Sunday, November 30, 2008

The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same

It's been almost 9 months since my last post. I moved my practice to a larger firm and took a blogging break to sit back and watch. So what's changed in 9 months? In some respects, a lot. But in many respects, not so much.

We have a new president from the other party taking office in less than 2 months. The economy continued to get worse and then went into a bit of a free fall. People were nervous about the economy in March; they're more nervous now.

But in the entertainment business, certain universal truths have held. We need to give consumers the content they want, when they want it, where they want it and at a price that represents value. This is not news, but it should be at the center of every company's strategy. Technology should be used to facilitate that simple goal -- get the right content to the consumers the way they want it. They will pay for that.

Blu-Ray? As I mentioned a while ago, any business based on physical delivery has a limited shelf life. I think a certain segment of consumers will pay for the highest quality hardware and software, but the software will ultimately be delivered to the hardware through a high speed connection. That's what they want.

Ad-based models will survive, but the scramble for ad dollars has become much more competitive in this challenging economic environment. I think the winners will be those companies that can deliver a superior user experience -- letting consumers interact with the advertising in a comfortable, engaging manner. That will result in purchases, and that's always the bottom line in the ad business.

The film business continues the run towards digital and 3D at the studios, but overall I think it is still healthy. The expansion of online outlets that connect to high quality output devices is creating a market for super low-budget films. I think this will expand and actually feed and expand the market for creative independent projects. This will help certain filmmakers gain audiences and migrate to the big screen. It's all about audiences and technology is facilitating the process of finding the people who like a particular genre or artist.

I'm going to start picking out the sign posts again on a regular basis. In the meantime, I welcome comments, ideas, questions, criticism...whatever. I think a healthy discourse is a key element of keeping our industry healthy. Let's keep talking.