Recently I went to a great panel about the future of entertainment and what form it’s taking for members of the Academy of Television Arts and Science (Yep, the ones that give out the Emmy Awards). The whole evening really got me thinking. Now, they asked us not to quote anyone from the panel directly, or mention some of what was discussed, but here’s the not so secret stuff that I can share…
The evening was billed as, “Changing Viewing Patterns: The Tectonic Shift in the Way People Consume Media,” but what that means is that we really are finally on the verge of all the super cool stuff that we were all promised as kids watching reruns of The Jetsons or Star Trek minus the flying cars and teleportation (at least as far as I know).
IT’S ALL JUST A PIPELINE
We already know “television” as a distinction for creative content is a dying, if not already dead term, and now it seems that the term that sprang up for web based content “digital” is also on the way out. The tech itself is no longer the defining aspect of creative content, but just a platform for delivering it to the viewer, as the screens themselves expand to any surface we can think of, walls, windows, mirrors, refrigerators… Self-driving vehicles will also create new environments to consume content along with a whole new audience for that content. All those hours a day, a week, a year that we spend stuck in traffic will now become a whole different experience.
A BRAND NEW PLAYGROUND FOR IP CREATORS
The convergence of all this “smart” technology with AI controlling your home security, and your lights is expanding well beyond the basics, will be a brand new playground for IP creators. They’ll be able to design whole environments around your favorite content, from lighting to sound to smells to anything they can imagine. You can have a Game of Thrones house complete with a frosty chill of winter, the cracking sound of the ice wall, and the smell of a fire burning in the great hall, dragons to come later. More of a Marvelous Mrs. Maisel fan? How about some 1950s music with the hum of New York City in the background, and the scent perfume wafting over from Midge’s make up counter?
STORY IS STILL KING!
The one constant is that story is still king! A great story will always be a great story. We know from watching box office returns that the a massive budget doesn’t always translate into a great movie and sometimes some of the best don’t have that much money behind them. The same is true no matter what form your content takes from branded content to docuseries to feature films. It always comes back to having a great story and understanding how to tell it that matters.
What made me think about this today, is the fact that it was December 12, 1901 that Guglielmo Marconi sent the first Transatlantic wireless transmission. It’s amazing to think that in just over a century we’ve gone from wireless radio signals to streaming and just on the horizon is so much more. It seems like ‘television’ itself is a dying technology. I’m curious what people a century from now will be calling this art form that has been so much of my life both as a fan (from early childhood) and as the foundation for the bulk of my career up to now. Whatever it will be, I know one thing it will be exciting and I hope filled with lots of amazing stories!