What will Hollywood look like in five years?
To find out, we treated Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies in Hollywood like a crystal ball, and gazed upon the future of a rapidly changing industry. Here are the five biggest lessons:
Traditionally, the only way to get HBO has been to pony up for expensive package through services like Time Warner Cable or DirectTV. (Or to borrow someone’s HBO Go password on the DL.) This year, though, customers who want to watch True Detective but who wouldn’t mind giving up a dozen variations of Nick Jr. and C-Span will be able to pay for HBO Go–the network’s long-awaited foray into a standalone service that, in HBO’s estimation, will add between 10 million to 20 million new customers. “This will be transformative for our company,” CEO Richard Plepler has said. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.”
In 2013, Netflix scored a surprise hit with the U.S. version of House of Cards using a simple formula gleaned from the viewer data of its 27 million U.S. subscribers:
The actor Kevin Spacey + A hit British TV show of the same name + The Social Network director David Fincher
It was a surprise for everyone, that is, except Netflix, which is using its unfathomable trove of consumer viewing data to shape its future lineup of films and TV series. There’s a new version of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the works, and last year, Netflix inked box office dud Adam Sandler to a four-movie deal. Why? Because the data revealed the actor was huge in Latin America.
“When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only…. Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks,” said Sandler in a statement. “Let the streaming begin!!!!”
“Consumers are becoming less bothered by whether it is sponsored or editorial content as long as they are getting the information they want and the content they are most interested in,” Scott Grimes, CEO of Woven, the digital network behind the dude-driven BroBible empire, told Fast Company. Like BuzzFeed and The Atlantic, Woven is pioneering a targeted approach to custom campaigns that not only blurs the church and state of editorial and advertising, but has the advantage of hypertargeting a specific audience. (In their case, dudes.) “A great example of this is a campaign we did with Comedy Central in January to help promote Workaholics and Broad City,” said Grimes. “Those particular pieces of content, despite being sponsored, were some of the most viewed and shared articles on Uproxx on the days they were published.”
When Korean director Bong Joon-Ho’s apocalyptic epic Snowpiercer was released simultaneously at the box office and on-demand last year by Radius, the release numbers spoke volumes: $3.8 million from VOD during its first two weeks, rivaling the $3.9 million the film made in theaters–after five weeks. The gravitational pull of the living room couch will only get stronger.
Meanwhile, movie theaters (remember those?) will need new ways to convince customers to change out of their PJs. While local IPAs and grilled asparagus and goat cheese pizza might not be lyrics in “Let’s All Go to the Lobby,” they are offerings on the menu of Alamo Drafthouse, an Austin-based movie-theater chain that hopes to expand to 50 locations nationwide by the end of 2017. Goodbye, hermetically sealed nacho cheese!