The New York Times innovation report that was leaked earlier this month, is a must read for anyone who works in media. It is indeed one of the key media documents of this age with a lot to teach a struggling Hollywood. The challenges facing the newspaper industry are very similar to those facing Hollywood. Both content creators are struggling to evolve in a changing media landscape and Hollywood would be wise to use the problems and solutions the NY Times innovation report illuminates to guide Hollywood in its evolution into Hollywood 2.0.
If you don’t have time to read the 97 page innovation report, here are the top 7 take aways for Hollywood to know … and start implementing!
NY Times: They need less thinking and resources (time and talents) put towards the “front page”, more thinking and resources put towards developing and reaching an online audience. (p. 90)
Hollywood: Less thinking and resources needs to be put towards first weekends, broadcast eyeballs or four quadrants, and more thinking about creating cross-platform, monetizable story experiences for audiences. Basically, by focusing on old goals Hollywood is misusing time and money and missing out on revenue opportunities, thus leaving money on the table.
2) Stay Current and Ahead of the Competition
NY Times: The report suggests creating a team whose primary goal is to be “appraised of competitors’ strategies, changing technology and shifting reader behavior”. (p.71-72, 74)
Hollywood: Create teams whose primary goal is to be “appraised of competitors’ strategies, changing technology and shifting audience behavior”. Additionally, audience behavior should be tracked for the industry as a whole as well as per story property, as each property has it’s own unique audience and social system created around it.
3) Increase Collaboration Between Content Creators & Marketing
NY Times: The newsroom and the “business side” are working in silos, leaving editors in the dark about the results of marketing’s audience development research and strategies that would help them develop stories audiences are interested in (p.61, 63, 74).
Hollywood: Audience research and development needs to happen before the traditional marketing window and used to help inform the development of story properties. This means that in development, producers and marketing need to work together to create cross-platform story strategies that maximize engagement and revenue.
4) Create Audience Strategies
NY Times: The report encourages them to get to know, build a relationship with and involve the audience. (p. 37-39, 53-54).
Hollywood: Needs to put more money and resources towards getting to know, build a relationship with and involve the audience. Invest in audience development and build audience strategies that will ultimately maximize property revenues.
5) Re-Imagine Old Content
NY Times: They have successfully been experimenting with new means of packaging and distributing old/archived content. (p. 28, 34-35).
Hollywood: Also needs to, experiment with new means of packaging and distributing old/archived content, like building out new, more robust digital cross-platform story experiences of old properties audiences already love but can experience anew. Again, opportunities for new revenue streams and money currently being left on the table.
6) Hire and Encourage Digital Talents
NY Times: Encourage and hire digital talents to lead the company, even if they “might strike us as young or less accomplished.” (p. 68-69)
Hollywood: Encourage and hire digital talents to lead the company, even if they might first appear too young or less accomplished.
7) Aggressive Internal Questioning
NY Times: The report encourages “aggressively questioning” old media system resources and ways of working. They are currently experiencing extreme internal cultural obstacles that keep cross division questioning, communication and evolution from happening (p. 31, 64, 82)
Hollywood: Execs need to encourage their teams to think outside the box, question the old system and bring 21st century solutions to the table without fear of losing their jobs. Take the time and resources to solve internal cultural obstacles that keep cross division questioning, communication and evolution from happening.