VOD views – November 3, 2016

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The endless dance between pornography and technology, one endlessly leading the other in a never-ending feedback loop, continues. Porn clip site RedTube (which is said to receive 20m visitors every day – you know who you are) is creating a ‘safe for work’ category.

Why, you might ask? Because of what the site thinks is an increasing tide of content creators ‘stifled and ultimately shown the door when it comes to advertising on their content’.

It started with a recent flap of popular YouTube creators complaining their ads had been pulled from the service for ‘excessively strong language’ or ‘controversial or sensitive subjects’. The Google-owned video giant claimed its policies hadn’t changed, instead blaming a change in user notification tools that let viewer report inappropriate content (ie blaming everyone else).

RedTube was quick to jump on board, saying “RedTube will never censor. We already have an audience these creators are looking for. We have the technology necessary to give people the opportunities. We are the R-rated vlogger platform that fits both creators and consumers.”

Is YouTube becoming more homogenised as it grows, much like Hollywood is careful to excise any subtextual criticism of Eastern politics as it tries to capture bigger audiences in China? Is RedTube a bastion of anti-censorship, or is it just trying to tie itself to any half-controversial news item to promote its own name?

Probably a little of both, but one thing’s sure, it highlights the fact that online video is only going to keeping growing and fragmenting into a hundred specialist platforms, giving creators with ever-smaller niches a place to work and make a living.

If you missed Sausage Party you missed a surprisingly well made comedy, but just as interesting was the reason for the huge box office the film enjoyed among the critical late teen/early 20s demographic.

Where Sony – the studio being Sausage Party – had previously only put about a tenth of the marketing budget into digital platforms when promoting a movie, Sausage Party saw half the marketing go towards the likes of Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter.

Considering they’re still much cheaper than traditional movie advertising media like TV ads and billboards, that’s a whole lot of VOD presence, and with a worldwide haul of $136m from a $19m budget, it worked in spades.

In other news, the previously unshakable Netflix was apparently taken down a few pegs on its big budget birth of Hip Hop series The Get Down from producer Baz Luhrmann. Though the company still doesn’t release viewer numbers, third party analysts have said the $120m series hasn’t had nearly as many viewers as other Netflix hits, and social media buzz about the show fell off a cliff the week after it was released.

For longtime fans, the long-awaited Absolutely Fabulous movie comes to VOD soon, Kevin Spacey plays the voice of a cat in Nine Lives and Miss Sharon Jones looks at the life and times of R&B singer Sharon Jones.

Veteran Anthony Edwards (Revenge of the Nerds, Top Gun) also directs Heather Graham (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) in My Dead Boyfriend, a romantic comedy about a woman who finds her boyfriend dead (seriously) and goes on to discover more about him than she ever realised.

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