Distribusjon av film er uten tvil i endring. New York Times-artikkelen Declaration of Indies: Just Sell It Yourself! dreier seg om The New World of Distribution. Her er noen kjennetegn på «New World»-distribusjon:
1. GREATER CONTROL – Filmmakers retain overall control of their distribution, choosing which rights to give distribution partners and which to retain. If filmmakers hire a service deal company or a booker to arrange a theatrical run, they control the marketing campaign, spending, and the timing of their release. In the OW (Old World), a distributor that acquires all rights has total control of distribution. Filmmakers usually have little or no influence on key marketing and distribution decisions.
2. HYBRID DISTRIBUTION – Filmmakers split up their rights, working with distribution partners in certain sectors and keeping the right to make direct sales. They can make separate deals for: retail home video, television, educational, nontheatrical, and VOD, as well as splitting up their digital rights. They also sell DVDs from their websites and at screenings, and may make digital downloads available directly from their sites. In the OW, filmmakers make all-rights deals, giving one company all their rights (now known or ever to be dreamed up) for as long as 25 years.
3. CUSTOMIZED STRATEGIES – Filmmakers design creative distribution strategies customized to their film’s content and target audiences. They can begin outreach to audiences and potential organizational partners before or during production. They often ignore traditional windows, selling DVDs from their websites before they are available in stores, sometimes during their theatrical release, and even at festivals. Filmmakers are able to test their strategies step-by-step, and modify them as needed. In the OW, distribution plans are much more formulaic and rigid.
4. CORE AUDIENCES – Filmmakers target core audiences. Their priority is to reach them effectively, and then hopefully cross over to a wider public. They reach core audiences directly both online and offline, through websites, mailing lists, organizations, and publications. In the OW, many distributors market to a general audience, which is highly inefficient and more and more expensive.
Notable exceptions, Fox Searchlight and Bob Berney, have demonstrated how effective highly targeted marketing can be. “Napoleon Dynamite” first targeted nerds, “Passion of the Christ” began with evangelicals, and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” started with Greek Americans. Building on their original base, each of these films was then able to significantly expand and diversify their audiences.