In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder Jeremy Evans has written a column about the opportunities and challenges of content distribution in film and entertainment in Hollywood and beyond through streaming, A.I., and traditional theatrical releases.
You can read the full column below.
Artificial intelligence is certainly one pathway to explore content distribution through mapping best practices, historical knowledge, and future progress with data analytics and smart machines. Direct to consumer through streaming platforms seems be to the waive of the future as entertainment, media, and sports content continues its move away from traditional cable. Then there is the Freemantle entertainment model that focuses on the right distribution partner at the outset of the filmmaking process. Meaning, Freemantle wants creatives and producers to work with studio executives before production on where distribution will occur and then determine budget, etc. Freemantle sees the future of film and media distribution as one of multiple paths because there are so many options now: studio streamers like Netflix, Amazon, Apple+, social and open platforms like YouTube, and traditional theatrical releases. Indeed, the growth of distribution options and payment/residuals is at the heart of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA disputes with AMPTP.
There is also the continuous movement of content towards podcasts. Dr. Seuss Entrprises is the latest entertainment and intellectual property content library to join Wondery Kids & Family. Podcasts cost less and are easier to produce as it is usually a single camera with several microphones and little to no movement as guests are stationary in their seats recording or is all together without video. The paywall to obtain podcasts is also generally less expensive than a traditional streamer, especially the ad-based options.
Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is unfortunately a double-edged sword of good and bad. On the good edge, A.I. makes everything faster and more efficient. On the bad edge, it takes away the freedom to create. For example, if a writer wants to write a story, but is having writers block. Normally, the writer would watch a movie, travel, and find another way to be inspired through life experiences. A.I. offers the incentive to avoid that process and just go straight to an essentially unlimited source of knowledge. As a creative, that idea is both scary in terms of making people less relevant, but also takes aways from creative process. It makes the process more robotic and not original, which creates copyright protection and infringement issues. There are many benefits to A.I., but humans need to set and manage expectations, uses, and consequences for breaking protocol.
Streaming is only going to continue to grow. The streaming universe will either continue fractionalization or find ways to coordinate and collaborate to share products and content. The most common consumer complaint is that there are too many streaming options and more importantly too many paywalls. However, the benefit of fractionalization is that consumers have options. Options mean competition among studios and steamers. Competition means better pricing and content for consumers.
The question going forward will be what role artificial intelligence plays in streaming. From a business perspective, it will help efficiency, costs, and intelligence to make well informed business decisions. From a creative perspective, it creates a dilemma between human creating and learning from creative intelligence developed through machine learning. Regulation and compromise may be the solution.
About Jeremy M. Evans:
Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clients in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.
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