Three years ago I was Fresh Off the Car, having just graduated from Syracuse, and completed the pilgrimage to Los Angeles. I was at a bar (Most likely El Guapo, since everyone starts there. It’s like the
WME mailroom of LA bars.) and got into an… altercation with a lovely lady about the future of entertainment. All comments about my choice of bar conversations aside, I claimed we were five years from a complete entertainment transformation via what we refer to as the Internet.
Today, that leaves me two years to say, in my best Nikki Finke, TOLDJA!
If you consume more RSS than calories you know where we are headed. Everyday some new amazing service is announced from Google Wave to Redux and beyond. Some will fail. Others will be the catalyst for major innovation. They all bring us toward one inevitable conclusion – Major change at an incredibly fast rate.
To offer some perspective and help with my case I’ll go to my favorite futurist, Ray Kurzweil. I love Ray because of his nano-technolgy based predictions(I believe it for the most part), but he’s full of other great party tricks. Most notably the law of accelerating returns. In short what this means is technology does not advance linearly. It accelerates exponentially.
According to Mr. Kurzweil:
“An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).”
It makes sense, too. Technology builds upon itself, which snowballs, doubles, quadruples, and all of the sudden – Facebook has eaten MySpace before your parents figured out the submit form, and the Real Time Web has gone from nothing (Twitter in 2007 had no idea what is was, and most certainly had no clue it was going to bring about RTW) to the Next Big Thing within a year.
Next, we are going to see that acceleration in digital content.
DVD sales are down. Big Wigs are praying that 3D saves the theatrical experience. Paranormal Activity was a huge hit thanks to an epic viral campaign. And funny enough, so many in power still don’t ‘get’ this digital stuff.
2009 turned out to be a bit of a bust due to the ‘economic downturn’. Things have started to pick up where we left them in 2008 and we have MUCH more sophisticated technological platforms available for marketing and distribution. Because of that, we’ll speed past landmarks we should have hit in 08, and be on track, or ahead of it, by the end of 2010.
How can I say that?
Well, here’s one reason (From yesterdays Variety).
Eisner’s Tornante Co. has cut a deal with Canadian media conglom Rogers Communications to help fund the production of as many as 30 Web skeins a year through his Vuguru production shingle.
30 series a year. I’m biased since this is where I work, but I can say with utmost confidence that we’ll be doing just that. And think about what it means! 30 series a year from ONE studio. There haven’t been 30 good webseries since that term was coined. To have that many series from one studio means there will be other studios (Many of which do not exist today) pumping out just as much, or more, high quality content. It’s exactly the sort of competition this space needs.
But how the hell is that going to happen in the next year or two?
The law of accelerating returns.