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Active Image: providing digital and physical art solutions to DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum

Marlene Dietrich. Maximilian Schell Exhibition © DFF / Foto: Norbert Miguletz

The DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum in Frankfurt – is a leading, forward-thinking, international heritage organization, which links the history, materiality, and meaning of film to the digital future.

Over the past four years Active Image, a marketplace for unique digital art, has worked with the Deutsches Filmmuseum (DFF) to address five core elements to enhance both its physical and online capabilities. These elements included introducing interactive features to the museum, digital content, improving visitor reach, and online revenue streams, as well as digital transformation.

Here, Active Image talks us through the challenges posed by the museum and how they solved the problems with their platform for unique digital art.

Challenge 1: Limitations of physical space and experience

Cube Installation at the © DFF / Foto: Uwe Dettmar

The physical museum space needed alternative formats to engage the visitors and audiences at a more interactive level and to enable digital and physical synergy for an immersive experience.

Solution: At Active Image, we provide digital canvases to the museums for an immersive experience on location. In the case of the Deutsches Filmmuseum (DFF), our canvases enhance the exhibition spaces and fill unused space on the museum premises, for example, in the Foyer, the vast stairways, and unreachable but visible areas. This allows DFF to engage visitors throughout their entire physical journey. The visitors remain holistically integrated, even when going between spaces or going to the shop.

Challenge 2: Artistic content is increasingly shifting to digital formats and so are the tastes and aspirations of young visitors

Panorama of the Alps. Maximilian Schell Exhibition © DFF / Foto: Norbert Miguletz

The museums need to offer digital visual content and new ways to present their archives and digital catalogs to their communities. 

Solution: The Active Image marketplace provides museums with an expansion to their own digital venue where they can rent unique art or sell collectibles to any audience at any time. For Deutsches Filmmuseum (DFF) this means that it now can make unique digital imagery, video, or film material available online to the fan base of any exhibition as an extension to its physical store. Visitors can bring the exhibition experience home with them and continue to enjoy content on their digital canvases in their own personal environment via an Apple Store or Google Play app, as well as on tablets and phones.

Challenge 3: Limited or impacted traffic reach

Screenwall with Cinema posters. ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood © Active Image

Particularly in times of a pandemic or shifting visitor patterns, museums risk losing visibility and foot traffic, resulting in declining reach and declining value to exhibition sponsors.

Solution: The digital museum venue provided by Active Image offsets lost income and traffic from macro events, such as the pandemic. Fans and visitors of the Deutsches Filmmuseum (DFF) will be able enjoy the content from anywhere and remain engaged with the museum before, during, and after an exhibition. This ensures that DFF sponsors, who may otherwise have concerns about closed museums or strictly limited visitor traffic, not only continue to support the DFF but receive added community and experience benefits from their engagement.

Thanks to the online visibility and traffic on the DFF digital venue, the museum will be able to reach a global audience and fan base. Fans who may never physically be able to visit the DFF exhibition can participate in its story and enjoy the unique offering digitally.

Challenge 4: Lack of online revenue opportunities and the need to identify new revenue streams

How it works – the Active Image Marketplace © Active Image

The museums need recurring engagement and ways to unlock the revenue potential of existing archives and cataloged assets by making them available to the public. These archives of meaningful content are otherwise rarely seen.

Solution: In partnership with The Deutsches Filmmuseum (DFF) forward-thinking planning and growth in the digital sphere, the Active Image digital venue will add new ways to monetise content. For example, The Deutsches Filmmuseum (DFF) can curate its content for each virtual exhibition (i.e. “Digital Canvas Collection”) and it can decide on the level of exclusivity and selection of content, e.g., how many copies of a collectible exist and what collectibles are for rent or for sale, as well as who has access to them.

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the online venue is the activation of digital catalog assets. Clips, posters, and other collectibles that would never be offered to the public can be made available to rent or buy. The DFF will be able to monetise the potential of evergreen content that otherwise is archived. This flexibility unlocks tremendous new revenue potential.

Challenge 5: Digital transformation – lack of technology and personnel resources for museums to offer digital solutions

Constrained resources slow the digital transformation at a time when museums desperately need to reach their target audiences, ensure existing sources of revenue and provide new digital services.

Solution: As an example, The DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum in Frankfurt – have grown their regional, national, and international audiences substantially during the pandemic through robust online offerings, expanded social media and new platforms. They now have a suite of deep and rich international offerings, featuring filmmaker conversations, exhibition tours, archival ‘behind-the-scenes’ offerings, podcasts, blogs, virtual exhibitions, and numerous other content-based connection points to a global public.

The DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum in Frankfurt – is now well-positioned to leverage these developed assets into the next level of digital or online connection with the visitor or potential customer through this partnership with Active Image. Active Image provides a truly game-changing digital platform for Deutsches Filmmuseum (DFF) to reach its existing base and target audience while offering entirely new services.

In addition to the DFF venue on the marketplace, the DFF will be able to integrate the venue as a SaaS solution via API into its website. This “white label” integration gives DFF its own branded venue and enables direct online sales and easy management of the content offering from its website. Most importantly, DFF can rest assured that the digital content is secured and verified using patent-pending technology. The Active Image technology platform ensures uniqueness of each and every piece of digital content and protects the value of DFF’s visual digital assets.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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