What's the highest grossing movie in US history? No not Titanic, no not Star Wars, no not even Gigli. Combining the Easter season with my general theme, I was fascinated to discover from a TV documentary The Passion - Films Faith and Fury that the success in question is a religious movie (I typically missed its title - possibly The Miracle Maker) that completely bypassed the regular theatrical distribution network.
When people think of the market disruption ideas of Clayton Christensen there is a tendency to think of new products and or new technology and indeed in the movie business Mark Cuban is trying to create just such a new business model. But to me this was a reminder that new thinking is the essence of market disruption and it can apply to any of the 4Ps.
Marketing is nothing if it's not about meeting customer needs - be it passionately; be it with new products; or how ever. That's what these Christian movie makers have been doing. They've targetted a market of 100 million americans who identify themselves as Christians and taken movies tailored to them and exhibited them where those people are. Namely at their churches - institutions to which those people apparently contribute over $60 billion (i.e. seven times more than the total US box office take).
For the churches, such movies provide an additional attraction for various demographics of their potential congregation and the cynic in me suggests that the movie makers cannot ignore the fact that they do not face revenue-sharing deals with commercial exhibitors. It's a win-win-win scenario and as good an example of disruptive distribution as I've come across.