Zombies in Hollywood

In view of recent public announcements at the CES show by GOogle and Yahoo, the content distribution landscape is going to be shaken up over the next few years, with the Web juggernauts of Google-Yahoo-MSN-iTunes snapping away at the huge profit pie that Hollywood studios had dominated for decades. Sad thing for the studios is, there’s not much they can do to prevent their demise, because they simple didn;t get IT fast enough.

Whats “IT”? Its the digital revoultion, spearheaded by the Internet medium as the most efficient distribution channel of the products of these Hollywood studios – their movies, documentaries, short films, cartoons and any other copyrighted content they have been naively protecting through MPAA these couple of years.

Online P2P file-sharing or the “Napster Effect”, heralded a shift in consumer needs for media content. Consumers did not really want it free, their primary objective for downloading illegal music was not because of a conscious (or criminal) intent to steal copyrighted content. No, all they wanted was the media file, anytime, anywhere. They were still the same type of customers that the Hollywood studios have been targetting for decades. But the key difference was: they had new tools — the Computer and the Internet. The Hollywood stiffs didn;t get that, they thought this new breed of downloaders was DA ENEMY, hence, they railed and fumed with fire and brimstone at every opportunity at them, bringing upon tsunamis of lawsuits in a futile attempt to stem the ever-growing tide of illegal media downloaders through the digital universe. Napster died, then Kazaa came, Grokster, Bittorrent, Aries, eDonkey.. the list never stops… Digital democracy is here to stay, like it or not, the tech-punks from Silicon Valley (SV) have crossed over from their hardware-software wizardry to create disruption in the Internet services realm. SV is the savior to the consumers, the same old customers that Hollywood thought they had wrapped up in their vaults for centuries to come and were worth gadzillions in future revenue.

It took a tech-punk in the form of Apple’s Steve Jobs with iTunes to make Hollywood sit up from their delusional bubbles of reality that music and movie lovers were not evil at all. NO, they still wanted the same content and were willing to pay for it. This must have been a seismic moment for them. Rupert Murdoch, ever the opportunist, jumped right on the bandwagon with the re-organization of FOX, creating an interactive media unit that would explore and push the frontiers of distributing their content over the Internet. Of course, they also bought MySpace, a popular social network, that would bring them into control over a major piece of virtual Internet estate that has millions of users returning everyday for snippets of gossip, music, some video and whatsnot.

We know the story later, iTunes paired up with Disney and ABC. The tipping point was reached. Fools rushed in. CBS, NBC, WB all frantically signed their deals with the technoracy, signing away lucrative deals that also ceded away property they used to own exclusively. Its just a moment of time before the movie studios begin selling their content online. There’s always Google Video Store or iTunes or whatever will arrive to shake up the industry in a few years time. Change will now pervade through the Jurassic-esque Hollywood circles. Welcome to the tech revolution and its tumultous cycles that gave us the 2001 tech bust! What dominates today, such as Google and Apple, may dramatically wither and fall in the next decade. Look at the fumbling juggernaut that is Microsoft scramble in the wake of tech heir-apparent Google’s meteoric rise to power.

The digital revolution is not complete yet, we still have not conquered the mobile realm, where Internet is freely available on handheld devices that frees humans from wires, clunky desktops/ laptops.

Welcome to the Brave New World, powered by Silicon Valley and Goodbye to the Hollywood Zombies.

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