Its Still about the Audience: Two years on from the Film Policy Review by Lord Smith and team at the DCMS:
Review of the Film Sector in Scotland Creative Scotland – January 2014 by BOP consulting and related parties:
A few highlights immediately catch the eye –
From Lord Smith’s Film Policy Review Panel p.22:
“The 2012 Review recommended the establishment of a well-resourced Research & Knowledge function at the BFI, focused on creating knowledge and an evidence-base, as well as on the publication of statistics. It was also envisaged that a reflective or research-led component would be added to BFI and Lottery initiatives, to be able to produce and disseminate learning from all such interventions (2012 recommendation 53).
The Panel reiterates the need for a strong evidence-base for film policy.
The current review process has highlighted an ever-increasing requirement for robust research; for example the BFI has suggested the need for major research on industrial policy for the independent UK industry, and the need for access to international VoD data as a key factor in the continuance of the independent film financing model (since this model is driven by international sales estimates); there is a requirement to implement the Panel’s 2012 recommendation about research into the UK film acquisition market;”
– hopefully the new “Using data to understand and connect with cinema audiences” call via BFI / _Connect Digital Innovation Contest will contribute to these goals.
Interestingly the Scottish Review notes on p.20:
“The interpretation and use of film data is limited. Between the requirements of Creative Scotland, the BFI and the new Film Hub Scotland a wealth of data is being collected, but little innovative use is made of this potentially valuable resource. It could help ensure Scotland’s practitioners and agencies have the tools to plan ahead and react to audience development opportunities.”
It replicates the DCMS report view on VOD data and takes the following views on current initiatives:
“A market development strategy linking Scotland’s films to audiences at home and across the world is needed. Innovative online work, such as that of Scotland’s cinemas and festivals with Distrify, needs further research and development to explore its full potential. As technological change continues, online ventures can extend the capacity of Scotland’s cinemas to engage its audience, make the best use of curatorial skills across the country and could even offer the possibility of a virtual National Film Theatre of Scotland.
Even though market data makes it clear that the VOD market is growing, the BFI Statistical Yearbook 2013 notes that more research in this area is needed to start drawing lessons about VOD audiences, especially for independent and specialist film. Such research might be instructive for lower-budget Scottish indigenous productions, which may find significant additional audiences when distributed via such platforms.
“The view from the consultation:Research and development to extend early partnership work between cinemas, BAFTA and online distribution platforms such as that run by Distrify offer great potential” p.17
I truly hope these words lead to action.