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Harvey Weinstein: Hollywood Must Find Ways to Make Up for Collapse of DVD Market

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

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. That was once an insurance policy for the industry. How do we deal with the newer technologies that are emerging and with the piracy that’s a part of the new digital age?

Little by little by little, VOD is making up for the DVD business. It’s more challenging, but I think eventually the technology will catch up and equate to what we lost.

Obviously, all of these things weigh in on how much money you’re bidding on projects. You don’t know exactly what everything will be worth, so you have to go with your pure gut. If a movie grossed $5 million in theaters, it used to mean that it would do $5 million on DVD.

Now, with EST and VOD and everything else, who knows what you’re going to carve out? The theatrical business is now the biggest profit center. If you don’t win in theaters, you’re in trouble.

The movie dictates its own release strategy. You have to know what you have and be careful how much you spend on P&A. The Internet has become an incredibly effective marketing tool, but it’s also the source of greatest competition. There’s limitless content out there, so it’s easy to stay home and watch all these things.

You have make a case for why your movie is compelling. What Radius-TWC is doing with VOD is finding new ways to reach an audience. Nobody has time anymore. They’re pulled in so many directions. If they want to see a movie at 11 at night while the kids are asleep, this is the way to do it. It’s become an important source of income.

We’re entering a golden age for television. You can tell a better story there. You have more time. I can’t tell “Marco Polo” in under 50 hours. I wouldn’t know how to do anything other than offer up an abridged bad version of that. Let’s hope all technology companies follow Netflix’s model and marry content and technology with the same passion.

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