Hollywood's New Year predictions for 2006.

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Allan, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. Allan

    Allan Guest


    Hollywood's New Year
    My predictions for 2006.
    By Edward Jay Epstein
    Posted Monday, Dec. 26, 2005, at 7:48 AM ET

    One doesn't need a crystal ball to see that Hollywood's future is now
    inexorably tied to the small screen. Just look at the studios' own
    internal revenue numbers. Before the invasion of television, the big
    screen (aka movie theaters) provided 100 percent of the studios'
    revenues. Now it accounts for less than 15 percent. The small
    screen—which includes computers, portable DVD players, and iPods as
    well as televisions—provides 85.6 percent. To be sure, much of
    Hollywood's celebrity culture, and the entertainment media that feeds
    off it, remains rooted in nostalgia for the big screen. Meanwhile, the
    MBAs that run the studios—and their corporate owners—have come to
    grips with the cruel reality that the movie business is no longer
    primarily about movies, it's about creating intellectual
    properties—the current term of art for a movie, TV series, or
    game—that can be sold or licensed for personal entertainment in a raft
    of different forms and markets. According to my crystal ball, the
    further migration of Hollywood—even with its sticky celebrity
    culture—into home entertainment will be greatly accelerated in 2006 by
    the following five events:

    1. The success of Google's Wi-Fi experiment in San Francisco.

    In October 2005, Google offered to provide a Wi-Fi service that would
    enable anyone in San Francisco to connect without charge to the
    Internet. Google would make its profit not from an access charge, but
    from the ad revenue an entire broadband-wired city would provide. If
    the experiment proves successful—and Google's Wi-Fi platform proves
    stable—nothing will stop the company from rapidly extending this
    concept to other cities. Reportedly, Google has already lined up
    unused fiber-optic cable that spans the country. Such a free Wi-Fi
    network would mean that the Hollywood studios would no longer need to
    rely on cable operators—or even telephone companies—to have a two-way
    pipeline into homes. They could directly rent any movie to consumers
    and bill their credit card (like everything else is billed on the
    Internet) without paying a cut to cable operators or local televisions

    Continue Article

    2. The further collapse of the video window.

    Up until recently, the studios gave theater owners a five- to
    six-month window before a movie was released in video stores. But now
    with mass merchandisers selling most of Hollywood's DVDs—Wal-Mart
    alone accounts for over 30 percent of DVD sales—the pressure on the
    studios to time their release in accordance with retail selling
    seasons, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, is becoming nearly
    irresistible. After all, a single Wal-Mart order can amount to $100
    million. So, as the studios dance to Wal-Mart's tune, the window
    between the theatrical release and the DVD release can be expected to
    further shrink, if not disappear entirely. As a result, more and more
    people will choose to wait for the DVD instead of going to the
    theatre. The resulting loss of audience will then further speed the
    death spiral, which will eventually drive many theaters into

    3. The proliferation of digital video recorders.

    The digital video recorder has a variety of flavors—stand-alone DVRs
    such as TiVo, portable DVRs such as the iPod, and integrated DVRs such
    as those offered by Time Warner—that allow consumers to easily capture
    movies and TV programs and then watch them when it is convenient. As
    the universe of digital channels continues to expand—the telecom
    giants Verizon and AT&T plan to pipe thousands of channels through
    telephone lines—the DVR will be the ultimate enabler of home
    entertainment. Only 9 percent of households in America now have DVRs,
    but as the cable and satellite providers replace their customers'
    cable boxes with integrated DVRs in the next three years, that number
    will mushroom to over 40 percent. Such a plethora of personal
    entertainment (including news) that can be watched whenever the viewer
    wants to, without commercial interruptions, will take a huge chunk out
    of the "clock" of potential movie-goers. The studios depend upon a
    large number of people to turn up at theaters on opening weekends, but
    soon these moviegoers will have the alternative of watching a
    downloaded movie or TV program.

    4. The Blu-Ray DVD.

    When the Blu-Ray DVD is introduced in 2006, it will have the backing
    of all six Hollywood studios as well as all the major computer
    manufacturers. Its virtue for Hollywood is that, although it is the
    same size as the present DVD, the Blu-Ray can hold six times as much
    data on multiple layers. This immense storage capacity will allow
    studios not only to re-release their libraries in the high-definition
    format, but to add whole new products to the package. For example,
    Sony, which has helped pioneer the Blu-Ray and will equip its
    PlayStation 3 with it, is considering adding 3-D versions of movies.
    Since some of the multiple layers can also be used to record material
    downloaded from the Internet, the Blu-Ray will also allow studios to
    sell consumers add-on interactive games, musical videos, and even
    sequels to the movie.

