Your author took a few moments to place some numbers on the classic Technology Adoption Curve from Moore’s Crossing the Chasm. Depending upon how one parses sales and installations and the actual number of screens to be adapted, the curve appears to continue to apply. Michael Karagosian noticed this in 2006 when the Chasm wasn’t obvious, nor was the financial crisis known to be so severe. But those days are behind.
If the future continues to follow the curve, then the 50% mark should be achieved by the end of 2011. One presumes that by then all the first run cinemas will be digital. What will happen then? Studios don’t make film prints for second and third run cinemas.
With less film being produced for distribution, with less shooting stock being produced due to digital cameras, what is the price of film going to do…or even its availability? One presumes that archival film is still a booming market, but when will that be impacted by the LTO5 and larger optical discs?
The approach of the studios who pay VPFs is that they will pay to the amount that they are saving by ‘printing’ to digital distribution.
The question isn’t “Can the studios discontinue the distribution of film.” The question is When?
The big 6 studios are always cognizant of the monopoly issues that some of them got in trouble for in the 1940’s. But they are also aware of their responsibility to their shareholders and the amount of cash that they have to produce movies. And, they have to juggle against the near-monopoly of the large cinema chains. When is the line crossed and how will it be phrased? Can Kodak, who put so much into the new and excellent film stocks, spell demise? Can studios announce a cut-off date?
Certainly by application of the Pareto Principle, we must be long past the point where 80% of the studios income (at 20% the expense) is turning their efforts into charity work. So, what of these other screens that aren’t coming on board quickly, or who are left at the short end of the funding stick? Could the studios work out an arrangement where they can show BluRay discs 3 months later on non-DCI e-cinema equipment? Same quality, but different security. There is still the issue of tracking piracy from the screen that e-cinema can’t meet. There would be a lot of angst in the community, where the studios said that it would never happen.
No answers here. Just watching trends to see if any develop.