Friday, October 19, 2012


I have decided that the thing that will kill the movie industry is simple inertia.  Changing market dynamics, movie pirates, old school business models, more TV channels, too much Internet, gaming etc... all these are just symptoms and distractions.  The root cause is the incredibly slow pace of production.

The "industry" (and remember its a collection of individuals with no common purpose; so herd or rabble may be a better description) generates a finite number of movies per annum.  Of these, only a certain number will be of interest to any particular group of movie viewers.

Viewers come in two groups, the first is "Indiscriminate Viewers" who will watch anything as the opportunity arises.  The second is "discriminating viewers" who are in some fashion selective in their viewing habits.  These are people who will refuse to watch some movies given the opportunity and further will expend effort to seek out movies that satisfy their interest.

Generally, I would suggest that over time an indiscriminate viewer will move toward being a discriminate viewer; simply though the mechanims of experience.  They find what they enjoy and they seek to maximise that.

So, given that the longer a viewer watches movies, the less (overall) of the annual production they will likely consume.

For instance, a viewer who finds they are a fan of romantic commedy, may seek to see a movie a week (its a figure, don't worry too much about it)  which means they want to see 52 romantic comedies a year.  What do they do if they can't find something to watch?  (Go elsewhere, do something else... probably)  The point is that they cannot point this out to the industry... cause the industry is a figment of the collective rabble.  Keep in mind that romantic comedy is a very well represented genre in the movie back catalog.

In the event that we look at a fan of a smaller genre...say sci-fi thrillers.  Then they may be offered a new release bi-yearly... if that.  How does "the industry" (fictional group... I know) expect to keep that persons attention?  They can keep up with the new releases if they have a move marathon once every decade... yah!
The other thing is that they can work through the existing back catalog of all sci-fi thrillers ever made in a couple of weeks of casual viewing.  Job done.  Genre exhausted.

"The Industry" has simply failed them.  They may go and find something else to entertain themselves... but its random chance if that thing happens to be another genre of movies. Its just as likely to be any other entertainment... sport, games, porn, fine art restoration, busking.... racing goats... whatever.  The odds are against the movie industry getting them back as a paying customer.

My point?  Ok... I think the thing that has spoilt the party is simply access to databases of movies.  Its now possible to search through the genre that you are interested in and tick off all the ones you have seen, all the ones you would like to see and any that you never want to see...and get a survey of the scope of the situation.  There is no longer any mystery.  No hope that there is one out there that will keep you interested and searching.  You can be sure.

I've done this with the Genres that I'm interested in.  I can see the end of my movie watching fast approching.  I have certainty that I'm done!  Now its just maintenance mode.  As new movies come out, I can catch up with them in my own time and tick them off.  In between I can re-watch some of the good ones... but essentially there is not a lot left for me.  I have thoughly checked all the other genres and frankly, they're just not interesting.  Chances are that I am un-representative of the rest of the movie watching population... but as it gets easier and software takes over helping people to organise their media collections... I expect this "ticking off" exercise to be simpler.   The only hope is that there will be some feedback to the industry to give them (collectivly) a better idea of the genres and the frequency of delivery that will hold their audience.

After a lifetime of regular cinema and movie watching.... its a bit sad to see the end of it.  But unless things change, there's really only one movie yet to be released that I am looking forward to and thats it.

TV Series are a different matter.  I think they are filling the space between movies for a lot of the genres.  The problem with TV Series is simply the commitment from a production company is so much greater.  This makes it harder to get niche genre series off the ground.  I wonder what the failure dynamics are with niche series? I wonder if becuase its in a less crowded niche that there is less risk of failure?  Interesting.

I am a bit vauge as to where I was going with this whole post... probably just that the movie industry is too slow to release anything and that access to databases has removed the uncertainty about the movies that are availible. 

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