Sunday, September 23, 2012
THE REVOLUTION WILL BE SIGNPOSTED...
Sometimes life sends you a sign.
I was going to write about something else completely different this week. I had it all prepped and ready to go, warm and toasty into your inbox.
But then, a nagging doubt.
Not because I didn't think you would be interested in what I had written. Quite the contrary.
But I saw a story that evoked a reaction. I had a 'hmmm, that's interesting' moment. These moments, I feel, should always be shared.
So, it was sunny. I was drinking coffee. I was lamenting missing out on tickets to legendary Indie Film Producer Ted Hope's producing workshop in Sydney. Oh, the missed opportunity.
A friend forwarded an innocent story about Australian TV stations starting to 'Fast-track' more of their foreign TV shows. I try not to follow too much news these days, too depressing, but sometimes you'll do anything to get the synapses firing.
For the uninitiated, TV stations 'Fast-track' foreign TV shows, usually American shows, to get them onto Australian screens just after the newest episodes have screened in their home countries.
Suddenly, something clicked.
I tracked down an article that I had read previously. Netflix, the film and TV internet streaming service, is going global, beyond American borders.
And another, this time from Australia. Quickflix, the Australian direct mail DVD supplier who is looking at building an online streaming business, are working constantly to secure more licenses and expand their catalogue of television shows and films.
Just in the last month, Hoyts, the Australian cinema chain, announced they are launching an online film streaming service.
HBO, the maker of hit TV show 'Game of Thrones' announced they are now looking to stream their own content directly online, rather than through a third party like Netflix.
The online retailing giant, Amazon, announced they are trying to become a streaming service in direct competition with Netflix.
And all the while, Apple, despite their enormous success, still can't get into the film and television world (the way they did with music) because the content makers don't like Apple's negotiating attitude, characterised as "our way or the highway". But they are still trying, represented in their Apple TV device, iTunes and iCloud.
And it is all capped off, of course, by the original article that traditional free-to-air and pay TV providers are looking to 'Fast-track' shows in Australia. It's their attempt to stay relevant.
Everyone is playing catch-up. This race has escalated extremely quickly.
I first wrote about it a year ago: http://openingactfilms.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/rip-broadcast-television.html
And then again, earlier this year, when I heard that Netflix have started making their own exclusive original content : http://openingactfilms.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/future-is-coming-faster-than-we-guessed.html
And now, finally, the sleeping giants have awoken. Powerful media companies who have realised we are in the on-demand world now. Audiences demand the content that THEY want, and they want it NOW. The media companies want to cash in on this revolution.
And this is good news for filmmakers.
The public's appetite for film and TV shows is voracious. If it is great, or really, really good at the least, they will watch your program, for hours, in their millions.
So, what will these media companies need in this revolution?
Films and TV shows to put on their TV channels and online distribution platforms to satisfy their viewers.
The more exclusive the content is for them the better.
And that is, of course, your cue.
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