I found this post over on SAI really insightful. The basic premise is that the professional/semi-pro world of New Media is behaving a whole lot like good ol’ fashioned Hollywood. For example, they point out:
“This industry features vast numbers of candidate projects, produced at a grass-roots level and almost always initially financed by the creators themselves. Are we talking about indie films shot on video — or the latest Facebook App?”
Looking ahead, SAI sees a number of outcomes of we can predict and are already witnessing. I especially like this point:
“Newcomers will arrive in droves — and will have high motivation to make heavy sacrifices. Actors wait tables. Musicians barely eat. Writers flat-out starve. Granted, these people usually desire fame, and web entrepreneurs a successful exit. But both groups share a common goal to motivate them through hard times: they all want to follow their own creative vision, a rewarding job benefit in itself.”
Last night at the Film in the City event where I spoke, I was chatting with an associate who was an early entrant into the world of web video. He saw a huge market opening up and dove in, eager to reap the rewards of the first on the scene. A couple of years later and instead of having a big piece of the pie to himself he is watching most of the work go to those just arriving at the game and happy to undercut him if it gets them on the field.
Go check out the whole post for more insights and predictions.
Tech-news leader, the NYT is reporting that XBOX is partnering with Hollywood producer/manager Peter Safran (reps P Diddy among others) to create a series of short-form scripted entertainment exclusively for the XBOX:
“In an interview at his office in Los Angeles last week, Mr. Safran said his first round of programs would all be scripted, as opposed to reality shows, and would probably run under 10 minutes. He said he planned initially to focus on genres, like comedy and horror, that appeal to the Xbox 360 audience, which is heavily concentrated from the ages of 14 to 34, and tends to be more male than female. The first shows are expected to be available to viewers by the fall.”
Considering how much time that key demo seems to be on their game systems, and with XBOX already wired for delivery of content, this doesn’t seem like a terrible idea. I am not sure I’m going to be excited about what they eventually make but I like that it opens the door to even more potential content windows.
TechDirt sounds off on Hollywood’s ongoing inability to create a customer-friendly distribution system:
“And the reasons they’ve flopped are frankly pretty obvious: high prices, restrictive DRM, and no easy way to move videos to the device of your choice. I won’t re-hash those arguments, but I think it’s interesting to compare the anemic development of the digital video marketplace with the rapid development of digital audio a decade ago.”
This is more of the “canary in the coal mine” argument that I’ve mentioned. I like the additional comparison they pull out of an excellent paper by Tim Wu, Columbia law professor:
“Wu’s basic insight is that too much centralization of control over any one part of the economy can lead to poor decision-making. In an extreme case, such as Soviet Russia, a government can try to run a whole economy by central planning. But the same principle applies on smaller scales.”
Well, we all know what happened to the USSR…
The Hollywood Reporter is, um, reporting that MySpaceTV is launching another original series (after “Roommates”, “Prom Queen” and “quaterlife”) called “Special Delivery.”
It’s a reality/hidden camera show that is being sponsored by Frito-Lay:
“The series initially will be sponsored by Frito-Lay/Cheetos, which will be featured in an episode around April 1 and will lend its branding to the show’s Web page at myspace.com/specialdelivery. The episode will feature a man with two broken arms asking a flower delivery person to feed him the snack food. ”
While I applaud all attempts to create original, sponsored content outside of the traditional TV markets, I do wish the content itself were a bit more, well, original.
You can check out a sample episode.
There is a must-read article in the Economist about the ongoing struggle between Hollywood and the Internet. Here’s how it starts:
“TO SEE what the future of film distribution might look like, go to a website called ZML.com. It offers 1,700 films for download to personal computers, iPods or other hand-held devices, or to burn to DVD. It is inviting and easy to use, with detailed descriptions of each movie, editors’ picks, customer reviews and screen stills. And the prices are reasonable: “Atonement”, for instance, costs $2.99.
There is one small catch: ZML.com is a pirate site. Hollywood’s movie studios, which are used to dealing with scruffier crews like Pirate Bay, a Swedish outfit, are aghast at how professional the newcomer is. “It looks like a fabulous legal website,” says one studio executive.”
Go ahead and read the whole thing. You’ll feel smart, too.
Good piece in The Hollywood Reporter that you can read here without a THR subscription. Basically, two arguments are being made. One the one hand is Ian Schafer, CEO and founder of the independent marketing agency Deep Focus
“Citing the dramatically steeper rate of adoption for mobile and Internet compared to television and other media, Schafer warned that the industry really hasn’t grasped the impact of the rapid adoption and exaggerated consumption and new technology platforms.
He said branded entertainment’s first phase of integration and product placement has already reaped a backlash. “We’re turning consumers into skeptics,” he said. “Branded entertainment 2.0 will mean conversation, engagement and chaotic creativity.”
He cited an ANA survey of brand advertisers given their reasons for resisting branded content. 40% said that brand itself doesn’t lend itself to meaningful integration, polling ahead of “lack of measurable results” (37%), “regulation” (27%) and “branded entertainment is too new.” ”
Eric Hirshberg, chief creative officer and president of ad agency Deutsch/LA “said some branded content is not working, showing webisodes of a “Melrose Place” takeoff called “Crescent Heights” sponsored by Tide, and saying the Pringles promotion on”Survivor” made him thirsty. “There’s a difference between branded content and brand loitering,” Hirshberg said. “Branded content has to be brand appropriate.”
Lots of other good stuff in the article