THE Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has unveiled plans to create an online box office tracking system in order to “take the guesswork out of box office grosses,” according to the council’s chief executive.
“One of the biggest challenges in the industry is we’re uncertain of how much a film earns,” Mary Liza Diño-Seguerra, chairman and CEO of the FDCP, said in vernacular during a press conference on Feb. 7 at Iago’s Restaurant in Quezon City.
The system, to be called Box Office Online System and Tracker (BOOST), will be done in partnership with the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) and is aimed to provide data-driven and evidence-based analytics for the Philippine film industry.
“It can give us box-office data [as often as] every 15 minutes,” she said before adding that a similar system is in place in South Korea and that it is one of the reasons why the country’s film industry is booming.
The 2017 report on the South Korean film industry published by KOFIC showed it earning more than $20 billion and reporting 219.87 million admissions.
“This is the heart and soul of [South] Korea’s [film industry] success, because they can analyze how many people watch comedy films, etc.,” Ms. Diño-Seguerra explained.
The system will also provide data to track trends in the industry, said Ms. Diño-Seguerra, and will show which films are popular in regions, the number of admissions, etc.
She also reported that the Department of Budget and Management has given them P3.6 million to put up the system and another P8 million for the system’s maintenance for the year which Ms. Dino said will cost upwards of P400,000 a month.
The budget for the online system is in addition to the P192 million budget the FDCP has been given for 2019, according to Ms. Diño-Seguerra.
Though no specific date has been announced for the system’s rollout, Ms. Diño-Seguerra said “it’s only a matter of time.”
Asked whether the data from the system will be available to the public, she said that the council will be releasing reports every quarter and the data will be accessible to “industry stakeholders: the distributors, producers, and FDCP.”
“It was difficult for the FDCP to call cinemas one-by-one just to get box-office data. We’re blind, we’re completely blind… that’s why we need the system,” she said before adding that they would want to implement the system’s pilot test during the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), arguably the country’s most popular film festival, which is held annually from Dec. 5 to the first week of January.
Aside from the box-office tracking system, Ms. Diño-Seguerra also announced that they already have a site for the Philippine Film Archive Heritage building and that the groundbreaking is scheduled for September.
The 2,500-square meter facility will be located behind the Pamantasang ng Lungsod ng Maynila in Intramuros, Manila, and will house the film archive, a media library, and a film museum.
Ms. Diño-Seguerra said the structure for the archive will be done in partnership with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the investment arm of the Department of Tourism (DoT).
“We’re bringing in consultants from [L’immagine Ritrovata], the film restoration lab from Bologna, Italy,” she said before explaining that the personnel from the restoration lab will help them construct the interiors of the building to make it perfect for film storage and archiving.
After the September groundbreaking, Ms. Diño-Seguerra said they hope to see the archive up and running a year later.
Currently, thousands of films are stored in the unofficial film archive inside the FDCP offices in Ermita, Manila. — Zsarlene B. Chua