Posts Tagged 'Creative Darwinism'

Cable Companies Beware!

Jeff Pulver posted his views on the future of Cable companies:

“…In the near future, I expect cable companies may start to suffer a similar parallel fate as the wireline phone companies. This eventually will mean billions of dollars of revenue loss without any notion of being able to replace the lost revenue. And I expect we will start to see this trend happen first in the 16-24 year old demographic.

How does this happen? It happens because there is a portion of the existing 16-24 generation which does not watch traditional broadcast TV and they are not watching Cable TV. What they are watching is TV content on the internet. And when these kids leave home and go off to college, they are not signing up for cable TV service in their dorm rooms. Instead they are continuing to watch their favorite TV shows thanks to BitTorrent or are going online to the network websites to catch up with a missed show or in some cases they are also going to iTunes and purchasing the shows to watch on their video iPods and computers…”

I agree, though believe that there are also the 25-35 age group who are willing to consume media in non-traditional ways, as long as it is good.

It seems to me that these industries are kind of dinosaurs, looking at the meteor coming and thinking that everything will be ok. Just like some of the big production companies, missing the fact that people create good content for fraction of the money they are spending.

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When Poor – Write a Good Story

One thing we all agree about is that independent media creators don’t have a lot of money. We wish it was different, but it is the case. Most of us are working without external financing, and don’t see a lot of money from our work. So we are using one camera, editing on our home computers, trying to cut costs in every way possible. We cannot match the money and crew invested in traditional media productions.

But there is one thing that the big guys and us can do exactly the same – write a good story.

I had the pleasure of attending the Story seminar of Robert McKee. If you have the chance to attend it – it is an amazing experience. If not, you can buy his book Story, an equally eloquent source for his vision. Robert teaches how to write a good story, with a focus on screenwriting. There are tons of books about how to write a script, but this one is different – not only it is written by a real life scriptwriter’s Guru, it is also clear, direct, and with no bullshit approach. In his seminar, Robert stated that a good script is a seller’s market. There are tons of scripts out there – but not good ones.

We, unlike the film industry, don’t have a gatekeeper. We have a bigger problem – clutter, noise, tons of shows out there. It is still a major challenge to tackle, differentiate from more than 500 shows out there, and get people to watch ours. But no one can stop us from putting our content out there. Couple that with a good story, and you have a rival for big media. We have the ability to be brave. We can experiment, as we don’t invest the huge amount of money the big guys are throwing in their productions.
It is true that lighting, sounds, image quality, are all important factors of production value. But a story, telling an interesting tale, is impossible to beat.


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Continue reading ‘When Poor – Write a Good Story’

Delivering Web Video to TV – How Will It Affect Content Creators?

In the recent months we see new ways to deliver web videos to your television. Apple TV, and Tivo’s new features are just two examples of this trend. With new Media Centers out there, we can assume that this trend will increase in both magnitude and importance.

How will it affect the world of independent content creators? I believe that this process is a double edge sword:

1 . We will see more exposure to independent content creators – as shows like Ask a Ninja and Something To Be Desired will be shown on living room TV sets, one of the major barriers of entry to these new media creators will be removed – people won’t need to watch video online, but in their regular TV. Though seems logical, I believe that this process will take some time to happen. Though Tivo users are not necessarily early adopters I still believe that it will take some time till my mother will use media center. Therefore, it is not clear how many new users will start watching web shows, as I assume that media savvy early adopters already watch them.

2. Production quality will rise – though current production quality of indie content creators is very good, when moving from small video screen in a web site to full blown TV format, things change. In the 3D animation company I had in the past, we had a clear distinction between productions for internet, mobile, television, and cinema as the effort to create high quality show is correlated with screen size in some aspects. Small details are more apparent.

3. And it will be harder to beat the competition – today most people do not expect the same level of product from internet video as they expect from television show. When users will be able to see a web show, and a minute later another episode of Studio 60 or Prison Break, their level of expectation will change, starting with script level, through actors, and general production value. This is THE major challenge for indie content creators in my opinion – as they begin to be an alternative to regular television.

4. Indie content creators will change the type of content they are creating – from short, 5-8 minutes flicks, to longer formats. The attention span in television is longer than in the internet, and people are willing to watch longer formats there. However, it might prove to be the killer of this industry. Longer formats are usually more expensive, and complicated to produce. As production cost and complexity rise, the competitive advantage of indie content creators, the ability to create quality content cheaply, is lost. Time will tell if there are enough talented creators to face the high profile, high cost productions out there. It might be that this will be the first wave of Creative Darwinism, when only the most talented content creators will survive.

How do you see it?

More to come…


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