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They're Not Movies, They're Content

Shelly Palmer describes why Hollywood's major studios are really in decline -- hint, it's not the consumer's fault. Palmer is currently the Chairman of The Advanced Media Committee (and 1st Vice President of the New York Chapter) of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy Awards.

"Now, the industry is run by bankers and risk managers who are trying to maximize their investments. They don't make many films that interest me. I like films that tell stories, have beginnings, middles and endings and that take me someplace or that make me think. Hollywood refers to them as "little films." Little films are being made by independent filmmakers and the pundits say that those are the films that this year's Academy voters responded to. Maybe. It is also possible that no major studio made a blockbuster film worth watching this year. Was there one? Not a sequel, not a remake, something new and wonderful that captured the imagination and broke new ground... nope. Not this year.

As we enter the age of ubiquitous broadband video distribution, we will have more and more opportunities to watch content that we are individually interested in. Personalized video experiences are the natural evolution of our current technology. We have enjoyed personal music for decades; portable and personal video is not next, it's now.

The film industry can do as many commercials as it wants for the "big screen" experience. Home theaters, Video iPods, IP Video, DVDs, video-on-demand and other programming choices must be incorporated into Hollywood's business models if they are to prosper during this technological transition. Will they be able to make a profit creating and distributing "little" films? Can a blockbuster truly prosper in a file-sharing world?

Was this just a bad year creatively and part of the normal cycle of hits and flops, or is this year truly the portent of a downward trend? These are questions that smart movie executives should be asking themselves. The answer is not old clips and admonitions about the diminished value of movies on alternative platforms. Thinking small and asking people to look backwards to a simpler time just shines a very bright klieg light on tired old hands grasping at the past. Hey, Hollywood, they're not movies -- they're content!"

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