Hollywood & Disruptive Storytelling

images-3The entertainment industry has experienced an earthquake … shaken by the emergence of alternative means of storytelling that is luring audience’s attention away from traditional modes towards new modes of storytelling. Basically, our industry is being disrupted.

What do I mean by being disrupted?

Disruptive innovation theory suggests that industry leaders can be pushed out by the creation of new innovations that bring a “simpler, more affordable, not as good product” to market and thus serving a new customer base and ultimately growing to force industry leaders to fail – unable to provide the “lower end model” (see Forbes assessment of the fall of Kodak).

In Hollywood, companies like Netflix or YouTube are rocking “the biz” as they provide new means for audiences to consume story in ways that cost less and are more conducive to their evolving digital lifestyles. In this way, Netflix and YouTube have provided disruptive storytelling innovations that are luring audiences, eyeballs and money away from traditional modes of story distribution.

Ok, there’s more … the audience is our competition!

Unlike disruptive innovation in other industries, in the entertainment industry we are also faced with the fact that our audience is also our competition! Yes, audiences today are just as much creators of content as they are consumers of content (think of Facebook newsfeeds, videos of children’s recitals or kittens). In an effort to lure eyeballs toward traditional entertainment, the industry is competing with, yes, kittens (no kidding, 60 million views!). As the audience creates and shares content, they are seducing people’s time and attention away from traditional, Hollywood entertainment toward that created by the average Jack n’ Jill. (For more on this, see A New Age of Storytelling … The Audience is Waiting).

The future of The Biz

Storytelling … this is the product that the entertainment industry has so proudly created for over 100 years and yet this product is no longer ours alone. Today storytelling is an open marketplace with more story content, in more places than ever before. It’s being created by the masses, distributed by smart innovators and is disrupting “the biz” as we know it.

Do not fear. There are opportunities galore for reinventing the business of storytelling. If you are an entrepreneur or studio executive, this is an exciting time to invent the next generation of storytelling … and story consumption.

Article Resources:

Christensen, C. M. (1997). The innovator’s dilemma: when new technologies cause great firms to fail. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press.