Last month, Emerica premiered "MADE: Chapter 1," a short-format skate video featuring full parts from Brandon Westgate, Leo Romero, Collin Provost and their newest am, Jeremy Leabres. Instead of giving viewers free access to the edit, or charging a flat price for digital purchase, the brand implemented a system whereby the buyer pays what he or she thinks the product is worth, on a sliding scale of $1 to $10.
To date, there have been 3,500 downloads of "MADE: Chapter 1," with an average sale price of $4 to $6.
XGames.com recently had the opportunity to discuss this distribution model -- which is rarely seen online, and hasn't been done before in skateboarding -- with Emerica senior global brand director Timothy Nickloff, marketing manager Jeff Henderson and team manager (and legendary professional skateboarder) Heath Kirchart. "MADE: Chapter 1" is still available in traditional DVD format (MSRP $20); it comes with a book curated by Emerica pro/artist Jerry Hsu. The limited-edition DVD book features behind-the-scenes photos from Emerica skate trips, with images from Michael Burnett, Atiba Jefferson, Jerry Hsu, Ed Templeton and more.
XGames.com: What's your reaction to brands premiering skate videos online and the sheer volume of footage available on the web?
Nickloff: There is more skateboarding video content available now than ever before online, and on as many different platforms as possible.
Henderson: Internet video releases, whether it's a single part or a whole video, are here today, gone tomorrow. The Internet buries them with content on a daily basis. It's a bummer knowing how much work goes into making a solid video part, just to have it be forgotten so quickly after it drops.
How does your "pay what you want" online release strategy address illegal downloads?
Kirchart: The original idea came from Radiohead's release of "In Rainbows." I loved that the fans got to determine the price that they thought the record was worth. We are still trying to figure out what a skate video is worth when it only features a few guys and doesn't run 45 minutes. This way, fans of the brand and the skaters get to determine that price.
Henderson: The market for skate videos is not like it used to be. No matter how you release a skate video these days -- hard-copy DVDs, iTunes download, etc. -- the video will instantly be pirated and be all over the Internet.
Kirchart: The main goal was to not give it away for free, but also make it obtainable to whoever wanted it.
Although you're still tallying the results, will you release "MADE: Chapter 2" with same online strategy?
Henderson: Who knows in two years what will happen? Media changes so fast.
Is it important to offer the video in traditional formats?
Henderson: There are still people who care to own a physical DVD with interesting packaging to hold onto. The number of hard copies we are able to sell in today's market is small, but it's important to offer them. As a brand you have to look at videos as a marketing tool and not a product that's going bring in money.
Where do you see the future of skateboarding videos?
Kirchart: With major companies pushing the mega contest and sport of skateboarding to the mainstream, it is less and less important for pro skaters to film videos. Hopefully, skateboarders will continue to make videos and retain the underground culture that is skateboarding.
Henderson: I think there will always be the high-quality skate-video productions that will be released from skate brands that will sit on a special shelf for skaters that will be looked at as the representation of skateboarding for that time period, and then there will be the continuous flow of B-, C-, D-grade footage that gets spewed all over the Internet for the sake of staying relevant on a daily basis.
Nickloff: For me, the law of "quality over quantity" still applies and the amount of truly creative, memorable and groundbreaking new video projects -- long- or short-form -- available to watch has, in my opinion, remained relatively small and to a select group of progressive filmmakers.