Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for February 25th, 2019

I’d Like to Thank Netflix

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Okay, so the Academy Awards weren’t quite as bad as I expected them to be, considering they didn’t have a formal host this year.

But I also used technology (my TiVo) to zoom through most of those speeches. Sorry, :TLdw!

But them not having a host got me to thinking, why didn’t the Academy just hire themselves an AI avatar of some sort to deliver a traditional opening and emcee the whole affair.

No, I’m not lobbying for OB< Watson, but hey, if we’re going to get ready for our AI overlords, what better way to prepare we humans than to take one of global culture’s most celebrated awards shows and demonstrate how computers are ready to compete for even the most highest echelon posts in society.

For your consideration: It seemed liked the fix against progress and change was still in during last night’s awards.  

Sure, Spike Lee finally got his long overdue Oscar (like, 30-years overdue), but Glenn Close got shafted for her Oscar (again) and “Roma” didn’t take Best Picture.

Not because it wasn’t a great movie (in my opinion, it was), and certainly Alfonso Cuaron (its director) won pretty much everything else.

I think “Roma” lost because Netflix is winning, and Hollywood is losing.

Hollywood has a Netflix problem, and the Academy voters didn’t want to shine any more of a spotlight on it than is absolutely necessary.

But I have a few words of wisdom for the Academy: You can’t stop progress. Hollywood is getting Netflixed the way Blockbuster did, only now it’s streaming instead of CDs, and the business model is changing. Bigtime.

I’m a good example of the problem.  I used to go to the movies roughly once a week or every two weeks.  Let’s say that added up to over $500 a year, more if you count refreshments.

Now, I spend $10.99/month on Netflix.  That’s about a quarter of what it used to cost me to go the movies.

Whatever I can’t catch on Netflix I’ll watch on Amazon, I’ll fill in either with Prime or direct rentals.

And I’m just one person.

Multiply that behavior by….millions?…and, yes, Hollywood has a problem.  At least when it comes to big budget movie-making.

On the other hand, Apple is getting into the filmed entertainment game, Amazon and Netflix are spending billions on new content, and still there’s 57 channels and seemingly nothing on.

In other words, there’s still an enormous amount of filmed content development upside (i.e., lots of demand), even for high-quality so-called “art” films like “Roma.”

But no matter how good a Netflix-financed film may have been (or may be), the Academy isn’t quite ready to give it Best Picture. 

Such a move would be to reward the barbarians storming the Burbank backlot gates, and the threatening business model they present.

But the business is going to change regardless of where the awards end up.

It won’t be long before Netflix will not only be a major global major film distributor, but its AI algorithms will be helping determine what the pipeline of those new films should be about and what countries and markets from which they will emanate and what topics they should concern.

Big data is already happening to Hollywood.  AI is on its heels.

Just don’t hold your breath for an AI Billy Crystal to host the Oscars, or for Netflix to win a Best Picture nod, anytime soon. 

Written by turbotodd

February 25, 2019 at 11:30 am

Posted in 2019

Tagged with ,

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