kkurman, on the beat. 16 March ’11
The hot news this week is that ‘HOUSE OF CARDS’, a new, two-season serialized movie staring Kevin Spacey and directed by David Fincher (THE SOCIAL NETWORK, FIGHT CLUB, SE7EN) will be coming to… Netfilx! If you said, wow! You’d be right!
Netfilx, the on-line, DVD by mail service, has been in the fight of its life recently with video giant Blockbuster, to maintain their share of the home DVD market. Netfilx has been moving ever more towards streaming its movies on-demand over hard copy. This new move puts it in direct competition with cable providers like Time-Warner and Comcast (new owner of NBC) as a content provider. This announcement comes on the same day that Conde Nast (Vogue, Wired, Vanity Fair) announced that all of its print magazines would be on-line by the end of the year.
Of course, I’ve been predicting that this was coming for months, ever since I saw Charlie Rose‘s interview with Google‘s CEO Eric Schmidt. Schmidt is a genius and, as far as I’m concerned, if he says something is going to happen, you can bank on it.
This is all part of a tectonic shift in media delivery that has been happening over the last couple of years. Driven originally by HBO‘s demand for high quality content, A-list actors and directors have been producing film projects for television. It started about seven years ago with IRON JAWED ANGELS, a ‘made for TV movie’ about the women’s suffrage movement, produced by HBO and staring Hilary Swank and Angelica Huston.
It built up steam with repeated successes, THE SOPRANOS, SIX FEET UNDER, THE WIRE culminating, most recently, with the hugely successful Martin Scorsese, Mark Wahlberg, Steve Buscemi serialized juggernaut, BOARDWALK EMPIRE.
We should not underestimate this shift. It is as monumental as the effect the introduction of television had on the film industry back in the 50’s. It will affect everything having to do with how we get information, especially in our particular area of interest, Arts & Entertainment.
The trigger was Steve Jobs‘ introduction of the iPad. His company, Apple Computers, had already revolutionized the Music Industry with on-line downloads of individual songs and albums in iTunes. Then they started streaming TV shows and movies. Google was a little behind the curve but they finally released their, long in development, Android operating system that brings the technology to PC users, thus making it pretty much universally available.
So, it won’t be long now before magazines and newspapers stop printing hard copy, ’cause it just won’t be economically feasible to print and distribute them, and most of your news and entertainment will be on your pad. And there’s the shift.
Your phone will carry instant, short delivery of time-critical communication and bulletins. Your Pad will carry longer-format news, entertainment and subscription content. Your Television, now connected to your home computer, will be the primary medium for independent film and serialized content and the struggling mega-plex’s and big, old movie houses will cater to arena-style, giant budget movie ‘events’, and 3-D spectacles like AVATAR.
Sad, but inevitable. When the subject comes up at parties around town it is generally pooh-poohed; “oh, no! That will never happen, I love going to the theatre, I love reading my newspaper,” etc… Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this week marks the end of all that, what can I say, get used to it.
Speaking of bad news, the other topic on everyone’s minds and lips right now are the victims and survivors of the tragic events in Japan. Our hearts go out to our brethren there, and please, if you can, donate generously to their aid.
That’s it for now. See ya’, Salam Ali!