After the sales frenzy at this year’s Sundance Film Festival the tables have changed again for the state of independent film as a business.
For years the prices paid by studios to acquire independent films has been going down. This decline was based on many factors but the biggest one was decline of DVD sales, which provided a buffer of profit because people would buy tons of DVDs. This buffer allowed studios to spend more per film on more films knowing that not all of them would turn a profit but the extra money from DVD sales would keep everything in the black. Since that profit stream is basically gone the distributors have had to be more thrifty.
For example six million dollars used to be a ballpark budget for a Studio level (top of the line) independent film but over the past decade that price has cratered. Now it is common for films, which a decade ago would have had millions of dollars, to make the same script for $750k.
This reduction in budgets related directly to what a film could make in profit. The studios were willing to pay less because they knew they were making less per film.
The fundamental shift this year has been Amazon and Netflix paying big money for indie films. This spending has forced mainstream studios and other distributors to offer more then they have been, or else Amazon and Netflix will get all the good indie content.
Amazon and Netflix are willing to pay more because to them there is value in having a broad catalog of films which is different than looking at the individual value of each film. Thankfully for us and the industry this trend is not going away Netflix and Amazon have pledged tens of billions of dollars for new content in the next year alone.
Now more than ever it is a good time to invest independent films. Well produced films with good stories, real characters and unique visions stand out on these services and now are potentially lucrative investments.
Also now there is a much more tangible path between producing an indie film and the world seeing it. This should speed up the pace of production that caused indie filmmakers to take years to make films. Now a film can be produced, sold and distributed in a much tighter time-frame.
As an innovation company, Backseat Conceptions has been a tool for making excellent independent films for the past twenty years. Are you an investor looking to tell your story? Are you a creative ready to begin development? Are you a young person looking to work in the industry? Contact us and lets make great films together.