You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chris McGurk: Tailor Content to the Way Young Viewers Watch It, or Be Prepared to Fail

This column is part of Variety’s Broken Hollywood feature. For more execs and their opinions on the state of Hollywood, click here.

Hollywood needs to wake up to the idea that there’s been a permanent change in viewing habits by younger audiences or the economic model for movie studios and broadcasters is going to be at risk. Kids have grown up accustomed to viewing content differently than their parents and grandparents did, and consequently there’s going to be a fundamental shift away from seeing movies in theaters.

This behavior has changed radically over the last 10 years, and all of it has been brought on by digital technology both in the distribution of content and in viewing devices like iPhones, iPads and PCs that millennials are used to. The younger you
go, the more the audience wants to see content not in theaters but at home on a device of their choice. All of the research shows they want to see content in shorter bites and that they like to binge-view. That says that the old rules that Hollywood applied in terms of launching a film in theaters before going to pay TV and then to video or DVD are crumbling. It does not bode well for the exhibition business or the traditional motion picture business.

Millennials have this connected social experience when they’re on the Web. They’re watching people play videogames on YouTube, while they’re talking to 10 or 15 friends on chat or texting back and forth. The technology is allowing these kids to have the communal experience people talk about when they reference movie theaters. And the type of content they watch is different from overproduced Hollywood content. It’s one step up from user-generated, and it looks more authentic to them.

“American Sniper” was a great movie, and the studio was able to turn that into an event. People will still go see great movies in theaters if that’s the only place they can access them and be part of the conversation, but the margin for error is smaller, and the bar for success becomes that much higher.

The smart talent is beginning to look at the world and see how things have changed. Their goal is get access to the biggest audience. It’s not all about theatrical. It’s VOD or pay TV. It’s how do I get the most eyeballs to see my labor of love.

More Biz

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Some Weinstein Accusers Balk at $30 Million Settlement

    Updated: Some of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers are balking at a proposed $30 million settlement of their harassment claims, which could scuttle the deal, Variety has learned. Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case told Judge Mary Walrath on Thursday that they are close to a global resolution of the civil litigation. The accusers, their lawyers [...]

  • Director Dean DeBlois and online game

    'Dragon' Director Dean DeBlois and PUBG's CH Kim to Keynote 2019 VIEW Conference

    Dean DeBlois, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and PUBG Corporation CEO CH Kim are the first keynote speakers announced for the 2019 VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, in October. Since it began 12 years ago, VIEW, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Accusers Near Settlement in Bankruptcy Case

    Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case say they are getting close to reaching a settlement that would compensate Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct accusers. The company went bankrupt last year, as it faced hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and numerous civil suits on behalf of Weinstein’s alleged victims. The company sold to Lantern [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Pamela Anderson

    Pamela Anderson Fears Julian Assange 'Won't Survive' Extradition to U.S.

    After previously speaking out in support of her friend and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, Pamela Anderson doesn’t think he would survive an extradition from the U.K. to the U.S. “I hope he gets out of there, but I don’t think he’ll survive extradition. It can’t happen. It’s not even an option. We can’t have him [...]

  • Jane Austin SAG AFTRA

    SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin Running for President

    Jane Austin, the National Secretary-Treasurer of SAG-AFTRA, has become the third candidate for the presidency of the performers union, joining incumbent Gabrielle Carteris and Matthew Modine. Austin is running as an independent for the top post at SAG-AFTRA, which has 160,000 members. Carteris will seek re-election as the head of the ticket for the Unite [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content