20
Sep

Building a future for the film industry

Escrito el 20 Septiembre 2006 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Entertainment

After the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, the film industry seemed to be on its way to recovery from years of demise. Pirates comes from a company, Disney, that is running fast towards making film revenues a diversified game, and partnering with one of the winners of the digitalization of enterntainment – Apple- lead by one of its the key investors, Steve Jobs. Sounds confusing? If you look at revenues of the industry in the last years, you will see that your cineplex is only a signaling tool. That is, if something goes wrong and what was supposed to be a big hit doesn’t work as planned in the box office, the revenues downstream (DVD’s, TV’s, merchandise…) are inmediatly affected.

Searching for a different revenue model one can enter the discussion of wether the Long Tail applies or not. Apparently it does, or at least some mutation of the model: if offered at reasonable prices, good quality and inmediacy, people will pay for a digital version that they can get for free at any P2P network. It’s the same story we have heard again and again with the music industry: we will pay (tell the iTunes guys about it) if you offer a convenient and interesting way to interact with music.

The next trend for the music industry is a comeback of recommendation systems, like MyStrands or even the experiment google has launched MusicTrends. They promess to help us out with our music discovery. The same stuff we did when talking to friends, but with global scale.

Can the industry find ways to lure customers again to pay for their products? Emotion, passion, commitment… they are all involved at some point with the products of this industry. We can probably think of what bothers us when we buy their stuff, or alternative ways to relate to it. The industry has suffered its crisis before, but has also found creative ways to recover.

Maybe Snakes on a Plane is a good example of some of the changes we will see down the road. A film that has changed, not evolved, radically changed, using the imput of a big fan community interacting through the web. With its own Wikipedia entry (here), and $33M in the box office, could it be a new form of “participatory creativity” or just an anecdote, with mixed results?

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