Today, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Google founder Larry Page unveiled the new Google
Video Store, which hopes to become a groundbreaking film distribution model for the future. Amongst the first films to be made available in the Google Video Store is “Waterborne”, an independent feature film that follows the fictional aftermath of a bio-terrorist attack on the water supply of LA, starring Christopher Masterson (Malcolm in the Middle), Jon Gries (“Napoleon Dynamite”), Ajay Naidu (“Office Space”) and Lindsay Price (Beverly Hills 90210).
By releasing through a download-to-own distribution model, the filmmakers are hoping to ride the first wave of what they expect to be a dynamic new model for independent film distribution. In addition to streaming the film for free for the first week of release, a digital file of the film can be downloaded to own for a price of $4.99. However, unlike the copy-protected downloads of iTunes Video and other online services, which limit how the viewer can watch their content, “Waterborne” customers may do anything they want with their purchased product, including burning it to a DVD or transfer it to a Video iPod. At CES, “Waterborne” director Ben Rekhi shared his enthusiasm. “When we set out to make “Waterborne,” we aimed to think outside the box of conventional filmmaking. Now in releasing it, we want to continue this forward-thinking mentality by embracing new methods of film distribution. The internet is going to revolutionize the film industry just as it has the music industry.”
Producer Smriti Mundhra added, “In the traditional distribution framework, a film of this size would be lucky to get released in a handful of theaters, reaching a few thousand viewers at best. But by utilizing Google Video’s radical new model, “Waterborne” will get an audience of millions. For those of us working outside the studio system, this kind of exposure is tremendous.”
“A lot of people think we are crazy for turning down a six-figure advance to dive into the unknown perils of online distribution,” Rekhi said. (It is rumored the filmmakers were offered a six figure distribution deal.) “But its time that someone put their money where their mouth is. No one ever got ahead by playing things safe.”
To learn more about Video Google, visit video.google.com. To learn more about “Waterborne,” visit www.waterbornethemovie.com