By Film Threat Staff | March 19, 2003

Independent filmmakers and distributors have a new ally. filmBUZZ is the first full-service entertainment market research firm to focus exclusively on independent film. filmBUZZ provides a service that its name suggests — it collects and reports the “buzz” on films. The company is uniquely positioned to offer its services at events where filmmakers and distributors converge — film festivals.

“Our mission is to make market research accessible to independent filmmakers,” said Gregory Kahn, filmBUZZ co-founder and director of business development. “Understanding the target audience for your film is crucial, regardless of whether or not you are part of the studio system. But while studios have the budgets to conduct large-scale test screenings, independent producers and distributors frequently do not.”

filmBUZZ has found a solution to this cost dilemma by partnering with film festivals to poll audiences at regional festivals throughout the United States and abroad. Filmmakers can buy screening reports for their films from filmBUZZ partner festivals for a fraction of the cost of a traditional test screening. “A filmmaker who shows his or her film at 10 different festivals currently can buy a filmBUZZ report at each festival and cumulatively spend less than the cost of one traditional test screening,” said Kahn. “But by using our services, that filmmaker is hearing the audience reaction in 10 separate geographic markets, instead of only one.”

filmBUZZ has created a business model that benefits all parties. In return for access to screenings at film festivals, filmBUZZ provides its partner festivals with complimentary data from its research. Festivals, which are typically supported through corporate sponsorships and ticket sales, can use filmBUZZ data to increase both of these income sources. filmBUZZ’s demographic information allows festival organizers to more strategically approach corporate sponsors, while the screening results help festival curators make programming decisions that will ultimately increase attendance.

filmBUZZ, which piloted its audience research services at the St. Louis International Film Festival in November 2002, commenced its 2003 schedule at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival with an educational roundtable on using market research in independent film. Its upcoming research partners include the Memphis International Film Festival and the Newport Beach Film Festival.
For more information, visit the filmBUZZ website.

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