Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Johnny Mnemironic?

So was scanning today's Twitter headlines and wondering what it means, if anything, to learn from TV/film scribe @jamesmoran that:

...when he was at last night's Streamy Awards (for web series), which reading HERE at Web Series Today were apparently an unmitigated disaster and embarrassment...

In the coming days there will be plenty of finger pointing. However, the award show blunders in no way detract from the work that was supposed to have been honored at the event. The nominees should be proud of what they accomplished, even if the award show designed to honor them treated them like a joke.

...the same morning I read HERE in the Globe & Mail that online revenue for broadcasters and specialty and pay TV companies accounted for a paltry 2.3 per cent of overall advertising revenue in 2009...

"When you contrast the amount of TV revenue … to the online numbers, they are drops in the bucket,” said Brahm Eiley, principal at the research firm. “Even if [online revenues] go up steadily for the next few years, it's not going to do anything for the business.”

...and thus reports of TV's death were greatly exaggerated.

I KNOW we're in a period of transition, and getting ANYTHING not just made but FINANCED for television OR web is going to be a tough slog for next while (because we keep getting told that TV is dead and New Media or Digital Media is the future except that business model is not quite here yet so we don't want to pay for it and yet we don't really want to pay for TV either cuz it's, you know, DEAD), but still...geez...does it really need to be this HARD?


Elize Morgan said...

I keep hearing it, but the thing is people said that TV would kill film.

It's not happening. The weirdest part of the web is that web "eyes" are construed to count for so little, and yet a billboard or TV ad constitutes a huge budget. They need each other, to survive, and one is not going to kill the other. It's just sad that it has to be all about destroying in the meantime.

The forms can easily compliment each other if they're given the opportunity - that they're being segregated so brutally makes little sense to me.

DMc said...

I kind of think that, unfortunately, much of it has to do with the demographics of who's pushing the cart.

Web series tend to be pushed & championed by young creators. There aren't oh so many Jill Golicks or even Felicia Day's in the group -- who've been around long enough to see the old way things work. What tends to populate is people who don't necessarily have a perspective of making or financing "old" media products; they were outsiders to that game. Plus, they're young, so of course there's going to be bravado & hyperbole that you only get away with when you're young and don't know any better. I was that guy. You were that guy when you were in your early 20's, too.

Add to that the clueless and fearful who are just trying to chase something that might turn into money...something, anything!

Very few of these "experts" can dish intelligently on McLuhan or how, yup, TV did not kill film (or Radio) and how new media augment old. They don't have the background, education, or life experience to understand that.

So on one side of the divide are the people wedded to TV, who don't particularly want to leap into this arena til they know what they're doing, and on the other there's the new gurus who don't have to worry about a replicatable startup model because they're coming from living in the basement -- and heck, any money they make's better than that!

Until the Sharks & the Jets get together and the rhetoric cools down, that promised mirage of the promised land of monetizable online content is not going to appear.

Unless it's about making Apps. That shit can make you money fast, yo.

Cunningham said...

To add my two coppers to the discussion:

Yes - the awards show was an abysmal failure on not only a technical level but a philosophical one as well. I felt sympathy for everyone who attended and was slapped in the face by the onstage (and backstage) antics. The nominees deserve better.

Yes - media feeds on its surrounding brethren. Books become movies, tv, games and vice versa. Web Tee Vee and Twitter feeds become TV (Hi there REISE, SANCTUARY and SHIT MY DAD SAYS)or movies are greenlit based on fads. Such is the nature of the media business (It's not JUST the Movie or TV or publishing business - it's all of them together).

What is interesting about it all is the fact that web series are viable to pursue on a "small business" or "bootstrap" level where the profits can be quite the inducement. It may not make sense (yet) for large corporations to invest huge amounts in web series development, but that's okay too. The small businesses need their slice of the pie too.

The kids need to learn how to do it and ya know, actually get their hands dirty and their noses bloodied in the media business. That's how you learn. With the number of actual TV and movie productions from the studios going into a downward spiral, there needs to be a place where people learn their craft, get that second freelance gig or whatever.

The market will sort itself out.

jimhenshaw said...

The Globe article is kind of misleading -- hardly surprising since they're part of a broadcaster conglomerate that benefits from undermining the internet as a financial play.

The story states that a mere 2.3% of Canadian BROADCASTER ad revenue came from online sources. Not surprising since most of them have an anemic net presence at best.

What the newspaper of record fails to report is that last year sponsors spent 12.5% less on TV ads while continuing exponential increases in online ad purchases.

This year $25 Billion that used to be spent on TV commercials will be spent on the web.

And one other thing -- if the future for TV is so rosy, how come our broadcasters are already crying poor when it comes to digital delivery of their signals, let alone what it will cost them to deliver online?

If they were really about to be making out like bandits, you'd think they'd be rushing to gear up and get ready to go.

But they're not. Instead, they're still trying to convince sponsors that they are the future.