30 years ago, when it produced the first Gulf War (international Coalition led by the united States to take Kuwait to the iraqi troops of Saddam Hussein), many were the ones who were glued to the tv 24 hours a day, to see the war in direct thanks to the CNN of Ted Turner. Was born the cable television, followed by others, such as Fox and MSNBC. Were the competition of the three major television networks, traditional american: ABC, CBS, and NBC. That was nothing with what is happening today: all of the above are added to the platforms of tv in streaming, by multiplying by n the hearing and the offer of news and entertainment. Are Netflix, Disney+ Apple+, Amazon Prime Video, Movistar+, HBO, PBS and many more. Of see wars with tanks in a television tube, we have passed to the wars of the television channels in streaming…
20 years ago -not so long ago – Hollywood was enriched in the following way: a movie was successful at the box office; actors and actresses of prestige attracted the audience; a good story, out romantic comedy or drama I used to succeed; the merchandising it generated a lot of income and, above all, the sale of DVD by a multitude of channels and left the whopping $ 15 margin per unit to the study. That is to say, that, thanks to the rights of author, actors, directors, producers, studios and, to a much lesser extent, the writers, are enriched. Those were the years in which Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts demanded a salary -never less per film – $ 20 million and, if the film generated profits, they took the 25%, along with what generated by merchandising and DVD. Between 2000 and 2010, by Sony Pictures, which had purchased Columbia, became the first Hollywood studio, because it had in its portfolio two of the actors most “hot” of the moment: Will Smith, to action movies and Adam Sandler, to comedies histriónicas.
But 2010 brought the digitalization, and with it the triumph of Netflix and Amazon who, until that year, had gone unnoticed, if not ignored and scorned by the Hollywood studios. Netflix, account of its founder, Network Hastings, it began as a Blockbuster, the largest chain of movie rental (VHS and DVD) in the world. But, immediately, she began mailing the movies, saving the trip to the store to the customers. Something similar to what he did to Jeff Bezos with Amazon, sending books by mail from their library of Seattle. In 2005, when The Walt Disney Company buying Pixar to Steve Jobs (the founder and owner of Apple), Netflix, and Amazon are beginning to offer movies on streaming thanks to the Internet. Were not its own movies, but they gave the studios such as Warner Bros, Disney, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Sony-Columbia.
The status quo remained, until, in 2010, with the Great Recession of 2007-2009, americans go less to the cinema. Stop buying DVD for $ 35. Stay at home watching tv and, eureka! Netflix arrives to your home with a good offer film wide, at a reduced price, either rent movies, well subscription. At the same time, Amazon develops its television service in streaming and will continue to other platforms.
Between 2010 and 2020 the entertainment in the West changes completely: change the industry, change the taste, change the theme and change the way we consume film and tv series. The DVD completely disappears and the cinema halls are almost deserted. The major film studios do not know how to reinvent your business. And, more importantly, the platforms of television streaming they decide to create their own studios and generate content, both films as tv series. With the actors of always.
Good stories and great actors cease to be a magnet for the public. The novelty that wins represents The Walt Disney Company, with the purchase Pixar, Marvel, Lucas Film and 20th Century Fox. People prefer to see the four films Toy Story (Pixar), 24 of the Avengers (Marvel), the prequels and sequels of star wars (Lucas Film) and the double universe Disney animated film classic, and the “remake” with people of “The Beauty and the Beast,” “Mary Poppins”, “Cinderella” and “Dumbo”. That is to say, as with the television series composed of many chapters, the consumer film like many movies of super heroes that are part of a universe. Warner Bros follows the trail with its own universe of heroes from DC Comics (Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, etc) and the franchise of Harry Potter. And actors, like Tom Cruise used to turn into gold everything they did, they have to bet on these franchises: Mission Impossible (six films), Jack Reacher (2 movies and more in portfolio), etc., that are sure success.
The world takes note of the profound change that has occurred. Today, in the homes of the West (Spain included), in addition to the television channels and the empty cinema, you can choose (subject to payment, pretty affordable by comparison with the previous model) between Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO (it’s Game of Thrones!), Apple+ (Apple, the same as in the iPhone), Disney+ (The Walt Disney Company, that offers Pixar, Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, 20th Century Fox and National Geographic), Movistar+ (of Telefónica) and a few more. The monthly subscription half of each of these tv services in streaming is usually about 6 euros, in the first year. With offer of almost unlimited content. With good reason, during the pandemic of coronavirus, the Spanish have gone from average of 5 hours watching television each day, per capita Study Advice for Business Success of a Large Consumption by 2020).
And this is only the beginning, because the war of the streaming has not done but to start: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video or Movistar+ not only gives content of the studies, but rather generate their own movies and series. Kieffer Sutherland, son of Donald Sutherland, once said that “the Emmy awards are the consolation prize for those who do not succeed in the film and we have to make do with the small screen”. Not anymore. Not anymore. Sutherland, Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino…, all of Hollywood has found an alternative source of creativity, work, talent, revenue and reach many more millions of people around the world, which makes barely five years.
As I said the film…: “the war has done nothing but begin.” The war of the television and film streaming, it is understood.
Jorge Diaz Cardiel is a Partner-Director General of Advice Strategic Consultants.