I was once told that if you want to make big money in the entertainment industry, getting into distribution is a good way to go. After attending Variety’s Entertainment & Technology Summit yesterday, I can see why there’s so much money in distribution, it’s confusing as hell. Especially these days. Smart TV, mobile, over-the-air, over-the-top, VOD, apps, social gaming, the cloud, oh my.
Yet two thoughts were echoed on most panels. One is the challenge of creating the right content for the device and the other was the need to deliver quality entertainment regardless of the platform. What is right for a given device? Well that seems to be a big question everyone is trying to figure out. It seems for some the web is shaping up to be a place to pilot and test ideas that might later be translated to TV or feature films. Responding quickly when a show isn’t working online is vital, one panelist said.
While it seams traditional distribution channels won’t be going away any time soon, one thing is for sure, the different digital distribution channels will continue to play a larger role. An interesting tidbit was learning that only 20% of Crackle.com viewership is coming directly from their actual website with the rest coming from other channels such as 30% on Xbox 360.
Fragmentation and keeping viewers attention are big problems as more TV viewers watch with laptops and tablets in their hands. With some trying to compete for viewers attention by creating their own 2nd screen apps, Vivi Zigler, President, NBC Universal Digital Entertainment pointed out that good content still wins.
The summit’s last panel was titled Masters of all Media and I can only wonder how anyone could master it all. There’s a lot to figure out these days and distribution channels will always be changing, but telling a good story is always in style regardless of the platform.