Two recent articles with competing views of the fate of Hollywood content producers caught my attention. The first, by CNET’s Greg Sandoval, reiterates long-standing predictions that for current industry giants the Internet spells doom. “[T]he end is coming,” Sandoval concludes, “for DVDs, traditional movie rentals and yes, much of your cable money…..”
The second, from New York Times reporter Bill Carter, reported surprising results from a recent change by ratings agency Nielsen. In determining whether consumers are watching commercials and, therefore, what “rating” to assign a broadcast program, Nielsen now includes DVR views within three days of airing if commercials aren’t skipped.
The surprising result is that more than half of all DVR viewers don’t skip the commercials, even though they have a button that lets them do so with relative ease. For some shows, including “Heroes” and “Fringe,” actual ratings jumped after taking the new data into account. The DVR, seen as the destroyer of commercial television, may save the major networks, which are averaging a 10% increase in ratings under the new system. “It’s completely counterintuitive,” the article quotes the president of research for NBC. “But when the facts come in, there they are.”
Ah, facts. The hobgoblins of pundits everywhere.
So is Hollywood dead or is it doing better than ever? Let’s split the difference here. The content industries are clearly in crisis. But their doom is not inevitable.
For more, see http://larrydownes.com/hollywood-we-have-met-the-enemy/