The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Archive for July 7th, 2010

The Lack Of A ‘Golden Ticket’ Business Model Doesn’t Mean You Give Up And Go Home

Kara Swisher goes to meet with Hollywood Executives who are all looking for a Golden Ticket (Willy Wonka reference) so that they can charge the same monopoly rents they did when they (used to be) a monopoly.

Michael Masnick deconstructs Swisher’s reporting and parses it for us. This is a worthwhile read, even if a little long.

From music to movies to television, the biggest minds here still sound perplexed as to what will finally be the golden ticket to carry them through to the inevitable next era of digital distribution.

That single sentence basically describes the problem. These guys are sitting back and waiting for someone to hand them a golden ticket that replicates the old ways of doing things. That’s not how it works. No one gave the buggy whip makers a golden ticket that let them keep their old lines of business going.

The unnamed executives even ask why the customer always gets to be right. Yep, that’s how far removed they are from any sense of commercial reality. The customer is always right because there’s always someone else that will meet the customer need if you don’t. (Where is my “any program, any time, any device for a fair price” service again? There’s a customer demand for it but the old guard won’t deliver.)

Final words:

The role of the disruptor is not to make life easy for the disrupted. Swisher and these execs seem to be confusing the role of certain folks in the legacy industry with the overall entertainment industry itself. As noted, the entertainment industry is thriving. More movies, music and books are being created. More money is being spent. It’s just that it’s going to different players. There’s no reason to “figure out a way to keep talent from being dragged into the future.” The opportunities and wide open path are there. The problem isn’t that tech leaders haven’t made it easy for them. They have. It’s that these guys are so myopically focused on the way they used to make money they don’t realize that the new opportunities are already there and have been embraced widely by others.



Why People Hate Ads and Love [Good] SEO

Why People Hate Ads and Love [good] SEO SEO is Search Engine Optimization – making your site more visible to Google and other search engines, and therefore to the world.

Advertising, in general is intrusive and irrelevant. Intrusive because I’m generally on the page or watching the program for reasons other than buying a car, banking, tampons, et al. Ads are so intrusive to me, that I go out of my way to avoid them. On the web it’s Adbock and ClicktoFlash that makes it feasible to surf the web without bleeding eyes. For TV it’s harder. I could buy (that which is available) from iTunes but that’s about 4-8 times more expensive than the revenue networks get from advertising against premium content so I feel ripped off. (Does the word Usury have any meaning to those people?)

So I’m with the author:

I hate ads. I’m not the only one. Most people hate annoying ads. People hate ads on the Web and block them using a plethora of tools. They also hate outdoor ads and TV ads. They hate them

  • for the interruption
  • for the blatant lies 
  • for the selling of fake lifestyles

On the other hand I’ll occasonally click on a sponsored link from search advertising because a) it’s relevant to something I’m interested in and b) incredibly unobtrusive. It’s really easy to ignore the text links on a Google results page.

It’s the SEO experts who make the pages as relevant and Google friendly as the search giant needs them to appear on top.

No site matches Google’s expectations by itself. It takes people who work hard to make it relevant. 

That’s why people love SEO. SEO ensures quality of search results in order to fulfill people’s wishes. The people get what they want when they want it because of SEO. Google only responds to what webmasters and SEOs do.

During a recent thread here where I “infamously” suggested Apple should drop Log and Capture for the next version of FCP, one of the topics that came up was the use of metadata. Most commenters (all?) appeared – to my interpretation – to feel that reel name and TC were the “essence” of metadata.

And yet, if we look at the most recent work of the Chief Video Architect (apparently for both pro and consumer applications) Randy Ubilos we see that Location metadata is a requirement for the application. According to Apple’s FAQ for iMovie for IPhone if you don’t allow iMovie for iPhone to access your location metadata:

Because photos and videos recorded on iPhone 4 include location information, you must tap OK to enable iMovie to access photos and videos in the Media Library.

If you do not allow iMovie to use your location data, then the app is unable to access photos and videos in the Media Browser.

You can still record media directly from the camera to the timeline but, without the Location metadata, you’re pretty much locked out of iMovie for iPhone for all practical purposes.

There is no location metadata from tape capture! There’s not much from non-tape media right now, although some high end Panasonic cameras have an optional GPS board. However P2 media (both DVCPRO HD and AVC-I) as well as AVCCAM all have metadata slots for latitude and longitude.

Now, I’m NOT saying that Apple should force people to use metadata – particularly if it’s non existent – and this type of restriction in a Pro app would be unconscionable. I merely point out that this shows the type of thinking within Apple. In iMovie for iPhone they can create a better user (consumer) experience because they use Location metadata for automatic lower third locations in the themes.

