But instead of being snarky (which comes as a natural to me), I shall try this time to actually do an analysis and give some ways out for Hollywood (there will be a joke at the end of this, so keep reading... or cheat and scroll down) out of the mess that made for themselves...
Ready? Here we go...
Let’s start with a caveat here.
What you are about to read you may not like, because a lot of it is going to challenge every notion, every traditional truth that the movie and TV industries are built upon.
What you are about to read is an analysis, impartial and unbiased and not coming from a source within the industry itself that would say whatever you will want to hear to get themselves a job, a better position or the good table at Thursday’s Cocaine Night at Morton’s.
Stop here if you feel properly insulted.
Still with me? Good. Then let’s start with the most important question that the industry has to face, but has tried to avoid in the past years, with PR campaigns, lawsuits and… pretty much by putting their heads into the sand, hoping – like the European cotton mill producer in the 19th century – that the world will not turn. And the question is this:
What is the intrinsic value of entertainment?
Obviously, one could look through the spreadsheets of your normal movie production, evaluate the cost of the finished product, include the PR and marketing costs and the distribution and then say: this movie X or this TV show Y has the value of Z million dollars.
That would be the MBA way of doing an analysis, and it’s the way it’s always been done, and it’s a way that finds itself reflected in the quarterly earnings reports. It focuses on the real, tax-deductable production cost value and needs to extrapolate from that point onward, in the way tangible products are measured, like e.g. cars, clothes, shoes, kitchen utensils etc.
However, entertainment in itself is an intangible product. While its traditional delivery systems like TV stations, cable networks, video, DVDs and even the newer delivery systems like cell phones or ipTV are a quantifiable structures, the content itself isn’t.
Or, to put it more precisely… it isn’t in the eyes of the individual consumer. And this is where the analysis needs to start. Not with production costs, delivery system and their advantages/disadvantages, but with the individual consumer. And the question needed to be asked becomes:
What is the intrinsic value of entertainment… to the individual consumer?
The answer is zero. And since that is a hard thing to swallow for somebody within the industry, let me repeat this one more time…
The intrinsic value of entertainment to the individual consumer is… Zero. Null. Zilch. Nothing. Nada.
We can debate for a while the different reasons that made entertainment without a value in and of itself, and one could argue with quite some success that it is the result of torrenting and pirating, and that it’s those evil bastards out there who are destroying the industry and that it’s immoral and… and… yes, yes, those are all arguments we’ve heard before, but those are all primarily moral arguments. We’re not here to talk morals, we are here to talk business.
And, what is more important, all those arguments stem from the previously mentioned MBA type analysis: we, the studios, have come up with a product that cost us the amount X and, consequently, we are assigning this product the value Y.
And with the complete control over all channels of distribution, that was a workable business model.
With torrents, with P2P, with widening broadband access, a fundamental parameter has changed, and in order to not only survive but thrive in this new environment, one has to accept a fundamental fact.
The old system is dead, not just broken, and it will never come back to the same structural integrity that has served it throughout the past 70+ years, because in the new business environment, it is the consumer who has increasingly the power to assign a value to the entertainment product itself. And those consumers that do possess this power more often than not are assigning the value Zero = Y.
Again, we could argue ad nauseam as to why exactly more and more consumers don’t consider the product put out there to be a valuable thing in and of itself.
One could argue that it has something to do with the quality of the entertainment product that has been dreadfully lacking in the past 15-20 years .
One could argue that studios have coddled up too much to acting stars and are paying them too much money without a proper analysis of the potential ROI, despite the fact that a proper analysis of the most profitable movies and TV shows of the past 50 years would show that none of them were propelled to success by star power.
One could even argue that – by attempting to build brands out of celebrities instead of products – the industry has devalued itself slowly, for the “real” Brangelina is now coming to every consumer’s doorsteps and/or TV set on a daily basis…
…free of charge, and with a much more interesting “script” than any of the movies they are starring in.
