What a great week it was for the traditional, studio-based, Hollywood movie and entertainment factory!
How great was it? Before I answer that, let's just flashback to that period about 15 years ago when the experts were all predicting the death of the scripted, highly produced, and expertly directed movie and TV series. They told us that reality shows and live TV sports were the future of entertainment and the big studio model was dead. That belief was reinforced a few years later when the popularity of watching streaming video soared. And it was reinforced again a few years after that when it became more and more popular to watch that streaming video on mobile devices.
Those experts were wrong.
They were wrong because while the traditional movie theater or "appointment television" model is indeed dying, the unique way Hollywood studios and Hollywood professionals make and market top quality scripted movies and TV series was triumphant this week as evidenced by three key stories.
First, we saw the huge response fans and Wall Street both had to the release of the new Star Wars movie trailer and live interviews with the cast yesterday in Anaheim, California. Disney's stock got a nice jolt from the event and there are new indications that Bob Iger's decision to pay $4 billion for the Star Wars franchise will pay off. It doesn't get more highly produced, studio-financed, and professionally scripted than Star Wars movies and this movie is already showing strong signs of being a franchise-boosting reboot.
Second, we saw the stock market salivate over Netflix's earnings report and its move to pay for more of those expensive, but high quality scripted series that have become so popular with viewers. Netflix doesn't do reality series or live news or sports. Netflix may be a very new kind of delivery system, but it's still mostly succeeding by offering Hollywood's century-old product of filmed entertainment. Fans are flocking to these series and investors are following the fans into Netflix. Hollywood is providing the bait.
Finally, on Friday morning we learned that Verizon and its FIOS service is moving closer to copying the Netflix and the Amazon model by offering some networks and even shows a la carte. Once again, while this is a new delivery system and a departure from the traditional cable TV model, it's still all predicated on high demand for the best quality content Hollywood is churning out.
This week proved that no matter what the technology, no matter what the fads of the day, entertainment's capital is Hollywood and probably always will be. And you don't have to stand in line for the new Star Wars movie for the next eight months to know it.