A window means a hole in the wall of a building or a house where you are able to see outside or the other way around. In the film language, windows mean where you can watch a film. Let’s just say that these two meanings have the same purpose in life and this is show something in the other side.
Today, we are going to talk about these 4 windows of Films Distribution.
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Screening your film at movie theaters can be classified as the first window in our list. why? because in order to release a film in movie theaters is very complicated and as we know not all the films are released in this window.
There are a lot of films and very little screenings in movie theaters and among all we know that movie tickets aren’t cheap, this is why when we go to the movies we want to take the best out of it.
From this first window, the future of a film can be decided in other windows, if the film does well at the box office, companies from DVD/Blue Ray, TV and VOD will be interested in the film immediately.
2. DVD/Blue Ray
Many movies go directly here, the distributors don’t want to risk a release in cinemas because they are not sure if there will be a return on investment, better not to risk and go straight to DVD.
The people who have the rights decide how many units they are going to make and that point of sales where they will distribute, this is negotiation all along.
Update: Even though this window is disappearing, there are still film releases in this window and films are still sold to companies of DVD and Blu ray.
Since the film has been released on DVD/Blue Ray, they give a timeframe in order to release on TV. I put together Free to air TV and paid TV. These two are different and also there is a time difference between releases. While paid TV (cable TV) can release almost after the film has been in movie theaters, Free to air TV takes longer to show the movie, sometimes up to 2 years. This is because whoever has the rights of the movie wants to exploit them to the fullest and to reach open TV means that everyone has access to this content.
4. VOD (Video on Demand)
This window is the newest and the most technological of all, this just showed up a few years ago with all digital platforms that it provides TV, series, movies, etc online. For many, this is the salvation for independent filmmakers but at the same time is the bane of the major studios and large movie theater chains because, people no longer have to go to the cinema to watch movies, now you just have to sit in front of your ‘smart TV ‘, connect and you are ready to go.
For you, what is your favorite window?. For me, the movie theater will always remain as my favorite but I won’t deny I’m a huge fan of VOD and I can spend hours watching the content Netflix has.