Explaining these different facets fully and thoroughly would make for an interesting book or a scientific thesis, but all of them have contributed to the dilemma that stares down the industry in the years and decades to come.
And all of them are unfixable.
Thus the first rule of time management and efficiency applies: if you cannot fix the system in order to gain more efficient results, abandon the system.
What’s needed is a paradigm shift, and this is what this document will provide, on a relatively small level, designed for the production and distribution of a serial drama show, but which can be adapted and used for other types of entertainment product in later stages.
The thoughts and conclusions provided here are taking into account different business models that produced other product and placed it successfully into the marketplace.
For our purposes, we will have to start at the one place that has been too often forgotten in the development of entertainment product in the past, primarily because it is a product that tries to have an artistic “vision” and is made mostly by people who very often don’t think about who in the end should pay for this product: the consumer.
And this is where we will start. Not with a script. Not even with a concept. Not with a producer, not with actors, studio heads or whoever else thinking they are important. In all the thoughts, all the deliberations, all the different bits of analysis that are about to follow.
We will start with the consumer.
For the consumer is all that matters.
(1) THE CONSUMER IN A WANT-NEED-MATRIX
The modern consumer’s power to assign a value to the entertainment product affects the industry’s future in terms of
and even down to the very
of the product.
To illustrate those significant changes, it is necessary to analyse how a consumer makes his or her choice about a potential purchase of any product.
Any decision by the consumer to purchase a product is the direct result of a conscious/unconscious Decision Tree, which in turn is part of a complex Want-Need-Matrix determined by a number of variables based on existentially relevant Needs and real or projected Wants within the consumption process.
Needs are defined as products and services that are absolutely necessary to continue one’s existence, such as rent or mortgage payments, transportation costs, electricity, heating, food, clothing etc.
Wants are defined as any products or services that, while not necessary to survive, are part of consumerist culture and are thusly in and of themselves primarily luxury items that include tech gadgets, vacation travel, social gatherings … and entertainment products.
The traditional way to market products in the Wants column has been to create the artificial perception by the consumer that those products are indeed within the Needs column, mostly through the creating the illusion of a sense of lifestyle attached to the product itself.
Simply called: advertising.
The basis of such a consumerist economy, especially in the US and UK consumer market’s, however, has been the consumer credit, with the allure and more importantly the perception that the product or service bought has no real value and will be paid off in increments through so-called “plastic money”.
This is about to change. The credit crunch currently hitting both the US and UK markets, together with a stagnant economy and exploding prices for products and services necessary to survive, primarily electricity, heating and transportation costs, are taking up more and more of the individual consumer’s budget.
This all leads to a rationalisation by the consumer for all non-essential purchases within the decision tree, which affects intangible products and services first, lifestyle products second and only then bare necessities.
This rationalisation by the consumer prior to purchase is what concerns us for the purpose of the model that is about to proposed in the later pages of this document.
This rationalisation is where all intangible products and services, all lifestyle and/or luxury items are immediately at a disadvantage.
Let us take a look at two examples from two different realms of entertainment delivery: the world wide web and DVD sales, especially TV Box Sets.
While it is true that hedge funds and corporations are buying up new web sites, such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook et al in a Web 2.0 bubble, it is also true that none of these sites present an actual business model designed to generate sustainable profits.
For the consumer may be willing to look at these sites, even become part of it for a while (research indicates that there is about a drop-out rate of MySpace users in the 80 percent range within a year of signing up, leaving database corpses and not much else), they are not willing, nor will they ever be to actually pay for any content online. Every media venture outside very specialised content creating ventures (such as Daily Variety, Medical Database Services etc) has failed in attracting enough paying customers for their content, the last example being the New York Times.
Why is that?
Well, first all of – and it is a rather obvious thing to point out – information and content are by their very nature intangible and can be assigned a value by the consumer immediately within the confines of the web.
And again, that inherent value is zero.