    5. The mandated digital conversion of television.

    Congress passed legislation in December requiring that all television
    signals be converted from analog to digital by Feb. 17, 2009. This
    means that Americans who don't want to buy a converter box will need a
    digital television set. Nowadays, most digital TVs sold are equipped
    for high-definition. So, in the next few years, a huge part of the
    population will be able to watch a picture at home—whether it is a
    football game, a made-for-TV series, or a reality show—that approaches
    in visual quality the fare in movie theaters. As a result, digital HD
    television will deprive theaters of a significant part of their
    audience. The Hollywood studios, as the kings of content, will profit
    the most from the transformation of the entertainment economy. The
    theaters and cable operators (unless they can acquire their own
    content), on the other hand, will have a much more difficult time
    surviving the increased competition for the clock and wallet of the
    audience. And the couch potato will have many more, though not
    necessarily better, reasons for staying home.

    Happy New Year.


    "Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game
    because they almost always turn out to be -- or to be indistinguishable from
    -- self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time."
    - Neil Stephenson, _Cryptonomicon_
    Allan, Dec 27, 2005
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  2. I went to see Narnia over the weekend with family, and I commented to
    my father that the handwriting is on the wall for the movie theatres.
    I used to want nothing more than to own my own cinema, but now I don't
    see how they make much money at all, except by raising prices through
    the roof. Narnia was a good movie, and the presentation was excellent
    (clean print, good focus, perfect framing), but I still had to share
    the theatre with a bunch of loud and obnoxious people and pay $7.50 for
    the privelige.

    I predict that in less than 5 years you'll be able to buy a 60 inch HD
    TV (of whatever type) for less than $1000 at Wal-Mart. Congress goes
    on and on about subsidizing digital tuners for poor people, and it's
    the biggest load of horseshit I've ever seen. Drive through a crappy
    neighborhood and count all the dishes mounted to the sides of ghetto
    houses. Poor people are not known for being great decision makers.
    They'll buy the new TV's, just as they pay for Dish while skimping on
    necesities. By then, movie theatres will be so expensive nobody will
    want to go. Some luxury cinemas might survive in the big cities, much
    as the stage thrives in limited amounts today, but the days of regional
    chains being able to make it are finished. Add to that the
    overcapacity created in the building boom of the late 90's and
    somethings got to give.

    lorincantrell, Dec 28, 2005
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  3. Allan

    Biz Guest

    but I still had to share
    Fix this and everything will be good again. WTF is wrong with people that
    they cant just sit quietly and watch a movie?
    Biz, Dec 28, 2005
  4. Allan

