The danger of applying old models to new technologies: why brands need to make the most of cinema’s platinum future

Monsters-vs-aliens Monsters vs Aliens; Hollywood's latest digital offering

Pearl & Dean are hosting their first annual Film Festival today… think presentations interrupted by movies (or vice versa depending on your attitude).  Mediation popped along this morning and heard a couple of cracking presentations.

the first – Peter Buckingham from the UK Film Council – outlined the Council's view of cinema's future.  he observed that whilst "cinema has stubbornly maintained its analogue status", digital technologies would herald a new "platinum age" for the industry.  its predicted (by Charlotte Jones of Screen Digest) that there will be 250 x 3D cinemas in the UK by 2010, up from the 172 on which Monsters vs Aliens (above) launched earlier this month.  a good job too, considering Jerry Katzenberg – who knows a thing or two – has apparently predicted that within 5-7 years all movies will be 3D.

but 3D is only one aspect of cinema's revolution in the making: archive films are proving popular, as are "more obscure films" such as Man on Wire, indeed as Buckingham noted, "the big alternative content success [in cinema] is live Opera".  add to this live sport in 3D (as being trialled by Sky) and the concept as cinema-as-studio (broadcasting the Shine a Light premiere to other cinemas for example) and you get an idea of where cinema could be heading.

at the heart of the UK Film Council's digital cinema vision is community; cinema "in the hands of local audiences", with cinema as "facilitator as well as curator".  Buckingham cited locally produced UGC from schools and collages, Nollywood movies making it big in East London, and broadcasting of events such as Royal Society lectures as further evidence of this "democratisation of culture".

unfortunately talk moved on to brands, where the vision is apparently a little more limited in its scope.  producer Phil Streather observed that brands had the opportunity to make ads that made full use of the 3D 'punch'.  why is it that we can't attach some of the "platinum age" thinking to brands?

why settle for ads?  if the vision and hope is that cinemas become locally-centric centres of culture and content, why are we slapping the outdated and outmoded format of an ad on the front of them.  cinema's opportunity is the same for brands…  how can we use these screens as platforms for our points of view on the world?  what could we create and curate for these screens that say more about us than 30" of stuff with an awareness aim.

we're better than this, and if the promise that digital cinema offers is realised, audiences will expect better; platinum brand work for a platinum channel.

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