Why? To quote a famous proverb, which can be applied to the content distribution online: “I already gave at the office”. For we have to keep in mind that the consumer is already paying.
He’s just not paying you!
To understand this, one has to understand consumer psychology. What he is paying are rather expensive broadband access packages to his cable or telecom service providers, usually within the range of 40 to 80 dollars a month and to the consumer – like it or not – that price tag includes all the stuff he might want to look at in the world wide web.
In fact, it is that consumer psychology that has been forgotten far too often in the development of media content. The consumer is a far more complex entity than what advertising agencies and marketing consultants (and I used to be one, so I know what I’m talking about) will try to sell to you as the truth.
Focus research backs up the notion that consumers are more inclined to believe that the content on the world wide web is something they already paid for and see no reason to sink in even more cash for single products that use the web as a means of distribution. Focus research also shows that for each entertainment product and service there is an inherent tipping point at the Point of Sale (POS) of “brick & mortar” entertainment products, such as magazines, music CDs and DVDs.
Stay below that tipping point, and the product in itself can become that most elusive and most wanted of all products: the impulse buy.
Move above it, and with each gradual rise of the price tag, one will decrease the potential purchase audience numbers by a factor of 3. Part of that loss can be kept at bay by the rising prices, but it turns the product itself from a mass-market product to a more and more specialised item that will then be at the mercy of a relatively small group of fans or aficionados and can increasingly become endangered by their whims.
What are those tipping points in the price tag?
Again, focus research has shown a similar pattern throughout most markets in industrialised countries for different media products, with each product being assigned a single value.
For mass market magazines, e.g., that tipping point is 3 dollars, for a music CD it is 8 dollars, for a single movie DVD it is 10 dollars and for a TV show box set it is not more than 25 dollars.
When dealing with certain brands or properties, this value assignments changes incrementally, depending on the brand, how long it is established and what the consumer considers to be a “fair” price for this item in his Wants column. But for our purposes here we should keep in mind those basic numbers we put up here as the skeleton for the model of distribution that we are going to discuss in the following pages.
(2) THE FOUR TIERS OF DISTRIBUTION
Actually, there are five tiers for the distribution of an entertainment product such as TV shows, even though most people inside the industry see them only as four. They are:
(Including cable, both basic and premium)
(World Wide Web Only)
The last tier, launched in 2007 in a number of European countries, are TV Packages distributed through your ISP and via the ip Protocol. They are not part of what most people these days would consider “online” delivery, since they have the “look” and the “feel” of classic digital cable TV, with the underlying delivery system being a different one.
For our purposes, we shall deal with the first four tiers and look at the ipTV format at the end as a separate issue, and one that will have quite some significant impact on the industry as a whole, since it spells the end of the vertical integration that has driven media conglomerate consolidation of the past two decades. ipTV will take away the delivery monopoly of the traditional media companies and put them in the hands of the more powerful telecom conglomerates.
However, since that is about five to ten years away to come through in full force, we shall deal with the other, more established distribution systems first when looking at how to develop TV show concepts that can make full use of all of those delivery channels.
There have been a few examples as of late of people producing content directly for the web, the latest being Quarterlife by Zwick/Hershowitz, which was recently picked up in a licensing deal by NBC, but if one looks more closely at that, it shows a structure that is that of a generic dramedy. Other examples would include Will Ferrell’s website venture, Tokyopop’s “Online Manga Cartoons” and others, but all of those examples are without too much merit, since they come from an already established perspective and just extrapolate that perspective to a new delivery system, be it “comedic shorts” (Ferrell), “cartoon shorts” (Tokyopop) or “this is actually a network dramedy cut to pieces” (Quarterlife). None of them were developed with the end consumer in mind.
A new model for TV show concepts will have to address the strength and weaknesses of each delivery system even before the conceptualisation of the show itself, for each distribution channel comes with a certain set of rules that need to be reflected in the actual concept, structure and delivery of the product.
