Charting A New Course

Sunday, November 11 2018
Charting A New Course

The arrival of the combined download and physical film chart chart has been one of the more eagerly awaited launches in the industry. Long-mooted, much-talked about, it’s been months in the planning, with the powers-that-be that have been pushing its introduction (a combination of the British Association for Screen Entertainment, aka BASE, the Entertainment Retailers’ Association, ERA, and the Official Charts Company) taking part in long and protracted conversations on the labyrinthine complexities of the initiative, the assorted approvals needed to make it happen.

“The Official Film Chart will be available at Top 40 length on OfficialCharts.com,” explains Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot, who, after successfully helping turn the organisation’s officialcharts.com website into a consumer-facing offering, as well as assimilating the huge changes in the music business in recent years into its listings, taking on all forms of downloads and streams, has turned the company’s attention to video.  “It will be offered to all media to publish as a Top 10 and we will be PRing the latest chart news to a wide media database every week, to generate as much interest and excitement around the retail market for films, whether you’re interested in digital downloads, DVD, Blu-Ray, or any other ‘purchase-to-own format.”

It’s an additional listing to go alongside its traditional chart offerings, which will still appear at the usual time. The midweek option is mainly down to logistics (“Wednesday is simply the soonest that the chart can be pulled together,” says Talbot. “The collection of digital data is still quite complicated and takes longer for the retailers to aggregate, collate and send to us, compared to physical sales information. As a result, the chart takes a little longer to aggregate and compile.”), but the Wednesday option offers the PR opportunity, creating interest and excitement leading up to the weekend.

And that is key to the new film chart. It’s all about conferring event status on releases, letting the public know what is available and, additionally, clearing up some of the confusion as to when a title is released.

It was fitting then that across the week’s biggies, including Sicario 2: Soldado, there was further 

“Audiences continue to be hugely engaged with new release content on both disc and digital and, in combination with the excitement and heritage that can be attached to Official Charts Company rundowns, this builds to deliver a media-facing conversation that hasn’t been happening,” says BASE chief executive Liz Bales.

“It adds even more event-status to the latest titles to come to market and it also goes a long way to unpicking misconceptions about when and where content is released, leading people to their favourite transactional channels rather than letting the myth persist that content appears on streaming channels at the same time as it appears on shelves and with digital retailers. This is of huge value to the category as a whole, and there’s a clear appetite as has been seen by the broader media pick up of the chart content itself.”

This media pick-up is crucial to the aims. A top 10 rundown hosted by film journalist Hanna Flint as part of an ongoing partnership with Yahoo Movies, is being offered to media as well as appearing on Yahoo’s film-friendly site, with a shorter version available for social media. And the interest appears to be there.

“We’ve worked very closely throughout the formation of the chart show with the editorial team at Yahoo Movies as our lead launch partner and have been absolutely thrilled by the support they’ve shown and so we’re looking forward to developing this relationship across the 12-week trial period,” continues Bales. “In addition, though, we’ve been blown away with the first-week pick up from wider media, with highlights including the BBC News Online, Mirror Online, Den Of Geek, Entertainment Focus, BT.com and more. Again, we look forward to developing the weekly coverage as awareness builds and have been heartened also by the extremely positive response from BASE members, including Lionsgate who celebrated their chart win with Sicario 2 across their social channels.”

Talbot concurs. “The video clips which will be published every week over the coming weeks/months are a fantastic additional platform to bring this important new chart to life,” he said. “When I watched the finished Top 10 for the first time, it made me want to immediately go out and buy 2 or 3 of the films featured – precisely the impact we would want it to have, of course. Charts were invented many decades ago to promote the latest new sights and sounds, to engage consumers, let them know all about the hot new releases and get them excited enough to go out and buy them. Hopefully the Official Film Chart can work in exactly this way. In a social media environment, we have an event greater opportunity to excite consumers – encourage film fans, journalists, studios, etc to share their success with everyone. These clips really take the viral potential of this important new chart to another level.”

ERA too, has worked closely on the initiative, helping pull in the impressive cast of digital retailers into the fray. Those on board include the likes of Amazon, iTunes, Sky, Virgin Media Store, Rakuten TV and Talk Talk TV. ERA’s Kim Bayley says: “Thanks to digital services and retailers, film fans have a greater variety of ways to buy and own the movies they love than ever before. We are delighted to collaborate with OCC and BASE to supply the data which will power the world’s first weekly movie chart.”

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