Monday, November 05, 2007

The Efficient Marketplace

The names of famous writers who jobbed on the silver screen is a long one, from F Scott Fitzgerald through David Mamet to Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard, but they remain in the shadows behind the actors, actresses and even directors and producers they serve.

I have personal sympathy with the screenwriters as they begin their strike in the US, but they are fighting over the old world order and might be better in embracing the future and working towards it.

The trouble with taking a new approach to any business is that it is a loss leader for a while, so turning their talents to online media is unlikely to pay the often reasonable fees they get paid by the studios. The other problem facing everyone in an opening market is that competition is intensifying.

What we are moving towards is an efficient marketplace not just for content, but for all aspects of content production, where cameramen and directors will work on a contingent (no sale, no fee) basis because they are hungry for work.

As in the music industry, this is likely to increase the number of one hit wonders and also likely to beef up the long tail, so it's good news for indie producers and YouTube would be movie moguls.

But we are in transition and most internet TV technology companies, far from creating an efficient marketplace, are obsessed with either become the network of the future, or being a technology provider.

What we're living through at the moment is TV 1.5.

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