Sunday, November 8, 2009

Comcast-NBC deal on the brink

Cable provider Comcast is eyeing NBC-Universal for a price of about $30 billion, according to Bloomberg. In a previous post, I predicted this would happen, since it makes since for cable companies to find ways to add value to customer, beyond just being a series of tubes.

What about you?
What does this mean for filmmakers, actors, writers, and directors? As with vertical integration in any industry, it should stabilize the demand for content, and those artists and skilled tradespeople who provide it... for a while. Let's face it: if you want to create art that takes $40 million of stars and special effects, you need a big studio behind you. Hollywood will continue to consolidate not only structurally, but in terms of content, too: big, comic-book, tent-pole movies will become Hollywood's main (perhaps ONLY) competitive advantage. There will be fewer shows made, probably, and they will likely continue to skew young. So if you're 18 and hungry, you should still plan on moving L.A. to jump start your movie-making career.

Regardless of NBC's short-term fate, the industry still faces larger issues, including a business model that doesn't depend on traditional commercial advertising and DVD sales. The music business highlights the importance of finding new ways to monetize digital content. NBC-Universal is a player; Universal Music Group, which bought BMG, is the largest of the "big 4" major labels.

So if you don't fit the major studio demo, or want to make movies outside that niche, try looking to the indie music industry, which is finding ways to redefine what business they are actually in.

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