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Broken Hollywood: The Biz’s Top Players Call Out Ways Industry Needs to Change

Talk to any top executive or producer in the movie, television and digital businesses today and they will tell you that the challenges they face are more severe and confounding than ever. Industryites are grappling with profound concerns that cut to the heart of the traditional models to which Hollywood has adhered for decades.

Variety feels it best that our readers hear what’s on the minds of the media business’s best and brightest in their own words. We’ve put the phrase “Broken Hollywood” on our cover to reflect the candor with which the 22 luminaries we interviewed spoke. They weren’t shy about addressing the industry’s most pressing problems, which run the gamut from a declining movie audience — particularly among the vital younger demographic — and falling ratings in broadcast and cable TV, to an unacceptable lack of diversity in the creative ranks and executive suites, and inadequate audience measurement across platforms.

See the links below to read how Hollywood’s top execs feel the industry needs to change.

Shane Smith, Vice Media CEO: I think the biggest issue for legacy media — both TV and film — is that it just costs too much money to develop a TV series or movie. And most of them don’t work. Then the one that works has to pay for the rest. | Read More

Harvey Weinstein, The Weinstein Co. co-chairman: Every day we face new technology challenges. We have to look at our models — the theatrical model, the VOD model. We have to think about what we do with the lack of a DVD business.  | Read More

Joe Roth, producer, “Maleficent”: I think maybe Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio are the last versions of movie stars. Put them in a movie, and people want to come see them. What we have now is what I call “conditional movie stars,” because they have not been given broader roles. | Read More

Peter Chernin, Chernin Group chairman and CEO: The thing that concerns me most, and is something I see partly as a threat and partly as an opportunity, is the transition of the television business. | Read More

Mark Pedowitz, CW president: Despite a lot of discussion about the measurement issue, I do not see change moving fast enough for all of us in the industry. Progress toward accurate measurement needs to happen as quickly as possible. Whether it’s one company or a combination of a lot of companies, measurement needs to get sorted out soon. | Read More

John Fithian, National Assn. of Theatre Owners president and CEO: In 2011, we had the biggest public food fight ever on the issue of windows. We came out of that pretty strong on the topic as exhibitors, but nevertheless sullied as an industry by the public fight. | Read More

Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO: The reality is you can look at YouTube and traditional media, and say they’re both video; they’re really the same. And there are things about them that are the same. As traditional media begins to use YouTube in different ways, it’s time for creators to embrace that format to complement the businesses they’re in. | Read More

Chris McGurk, Cinedigm chairman and CEO: 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. | Read More

Ron Meyer, NBCUniversal vice chairman: Marketing costs have always been a challenge, and they continue to escalate. The cost of production is a major, major issue that has to be dealt with. We have to be in a business where we are profitable, and if you spend more than you make, you can’t be profitable. | Read More

Nina Jacobson, producer, “The Hunger Games”: There is a shortage of opportunity for young people, and a resulting shortage of fresh blood. There are so few jobs and so few junior-level jobs. People who have jobs stay in them longer. Consequently, there aren’t as many opportunities as there used to be for people to get their foot in the door and for the business to be energized by youth. | Read More

Chris Albrecht, Starz CEO: There’s a demographic shift that has been occurring in the U.S. Millennials are now the largest segment of the population, Hispanics are the fastest-growing, and those two groups form the nexus of the next consumer generation. | Read More

Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO: There’s so much choice for consumers regarding where they get content. First it was Netflix and Amazon, now there’s HBO and CBS (which are launching direct-to-consumer subscription video services). I think it will be interesting to see how that explosion unfolds. | Read More

Gary Newman, Fox Television Group chairman-CEO: We have an advertising model that is pretty challenged. There are so many commercials inside an hour of television that we’re beginning to train people to use the DVR to skip through them. | Read More

Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish” executive producer and star: They talk about the blackout at the Oscars. Let’s look at the blackout that’s been on network television. Why is that? | Read More

John Landgraf, FX Networks and FX Prods. CEO: I spend a lot of my time thinking about a whole host of challenges and transformations that the industry is going through: piracy; the digital transition; non-commercial alternatives, including the DVR; and fragmentation. | Read More

Chris Dodd, MPAA chairman and CEO: Two million people get up every morning in all 50 states to go to work in good-paying jobs. Few will ever walk a red carpet, but their jobs are in jeopardy because of piracy. | Read More

Nancy Dubuc, A+E Networks president and CEO: It’s hard for me to accept the argument that millennials are not watching TV. I’m not one to believe that our culture of TV consumption is changing dramatically. It’s just how we consume and where we consume it that’s changing. | Read More

Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios chairman: I’ve long been a believer in the power of tentpoles to drive our business, but there’s a special place in my heart for smart, emotional films on a smaller scale. | Read More

Robert L. Johnson, RLJ Companies founder and chairman: Technology as it interfaces with the conventional television set has eliminated, to a certain extent, the traditional gatekeeper model that has allowed very few strategic players to reach consumers. | Read More

Jim Gianopulos, Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman and CEO: It’s a convenient trope to say Hollywood keeps doing sequels and repeating itself. I think it’s really easy to say we are doing the same old thing. But a good sequel is not the same old thing. | Read More

Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. president and CEO: We have so many new words in our vocabulary these days. “Over the top” is a phrase spoken often. Cord-cutters, cord-nevers, broadband-only — these are words we didn’t mention two years ago; now they’re so much a part of our daily dialogue. | Read More

Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros. Entertainment chairman and CEO: I don’t think our business models are keeping pace with the changes taking place in consumer behavior. | Read More

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