Monday, July 7, 2014

To Be Engaged

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What does it take to get audiences engaged these days? A few years ago, Hollywood had an easy answer to that question…or so they thought. “3D! 3D!” the studio execs proclaimed after the seismic success of James Cameron’s Avatar. But the truth is, people kind of hate 3D now. And by “kind of hate”, I mean really hate. 3D ticket sales are at record lows (Declining Popularity of 3D Movies), and they don’t look to ever regain the kind of prominence they had just three years ago. So, no, 3D is not the answer.

So what is then? Well, that’s an easier question to pose than it is to answer, but here’s what I think. In an age where you have multiple ways to get your entertainment, it seems the best way for a company to engage you is by throwing as much content as possible at you on every platform imaginable. Now, while this may be extremely risky for Hollywood studios, it’s really the only way to go with so many options these days. Why see the latest Tom Cruise movie in the theater when you could just binge-watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix instead? They’re both entertaining, and who’s to say one is more entertaining than the other? That’s why Edge of Tomorrow should also have released on my cell phone the same day it was released in the theater. Sure, it may have looked like crap on my phone, but who cares? At least I’d be watching it. In this day and age, you’re not stuck with the entertainment that Hollywood shoves down your throat. You, the consumer, have the power. And Hollywood knows this. That’s why it’s so important for them to understand that to engage us, they need to give us options. Not only with the kind of programs and movies we get, but also in the way we get them. Because the truth is, I can watch most of my favorite programs and movies on Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go. If I want to be engaged with a new show or movie, I need to be able to watch it on my couch, in my car, or while I’m on the treadmill, and the connection has to be immaculate. I don’t want to sit through a movie that’s buffering on my phone for several minutes. That’s a way to get me unengaged.

So, there you have it. That’s how you engage viewers in the 21st Century. Give us options, and make them fun. Hopefully, Christopher Nolan’s new picture, Interstellar, will do just that, but I doubt it. Christopher Nolan is too much a purist for that. That’s more of a Steven Soderbergh kind of thing. Oh, well. Thankfully, Nolan is the kind of director who most of us will make the trip out of the house to see. He’s deserved the props.

You can find the article here. I only posted the full piece on my blog because my name wasn't on the article.

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