Conventional wisdom overheard at the Telefilm Multiplatform Conference:Complications Ensue
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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Part two of Lisa's foray into the oncoming wave of multiplatform content that Telefilm, at least, is insisting on.

1. “The television advertising model is broken.”

I got the impression that, as far as advertisers are concerned, a YouTube of a sock puppet yodeling is just as good as, say, the finale of THE SOPRANOS. Maybe even better. Kate Hanley at Digital Theory Media Consulting ( makes a convincing case (which I won’t re-create here because it’s proprietary, and as a writer, I care about things like that).

2. “Expensive-to-produce content is doomed.”

Really? I like LOLcats as much as the next guy, but it’s fun the way pork rinds are yummy. Don’t we still want the filet mignon of MAD MEN? I don’t believe people will stop wanting sophisticated stories that are well-acted and well-produced. But I’m an opera fan, so draw your own conclusions.

3. “Consumers won’t pay for content.”

If you believe that, try getting into AVATAR on Saturday night. People who spent their workday surfing YouTube mash-ups will still fork over $15 to see high-quality content.

Conventional wisdom once said viewers wouldn’t pay for cable TV either, because broadcast was free. But instead, pay cable channels are thriving; we’ll pay Showtime for DEXTER because we can’t get the same experience on ABC.

If you want more proof, look at the video game industry; it reportedly made about $20 billion last year. Every single one of their customers could have checked out library books for free instead, but they didn’t.

Consumers are driven by content, not price.

(And please don’t argue that the newspaper industry is “proof” consumers won’t pay. Yes, the New York Times failed miserably to get paid on-line subscribers, but that’s because the Washington Post, LA Times, etc., were giving away essentially the same content. )

So while the near future is challenging, I don’t think TV writers need to panic. Consumers might not pay for a lot of the crappy, dumbed-down content they now get free. But surely creative people can get behind not having to make crappy, dumbed-down content anymore, right?

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and might I add it is not even your comment "TV writers don't have to worry" I think it will be "multiplatform" (including tv, and all other resources) won's have to worry

By Blogger docwho2100, at 7:30 PM  

I would say that if that is the wisdom Telefilm is espousing they are woefully wrong on all three counts. TV is not dead, advertising on TV is still the most visible way to promote products and people will most definitely pay for content.

By Blogger Frank "Dolly" Dillon, at 12:49 PM  

Here here. Just because the industry and the market is evolving doesn't mean that it's all doom and gloom. I think more than anything the new generation expect to get what they want when they want and to have instant access to content, no matter now obscure or old. It's now a world where we have content at our finger tips, so how do we evolve to meet this challenge and still engage audiences?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:54 PM  

The people standing at the edge are always going to be saying 'this is the WAAAAY OOOOF THEEEE FUUUUTURE' -- that's their job.

It's in their best interest.

But we're not there yet.

By Blogger Brandon Laraby, at 3:11 PM  

Just to be clear, it wasn't Telefilm officials saying this - it was their conference speakers.

By Blogger Lisa Hunter, at 3:45 PM  

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