VOD Views – June 2, 1015

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Lots of new VOD player news in this edition. First up, self-destructing short video service SnapChat has appointed a head honcho of programming, indicating that the service is going to make its own shows geared towards the 13-34 year old crowd on its Snap Channel platform.

http://deadline.com/2015/05/snapchat-original-content-marcus-wiley-head-programming-development-1201432842

In other original content news, Verizon has ordered 200 hours of original programming from providers (http://deadline.com/2015/03/verizon-orders-200-hours-of-programming-two-channels-from-awesomenesstv-1201390575), and it hasn’t raised as many eyebrows as it maybe should have.

Why? Unlike YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and other companies that are in the business of delivering content to subscribers and users over someone else’s cables or airwaves, Verizon is a telecommunications carrier. They’re the ones with the cables and airwaves, which it traditionally leases to third party providers or directly to consumers irrespective of the content.

Now Verizon is going to be in the business of making and delivering shows as well as owning the means by which subscribers get them, and it raises an interesting question.

It’s an increasingly fragmented market with all sorts of companies creating, marketing, licensing and delivering shows and movies, but when one company does everything from making a show or movie to sending it your way over their own infrastructure, might we end up back where the movie industry was in the 1940s?

Back then the studios owned both the distributing apparatus and the movie theatres themselves until antitrust laws saw such vertical monopolies forcibly separated so other companies could get some of the action.

It’s the reason Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, CBS, the BBC and Channel 9 don’t own movie theatres or TV manufacturing, and the reason AMC, Hoyts and Samsung don’t shoot their own movies or TV shows.

Of course, the eagle-eyed will realise AMC actually does produce its own shows – the pendulum has been swinging back towards consolidation for years now and the studios and distributors are now indistinguishable again.

VOD might only bring such a world about sooner.

On VOD screens now, Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill (https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/movie/good-kill/id989536072?uo=6&at=10lorC). It’s the latest from the sci-fi/political auteur and looks at the world of drone warfare through the eyes of a former pilot and family man with a crumbling psyche, played by Ethan Hawke.

Boy Meets Girl (https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/movie/boy-meets-girl/id974917504?uo=6&at=10lorC) is a coming of age romantic comedy with a difference. It’s about a young trans woman trying to navigate life and looking for romance in her small Kentucky hometown. Will she find love with the beautiful rich girl, or her lifelong best male friend? After wowing the festival circuit now’s your chance to see it.

Also out, Reality (https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/movie/reality/id985929187?uo=6&at=10lorC), from the guy behind the surrealist, whacked-out horror film Rubber. When a cameraman dreams of directing his first horror movie, a wealthy producer agrees to finance him if he can find the perfect scream in the history of film in 48 hours.

And if you love a good chiller, The Poltergeist of Borley Forest (https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/movie/poltergeist-borley-forest/id987798608?uo=6&at=10lorC) is about a night of carefree teenage partying in the woods, in which the heroine sets in motion a chain of events that will plunge her into a waking nightmare.

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Drew Turney
An Australian-based film critic and celebrity interviewer now based in Los Angeles, California.