veronica mars, movie, kickstarter, refund

Veronica Mars fans, who answer to the nickname Marshmallows, should have taken after their heroine, and been a bit more sleuthful about the fine print of the Kickstarter campaign they propelled to success. Had they embraced their inner P.I., the let-down of being stuck with Flixster, a cut-rate means to download the film, might have been less jarring.

All it takes is a search on Twitter for “Flisxter” to see that the service, which Hollywood studios (and absolutely nobody else) prefer to iTunes, is not user-friendly. Some, myself included, couldn’t even install the damn thing. In my case, I tried to download the app, and it refused to even unzip! How is that even possible? This application is far from new, there is no excuse for bugs.

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When you have a major movie studio behind a primarily online release, someone has to be assigned to dry runs and stress tests on the server.
Audiences, over the past 3 years, have become accustomed to a capable level of digital distribution. In 2011, Louis C.K. pioneered the act of distributing high quality, DRM-free, feature-length video to paying customers. Nobody said this project was to go online at independent studio level distrubtion values, but since it was fan-backed by nature, fans feel a certain amount is owed to them. The bare standards, maybe?

iTunes download codes are included with some DVD purchases, but for some reason, while you can buy or rent Veronica Mars from iTunes, the studios couldn’t use Apple’s top quality storefront for the fan distribution. Netflix has made seamless online streaming something of a standard, even at high-resolution, and you are definitely not getting a HD experience from Flixster, even if you download the file!

In response to the fan backlash, once showrunner Rob Thomas realized he was burning his very own Marshmallows, he let them know he didn’t feel great about the situation either:

“… We know that some of you have strong opinions about the decision to provide digital versions of the movie through Flixster.
As you’ll see in the original FAQ on our Kickstarter page, we’ve always planned to include Flixster as a digital distribution platform. But I also know that many of you use iTunes, Amazon or other platforms, and would prefer to claim your digital copies on your favorite service, so we hoped we’d also be able to arrange for more options. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t possible. In the end, Flixster was the best option for getting the digital movie reward out to all of you, worldwide, at the same time.

We understand that some of you prefer other platforms or services for watching digital content. If you contact our Customer Support team, they can help.
If you paid for a copy of the movie a year ago, we don’t want you to have less choice and freedom than people who decide to buy it today. And we definitely don’t want you to end up paying twice just to see the movie on your preferred service.”

In order to stave off the angry reaction from boiling over, this plea for understanding has been followed by a reported refund. Hopefully Zach BraffKatherine Heigl, and any other celebs who ever turn to their fans to Kickstart projects to life, take note to make sure its only their movies that disappoint their fans.

While I have contacted Flixster customer support, I have not received any resolution as of the time of publishing.

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