Being a blogger/movie reviewer might not always pay the bills (unless you run Bloody Disgusting or Dread Central) but it’s still like any other job. By that I mean you start at the bottom and you work your way up the ranks with hard work. While you may start off in this field by reviewing and writing about just random films you own and films you like, the goal should be to have fun, get to the point where companies send you their movies for review, and make some spare money. Now to be honest with you most of us never see a dime. I wasn’t able to make any cash at all on this stuff until this year and I started in 2009. But I still think the coolest part of this is when a place sends you their movies for review just because they want publicity and feel as if you could get their movie noticed a little around the internet. However that joy may be in danger down the road and I am about to tell you why. A little thing called online streaming might just one day take away the joy of that “press copy” you and I have been getting. This doesn’t matter to you if you are okay with the idea of not having physical copies of films, but for those of us that actually do like have a real thing in our hands with a film on it this could really get to be an issue.
Over the past year I have noticed that a few places (I won’t name names) have started giving you a username and password to log in and watch a film they are releasing online. This is being used by these places in the place of simply sending you the film. Of course some indie places or director’s themselves might have sent us their films on DVD-r for a long time now due to various reasons and for all intents of arguments sake I get the idea that streaming isn’t much different than a DVD-r copy, but what about the real full versions of the film on DVD? The places that have switched to streaming for press were places that once would happily send us a legit copy with the only change being they’d sometimes mess up the barcode, which was fine in my book since I’m a movie hoarder anyway and rarely part with anything much less take it back to a store. While we rarely get paid, a free copy of a movie on DVD or Blu-ray is like a payday in some cases. A reward for our hard work. What would it be like to one day do reviews for films and not actually have a free copy of them in your possession to show for it? As of now all the online screening isn’t permanent copies. Once they are watched after sometime they are removed. What would we have besides an online review to show for it then? You “ultraviolent” fans couldn’t even toss this in your trendy “clouds”.
I’m not stupid. I get why this is happening. This is a cost cutting measure being used to try to save some of these places money. And I can understand that some of these places might need to save all the money they can and this helps. The ever changing world of technology might one day take away our psychical media but rest assure that if the physical copies of films for reviews stop, so will a lot of the publicity a company might get. And what is that saved money really going to add up to if no money comes in from actual purchases? I’m sure many think sending a copy to the big two might be smart, but nobody in the business needs to underestimate the power and influence of the “little guys” in the world of online reviews. A majority of the people who love horror enough to read online articles about it are mostly the target crowd many of these movie places are aiming for. Making my point even more is the fact that a lot of these same people don’t really hang their hats on what the mainstream horror sites of the world have to say about a film. It is rather hard to believe a review when the reviewer is loosely connected to the film and perhaps even appears in the film or its features isn’t it?
This article isn’t a “sky is falling” rant. It’s simply an observation. I think it’s fair to say that when a few places start switching up the way they want you to see their films you can’t help but take notice. I really love this hobby of mine. I love films in general. I also love getting DVDs and Blu-rays of films. That being the case I just wanted to put this stuff out there so that perhaps anyone else who loves doing this as much as I do might take notice of things as well. Maybe a company who wants their films for press streamed only will see this and have a change of heart? Well, probably not. It still needed to be addressed regardless.