Australia is getting a crowdfunded movie site so you can choose what movie plays at your local cinema

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Crowdfunding site Tugg, which enables people to decide which movies screen at their local cinemas, has landed in Australia.

Launched by Nicolas Gonda and Pablo Gonzalez, the platform has been operating in the US market since 2012 where it has managed to attract about 500,000 patrons across 4,500 movie screenings.

It enables people to become movie distributors, filling empty cinemas by selling tickets to one-off movie screenings and pocketing 5% of the box office takings.

For the past 12 months, Tugg has been operating in beta mode in Australia and so far has had an average audience size of 150 people per screening, filling up cinemas during the quietest days of the week, which in the movie business is usually Monday and Wednesday. It has partnered with more than 280 Australian cinemas, meaning it has access to more than 2,000 screens across Australia including Hoyts and Event Cinemas.

All movies are independents or Australian productions, that can find distribution difficult on small marketing budgets.

Tugg uses consumers’ networks to spread word of mouth and sell movie tickets. The platform takes care of theatre reservations, ticketing, and delivery of the film.

The new distribution model is timely considering 2014 was a terrible year for Australian movies. They grossed only 2.43% of total box office takings. Collectively the top 10 Australia movies brought in just $26.1 million during 2014, a market share that has been shrinking since 2009. Or putting this in real terms, a measly $1 per Australian was spent on Aussie movies in 2014.

“Cinema on demand is a win/win for cinema owners, movie producers, the public and movie distributors,” Tugg Australia team member David Doepel said.

“This won’t cannibalise patronage from Hollywood blockbusters, it will actually grow the market by attracting new movie goers to quieter times of the week and different kinds of films. We already have one of the healthiest movie industries in the world. In 2014 the Aussie box office was $1.1 billion and our per capita cinema admissions placed us at #2 in the world.

“With the right push, audiences will embrace the great diversity of movies as well.”

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