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As the custody changes on television and in your industry, who is watching the Crown Jewels?

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In his review of this year’s Emmys, Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter says “the changing of the guard is over” from the era of cable to the era of streaming in 4 years. He notes “an unprecedented sweep of the series’ three major awards for cutting edge multimedia services” (Apple’s Ted Lasso won Best Comedy, Netflix’s The Crown won Best Drama, and The Queen’s Gambit won Best Drama. limited series / anthology), and that “the broadcast networks that dominated the Emmys during the 20th century and the early part of the 21st, but also the basic and premium cable networks that flourished during the 21st century songs are almost forgotten. on TV’s biggest night. “

“How did it happen, he asks, and so quickly?

The Changing of the Guard occurs in many different industries – and if it takes more than 4 years, it isn’t by much. When you separate the next generation from what’s being watched and look at where the most disruptive change is happening, something really interesting is happening on television; something worth thinking about in your own context.

The “crown jewels” on television haven’t changed much

On TV, shows are the crown jewels (so to speak): Comedies, dramas, limited series, movies, reality shows, sports, news, weather, talk shows, game shows, and variety shows. And in fact, they haven’t really changed that much in shape and structure in decades. For example, the stories told on television today largely follow a structure called the Monomyth or the Hero’s Journey, first popularized as a model in mythology by Joseph Campbell in his biographical film. The Hero’s Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell (1987) and book The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on his life and work (1990). Structurally, does Ted Lasso represent something entirely new on television? The Crown or the Queen’s Gambit? No.

The same stability of form and structure is true for sports on television. We’ve been watching much of the same since a Columbia-Princeton baseball game aired on NBC in 1939. The viewing experience has certainly improved, but the product itself is largely the same. Even the reality shows, which still seem so new, first arrived in 1992 (assuming you didn’t count shows like Candid Camera as the real pioneers in this category).

The point is, while the custody of television has changed dramatically, what’s being watched – the content – is pretty constant.

Those who create the content are also relatively immutable

The actors, producers, directors and screenwriters who create the content on television are also relatively unchanged. People who play these roles well still have power in the industry, and the best enjoy long careers by constantly creating great entertainment. Steven Spielberg, for example, has been directing movies and TV shows since 1969. Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis started writing for Saturday Night Live in 2003 and has been a professional actor since 1997; Crown creator Peter Morgan has been writing scripts for television since the 1990s; William Horberg, executive producer of Queen’s Gambit has been producing films and television since the early 90s.

Of course, new talent comes in very often, and when these new talents are successful we can expect to see them involved project after project, for years and years.

It’s the powerful, the old guard, who have changed

As for the “guard”, the top twenty of the Hollywood Reporter in its most recent list of The most powerful people in entertainment (2019) included no less than fifteen people contributing in one way or another to the streaming platforms Disney +, Netflix, Apple TV +, HBO Max, Amazon, Hulu, CBS All Access (now Paramount +), ESPN + and Peacock. And that’s before the pandemic accelerates the shift to streaming.

So maybe with the results of this year’s Emmy, it’s safe to say the television succession is over, as Feinberg says, or nearly over. The organizations that energy brokers work for, the platforms and technologies through which we receive our content, the relevant business models, the very terrain on which the industry stands – all of this has changed dramatically over the past few years, accelerated by the pandemic. Even though the content itself and the people who create it have been relatively stable.

With the new guard in place, will that mean stability in the television industry?

As the new guard, the streaming services, take their turn at the guardhouse, what should they watch out for? As they protect the content and the way it is consumed, what is threatening their position at the top of the heap?

This is where things get really interesting because the “new” new guard doesn’t come after the same crown jewels at all; they completely redefine content. This stable form and structure of content itself is under siege. By the time the New Guard is done leading this next wave of change, nothing – the power brokers, the technologies and platforms, the content creators, the creation process, and the content itself – will be alike. How long will it take? It’s already happening.

Attention, here is the New new keeper

According to observer.com, TikTok and YouTube stars are coming to Hollywood: “Not even 10 years ago, Netflix prided itself on disrupting Hollywood’s long-standing power structure and distribution model. As a provider of original content, it has challenged traditional entertainment industry standards with its online delivery, overstretching model, aggressive spending and ambitious expansion plans, ”begins Brandon Katz, the author of the article. “Today, the market-leading streaming service with more than 200 million subscribers worldwide is a deeply rooted historic power.”

As Katz says, however, “It leaves room for new challengers to arise, disrupt, innovate and once again jumpstart the entertainment development cycle. The emerging trend most ready to take on this role, ”he continues, is“ the ability of creators to create value outside of traditional entertainment development platforms. ”Katz then quotes Frank Patterson, CEO of the studio. production Trilith Studios: “The real change is that creators are starting to create their own ‘brands’ – instead of just producing user-generated content or shows – using shorthand content for free, low-barrier technologies like YouTube and TikTok to directly access and create audiences.

For now, new talents emerging on free platforms are taking advantage of a large and passionate audience to strike deals with “traditional” platforms. The same goes, Katz points out, with social media stars like Bo Burnham starting out on YouTube before becoming “a more traditional celebrity.” But the platforms they use to create and distribute their content are becoming ends in themselves, and fame may soon require no presence on traditional platforms.

As Katz explains, “Digital platforms were once seen only as marketing platforms for traditional entertainment with online trailer releases, fan communities and viral promotional campaigns. But these days, outlets like YouTube and TikTok offer one-click “freemium” access to content when and how consumers choose to view it. This then leads to longer engagement, especially among younger audiences who prefer short content to traditional TV shows and movies. YouTube (150 million) and TikTok (450 million) are among the most engaged platforms in terms of daily active users.

This young audience leaves behind The Hero’s Journey and traditional storytelling, and our beloved storytellers, in favor of a single click (or swipe), quickly consumed the entertainment.

Who knows what future Emmy categories and winners will look like, and who will be on entertainment’s most influential people lists, but if you ask your 10-year-old to watch their iPad for a moment to tell you who their Favorite artists are, you probably won’t hear many (if any) of the gamers, lip-syncers, cats, singers, or birthday gift openers they mention. If it can hold their attention for 60 seconds or less (the average TikTok video, for example, is about 15 seconds long), then “This is fun!” “

This puts television on the cusp of yet another round of disruption that will leave little untouched. To stretch the metaphor yet again, forget about the Guardhouse, the Guards, the Crown Jewels and the Tower of London altogether. The new guard will occupy a brand new castle, entirely on their own initiative and largely under their own control.

If you are not a television executive, is there anything to worry about?

Probably.

Within your industry, are you focusing your strategic attention on the changing dynamics between the powers that be and the new invaders? Are you comfortably at the top of the heap, feeling unassailable? Are you working on the same old products and services, but dressed in exciting new packages, struggling to figure out how to bring them to market creatively, and how to deliver them and build customer relationships through new channels?

Or do you think long and hard about your consumers: where are they going next and how will you be there too? More importantly, do you think long and hard about your “crown jewels”, how they will be created in the future, and who (or what) will create them?

The threat in television is the content creators who are building their own brands and developing their own huge and loyal following on digital platforms. In your industry, it could be 3D printing, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, cyber currency, or some other technological revolution that will shake up your industry by changing who the creators are, what they create and where and how it happens, what happens consumed, and how and where consumption occurs.

You have to be careful with the short-term changing of the guard, but the guards come and go, and you will adapt. If you ignore the threat to your precious and sacred “holy of holies,” however, you will soon be asking yourself “How did this happen, and so quickly?” Maybe your 10 year old can tell you.


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