Leading Tech Incubator: We Want to Fund Startups that will Kill Hollywood

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    Jan 21, 2012 7:07 AM GMT
    http://ycombinator.com/rfs9.html

    How do you kill the movie and TV industries? Or more precisely (since at this level, technological progress is probably predetermined) what is going to kill them? Mostly not what they like to believe is killing them, filesharing. What's going to kill movies and TV is what's already killing them: better ways to entertain people. So the best way to approach this problem is to ask yourself: what are people going to do for fun in 20 years instead of what they do now?

    There will be several answers, ranging from new ways to produce and distribute shows, through new media (e.g. games) that look a lot like shows but are more interactive, to things (e.g. social sites and apps) that have little in common with movies and TV except competing with them for finite audience attention. Some of the best ideas may initially look like they're serving the movie and TV industries. Microsoft seemed like a technology supplier to IBM before eating their lunch, and Google did the same thing to Yahoo.

    It would be great if what people did instead of watching shows was exercise more and spend more time with their friends and families. Maybe they will. All other things being equal, we'd prefer to hear about ideas like that. But all other things are decidedly not equal. Whatever people are going to do for fun in 20 years is probably predetermined. Winning is more a matter of discovering it than making it happen. In this respect at least, you can't push history off its course. You can, however, accelerate it.

    What's the most entertaining thing you can build?
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    Jan 21, 2012 2:13 PM GMT
    What a bunch of utter crap.
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    Jan 21, 2012 3:25 PM GMT
    TropicalMark saidWhat a bunch of utter crap.


    Are you familiar with the revenues videogames now generate in their opening week? Compare that to Hollywood blockbusters. If it's crap, it's very expensive and lucrative crap.
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    Jan 22, 2012 11:29 PM GMT
    It's the repeated claim that "history is predetermined" that is a steaming load of crap.
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    Jan 22, 2012 11:54 PM GMT
    As long as Hollywood tells stories the way people want to be told about them and they adapt to whatever technologies are being developed to do that, they will stay in business. As long as there is money to be made with entertaining people Hollywood will be there. Only when they can't make enough money from the produced entertainment, they will cease production.

    Maybe in 20 years Hollywood will only produce backgrounds and people will have the ability to put themselves into the setting and develop their own stories, stunts, adventures inside those backgrounds.

    Maybe the internet will develop into something like in 'Caprica'.
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    Jan 23, 2012 1:28 AM GMT
    bhp91126 saidAs long as Hollywood tells stories the way people want to be told about them and they adapt to whatever technologies are being developed to do that, they will stay in business. As long as there is money to be made with entertaining people Hollywood will be there. Only when they can't make enough money from the produced entertainment, they will cease production.

    Maybe in 20 years Hollywood will only produce backgrounds and people will have the ability to put themselves into the setting and develop their own stories, stunts, adventures inside those backgrounds.

    Maybe the internet will develop into something like in 'Caprica'.


    I think in this sense, there will always be organizations that tell stories and have the stars and talent behind them... the open question and one that becomes increasingly clear with "share of eyeballs" is that this won't be Hollywood.

    Sarah Lacy goes into further depth (an startup reporter):
    http://pandodaily.com/2012/01/20/killing-hollywood-will-require-learning-hollywoods-game/

    Hollywood isn’t on the ropes because of content, it’s on the ropes because of lame, outdated business practices. Even the biggest Web fan boys I know all still go to see the big movies. If we’ve cut the cord on TV, it’s because we’re watching TV programming on Hulu, iTunes or Netflix. In a digital world flooded with disaggregated content that can be produced without a gatekeeper, we still want what Hollywood is putting out. And we’re willing to do more and pay more to get it. (Ironically, Hollywood doesn’t get this either, or else it’d be more secure in its position, and just reinvent the business model around it.)

    The lesson: Eyeballs aren’t equivalent to one another. For Hollywood to be killed, the Internet needs to focus on a metric other than eyeballs. It’s not about mass, it’s about good. That’s absolutely anti-YouTube and anti-Farmville and any other content which we expect to be rapid, mass and disposable. Disposable content isn’t bad, it’s just not everything. And as long as that’s all that the Valley is putting out, we won’t kill Hollywood.

    Graham is right to call for it, but it’s a cultural shift that will be hard for the Valley to make. Whether it’s making movies or something totally different but awesome enough that it scratches that itch, it’ll require our own rethinking of what’s driven entertainment on the Web thus far.


    The greatest threat then of the net is that it disintermediates the producers and distributors - not the creators of content. The latest example Louis CK's direct to web show specifically because of the restrictive practices of these intermediaries:
    http://boingboing.net/2011/12/15/louis-cks-drm-free-direct-sa.html
    The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website. As of Today, we've sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.5icon_cool.gif. This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video. They would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video of limited value, and they would have owned your private information for their own use. They would have withheld international availability indefinitely. This way, you only paid $5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai. I got paid nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.