Exclusive: Facebook’s very first paid movie
For the first time ever, a movie distributor will use Facebook to launch a movie exclusively through a paid live event, executives told Axios.
Why is this important: Movie distribution on Facebook could lower the barrier to content distribution for smaller filmmakers and studios, especially those looking to reach audiences in smaller markets where it is more difficult to negotiate local deals.
- “Until that movie, you would have had to find an international distributor to do individual broadcasts and movie deals,” says Steven Rosenbaum, director of “The Outsider”.
- “Once you got through the big English-speaking markets, it wouldn’t have been worth it,” he says. “Without Facebook, all of the midsize and small markets would never see this.”
Details: “The Outsider,” a controversial documentary on the construction of the 9/11 Museum in Manhattan, will first be released to the public on Facebook for $ 3.99 on August 19.
- The film will be available through Facebook Live to Facebook users around the world who pay for access at 8 p.m. 8 p.m. ET via a link provided by the film’s distributor.
- Facebook will be offering a paid promotion to help popularize the event. After the debut, it will also be available for viewing on demand.
- The first can be viewed by all Facebook users in countries where paid online events are available. Currently, they are available in over 100 countries around the world.
- Facebook has pledged not to cut paid events or independent creator income until 2023.
- The world debut will be followed by a panel discussion on Facebook Live. The film will be shown in select theaters and on demand streaming in September.
How it works: As with any other paid event on Facebook, the film’s distributors – a global film distribution company called Abramorama – set the price for the premiere.
- Rosenbaum said the goal was to keep the price low enough that it could attract a large following.
- Facebook has been hosting exclusive streaming shows and live events for months, but it has never presented a movie before.
The film documents the drama behind the construction of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Its directors, Pamela Yoder and Steven Rosenbaum, have spent nearly two decades archiving the story.
- Since nearly a third of the museum’s visitors are international, Rosenbaum said an international audience was important for the film’s debut.
Controversy around the documentary also makes the first remarkable.
- Museum management called it “defamatory” for its portrayal of what interviewees in the film called the “Disneyfication” of September 11.
- The museum argued that the film’s goal is “ideological”. Rosenbaum responded that it was “focused on freedom of speech, as well as open debate and discussion.”
What to watch: “The Outsider” is the first film to be distributed in this fashion, and it is not yet clear what price consumers are willing to pay for a film, let alone a documentary, on Facebook.