by Dina Iordanova
‘Nobody knows anything’, said William Goldman of studio filmmaking. This statement is proving increasingly apt as we begin to survey the radical changes that digital distribution, together with the digitisation of production and exhibition, is wreaking on global film circulation. Will digital dissemination produce a massive disruption to the film industry, as it did to mail delivery services, bookselling and music distribution? Is cinema about to move on-line?
Digital Disruption: Cinema Moves On-line helps to make sense of what has happened in the short but turbulent history of on-line distribution. It provides a realistic assessment of the disruptions that moving from ‘analogue dollars’ to ‘digital cents’ has provoked in the film industry. Looking closely at how the majors have dealt – often unsuccessfully – with these challenges it also pays equal attention to innovations and practices outside the mainstream. Throughout, it is alive to important entrepreneurial innovations, showcasing the work of Mubi, Jaman, Withoutabox and IMDb.
Written by leading academic commentators who have followed the fortunes of world cinema closely and with passion, together with experienced writers close to the fluctuating fortunes of the industry, Digital Disruption: Cinema Moves On-line is an indispensable guide to the dramatic changes that film is currently experiencing.
‘It’s hard to overstate the importance of this collection of essays. Ever since digital technology began to transform the media landscape, various self-appointed pundits – myself included – have been predicting the final outcome, with results that have ranged from a utopian belief that film is finally being democratised to various versions of the end-of-the-cinema-as-we-know-it scenario. Now, at last, we have what we needed: some rigorous academic thinking on the subject combined with detailed analysis of what exactly is going on in the fast-developing world of downloads, streaming video and Swedish pirates. The people who really need to read this book – the Hollywood studios – probably won’t. But anyone else remotely interested in the future of cinema should do so.’
Nick Roddick, Sight & Sound’s ‘Mr Busy’
‘Digital Disruption is a must read for all researchers and practitioners interested in the changing shape and circulation of filmed content. This book amounts to much more than the sum of its parts by addressing compelling and highly relevant areas of enquiry and employing fine research delivered in a transparent and accessible writing style. Digital Disruption enables the reader to leap onto a fast moving train without being knocked off balance by the rush of the wind. Highly recommended.’
Angus Finney, consultant and industry executive, Film Business Academy, London and author of The International Film Business: A Market Guide beyond Hollywood