Thursday, November 22, 2007

Internet, Stars and Marketing

I'm an Internet moron as anyone reading this blog knows. I just about have the technical ability to write a blog page and that is it. Leave aside the quality of the content.

But even I can see that it will be the viewing medium of choice for a vast audience in the very near future.

And I think that opens up a lot of opportunity for creative people to get together and ...well ....create.

In the UK there are probably less than a dozen gatekeepers who determine everything you see on TV. A yes or no from them means your project either gets green lit or languishes in the ever growing pile of spec scripts that didn't make it.

But the Internet? If you can make something you can get it on. Unfortunately that requires 3 very important other factors. Money to make something with decent production values. An audience. A revenue stream.

But say for instance you managed to attract a STAR with a good script? And say that star attachment attracts finance for production? And say you hook up with a top notch media booker and marketing department? Then all things are possible.

I don't think it will be long before this happens. Okay you could argue it already has with Quarterlife and others, but I'm talking about A list stars. Because at this point in the process I think that is what you need to generate sufficient viewing numbers to be attractive to financiers. I don't think that will always be the case by any means. But right here and now you need a hook.

So you see, I'm not thinking in terms of 'Let's shoot the thing right here, kids' I'm thinking about an actual business model, with finance and distribution.

Most A listers already have their own prodcos, and some aren't just vanity titles. They know how to get product made.

The audience is changing rapidly. People are getting more and more used to segmented payment for entertainment. Be it downloads on their phones, I tunes, Sky or Virgin Media pay per view. You name it.
The internet market is young but it is going to be huge. The distribution bottle neck is going to be broken by producers, writers and actors creating content and arranging strategic alliancies with advertisers and marketers. Or heaven forfend - even financiers who believe top class entertainment will produce profits.

Kinda like what happens now. Except it's not us that does it. It's the networks and cable outlets. But it ain't rocket science. Even for me.!

I'm going to start looking out for possible alliances now. Be back later.


Lucy said...

If you want a possible alliance, come to Bang2write.

I have no money but I am young and well fit and have a webcam. And a rude name for my business already according to the yanks, bonus. This script reading malarkey is for suckers, porn is where it's at.

What are you waiting for?!? ; )

English Dave said...

I've done the shagging stuff. Now Im planning for my

RichardB (slightly pissed) said...

This is a great post - it wraps up a lot of hot topics... on one hand we have all these media studies bods flooding the market, outnumbering plumbers, doctors and well, everyone else put together, on the other hand we have an exponentially growing internet content-market, on the left foot are slightly past their sell-by date A-listers, and then on the right foot the WGA strike.

I can't remember who said the gap between internet and TV is closing, and in 10 years won't exist, but I do know that if you're an A-list star whose phone isn't ringing (Glenn Close, Edward Olmos, you fill in the rest) you go into TV, where you are treated like royalty and given a pension.

Marry that with the fact that every Tom Dick and Harriet seems to want a script for their great new Internet show and bang - a whole new business model.

This is what the fight in the US (who have always been 5 years ahead of us in the Internet game - I remember being in NY a decade ago and marveling at delivery vans that had www. addresses on them - it was like some sort of sci-fi movie) is about - if, say, John Hannah (off the top of my head) decides to launch an internet show, shot and scripted by media newbies, you think the ACLS will see any of that?

English Dave said...

you think the ACLS will see any of that?

No! but they have free drinks and canapes so I'll be there. They have got to be worth something.....surely. Other than 14%? On top of agents fees? Or is that just me?

Anonymous said...

Hey - don't get me wrong - I love the ACLS, 84% of something is better than 100% of squat.

Is the upcoming AGM a Good Excuse for a Writer's Night in the Pub? But where could we find a forum to organise such an event...?

English Dave said...

lol so far I'm going to the ALCS agm next thursday. If anyone has a suggestion for a pub near Chancery Lane feel to suggest.

English Dave said...

ooops 'free'' to suggest

Lucy said...

You can never do enough shagging, surely... Or is this what I have to look forward to when I am old like you ED???

Don't answer that.

Canapes... Mmmm. Hell I'd be there too. If I was invited. I'm still waiting for all those desperate US producers to break down my door ... Not.

Piers said...

Bill Cunningham and John Rogers have both put in some good thinking on this in the past.

I don't have time to dig out the exact posts ATM, but Rogers' ones are generally tagged "4th generation media".

I also did a couple of posts a while back where I proposed a business model for direct-to-DVD and crunched some numbers - these might make a good starting point for financing on Internet series.

You might also want to check out Sanctuary, a series created for the web by one of the producers of Stargate.

English Dave said...

Interesting stuff Piers.