FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mariah Lichtenstern
CINESHARES: Modernizing How Movies Go To Market
Launch of motion picture crowdfunding platform is first part of plan to offer film finance, production and VOD services.
Oakland, CA, December, 2015 – The way people watch movies has dramatically shifted over the past decade, as buzzwords like “crowdfunding,” “streaming,” “downloading” and “piracy” have taken on new meaning when applied to the movie industry. However, the way films are financed and brought to market has changed very little. The traditional studio model of production and distribution developed a century ago no longer works for producers, filmmakers or consumers. CINESHARES aims to change that with a PCT patent-pending social marketplace that connects filmmakers, investors, and consumers in a script-to-screen network that modernizes how movies go to market.
CINESHARES has three major components: watching movies, making movies, and funding movies. CINESHARES' phase one focus is rolling out the crowdfunding component of its innovative platform. Although several crowdfunding websites offer film financing, CINESHARES is unique. CINESHARES will offer both reward-based and equity finance for budgets up to $50 million. Unlike others, CINESHARES is a producing partner that provides filmmakers with marketing support and access to players to package, produce, and distribute their films. It also deters fraud by verifying projects and ensuring that funds are allocated appropriately to vetted industry professionals. Most importantly, audiences and filmmakers connect from script-to-screen and project-to-project.
CINESHARES is genre agnostic and professes to be culturally inclusive. Where the company exhibits discriminating taste is in the platform's focus on developing and distributing Hollywood movies (or, more accurately, commercially viable projects) featuring marketable talent. While there is currently access to a library of VOD content, it will eventually encompass the ability to watch movies with or without an internet connection through its own proprietary technology.
CINESHARES is launching the crowdfunding platform with movies already in development. The company is opening up financing to others who submit films through the submission portal. CINESHARES expects that the unique crowdfunding option will entice audiences to participate in film financing and marking, which, combined with forthcoming social features, they hope will discourage piracy.
CINESHARES acknowledges that the technology that facilitates piracy is not going away. Nearly two decades after technology made it possible for everyone to be a pirate, Hollywood has yet to widely adopt a model that discourages piracy without alienating consumers. Rather than attacking pirates directly, CINESHARES will offer rewards for sharing movies legally. And CINESHARES plans to help bridge the gap created by piecemeal delivery services with its patent-pending viewing platform, which they are rolling out as they license, acquire, and produce more content. "By connecting with audiences while projects are in script stage, filmmakers are able to optimize marketing and distribution so audiences know when and where to find - and share - content legally," says CINESHARES' Founder and CEO, Mariah Lichtenstern.
It is widely acknowledged that offering movies for home viewing simultaneously or shortly after a film’s release would be a good thing for consumers and filmmakers. For audiences, it’s easier than ever before to find access to programs from anywhere in the world and watch it on a television, computer or mobile device. At the same time, delayed releases are a source of frustration for consumers who sometimes resort to piracy. "The real challenge is addressing long release windows and licensing restrictions that prevent audiences from accessing content legally" says Lichtenstern.
Others argue that the fragmentation of access is increasingly problematic. Between traditional cable, premium channels, cable-based VOD and streaming VOD services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, a host of platforms have rights to some, but not all programming. Both HBO and Showtime recently announced a stand-alone streaming service. Other VOD platforms capitalize on underserved niches, like Latin-oriented, Pantalla, or the Black / African-themed AfroStream and Urban Movie Channel.
New technologies like Popcorn Time have filled the void in both release windows and fragmented access by offering a user-friendly platform streaming film and television content - all for free. Unfortunately, downloading content constitutes piracy. “Audiences prize choice and speed over other variables. They want to watch movies as they are released in theaters or as soon as possible, but in some instances, it can take years for a title to be available legally in their geography" Lichtenstern laments.
So far, Hollywood has been reluctant to make films available earlier due to exhibitor concerns and monetization windows. “In many cases, theaters won’t allow day-and-date releases,” Lichtenstern says. “We're working with exhibitors and distributors to make concurrent release windows work for them.” While Hollywood release patterns still overwhelmingly resist bringing movies quickly to DVD and streaming platforms, there are signs that "day-and-date" releases are on the rise. "It's important that we align the interests of exhibitors and distributors with the audiences they serve" says Lichtenstern.