.

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