As Hollywood Adjusts to the Web, Content is Still King
Well, as more grim Economic data appears with rising unemployment rates, furor over bailout funds, increasing jobless claims and more, it looks as though Hollywood is still providing the best escape for Americans who are looking to forget their problems by heading to the multiplexes. Audiences are crowding theaters for films that provide easy laughs such as “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” which has sold over $163 in worldwide ticket sales or action-packed fare such as “Fast and the Furious,” which broke box office records for Universal Pictures this past weekend with a $72.5 million opening.
Hollywood did grow the most during the Great Depression of the 1930’s where audiences went to escape their everyday worries. But we’re in a different time now as audiences now have interactive Entertainment from Rock Band/Guitar Hero, social networking sites, and youtube to satisfy their Entertainment needs. Though all the Big Networks have added full episodes of their popular shows to their websites, one particular website, Hulu.com, has been growing steadily in viewership and even using TV advertising as a way of saying, “We’re taking over.”
Though Ad revenues are down and cost-cutting is the new reality, everyone is still looking to see where all the eyeballs are headed. Paid Content recently reported that Hulu and Disney are in negotiations to sign on as a partner along with NBC Universal and News Corp. And the truth of the matter is that eyeballs and thus traffic will go where there is quality content.
But in terms of finding the perfect Hollywood revenue model for the Internet, no one knows the answer yet, so what happens next? You try new things. Enter “Section 8, “ a new made-for-Internet series that Paramount Digital Entertainment and Gaumont are making, which will premiere on Myspace. The show will have an interactive element and viewers will be able to vote on the outcome of the series.
For right now here in Hollywood, no one has the answer yet on how to game the Internet. But one thing is more certain than not, just like in the classic film, “Field of Dreams,” if you build it, they will come. If you create a site that has the content that your audience values, you will have a loyal following.