Traditional distribution is dead. That’s it. We’ve called it.
Gone are the days of ‘primetime’ slots, Nielsen ratings, Thursday nights vs Friday nights, Network A vs Network B. It’s Done. Finito.
This week Melbourne based production company Robot Army released the first episode of their new series ‘Rostered On’ over Facebook and Youtube, to a combined audience of almost 300,000 at time of writing.
Those are some mightily impressive numbers for a self-funded production, shot (in its entirety) over just six days!
In the current age of streaming and social media it has become almost impossible for traditional methods of distribution to compete with the accessibility and immediacy of their digital counterparts. Outside of live events, scheduled programming is living on borrowed time. Netflix and Youtube have officially taken over. Audiences demand to watch what they want, when they want… and they want it NOW.
For example, it has recently come to light that six major Hollywood studios are flirting with the idea of allowing their new releases to be streamed (à la Netflix) for $30 mere weeks after their initial theatrical release. This is hardly surprising, and while traditionalists will proclaim this is the death of cinema, it seems an inevitability if they are to catch up with younger audience tastes. Money talks, and studios will look to accomodate their consumers in any way they can.
It seems there are fresh examples of disruptive distribution wherever you look these days:
The creators of the much anticipated third season of ‘Rick & Morty’ streamed their first episode live over Facebook on April Fools with absolutely no promotion or fanfare. Relying on word-of-mouth alone. Given the insane online reaction, it’s safe to say it worked.
Currently the ‘Rostered On’ Facebook page stands at 169,000 likes and with five more episodes to come over the next few weeks it’s likely that number will only continue to grow.
This ‘Retail Justice’ clip from the series featuring TATer Andrea McCannon has 11 million views on Facebook. 11 million.
We spoke to the creators of the show and they explained that the ability for people to share and tag their friends in their content on Facebook was one of the main reasons they opted to release the series on social media. Word-of-mouth is everything and so they have bypassed traditional channels and found their audience on the world’s biggest social platform.
The likelihood of a major distributor like Netflix or Stan now picking up the property for a second series is extremely high. It’s simply impossible to ignore the reaction and the numbers.
The series coincidentally features a number of Audition Techniquer’s and we couldn’t be prouder to see the impression our graduates are making in the industry. A big congratulations to everyone involved in the project.
So what does this all mean for creators and creatives?
It’s simple, there is no better time for you to create your own content and release it to the world. There is no better time for your work to speak for itself.
Whether you’re making sharable character-based clips, stand-up, short films, a web-series or a full-blown feature, the opportunity to get eyeballs on your work has never been greater.
It’s time to stop waiting to be chosen by increasingly powerless networks and studios.
Find, build and cultivate your audience. Create your own ‘big break’.
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