Within the realm of ONLINE STREAMING, e.g., the research on consumer behaviour shows a preference of short clips and/or movies with a maximum length of 10 minutes and not more. These are films/videos/rants that are often watched at the office during lunch breaks, as a little diversion and perhaps shared virally with friends and family.
The realm of ONLINE SALES, like at iTunes and other similar services, are merely a supplemental sales and distribution model to the “brick and mortar” DVD market. This tier’s primary strength is what currently drives music executives crazy, because it allows for the conscious picking of a single track/song or – for our purposes – a single episode of any given TV show. The overall pricing for an entire season would be very close to what an actual DVD box set would cost, but the strength here is to give the consumer the illusion of getting more control over the purchase and a perceived (though not real) better value for money.
The distribution tier of DVD SETS has to contend with the subconscious tipping point we discussed earlier. TV Box Sets are usually set in a price range of 40-100 Dollars per box set for an entire season, and while one could argue that the cost-value equation is a pretty decent one, with a set containing up 22 episodes or more, the price tag alone ensures that for box sets, the intended target audience is currently the fraction of hardcore fans who enjoyed the show on its earlier distribution channels on TV and would like to be in control of the experience on their own terms. Because of that, TV Box Sets traditionally favour genre shows such as all forms of Star Trek, Babylon 5, X-Files, 24, Lost as good sellers, with the occasional sitcom highlight like Friends or Seinfeld being thrown in.
Finally, the TV NETWORK distribution comes with a pre-formatted structure of a 5 Act episode (for a full hour show) that allows for commercial breaks, with the best shows already written in such a way to make dramatic use of the commercial break itself. Its primary strength comes from the perceived notion of not having to pay for the content at all, in the traditional trade-off of content plus advertising.
The different strengths of the distribution channels and their usage by the consumer often contradict themselves, thus having creatives dealing with the rules and regulations of that distribution channel that they are developing the intended property for, in a trade-off for the disadvantages that come through the other distribution tiers.
If e.g. a new TV show for network distribution is conceptualised, it is designed to work within the confines of that distribution channel and that distribution channel alone, with all other channels being supplements to the primary one but not taken into account from the beginning of the conceptualisation itself.
We are going to change that.
Let us recap what a modern TV show concept will have to be able to achieve.
1) It has to fully work in 10 minute serial increments to take full advantage of the ONLINE STREAMING primary use by the consumer.
2) It has to work as a 45 minute single episode, but wetting the appetite for subsequent purchases to fully take advantage of the ONLINE SALES tier
3) Its structure has to allow for a DVD collected format at a significantly lower price point than the series box sets that are currently on the market, but giving the consumer a full experience with each DVD set bought and leave them wanting more. It also has to take into account the primary target group willing to spend the most money on entertainment and their viewing habits, which means: a genre show.
4) It has to work in the 5-Act-Format of a “normal” TV drama, which means it has to be written in such a way that it allows for their traditional model to still work.
All of that sounds like a rather tall order.
The way to combine all these elements is a conceptual structure that comes from the past, from a different medium even, but on that can be adapted fully to the 21st century notion of a TV show.
It’s a concept pioneered in the 19th century by popular novelists like Charles Dickens and is still in use in countries such in Germany when it comes to novels. It was briefly resurrected, with some success, by Stephen King for The Green Mile as well. Back then, it was called serialisation. For our purposes here, it will be called the MINI-TV-NOVEL SERIES.
Let me explain…
(3) THE MINI-TV-NOVEL SERIES STRUCTURE
The model will work, because all of the elements of it are already in place, have been tested and tried on their own, with varied success, admittedly, but never thought out and thought through.
What all failed to do, though, is to combine all the different elements in one solid conceptual structure and consider the implications of such a structure on what it means for the creative conceptualisation of such a series.
But first, let us take a look at all the elements of the structural model from a business perspective, shall we? And ask some important questions, starting with maybe the one that will immediately come up.
(4) AH, YES, BUT WHY WOULD IT WORK?
