“How long will it take till we actually start to care about the retention of those customers and matching people with the right things?”
Ted Hope, producer and former co-head of movies at Amazon Studios, offered a glimpse of hope for the documentary film industry while discussing streaming opportunities at Danish doc fest CPH:DOX on Tuesday.
While documentaries may not cost a lot and they may bring on a specific new audience to that platform, streamers have to contend with the fact that that a specific audience is not very large and will have to ensure similar or related content is available in order to retain them, he said.
That is when a secondary platform with curation, discovery and value enhancement comes into play, he added.
The proliferation of niche platforms catering to specialized audiences is offering greater opportunities for more distinct fare. Documentaries stand to benefit from both big global streamers that are constantly looking to build their audiences as well as from specialized platforms targeting specific viewers, Hope said. He cautioned, however, that the big players prefer documentaries with mass appeal.
That is of course Netflix’s business goal.” “As much as those shows or films have been lauded to some degree, you see that what they’re aiming for is very clearly a wide audience. It’s not surprising.
“That’s a super big challenge for us as creators,” he added. “How do we continue to have an emphasis on quality, on impact, on uniqueness and distinction in a world that is dominated by eight global streamers and they are all trying to get the widest possible audience?
That’s a nice dream that all cinephiles have, but it’s something much different than that business because the business of global streaming is about customer acquisition and the best way to do that is to get people to all do the same thing.” He added, “The global streaming business is not about curation, it is not about discovery, and it is not about adding value around a specific title.
Hope emphasized how different the business goals of streamers are from the world of exhibition. Drilling down to what that means I think reveals a lot.” “It’s not profit and loss so much as customer acquisition.
How do you attract new people to the platform? “That’s basically the equation for efficiency. People that are not only passionate about something but have actually displayed their passion in a predictable way, are ripe precisely for that acquisition.” The most valuable type of audience member for a streamer is the new audience member. One of the key things to recognize is the streamers' need for a “targeted audience at a low price point,” he stressed.
The interfaces, Hope noted, “are all designed to promote the shiny and the new.” The algorithm is not giving you more of what you actually want, he explained. It’s more about designing a system to make everyone like what they get, not get what they like.
“The question then becomes, is documentary itself a strong enough cohort to allow the multitude of titles to keep somebody on that platform.”
The discussion was part of the festival’s CHP:Conference program and its series of talks entitled "Redistribution:Economy," which seeks to explore new economic models in the wake of the COVID pandemic that has laid bare the unequal nature of the global economy.
That results in a bias for the widest possible audience, which in turn leads to more conceptual and high-concept fare, such as “Tiger King” and even “My Octopus Teacher.”
Hope stepped down from Amazon last year and is set to join the faculty of Arizona State University's Thunderbird School of Global Management to co-lead a graduate program in Los Angeles this fall.” />

"Orange is the New Black" star Natasha Lyonne wrote, "Discovering his films was a shot to the heart that woke my teenage mind to the scope of limitless possibility in storytelling."

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Director Bernard Rose called "Don't Look Now," "Walkabout" and "The Man Who Fell to Earth" "the greatest unbroken run in film history.
British director Nicolas Roeg, who's 1970s-era films such as "Don't Look Now," "The Man Who Fell to Earth" and "Performance" became touchstones for numerous budding filmmakers and cinephiles, died Friday.

Documentary filmmaker Mark Cousins wrote "Thank you for expanding the movies."
Director Brad Bird said Roeg saw cinema through a "very unique set of eyes."

"The Incredibles" helmer Brad Bird paid tribute on Twitter. And the man…Rest in Peace." "Nicolas Roeg, first as a Cinematographer, then as a Director, saw cinema through a very unique pair of eyes…May the work live on.

"Thank you for making so many brave choices and giving this little lad in pajamas an ongoing love of filmmaking," Jones wrote. Directors including Edgar Wright and Duncan Jones, whose father David Bowie starred in "The Man Who Fell to Earth," were quick to remember Roeg's visual mastery and complex storytelling.

"Amy" director Asif Kapadia worked Roeg's filmmaking style into his tweet, saying "rest in a complex structural time travelling visually stunning cinematic peace."
Amazon Studios' Ted Hope wrote, "You blew my mind, taught me to see and dream in a different way."

Edgar Wright said "I could watch Don't Look Now on a loop and never tire of its intricacies." In a follow-up tweet, Wright said his filmography was "dazzling and fascinating."
Screenwriter-producer Larry Karaszewski called him "One of the greatest directors that ever lived."