7 Critical Strategies Hollywood Must Learn from the NY Times Innovation Report

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 9.46.54 AMThe 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!

images1) Shift Industry Goals, thus Efforts

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. Continue reading

21st Century Story Development: Know Your Audience

Hollywood no longer needs to work so hard to lead audiences to story …

…. Because today audiences can lead Hollywood to future success stories!

k48byeHere in the 21st century, storytellers don’t need to wait for audience testing to see how audiences respond and react to their story. Audiences are connected, vocal and living in digital spaces allowing for storytellers to get to know their audience early and to use this information to help guide the development of story and cross-platform story experiences that resonate and move audiences.

UnknownIn the past, a story was written and produced then handed over to marketing executives to sell the story to audiences. Then they would test the story to find out what audiences are and are not liking, tailor the marketing campaign to highlight what a particular audience will like in hopes of gaining their attention when the story premieres on TV, in theaters, etc.

Today, stories can emerge in development based on knowing the types of stories audiences are already attracted to. Audiences are living digital lives that make their story choices, behaviors and opinions accessible to help guide producers in developing successful stories. There is no reason to wait until after production dollars have been spent because you can check in with audiences early, in development.

What does this mean?

It means that in development, identify the audience you want to reach, get to know them via an audience discovery process that analyzes hard data, psychometrics and social metrics. The insights gleaned from this stage then becomes the compass that guides story development and audience engagement that results in the creation of successful story properties.

It’s working for Netflix. Their original show House of Cards emerged from data that showed Netflix’ customers liked the UK’s House of Cards, Kevin Spacey and binge viewing. Poof! Instant success, achieved in development by using data that showed them who their audience was, how they consume story and what stories they liked.

Another indication that in 21st century storytelling the audience matters and listening to them is critical for success!

 

21st Century Entertainment Strategies: Re-thinking The Biz

Unknown-3The entertainment industry was built on a media system that no longer exists. The media system that has emerged is embodied with new innovations, multiple platforms for exploring the art of storytelling and opportunities for audiences to participate and engage with story like never before.

Every time a new innovation hits the marketplace, it upsets the existing system meaning that the media system will be ever-evolving (see Disruptive Storytelling). The days of a media system that remains the same for 100 years have come to an end. This means that in the entertainment industry, change is the new normal and constant evolution a necessity.

Despite this evolutionary shift, the struggling industry continues to rely on entertainment strategies built on a system of the past that has changed and will continue to change. It’s time for new, evolved strategies to lead the way toward transforming the art and business of storytelling back into a robust industry.

What are the key principles of 21st century entertainment strategies?

  • Creating meaningful, engaging story experiences.
  • Using new technology to innovate the art of storytelling.
  • Collaboration between storytellers and marketers.
  • Innovative budgeting and distribution models.
  • Inviting audiences to actively participant in story.

It’s a tall order, indeed. Though those story visionaries (see Story Entrepreneurs) who are willing to take risks, evolve and embrace new strategies, will be the ones that lead this industry into a new age of brilliance.