Hollywood Is Completely Broken, I Think I Know Why
For a while now, I’ve been talking about how the recession is the reason that movies have been so unoriginal in the last 12 years. In so many words, this article backs that up. Though, I’ve always assumed that less people have been going to the movies, and that still may or may not be a factor, but that’s neither here nor there.
In this article for Salon, Lynda Obst writes that one executive blames a decline in DVD sales for the changes in the big business of Hollywood. She then implies that streaming was the straw that broke the camel’s back, changing everything forever. That post inspired me to chime in on this. Thanks, Lynda!
While I do think that Netflix/Streaming is partially responsible for the decline in DVD sales, I don’t think it’s the root cause. I think the recession is/was. If there was never a recession, I’d be amazed if people weren’t using streaming services to compliment their home video collections. Netflix’s supply of titles is far from spectacular, and home video has always been something of a collector’s hobby anyway. Until ANY film is available on demand at a moment’s notice, I refuse to believe that Netflix (or other streaming services) isn’t/aren’t the reason people aren’t interested in movie collections.
When people have less money, they spend less money. It’s that simple. You’d better believe that means growing a home video collection, something that’s definitely a luxury, is cut as soon as there’s any belt tightening.
Streaming/Netflix isn’t the modern day equivalent to home video anyway. You’ve probably seen those options to buy a movie outright on your cable provider’s VOD menus. Buying a title basically means that the movie is downloaded, then is stored on your cable/satellite/Fios box and you can view it whenever, just like owning a DVD. These downloads are example of what the next generation of home video is like. Downloadable titles cost as much, if not more, than a DVD. If people were buying them, studios would actually have HIGHER profits. Problem is,you don’t see people bragging about their digital movie collections.
The same way that consumers aren’t buying DVDs, they’re not buying this new technology either. Thanks to Netflix, which is more really more comparable to HBO or Showtime, we haven’t just cut movies out of our lives entirely.
When it comes down to brass tacks, the recession in the early/mid-2000s caused people to spend less money, which in turn caused movie moguls to make safer bets. Ie. Sequels, Prequels, Reboots, etc.
You’d better believe that those re-hashings do better on the Profts/Loss sheets than telling a story nobody’s ever been told before. People feel safe around what they know and are more likely to spend their money, so the studios spend their money on those films.
In the end, audiences are spared of original films and the chance that we’ll return home from the theater disappointed. If we had more money, we’d take a chance on something far less predictable and so would the studios. Until the economy is booming again, this is what we’re going to get.
It’s not all bad though, the philosophic/economic shift that caused this, is also the reason media companies are putting more money into television now. It’s why we have Breaking Bad or Mad Men. I don’t know what I’d do without Walter White.