So the Tinseltown execs are gathering this week for yet another group hand-wringing session on what to do about the Web, at OnHollywood 2006. At least this time, though, some of the blogging participants apparently think that the "Industry" is finally starting to get it.
As in Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' "Five Stages of Grief," Hollywood's collective sense of denial has finally given way to anger and bargaining (with a healthy dose of paranoia sprinkled throughout). Reasons for the anger are obvious; but now that the phenomenon of grassroots content has been fully acknowledged as reality, the bargaining stage is manifesting itself in the question of making money off the trend.
The profit strategy is still unclear, but the studios shouldn't underestimate themselves: After all, they figured out how to make money from home videos despite early opposition. And they managed to co-opt another potential threat in indie films, which are analogous to today's underground videos at least by definition. We can only hope that Hollywood doesn't stifle the independent spirit of grassroots entertainment along the way.
Blog community response:
"Take a lesson from Apple and GarageBand. People ARE willing to pay for content and that even includes amateur stuff as long as either you've seen enough to be interested or a reviewer you trust recommends it. Maybe, just maybe, the money will follow this time."
"Aside from a head nod to short content video--which none of the panelists seemed really excited about--there was nothing forthcoming, really. But as I walked out for my second coffee, I remarked to Greg Narain that they really seemed clueful. So, things are probably going faster in Tinseltown than I thought."
"I'm thinking--go vertical with these. I'm not a teenager with endless time on my hands; and there are simply too many horizontal communities for me to keep up."
--down the avenue