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The Socially Enabled Theater

An overview of how theater owners, existing studios, and independent media makers can leverage social networking.

Jon Lawrence

on 14 October 2010

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Transcript of The Socially Enabled Theater

nce upon a time, the movie theater was a
place where people went to share a common

More than
just escapism,
going to the
movies gave
people something
to talk about with
their friends, family,
and co-workers. O F ast forward to today: Theater owners fight to stay afloat.

Each one showing mostly the same movies as
the next guy; competing on razor-thin margins.

It's no wonder theater owners have added half-an-hour of commercials to their theaters, and even advertise renting the theaters for church services and corporate meetings. Theatrically released films have ever-decreasing
windows before their DVD or Blu-Ray release,
and only last as long as their traditional marketing
campaign. What if films could be shown whenever and wherever
they have a guaranteed audience?

What if those audiences and movie fans were brought
together by their own social connections?

Can "fan curated" films be successful?
The most successful "fan curated" film in history
has been screening in the United States continuously for
over 35 years, largely without the benefit of any established
social networks.

Can you name the movie? The Rocky Horror Picture show has been in
theatrical release since 1975.

Now, in 2010, this picture has over a 115,000 fans
on it's Facebook page, many of which attend local
screenings of the movie regularly.

So, how does the most successful fan curated film
in US history stack up against some other popular
films on Facebook? Wow, so there's a lot of movie fans connecting with
each other on their Social Networks.

We think there is a great business opportunity here,
to connect fans with their local movie theaters to
see their favorite films together.

What would it take to make that happen? 1. Digitally Enabled Theaters.

As of June 2010, there are already over
17,000 digitally enabled movie screens
in the United States.

In addition, a wide range of Content Delivery
Networks are already established. 3. A Social Network app that allows users to curate a local screening, share it with their friends, and build a large enough minimum audience that a screening can be booked.

This can easily be built upon existing API's on Facebook,
and can be deployed on additional platforms and sites
as fan connections continue to grow. 4. Public Performance Rights for Studio "Back Catalog" films

With the recent acceleration of streaming deals for back catalog films, we believe it is possible that these rights can be negotiated. Especially using the "win-win" approach of fan-curated (fan marketed) screenings where the Studios essentially do not have to spend anything at all in the marketing of their deep catalog content.

It's all done by the fans. 5. Buy In from Independent Filmmakers

With Indie Film fan pages popping up like mushrooms, this kind of cohesive platform would give media makers everywhere an opportunity to prove a critical audience volume on their fan page to a theater owner, and pre-sell enough tickets to make the screening worthwhile.

Only when a local screening reaches the theaters pre-set minimum does a film get booked. This incentivizes fans to evangelize others to see their film.

This approach has recently been proven extremely successful with group-buying sites like GroupOn, whose deals are only extended to users when a certain volume of business on an offer has been reached. 2. A easy to use booking backend for theater owners
and content owners.

The backend should consist of several elements:
Ability for theater owners to set the minimum number of seats for a showing to book
Ability for theater owners to set ticket pricing margin - allowing for variable pricing based upon time of day & day of the week
Ability for content owners to set minimum ticket base price
Ability for content and theater owners to track viewing statistics
I believe that the Socially Enabled Theater
will be the "in-place" media sharing hub of the future.

With a little moxie, a little cash, and a lot of passion, together
we have the opportunity to make this future, a reality.

Feel free to email me at jon@mpgstudios.com or via Google Voice at
323-739-4674 - and let's see how we can work together.

Gone with the Wind has
over 177,000 Fans?

Yep. Back to the Future has
almost 400,000 fans?

That's like, quadruple
Rocky Horror Picture Show... Wow. Scarface is over a million.

That could be TEN-THOUSAND
movie screenings with
100 people at each screening. So, what would it take to make that happen?

We propose building an intuitive backend system that allows theater owners and managers to easily manage screen availability, pricing, and content restrictions. Specifically, it would enable: Ability to add screen information - like how many seats are available

Ability to add screen availability by date and time windows

Ability to choose the types of media (ratings, descriptions, and length) that they allow in their theaters

Ability to set minimum pricing and sales margins
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