FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, August 01, 2005

Hollywood's 10-Year Plan

The movie industry knows it's in trouble. Well... maybe not in trouble so much as its business model is changing radically. DVDs, TiVo, home theatres, bland mass-audience movies, online chat rooms that can make or break a movie's buzz, and exasperation with high cineplex prices are all coming home to roost.

An article in Newsweek suggests that at least some people in Hollywood get it, and are at least thinking seriously about the industry's future. However, no one is really sure what to do about it. Many of the suggestions for Hollywood of 2015 focus on improving the theatre experience... but this seems to be going into the wrong direction.

Instead of trying to resuscitate a dying distribution method, moviemakers should be focusing on new channels. As digital device storage increases and video delivery via podcasting is perfected, whole new avenues of film distribution will open up. In 2015, we'll be more likely to download movies onto mobile devices and watch them on the go -- or on a home theatre system -- than go to a traditional theatre. And these movies, unlike today's mega blockbusters, might well appeal to niche audiences.

The article interviewed film directors and producers... but it's the people who make the business decisions who need to understand what's going on. As Napster showed us, if the suits don't take the initiative to change an obsolete business model, someone else will do it for them.