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Creators, Services Need to Be Multi-lingual


Creators, Services Need to Be Multi-lingual

Andy Marken February 28, 2024


Hero image source The Gambler, Paramount

It's either victory, or don't bother. The only thing worth doing is the impossible. Everything else is gray. - Jim Bennett, The Gambler, Paramount, 2014

During our 20 years of sailing, we often headed out under the Golden Gate and pointed the bow up or down the coast just to sail. Every trip was different.

You constantly plan for things you can't control wind, waves, whales.

It's a close parallel with the video content development, creation, production, distribution industry.

Everyone in the food chain does his/her best, but you can never control the acceptance/rejection of the viewer.

For years, Hollywood and creators made films for theaters and then moved them to their secondary markets - TV networks, airlines/hospitality, DVDs.

Lean Times - Theaters are having a lean time when it comes to the number of folks putting seats in seats but it's okay because the concessions will carry them until the next big project comes along.

Except for a few blockbusters a year, theater attendance has shrunk and it's never going back to its 2002 peak.

That was okay for studios because people were turning to broadcast and pay TV for their entertainment.

So, studios shifted their production focus to made-for-TV movies and series for their own and other networks.

Most households paid hundreds of dollars a year for their cable bundle. Studio networks made good money and got a big chunk of the ad sales.

Then Netflix started its streaming service in 2007 and Hollywood had another profit opportunity renting consumers movies and shows at a relatively low price.

Netflix convinced millions of folks who never had or wanted cable TV to save money to shave/cut their cord.

It turned out people simply wanted relatively cheap entertainment anytime, anyplace, any screen oh yeah, and they didn't need their DVDs.

By 2017, 110M households in 190 countries subscribed to Netflix and US cable subscriptions had declined from 100 plus million down to today's 60.5 million.

In addition, the cable subscribers who stuck around were old.

Online Choice - People who were born online had no problem converting to the anytime/anyplace/any screen model of entertainment. In addition, in emerging countries, wired internet is still much less common (expensive) than wireless connectivity.

To make matters worse Netflix needed less of Hollywood's end products because foreign distribution required that they produce/offer 20-30 percent of their content locally.

It turns out that wasn't a penalty or hurdle. Producing content there was more economical and they quickly found content can travel.

Global Stories - Pick your favorite genre and you can find hundreds of visual stories you can enjoy, experience created/produced by great professionals around the globe. The stories are different, the people are different, the surroundings are different but they're all the same interesting/exciting.

Thanks to the assistance of a strong set of industry standards and new technologies, it's cheaper and easier to shoot, edit, and produce a film/show.

The global reach of the internet made it easier to share ideas, knowledge, advice and even tap into the best production/distribution expertise on the planet, day or night.

The old business model was being dismantled right before Hollywood's eyes.

Studios accelerated their production output of what they did best original titles.

Originality - We often find it interesting and a little ironic when we stumble on a film/show we haven't seen that captures our senses because right then, right there, it's original, regardless of when it was released.

With Wall Street's urging/blessing, they put the stuff where it would do the most good into their streaming libraries.

The Street said the new content would translate into a growing subscriber base and ultimately - somewhere down the road - this would produce solid profits.

The trouble is that didn't happen.

Studios were building their road to the future using the material from their old road - theaters and pay TV.

They were focused on getting their share of the expanding entertainment business at any cost, paying little to no attention to the fact that they were undermining their old/proven model.

Seasoned investor Warren Buffet bluntly said the approach was a particularly difficult environment in which to make money or more bluntly the low-price model doesn't work.

It became even tougher and more obvious when the studios' pipelines dried up during the dual WGA/SAG-AFTA shutdown.

Signs Down - There was a strong sigh of relief when writers and actors were able to put down their strike signs and return to doing what they enjoy doing being a contributing part of the content creation industry.

With the agreements signed, studio bosses said they will have to make adjustments in their productions going forward.

Smaller budgets, tighter budget control.

In other words, a reduction in production volume, trimming the use of A-list talent, smaller creative/production teams, less location filming, increased use of virtual production (VP) facilities and reduced spending on special effects and postproduction.

New Interests - Thanks to global streaming, English speaking areas were suddenly exposed to interesting stories from around the globe and their interest, viewing soared.

The lack of new US/Canadian content didn't impact the new kids in the content production/distribution industry - Netflix, Prime and Apple TV much.

With the US market reaching its peak - 83 percent of consumers use D2C services this year according to Statista - they were already heavily focused on global growth and had strong relat
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