Posts Tagged ‘Google’
The announcements are coming fast and furious from Silicon Valley this week. They are now willing to make a deal with the devils in Hollywood.
Or is it the other way around?
Faced with a crumbling business model is both broadcast television and the DVD market, Disney and Fox have signed up to sell their product on the Apple TV platform for as little as 99 cents per episodic show. Feature films will be available in HD format for $4.99 with back titles renting for a mere $2.99.
There is a whole new generation that look at that and figures it’s okay. No big deal. If they can download it for free somewhere, that’s even better, really. Finally, the internet savvy consumers have forced a new business model on the filmed entertainment business. It’s a done deal.
In an informal survey, I’ve been told that people are willing to cut back on their cable or satellite packages because they now download a great deal of material from iTunes and the internet already. When your iTunes monthly bill exceeds that of cable, it’s time to take stock in expenditures, which a lot of people are doing right now.
There’s a word for this in economic terms and it’s called ‘deflation.’ Because of lightening-quick advances in technology, the worth of filmed entertainment content is losing value. Fast.
The music industry has dealt with this for ten years and have managed to make some amends with the situation. But there are enormous cost differentials between the two industries. It doesn’t cost much to produce an album of songs. But when you are producing a feature length film or a season of television shows, the costs are astronomical. There are hundreds of people employed just in the physical production alone. Once the footage is in the can, the studio ‘sales’ operation kicks in and there are hundreds more people involved in the careful marketing and publicity campaigns needed to launch awareness of the new product.
Where are the studios and content producers going to get the revenue to continue making these shows and movies? Is there anyone out there who can explain this?
If the broadcast model of distribution (which includes commercials paid for by advertisers) breaks down, and everyone watches commercial-free episodes on Apple TV, then you have to conclude that revenue streams will be severely curtailed. If no one buys or rents DVDs of the shows or films anymore, that makes matters even worse.
When the value of the product drops, less will be produced and at a cheaper cost. That means even more creative people out of work in Hollywood. The quality of the programming will suffer. Is the America and the rest of the world ready for that?
Everyone wants something for free. And if not free, then for as cheaply as possible in the current economic climate. Apple TV and Google and YouTube are standing up to provide that. But two to three years from now, the public needs to be ready for cheap, ill-conceived entertainment with lower-than-average production values. ‘The Sopranos’ will indeed become the new ‘Godfather’ in that respect. An example of the ‘old days’ when every dime was on the screen and stories that mattered were given the royal treatment.
Scores of people in Hollywood have lost their jobs because of this economic downturn. Once Apple and Google take over the new distribution channels, even more will be cut. With the value of their product deflated, the budgets are just not there to support their endeavors. Feature films will survive in some form, just as books and Broadway have done, but it will no longer be like it was just a mere five or ten years ago. Get ready for less choices at the cinema.
As for TV, start downloading old episodes of ‘Friends’ and ‘I Love Lucy’ for 99 cents a piece, because there’s not going to be anything of high value to watch. Even on the pay networks like HBO or Showtime.
The person who will get beat up the most on this is you. Your cable bill will go up AND you’ll be forced to pay more for these episodes, the quality of which will undoubtedly come down.