Why should TV/cable license an outside concept? Obviously, this is the big one, for throughout the past two decades the media conglomerates have been going through a vertical integration process that has them controlling the entire value chain, from conceptualisation to distribution, and it is a fair question to ask as to why they would give up that control. Why should they, since everything works so well with the current model?
Oh no, wait. It’s not really working, is it? As most of the times, with vertical integration, the initial goals of bringing down costs and control the quality hasn’t been met, with hundreds of millions being put into development deals and little to show for it.
The reason for that is a simple one. By consolidating the entire value chain the media companies have created an monolithic structure within themselves that is controlled primarily by personal relationships and by the jockeying for the next best position. This is not an uncommon result, nor is it merely a feature to be found in the media industries.
In fact, research has shown that over 60 percent of all mergers and acquisitions in the corporate world have failed and in more than a few instances have resulted in a disastrous loss of stockholder value.
In the media industries, where personal relationships have begun to supersede the primary focus of content creation: the consumer.
Series budgets and developing costs have ballooned to a point where a new scripted drama show will cost about 3 million per hour, and with 90 percent of all new scripted series per season failing before their first season run, that is a lot of money going down the drain. And yet, more and more development deals with big-name producers are announced, primarily to keep business relations going and also to perhaps hop from one executive chair to the next, should the wind come from a different direction…
It’s an entirely closed system, or so it seems.
So, why should a network buy from an outside source? Again, let us forego the typical creative answer, which would sound like Steve Buscemi in one of his smaller film roles, going “Because we are better, waaaah!”.
Nobody cares. What the networks do care about is money. Or rather, not spending money, for while a successful TV show for them might show up in the earnings reports two, three years down the line, the costs will show up almost immediately or at least in the next quarterly spreadsheet.
Let’s re-iterate: 3 million dollars per hour of scripted shows, between 1.5 million to 2 million dollars for a reality TV show.
The networks will be interested in a licensed show, because we are making them an offer, in the words of Don Corleone, that they simply cannot refuse.
At 500,000 dollars plus 25 percent of the advertising revenue generated within the hour the show is shown, it will be the offer of a quality product at a fraction of the initial cost and without any of the risk, since the show is going to be independently funded.
And furthermore, since this concept is independently funded, one can repeat the same approach on every TV market in the world, analyse our target, calculate the tipping point for each channel and approach them directly. Obviously, such a tipping point would differ from market to market, and the same cost per hour of content in e.g.. Hungary will differ greatly from the one in the UK, Germany, France or the US. But the underlying business model stays the same.
Greed, ladies and gentlemen. Greed works.
Only in this case, it will work in the favour of those investors who fund the model and the model’s creator. For the model for the company to be set up works along the lines of the Silicon Valley start-up models, with the entrepreneur and the venture capitalists forming an alliance that is going to benefit them both.
Obviously, such a partnership wouldn’t automatically result in the investor to rub shoulders with Nicole Kidman on any red carpet, but honestly, who cares?
This is about the money.
What is the deal with the DVD MINI NOVELS?
To answer this question I shall refer to the chapter THE CONSUMER IN A WANT-NEED-MATRIX. As briefly discussed there, there is a tipping point for the consumer for each purchase of an entertainment product at which rational thinking sets in and turns an impulse buy into a rationally thought out purchase.
For a DVD (movie) this tipping point is about 10 dollars. That is the price point one needs to set for a volume of this series concept.
Obviously, for a TV show series produced under the current model, that is nothing that would work. Neither are the shows conceptualised to break down in those chunks needed to allow for such a price point, nor would a broken down show like Friends or even an extremely serialised drama like Lost or Heroes give the consumer the feeling of getting a fully fledged product with their purchase.
It would even counter-act the subconscious notion of getting proper value for their money.
