Melbourne International Film Festival
Expanding the Possibilities of VOD
When Covid-19 restrictions made gathering in-person impossible, Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) seized upon an opportunity to expand the traditional festival experience. By creating a customised video-on-demand (VOD) platform, they brought the festival community together with a curated social experience that maintained the spirit of the traditional event.
“We wanted to do something that was true to the spirit of the [70 year old] festival, regardless of whether that was physically or in the digital space.”
- Al Cossar, Artistic Director
About Melbourne International Film Festival
Melbourne International Film Festival has reigned as Australia’s leading film festival since 1952, making it one of the oldest in the industry and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The heart of their mission is to provide a global and innovative experience on screen, challenging audiences to reconsider the possibilities of film.
So when Covid-19 disrupted plans for their 2020 festival, MIFF embraced their own philosophy and sought an equally innovative solution to keep the festival spirit alive. All they needed was a partner to bring their vision to life.
Opportunity for Recreating the Festival Experience
MIFF organisers worked under short notice to create MIFF 68 ½, a digital festival designed to bring the same quality viewing and social experience traditionally associated with the festival directly into the homes of their eager audience. With capacity, streaming quality, and security at the top of their concerns, they turned to Shift72, whose reputation in the film festival world gave MIFF the confidence that their solution would be executed seamlessly.
- A feature to sell festival bundles, a series of personalised film collections for opening and closing night, allowing attendees to preserve the spirit of bouncing from film to film
- A combination of premium security measures, including:
- Studio Grade Digital Rights Management (DRM)
- Concurrent Streaming Restrictions
- Advanced Proxy Detection
- Visible & Forensic Watermarking
- A VOD platform capable of handling high volume without sacrificing streaming quality
Combined with festival bundles, the MIFF team also partnered with Melbourne restaurants Chin Chin and Chandon, who created a range of meal options delivered to customers on opening and closing nights, recreating the social experience of attending the festival in the comfort of their own homes.
MIFF 68 ½ was a resounding success and was heralded as the most attended festival in MIFF’s history:
- Attendance exceeding 300,000
- 205,000 streams
- A broader audience reach, with 20% of attendees tuning in from outside Victoria for the first time
In 2021, MIFF 69 continued their digital presence on their VOD platform, MIFF Play, with:
- Increased number of special guests including filmmakers and actors
- A free shorts program which led to 80% of viewers purchasing a film
- Additional partnerships with local Melbourne restaurants including:
- Handpicked Cellar Door which prepared MIFF Packs of wine and cheese available for delivery throughout Melbourne and Sydney
- Pidapipo who created a special edition MIFF Choc Pop gelato available for delivery
MIFF is proof that VOD platforms can bring in audiences, maintain a sense of community, and help film festivals stake a claim in the future of cinema experiences.
“The digital festival, which we dubbed MIFF 68 1/2 (delivered between our 69th and 70th seasons), was ultimately highly successful, delivered against the odds, and valued by a broader audience reach than ever before. Shift72 was instrumental in MIFF navigating a unique and incredibly challenging set of circumstances, sustaining ourselves to audiences, and doing so in a manner that was true to the heart of what we do as a festival.”
-Al Cossar, Artistic Director