I Am Internet, Hear Me Roar! How the Web Is Transforming or Destroying Your Favorite Medium [Movies + TV]

movie_theater_1Chapter 2: Big-Budget Movies and Television

Notice here that I single out big-budget films – as they are a totally different breed from smaller-independent films. These projects require a ton of capital and rely on studios to take care of the production, distribution, etc (same goes for mainstream music or essentially any other form of mainstream media that relies on a producer, label, or publisher). Because these movies cost a ton of money to put together – think about all the money it takes to profit, or even break-even. DVD sales, syndication on a major TV network, Happy Meal toys – all of these things have to be pushed hard so everyone can make a buck.

And this is where the Internet comes in – DVD sales are hurting (down nearly 10% in 2008), so the big-wigs put out blu-ray’s, super mega director’s cut unrated special edition DVD’s, etc. You name it, they have tried it. But ultimately, no matter how hard they try, they will never be able to stop you from getting what you want, when you want them. Torrent websites, streaming hub’s like Hulu, and digital downloads on iTunes and game consoles are all contributing factors to the decline in the overall spending toward the industry.

That being said, for now – the big-budget movie industry is relatively safe – but we are seeing more and more success with smaller independent projects. There have been a number of movies that have cost nothing to make yet made millions (remember the Blair Witch Project – prime example – cost $30,000 to make, and has grossed over $250,000,000). Think about all the animated Pixar movies – why are they so popular? Because they are much cheaper to make. This trend will continue, and it remains to be seen where the movie industry will end up a decade or two down the road. There is still a charm for seeing a movie on the big screen, but the Internet is having a huge impact on the way we watch movies and tv shows.

Speaking of television, this medium has been greatly effected by advancements in technology, in both positive and negative ways. First, the cons of technology. Television advertising has taken a huge hit – and speaking from my experience in the world of advertising, TV advertising presents very little ROI for companies anyway – but now that we can Tivo and fast forward through commercials, or watch shows online and only deal with very limited advertisements, it’s making it very difficult for advertisers to get their message to consumers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it has presented a number of new opportunities for companies to take advantage of, but nonetheless, the web and other technological advances have had a direct effect on the medium as a whole. As with everything we are looking at this week – it is absolutely imperative that networks jump on the tech bandwagon and make use of new technologies – harness the power instead of fighting it.

Where do you see the film industry trending in the near future? What about television? When will we start seeing sitcoms and other shows broadcasting exclusively on the net? How can industry combat illegal downloading and sharing of full length TV shows and movies? Are direct-to-PC and/or DVR the wave of the future? What advertising platform has the greatest reach and impact?

[Tomorrow: Books hit the chopping block]