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Kevin Tsujihara: More Innovation Needs to Anticipate Consumer Demand

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

I don’t think our business models are keeping pace with the changes taking place in consumer behavior. Look at the television business. There’s been a shift from linear viewing to nonlinear viewing, and it’s happening in dramatic fashion. It’s taking place faster than anyone would have predicted. People are turning to Hulu, YouTube and even the networks’ own sites, but we’re still having a hard time in the television business monetizing that audience. Fox has been talking about the amazing amount of viewing taking place around “Gotham” between eight and 30 days after it airs. That’s not being monetized. If that’s going to occur, we need to figure out how to measure that better and to build better products for consumers.

My two kids consume content in a different way than we did. We’ll be in the family room watching TV, and at the same time they’re watching something on their iPad or they’re playing on their phone, all while trying to do their homework. That’s a generational shift, and it’s changing how viewers perceive networks.

Consumers are telling us, “I want to watch what I want when and where I choose, and stop putting so many rules around the content.” There’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all model.

Meanwhile, the theatrical business hasn’t shifted much since the introduction of the DVD in the mid-’90s. We still make and market films the same way we did back then, even though consumers are telling us they want on-demand viewing. Despite the ubiquity of iPhones and tablets, we haven’t created something to fit that model. There’s not been enough innovation around anticipating what consumers are looking for.

We need to simplify the buying of digital movies, so that you know exactly what it is and where it works. Not everything works on the Google platform or the Amazon platform. We need to improve the messaging so people know that when you buy a movie, it’s going to work everywhere and be future-proof. If we don’t, we chase them to other models, including piracy.

The one thing that has proven true even with all of the fragmentation is that great content is more valuable than ever. When something breaks out amid all the choices consumers have, it’s invaluable. That’s what we have to focus on delivering.

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