Just a few quick thoughts about the current state of TV and movies. I’m in no position to offer anything of substance on these issues; just my opinions about a handful of TV/movie issues I’ve been thinking of lately. Always fun to return to entries like this in a few years to see how stooopid I sounded:
- How will studios cut costs?: Studios – and networks – are in trouble. We all know it; they all know it. How to retain control in this internet world? (Hint: You can’t). What horse should you get behind/try to kill to maximize profits? Well, I have one suggestion that might help: Why are stars still getting $20 million or so per movie? That’s crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I think being an actor is difficult, tedious and makes you do things (on screen and off – the latter like the talk show circuit etc.) that you may not want to do. But $10-$20 million per movie? Think of how many decades/centuries I’d have to work – and I work hard – to make what many make in one movie. Nutty. Ditto for the $ per episode for some TV actors. Again, nutty. Just a thought – won’t solve everything, that’s for certain.
- Divergent quality: When the DVD debuted, it just kicked VHS’ butt. Video and audio. Just “wow!” (and no need to rewind!). Today, we are marching away from DVD quality … in two different directions. On the one hand, HD TV and Blu-ray movies are raising the barr over 480p broadcasting and DVD, respectively. On the inevitable other hand, YouTube, Hulu and movie streaming (i.e. NetFlix) are inevitably inferior to DVDs. Interesting dichotomy. As to the lower-quality march, we’ve seen this before: audio mpeg players. Virtually always a lesser quality than CDs, but no one really seems to care. And after seven years since the intro of iTunes, the bitrate is up, but still inferior to CDs (to me). But virtually on one I’ve talked to about this seems to care. Convenience trumps quality. I think the same is true for video, but as more fiber rolls out and broadband connections get faster, higher quality will evolve over all streaming (online and the NetFlix mode). Maybe – and this is just a “maybe” – at this point consumers will demand higher quality from the laggards.
- TV: I virtually never watch TV. This is not a point of pride nor the result of losing a bet. There’s just so little on that piques my interest that I rarely sit and watch. (Note: Yep, I’m fully aware that I’m missing some good stuff – “Mad Men,” for example. Never seen. Want to.) No “Must See TV,” no juggernauts of sitcoms on CBS or NBC as in the past, no mini-series like “Roots” that everyone watched. TV – How are you going to win me back?? Or do I have to get HBO and/or Showtime to watch quality material? I’m intentionally hyperbolic here – but this is, to me, a valid issue.
- TV Deux: With the rise of DVRs and time-shifting of TV viewing, there are only two categories that one must watch at the time the networks/cable deliver same: News (daily, but includes special events, such as unfolding events [example: elections]) or sporting events. Don’t have a DVR? Can probably catch whatever you missed online. In other words, networks & cable TV are in a heap of trouble. Mobile compounds the problem. Sure, cut the cord to Comcast, but still catch last night’s “The Daily Show” on the way to work on my SmartPhone/Tablet via ComedyCentral.com. Yeah, a browser. How’s that walled garden working fer ya?