A couple of nights ago I had the chance to watch Randi Zuckerberg interview Rainn Wilson and James Gunn at the Mashable House event at SXSW conference in Austin, Texas (apologies for the sound being a little low). Wilson and Gunn talked about their upcoming movie Super. Hilarious it was but the interview was also very insightful into the way that siocial media is shaping how movies, and content in general, is getting made, distributed and promoted.
Rainn Wilson is a social media star in his own right with well over two million twitter fans. As he explained, it was twitter that came to the rescue in finding funding for the Super movie. It is then twitter and Facebook that he is using to build a community around the movie before its release from within his pre-existing audience of millions of fans and followers. When it comes to promoting the movie, Raine and Gunn are using this Facebook interview at Mashable House to further extend their promotional reach. And throughout this process, the cost of such exposure (close to zero) is in stark contrast to the millions of dollars spent on a traditional movie release.
These same dynamics are available to all content creators and this represents a major challenge to the business models and profit centers of the entertainment, network television and advertising worlds. It also represents a shift in which celebrities are able to take the management and promotion of their own brands into their hands. As such, those that still question the impact or relevance of social media in content distribution do so at their own peril. When the entire life cycle of a movie turns on social media, the entertainment, network television and advertising industries industry must adapt or risk their own survival.
Do you think social media will replace traditional content promotion altogether? Or will there always be a hybrid of the two?