Again, this entire model starts and ends with the consumer at the very core of it all. If the price point is 10 dollars and if an entire box set of a full season only works for already established series in terms of repeat viewings, then one must find a way to construct a series structure that allows to be broken down into meaningful chunks that can be sold at the price point necessary. The notion of telling a complete story in a span of 3 to 7 full hour episodes in an of itself not an entirely new one.
In the current TV model, these stories are called mini-series, usually done in an event-like manner, like the currently airing Tin Man on the SciFi Channel… or pretty much anything produced by Hallmark Entertainment.
But those mini-series often play out as a bloated movie, where things are stretched beyond belief and very rarely lead to a Battlestar Galactica situation, in which the event serves as a launching pad for an ongoing series.
What is the advantage of conceptualising a series of mini-novels is that they can be put together into one volume of a continuing series, very much like an ongoing book series with the same characters.
Liked this Mini-TV-Novel? Buy the next one! It’s just 10 bucks. The perceived cheap price of 10 dollars is an element taken out of the currently successful model run by iTunes in the music realm and adapted for our purposes. The price tag of 99 cents per downloaded song is perceived to be good value for money, for the consumer doesn’t realise that downloading an entire album at that cost will level out usually at 10 to 13 dollars, very much like the cost of a CD.
Applied to our model here, a full season’s worth of episodes will come down to a cost between 30 to 35 dollars, depending on the length of each individual Mini-TV-Novel.
In fact, we will have the consumer spent just as much if not more on the product through this model as he would have done just buying a complete box set of the old kind.
But… we are going to give them the illusion of control.
And that is a major difference. In this model, the consumer will not have thought about the purchase cost of the completed season, the way he would have done, if we had presented just with the choice of “This set will set you back 35 dollars, take it or leave it”.
In a world where almost all TV shows are available constantly through a stream of Usenet, BitTorrent and P2P networks, the new generation of media consumers will more likely than not say: “I will leave it, thank you very much” and download the shows as DiVX files.
Why should we show individual chapters for free?
The traditionalists among the media people (and those are most of them) fear nothing more than the web. In their minds it is filled with evil, little creatures that dress like Johnny Depp, smoke filterless cigarettes in their rooms or their dorms and want everything for free, those damn kids. Why don’t they get off our lawns?
What is often forgotten is that – while there may be a grain of truth in that imagery, skilfully portrayed by poor studio heads in the chambers of Congress – it is not the whole truth.
All independent research has shown that torrenting, like it or not, has by and large increased the sales of, and this is another thing you may not like to hear, good product.
These results corroborate the thesis put up in the introduction of this document.
It is now the consumer who assigns a value to the entertainment product and thus chooses more carefully what – in his mind – is worth paying for.
So, what is the use of putting an individual chapter a day online, for free? It’s primarily a promotion tool, granted, but it allows to target those in the potential audience in such a way, with 10 minute clips that have a beginning, middle and ending, very much like a book chapter. It allows for a quick viewing during the lunchbreak, coming back for more the next day, coming back for more the day after that… and the day after that.
Ultimately, its purpose is to not only run an entire TV network episode in the space of 5 days, its purpose is to create an item that is placed in the Wants column and have the consumer be interested to not have to wait anymore for the story to continue and follow up with either the purchase of an entire single episode through iTunes or the various Mini-TV-Novel DVD sets.
This tier is especially powerful in the beginning of the distribution and will lose importance as the other tiers are moving fully into place, turning this one into a supplemental element only.
And now, for the final question of this section:
Okay, but how does this all affect the actual product in terms of concept, production and budgeting?
As you may have noticed in this document, we are talking not about the production of 22 episode series per year (TV network standard, e.g. House, Lost, Boston Legal etc.), but only 13 episodes per year (which is a model often used by cable in the US and the preferred model for UK TV production, e.g. The Shield, Nip/Tuck in the US, Dr. Who in the UK).
In those above mentioned cases, though, the decision for a shorter season, or half-season as it also often called, is solely a financial one. A half season there is pretty much designed and run by the same rules as a full season on one of the major networks.
We are choosing the 13 episode model per year for two different reasons.
