Posted by : Robert Child Friday
And a child would lead them...
Anyone who has young boys knows that there is a phenomenon happening on Youtube and gaming that in my view is rewriting the rules of content production and delivery. My boys Josh, 9 and Jamie, 7 are Youtube addicts but they are not watching cats play piano or anything like that. They are addicted to a series of videos produced as far as I can tell by a couple of guys in their basement. What these guys do is narrate their game play on a game called Minecraft. Josh and Jamie don't actually have the game they just watch these two guys play narrate, joke and sometimes swear. I had a talk with my boys about that when I heard it.
They no longer watch television unless they use the Youtube app on my Samsung to watch Minecraft on the big screen. One day I thought I am going to sit down with my guys and find out what this is all about. Within about two minutes I was bored silly but that's not the point. The point is these video are getting hundreds of thousands of hits and they are redefining what we consider to be "entertainment".
And this entertainment is happening online and growing right under our collective noses. Why bother any more jumping through flaming hoops to get a movie made. Just find an audience online and deliver them what they want - production values be damned.
Now this of course has been coming for a very long time and I believe we have reached the tipping point with online video consumption. DVDs died a very sudden death in 2008 and they ain't coming back. I could see that in the royalties payments for my films they sank like a stone. And even my newer films and the one that is getting the most notice and publicity, The Wereth Eleven, has not moved the units it could have ten years, even five years ago. No we are definitely in the streaming age and thank goodness.
Watching a DVD disc in my house has become a frustrating ordeal. First you will find the empty box and then you will locate the heavily scratched silver disc under the couch and hope you can clean it enough to play. Most times it won't.
And all this brings me to the point of this post. (sorry for making you wait) I have a follow up meeting in mid December with the committee planning the 150th National Civil War Reenactment at Gettysburg for July, 2013. A year ago in my proposal one of the things that stood out was I pitched them on doing a live streaming web broadcast of the final battle of the reenactment, Pickett's Charge. I think they were as taken aback by this crazy idea as when I proposed to them ten years ago that they should distribute the 140th Gettysburg reenactment film on DVD. Up until that time it had always been on VHS. And this in a nutshell shows how video distribution has transformed.
More and more I expect to see these types of major "online video" events happening and this is where the future is now. It takes years to write, direct and distribute a film for a financial return that is unpredictable. With the web and analytics I can just about estimate the number of viewers and what countries will watch Gettysburg live and that is truly amazing.
TV and cable will be around for a while but to me the real action is online and is only getting bigger.