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Thomas Grube on marketing strategies for RHYTHM IS IT!

On the 12 th of September the DVD of "RHYTHM IS IT!" will be released. VideoMarkt talked to director and producer Thomas Grube about the project and its marketing strategies.

Thomas Grube and Uwe Dierks

Thomas Grube and Uwe Dierks

RHYTHM IS IT! won the German Film Award for Best Documentary in 2005. Based on this success the promotion of the DVD will start on September 12th. The DVD’s label alliance, the Berlin Philharmonics, BOOMTOWNMEDIA and Capelight Pictures, decided to release two different editions of the DVD. In addition to the film itself, the single disc edition incorporates a video clip of its title song 'Versteck Dich nicht' and an audio commentary. Additionally there is a Collector's Edition, a 3-disc-box set, which will be available at the same time. "The release of a box set at a later point in time was no option for us. We wanted our audience to be able to make their individual choice about which edition they want to buy, right from the beginning, " director Thomas Grube explains the marketing strategy.

Next to the film itself, the 3-disc box set contains the complete dance performance of 'Le Sacre du Printemps'. "In the film we are only able to show a small part of this unique event. The audience was thrilled though and we had many requests for a release of the entire performance, " Grube explains.

The box set also contains the complete concertante performance of 'Le Sacre du Printemps' of the Berlin Philharmonics and Simon Rattle. In addition to that there is the Making of… exclusively produced for the DVD edition, there are new scenes and interviews and there is a preview of the new education projects Ravel's 'Daphnis et Chloé' and Stravinsky’s 'Firebird'. All in all the DVD contains more than 300 minutes of bonus material.

There are good reasons for the unusual cooperation of three associate partners in a label alliance: "Usually the producers carry the main risk for their own productions. But at the same time and in proportion to the risk the producer carries, there are only very unsatisfying models for him to gain something from the allocation of DVD licenses. As we believe in the high quality and longevity of our productions, we are obviously highly motivated and engaged in the utilisation of their rights as well," Grube points out. In addition to that there was only very little confidence in the potential of documentaries. The big record labels for example did not think that the soundtrack of "RHYTHM IS IT!" would be successful. So we took care of it ourselves using the sales and distribution structures of Naxos – and it was a huge success. Capelight, being a professional DVD label, seemed to be the right partner because of a great confidence in the mainstream potential of exciting documentaries on DVD.

AL!VE is in charge of sales and distribution. The time frame is unusually long compared to other projects: The theatrical release of "RHYTHM IS IT!" was on September 16th 2004 while the DVD will only be released now, a year later. "Along with our distributor, Piffl Media, we had planned to give it a bigger time frame right from the beginning. A film like 'RHYTHM IS IT!' needs time to flourish in the cinema, " Grube explains. A fact that is underlined by a consistent total of attendances and the film having been shown in the cinemas for 48 weeks now until today. "A brief runtime in the cinemas does not automatically guarantee a successful DVD release. On the contrary: 'RHYTHM IS IT!'’s potential DVD community increases with every single person who watches the film in the cinema because afterwards he wants to be able to enjoy the film’s attitude towards life at home as well," is Grube’s plea for a longer runtime in the cinema. Not without a reason: "We love the cinema and we need it, too. So we have to cooperate in a creative sort of way and not work against each other," Grube says.

Standards will be set when it comes to pricing as well: The single disc will be available for about 20 Euros while the SRP for the 3-disc Collector’s Edition will be 27,99 Euros. "This is meant as a clear statement against dumping pricing policies. We will learn that viewers are willing to pay more than 20 Euros for a new release if the content and the quality are right," Grube thinks. It is not necessary to sell every single DVD at a low budget price after just a few months: "Many consumers are nowadays waiting for price deductions because they got used to them. It is a dangerous strategy," Grube gives warning. For this reason 'RHYTHM IS IT!' will not be available at budget price for the foreseeable future. But high standards have been set: Grube is aiming at sales reaching five-digit numbers.

Source: VideoMarkt