    Jim Burgan Guest

    but I still had to share
    Theatre viewing has been shrinking for the last 10 years (or longer).
    Witness the death of Megaplex owners such as General Cinema who wound up in
    Chapter 13.
    It is extremely difficult for a Cineplex to make money, even the newer ones
    with 25 screens staffed with 10 people.
    The extra screens were necessary to book the blockbusters. Companies like
    Fox made theatre owners promise to give them a couple of other screens for
    displaying lower priority files in order to get the blockbuster. I
    understand Fox required multiplex theatres to give up one extra screen to
    Fox for each print of Star Wars III they rented, and Fox/Lucasfilm
    prohibited theatres from 'racking' the movie (feeding one print thru a
    series of pulleys and sprockets to they can show the same print on two
    screens at the same time). If the theater wanted to show Revenge of the
    Sith on 4 screens, they had to rent 4 prints of the film and surrender an
    additional 4 screens to Fox (at Fox's discretion).
    2005 was not a great year for theatres... There were a few quasi
    blockbusters : Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Star Wars Episode III-Revenge Of The Sith
    and War Of The Worlds, but the number of films that grossed at least double
    their budget (generally considered to be what it takes to be profitable)
    were few and far between. The improvements in home theatre hardware and
    software will continue to cause decline. The theatres are doing the right
    thing by building the 20+ screen Megaplex with stadium-type seating and
    Dolby Digital 51. ES or DTS ES audio, but the only thing they can offer is
    the bigger screen and (for now) high-def pictures. When the dust settles on
    Blue Ray or HD-DVD, and High Def copies of movies are released with HD
    equipment, theatres will lose the high def aspect, leaving only screen-size
    as the remaining draw. Yet an 8 foot screen with a DLP High Deff Projector
    will replicate the exact image you would see at the theatre, and since you
    don't have to put up with noisy, obnoxious, demon-children who are intent on
    ruining it for everyone, the home theatre will continue to erode the
    multiplex market share.
    I will have my home theatre completed in June... It will have a 12 foot
    (diagonal) glass bead screen, with black matting/edging. The screen will be
    about 4 feet above the platform floor. The center and front/left and
    front/right speakers will be mounted 4 feet off the floor (at the same
    height as the screen, except the dialog channel (center speaker) will be
    just below the screen in dead center. The surround speakers will be in the
    rear on this 16 foot room. The DLP Projector (with 3500 lumens) and 1400 x
    1050 lines of resolution, plus true 16X9 anamorphic widescreen (depending on
    recorded content), with 2 incredible 500 watt powered sub woofers to fill
    any 15 X 20 home studio.
    I will have 3 sofas, each one 10 inches higher than the one in front,
    guaranteeing a clear shot to the screen from any seat. And my couches will
    be reclining/rocking sofas, thus comfort will not be a problem. I am
    insulating the walls with 2" bats of Styrofoam, cut to fit between my firing
    strips. Then it will be covered with a dark brown fabric. The three small
    windows will have a tight fitting lid which secures sunlight from getting
    in. Finally, there will be a curtain covering the outside door (fitting
    tightly over a fake frame inside door that seals the opening. There will be
    no outside light in my home theater. I will then add 2 Lazy-Boy recliners
    on each of the outside perimeter for premium enjoyment.
    All cabling will be inside the walls, floors etc, and none will be viewable
    to the naked eye.
    My tentative Grand Opening Date will be Tuesday June 13, 2006... The first
    feature to play will be announced at a later time (when there is actually
    High Def product available).
    Everyone here is invited :)
    Jim Burgan, Dec 28, 2005
  5. Allan

    Bob Guest

    Bob, Dec 28, 2005
  6. Sounds like you're going to have a sweet setup. Just how good are the
    DLP projectors these days? I've yet to see a video projector that I
    thought had anywhere near the punch of a CRT or Plasma TV, but then
    I've never seen a DLP in action either. LCD projectors due nothing for

    lorincantrell, Dec 28, 2005

  7. Me neither. Can't understand why anyone would go to such expense and
    not get a 1920 x 1080 setup though...
    Frank Malczewski, Dec 31, 2005
  8. Allan

    Goro Guest

    or lack thereof (ritalin)

    Goro, Dec 31, 2005
  9. Allan

    Goro Guest

    I've noticed that even with the 1080p sets, they generally do not have
    1080p INPUTS.


    Goro, Dec 31, 2005
  10. Allan

    Goro Guest

    i thot that SF already declined this offer. Google has instead focused
    on their home city (Mountain View?).

    as to the main pt, bandwidth is increasing rapidly! Comcast offers
    6Mbps up to around 9 Mbps. Cox just upped from 4Mbps to 6Mbps and
    upgrading to 9Mbps is only $15 per month. I wouldn't be surprised to
    see bandwidth double in the next year.
    Should also mention a new brand of DVR that is becoming quite popular:
    the home computer/mediacenterPC/XBox Mediacenter.

    HD Tuner cards are getting cheaper and with the proliferation of HD
    vids on the internet...

    THere's now a alt.binaries.hdtv that has stuff like 1080i SLEEPER CELLs
    and 720p FINDING NEMO.

    As more people sample these, they will find it more and more difficult
    to watch 480p material anymore.

    Of course these .ts files are pretty damb huge. It's over 10GBs for
    NEMO, which might not seem big compared to 480p DVDs (9GBs), but it's
    substantially bigger than 480p Xvids or even 720p Xvids and h.264s.

    Hardware h.264 vid cards are out, allowing for 720p files that are
    about the same size as old SD Xvids.

    Quicktime HD is becoming the de facto standard for movie trailers.
    They look good, too.
    .... and HD-DVD,too, right? :)

    ... OR until a large percentage (75%?) own Digital TVs.

    They also passed (proposed?) a bill to spend something liek $4B (from
    teh $10B made from auctioning the analog current cable bandwidth) to
    BUY people digital cable converter boxes... uhmmm....

    Goro, Dec 31, 2005
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