Where I think it’s a little relevant is in counterpoint to some of my commentors: building an app that’s reliant on metadata is a different app than one relying on simple reel name and TC numbers.



Don’t Look for a TV in Television’s Future

Don’t Look for a TV in Television’s Future

One reporter’s experience of watching the world cup almost everywhere but on a conventional TV. While true to a point, hours spent watching traditional TV are still (on average) increasing, largely because there are more outlets.

But the future is certainly a more diverse viewing environment. Any content, any screen, anytime, for a fair price.

Oh wait, no-one actually offers what I want to buy.



Even Harry Potter Pic Loses Money [Updated 7/8] Even Harry Potter Pic Loses Money Because Of Warner Bros’ Phony Baloney Net Profit Accounting


EXCLUSIVE: Signing a deal that makes anyone a net profit participant  in  a Hollywood movie deal has always been a sucker’s bet. In an era where studios have all but eliminated first dollar gross and invited talent to share the risk and potential rewards, guess what? Net profit deals are still a sucker’s bet. I was slipped a net profit statement (below) for Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, the 2007 Warner Bros sequel. Though the film grossed $938.2 million worldwide, the accounting statement below conveys that the film is still over $167 million in the red.

It’s long been known that you shouldn’t take a “net profit” share of a movie since no movie with such a deal will ever make a profit.

More reasons why the alternative to major studios are better.

[Update] Techdirt (and others) are commenting on the leaked accounting and add that juries are no longer falling for “Hollywood Accounting” having awarded $270 million against Disney for Celador (the originator of the Millionaire Franchise) and $23 million to Don Johnson for profits owed on “Nash Bridges”.

Now, that’s all fascinating from a general business perspective, but now it appears that Hollywood Accounting is coming under attack in the courtroom… and losing. Not surprisingly, your average juror is having trouble coming to grips with the idea that a movie or television show can bring in hundreds of millions and still “lose” money. This week, the big case involved a TV show, rather than a movie, with the famed gameshow Who Wants To Be A Millionaire suddenly becoming “Who Wants To Hide Millions In Profits.” A jury found the whole “Hollywood Accounting” discussion preposterous and awarded Celador $270 million in damages from Disney, after the jury believed that Disney used these kinds of tricks to cook the books and avoid having to pay Celador over the gameshow, as per their agreement.

On the same day, actor Don Johnson won a similar lawsuit in a battle over profits from the TV show Nash Bridges, and a jury awarded him $23 million from the show’s producer. Once again, the jury was not at all impressed by Hollywood Accounting.



YouTube to gather videos for ‘Life in a Day’ Movie

YouTube to gather videos for ‘Life in a Day’ movie

YouTube is asking people to upload footage of their daily lives.Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland,” “State of Play”) serves asdirector and will edit together a feature-length documentary from the submitted material. Scott (“Gladiator,” “Robin Hood”) will produce.

Interesting, but something of a gimmick?



3DTV poses no extra health risk

3DTV poses no extra health risk: expert

Well, that’s that. The Sydney Morning Herald is my go-to “3D” news source (not). The 30% of people who can’t see 3D stereoscopy or get headaches from it clearly are imagining it.

From my April 14 post “More good news for 3D“:

More good news about 3D Don’t drink and watch. (Kind of makes it impossible to watch football in 3D!)

Samsung warns:

“Pregnant women, the elderly, sufferers of serious medical conditions, those who are sleep deprived or under the influence of alcohol should avoid utilising the unit’s 3D functionality.”

Of course the Sydney Morning Herald expert has a solution for those without 3D or who see it badly: Cover one eye!

For budget conscious TV viewers, Prof Clifford also said a “poor man’s 3DTV” experience was at hand – viewers could simply cover one eye when watching ordinary television.

“By covering the second eye, you lose the cue from that eye that tells you the screen is in fact flat and so the image appears more in-depth and realistic,” Prof Clifford said.

“You could say it’s a kind of poor man’s 3DTV.”

The ’09 – ’10 TV season marked the first time no regularly scheduled show averaged more than 25 million viewers – Brad Adgate.

Fragmenting audiences across broadcast and cable leaves fewer viewers per show:

“Light” has its own devoutly faithful followers, to be sure, although that number has declined. When it comes to daytime drama, people are far more likely to be talking about the latest blowup on ABC’s “The View,” which averages 4.25 million viewers.

The final episode of “Cheers” 16 years ago drew 80.4 million viewers. The last “Friends” five years ago had 52.5 million viewers. Thursday’s series finale of “ER” drew 16.4 million. Among adults age 18 to 49—the money demo—Advertising Age noted it did 14 percent of the business of the finale of “Cheers” and 24 percent of what “Friends” did.

Just part of the inevitable division of audience. The trick is to work out how to produce within the new budget realities.

July 2010
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