Friday, June 02, 2006

Transitional Times

I continue to see articles which show how the markets for TV and film are shifting. I'm fascinated watching this unfold and I'm convinced that we're going to see new animation creators appear who are going to become major players. The question is who they'll be and what their ideas are. Here's a quote from Tom Fontana, creator or co-creator of Oz, The Jury, Tattinger's, The Beat and The Bedford Diaries in an interview on Alex Epstein's blog:
"Television is on the precipice of an enormous re-evaluation, of how shows are made, how much they cost, who's watching and how they're watching. I think in the next five to ten years, television, as we know it, will have ceased to exist."
"Anybody who thinks they can tell you now how this is going to work is an idiot. No one knows. No one at the studios, no one at the networks, there is no writer/producer who has a clear sense. We're in virgin territory. It's going to take time to settle down. What do we do? Do we go back to making TV for as little as possible, with paper sets, and no locations? The public won't accept that. There's a very real problem here. I'm not clever enough to come up with a solution. But I'm fascinated to see what happens."
Things are definitely breaking open on the distribution side. Treehouse, a Canadian pre-school cable channel will start TreehouseDirect in August, where you'll be able to download their shows. They're willing to distribute works by independent producers as well, as you can read in this press release.

YouTube has upgraded their site to include the creation of playlists. This article claims that 50 million videos are viewed each day and that YouTube was the 43rd most popular U.S. website last week. Musicians and performers are using YouTube to build audiences and some are scoring paying gigs as a result. And Yahoo is feeling the heat from YouTube and is overhauling its video area.

Things are also shifting on the movie front. In this article, Kendrick Macdowell of the National Association of Theater Owners admits that there's lots of talk of varying ticket prices based on the film. Why pay full admission for a known flop? Hollywood is not happy with this idea, but the theaters make most of their money on concessions, so anything they can do to get people into the theaters helps their bottom line.

And this article talks about how studios are trying to figure out the best way to get movies to consumers. "Executives said they now devote between 20% and 50% of their time to new delivery options."

It's easier than ever to get your ideas to the public. The problem now is financing and marketing. The people who succeed are going to be the ones who come up with an inexpensive approach to creating animation and who create a character or gimmick that people just have to tell their friends about. Don't forget that South Park started out as an animated Christmas card that got passed along person to person. Somewhere, right now, somebody's cooking up something that will go viral and will open the floodgates for a new kind of animation. I have no idea what it will be or even if I'll like it, but I'll bet it shows up within the next two years if not sooner.


Steve Schnier said...

...six months.

Mark Mayerson said...

Hi Steve. I hope you're doing well.

And you're probably right. I'm guessing that I'm too conservative.

steve schnier said...

Hi Mark, all is well.

I think you're right on the money about the developments, but being far too conservative about the timing. BTW, I thoroughly enjoy your blog. It's insightful, balanced and very well written. Keep up the great work.