One of my true passions until today is Branding. I invested many years of my career learning and developing brands. I know the power of a brand and had the opportunity to help some companies that had high levels of brand or branding fragmentation. With this background, it is with high surprise that today I discover that MUBI is still The Auteurs... and The Auteurs is MUBI.
From product description I gather that The Auteurs is where we will continue to find excellent movies, while in MUBI we will find more films less strictly curated and will be like a social network, a discussion group, the latest news and critcism... Hmmm. Like they say: The Auteurs is about films, MUBI about the audience. Hmm.
I'm really sorry to say that this seems like a bad case of brand fragmentation (against a good case of brand segmentation) and just hope that eventually brand owners realize the power of The Auteur brand as what was a unique World platform to watch, discuss, read, review, learn and simply enjoy excellent cinema. My suggestion if I was their brand consultant is .... wait! I used to charge three figures an hour to give this kind of advise... so I better remain silent, LOL!
Anyway if you're interested in this subject, more from a marketing/branding point-of-view than cinema pov, check the letter that The Auteurs/MUBI Founder & CEO published today, please go here.
---end of Update--
Some of my European friends have to be very interested in today's news from Cannes. Here is an excerpt from the news at indieWire that you can read here just go down to 11:33 AM.
“Never before have filmmakers had the ability to program, now they do,” said Celluloid Dreams head Hengameh Panahi in Cannes this morning. She helped usher in a new phase for online film library, The Auteurs, which has unveiled a partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and re-branded itself as ‘MUBI.’
Under the pact, detailed today at a Majestic Hotel press event, MUBI’s collection of international, independent and classic cinema will be available to European PlayStation3 users. MUBI will be a free, downloadable application that allows anyone with a PS3 in designated territories access to its library. PS3 users in the U.K., Ireland, France, Italy, the Iberian peninsula, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Benelux and Nordic countries, Australia and New Zealand will have access to MUBI’s collection beginning in Autumn, 2010. Plans for North America are said to be still pending.
Included in the downlodable offering is the entire work of Belgian/French filmmaker, Agnes Varda (“The Gleaners and I”). MUBI and Sony call it “the first time that the complete work of such an established filmmaker will have been available to watch globally on the Internet.” Additionally, Mexican collaboration, “Revolucion,” which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and will screen in Cannes this week will be available on MUBI on the anniversary of Mexico’s revolution and ahead of its worldwide DVD release. Work from the Coen brothers and Tarantino as well as Latin American directors and restored shorts are among the array of films that will be available to users"
So I know a few friends that if they don't have a PS3 maybe should buy one fast. But don't despair if you can't afford one, the films are all available at the good old The Auteurs site that from today the opening page reads as follows.
Dont' panic... We just changed our name. We are now MUBI. Your Online cinema. Anytime, anywhere.
Now it's important that you update your bookmarks as the new address is http://mubi.com/home or www.mubi.com. Still, to check and watch Agnes Varda films in one page you have to go to http://www.theauteurs.com/agnes-varda (!) so, go figure, they must be in the transition phase.
I'm really glad to learn that now PS3 owners can now also watch interesting world cinema besides only playing (lol!), hope my particular friends in Spain enjoy the new film distribution outlet as much as they enjoy playing.
Obviously The Auteurs did more than just changing their name to MUBI as with more platforms come more new viewers and more viewers means more new films! Excellent.
This is the ad at Playstation