• It allows for three volumes for the Mini-TV-
Novel DVD, which means they can be launched
into the market in 4-month-intervals.
• It’s an amount of episodes that makes it easier
to produce the entire run of 13 episodes per
year on a much more pre-planned “movie”
In other words, it allows for the entire 13 episodes to be written first, before anything is shot, which in turn will enable logistics that ensure both the quality and timeliness of the end product.
Financial considerations are obviously also an element in this choice, for the projected budget per episode of such a series concept would be within the realm of a show primarily designed for cable, i.e. of about 1.5 M dollars per show.
That gives this series concept overall production budget projection of 19.5 M dollars per a 13 episode season or, in other terms, for 3 to 4 DVD volumes.
Factoring in overhead costs, marketing and PR etc.… and an initial investment will come down to approximately 25 M for the first year of producing the series product.
Now, that sounds like an awful lot of money, but let’s compared it to the 33 M dollars half a season of a regular network show would cost in production costs alone, not counting the corporate overheard.
And what’s more, let us compare it to the production budget of ONE mid-size movie under the current model, which ranges between 25 and 50 M dollars for a single product, without the ability to follow up on it after the initial value chains has been run through, and the 25 M dollars investment for a year’s worth of shows that are designed from the beginning to maximise profits from all existing and future distribution tiers with a BRANDED PRODUCT that keeps on giving.
BRANDING is going to play a rather important part in the conceptualisation of the product itself (and future series that are based on the same business model)
For BRANDING leads to the opportunities of merchandising and spin-off products for each of the series that would be produced under this model.
Once more, let us take a look at the most successful entertainment products of the past, and we will see that the majority of them, ranging from the six Star Wars movies to the Indiana Jones trilogy to the Pirates trilogy are genre concepts. Family-friendly genre concepts that play with the imagination and leave one coming back for more.
Please take a note that we are leaving out the Spider-Man, Batman, Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings adaptations in this list. Those movies all came with preconceived concepts and much loved ones at that, which gave them an advantage on the mass market.
The series concepts that are to be developed under this model do not have that luxury, but can learn from the elements that are within all of those concepts. The comparisons to Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the Pirates movies are, however, valid ones. All three were designed to work on a global scale and all of them built worlds from scratch in order to not just tell a story, but to cash in on all supplemental products that could be designed through them.
That is what needs to be done: build a world, let the consumer into that world and make him feel at home there, so he won’t mind paying for such an experience over and over again.
If one takes a look at the list of the most successful entertainment product concepts, one will notice another vital thing:
TWO THIRDS of the first-run revenue comes from OVERSEAS TERRITORIES, which means that a successful concept needs to be globally inclusive by tapping into the same subconsciousness shared by people everywhere.
This can be done by either creating and outlandish world concept that seems familiar as done by Lucas in Star Wars or creating a familiar historical world that is then filled with outlandish elements, as done by Lucas and Spielberg with Indiana Jones or Verbinski and Bruckheimer with the Pirates trilogy.
Regardless which one of them is favoured personally, the overall conceptualisation of such an entertainment product that can maximise profits both as a product itself and through supplemental products.
It needs to be a genre concept.
In the second part two of this document, you will find the first of such a conceptualisation that takes into account all these factors from the very first moment.
It is called The Invisibles.
Other concepts are also in the works that address the different rules in the same way in order to build not just a ONE OFF CONCEPT, but a BRANDED PRODUCT LINE that allows for the expansion of the company to be built as to take advantage of the opportunities presented for the future.
Okay, we shall stop here. To tell you the joke (and to answer the question of "What is he talking about? The Invisibles? Huh?")...
... and because you have probably noticed that a few of my references are a little... off.
That's because I wrote this and presented it to a great many deal of "big name" Hollywood producers to pitch not only a new TV show (THE INVISIBLES) but said new model...
... in DECEMBER 2007.
Yeah. Can you imagine the responses I got?
I bet you can.