First reaction was a shriek. What the hell had happened to my TheAuteurs.com account? Well, it had just turned into a MUBI account instead.
It had to happen. The cinephile site The Auteurs has changed its name.
Cakarel wants to grow members into the millions. So he went on a quest for a new name. He called on ad agencies all over the world to find a simple, easily-typed name. “Find me my global brand, my Sony,” he told them. It took nine months, but finally an agency in Tokyo knew they had found the name. Mubi.
The word “movie” is mispronounced in many cultures that have trouble with the letter V. It isn’t a word in any language. It is a city in Nigeria. And Cakarel plans to make that city the movie-lover capital of the world.
Even if finding out about the change of names through indieWIRE and not TheAuteurs itself is just a little offensive, I could understand a change in branding. However, the change in brand seems to be a complete move towards the mainstream market to attract more members, who aren’t necessarily interested in auteur-driven films, and hence wouldn’t know how to type “auteur” in the first place… than a re-brand to actually make the product better for its core audience. It’s like Inca Kola trying to be hip and cool, when it doesn’t taste the same.
With this “strategic” branding idea, they have stirred up their community by having many users complaining about the change of name, and those who aren’t complaining? Well, they are indifferent to the change. Overall feedback seems to be quite negative so it has prompted forum boards by now-MUBI Efe (Cakarel) titled “Why did we change our name to MUBI”
The most interesting part of it all, is their deals with the Sao Paulo Film Fest to stream their films — and possible future deals with the likes of Tribeca — and deals with Cannes.
Let’s just hope they continue to focus on Silents, Foreign Films, Classic Films and other hard to watch films, and/or other hard to find for people to share with, than mainstream Hollywood films.