What Does The Future Hold For The Motion Picture Industry?

January 19, 2011

Netflix Watch Instantly movie streaming over the internetSometimes, in order to make accurate predictions and judgments about the future, we need to look back at the past. This is not only true for a business operating within any given industry, but also for ourselves. Our personal forecasts, just like in business, are often responsible for the actions we execute and the choices we make.

A significant technological leap forward in the movie industry first occurred in 1927. It was a development met with fear and dread by many in the industry at the time. They feared things would change for the worse, and never be the same again. It was a technology that dampened demand for the many stars, directors and technicians who found demand for their services greatly diminished. Or worse still, no longer necessary. They hoped it would be a passing trend. It wasn’t. Sound had arrived, and movies were to be shrouded in silence no more. Many believed this marked the beginning of the end. It didn’t.

The next technological leap occurred in the early 1950′s, which again shook the industry. As with sound, they feared and isolated it. They yet again turned their heads hoping it would pass. It didn’t. Television had arrived and was here to stay. This, of course, diminished audiences in the cinema for obvious reasons. But the industry survived.

Today the movie industry is in the grip of another great technological leap forward. The internet has brought instantaneous entertainment to the fingertips of an ever demanding and growing global audience. Home video distributors are running scared and rightly so. The film distribution business has virtually been eliminated, and will probably never return. The internet has enabled independent film makers to distribute their products direct to their audiences. Because of many pirated copies of movies floating around in cyberspace, movie makers are also up in arms and running for the hills. But they shouldn’t worry… How do I know? Does anyone think James Cameron is worried about the internet? Do you think he’s miserable because he believes if Avatar didn’t exist on the internet he could’ve made an extra billion or two? He isn’t, he knows that the internet has boosted ticket sales at the cinema by helping to promote it. The truth is, after seeing it online, people realised they liked it enough to want to experience it on the big screen. They want to sit in a darkened room with a bunch of strangers, in front of a screen as big as a house, and sound just several decibels quieter than a commercial jet engine. The internet educates the audience, by giving people a taste of what’s to come on the big screen. The internet, in a way, has forced standards in film making to increase. Forcing producers and directors to produce content that will actually excite people enough to want to go to the cinema in the first place.

Broadway theater didn’t disappear when the flickers arrived. People still demanded live theater as a shared experience. That should also drop a hint to the music industry. The money will be made from concerts over CD sales. When all is said and done, the motion picture industry will continue to survive for as long as people continue to want that shared experience.

Contact the Author: MikeStringer@ArtsandEntertainmentPlayground.com

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