WhatBOX?: Al Gore Invents Everything

It's been 12 years since Al Gore invented the internet, and just look what his ingenuity has done since... Newspaper circulations, magazines (and print advertising as a whole), music sales and book consumption - all lethally infected by the interweb's convenience of on-demand anything.

And, from a broader perspective, we're still in the beginning stages of the web's own evolution. There are industries that have only been slightly affected the way print media has. (Cable folk know this all too well, as new OTT darlings Netflix and others have legitimately rattled the incumbents' collective cage.)

However, the Great Subscriber Exodus of Q211 may simply be the tip of the iceberg. The entire movie industry is positioned to be the next entertainment and/or communications business forced to adapt to the age of the internet.

The movie biz is facing unparalleled pressure as large, flat-screen TVs continue to drop in price making them increasingly more accessible to consumers on a budget. And with high-def, premium audio and the internet pumping instant access to virtually unlimited content into living rooms, more consumers are choosing their home theaters over local movie theaters.

Analysts say the movie industry has been through this before (e.g. VCRs, DVDs and DVRs). But the one thing that Hollywood has (and pay-TV can learn from) is the control over the distribution of its content.

Going to the theater is still "an experience," and besides just wanting to get out of the house, consumers must go to the theater to see the latest films. Sure they could wait for PPV, disc or premium nets... but they love sucking the internet teat. Who doesn't?

According to the Daily Finance, Hollywood is experimenting with the idea of selling movies directly to consumers at home (via internet stream) at the same time the films hit theaters. They'll charge a super-premium fee of course - likely upwards of $30... But if a family already pays $50 or so for a trip to the theater, and it would rather watch movies from the comfort of home anyway, is it really that expensive?

And while there's still kinks to be worked out between networks and operators, maybe the latest sign of the pay-TV chain adapting to the internet era is the authentication strategy implemented by Fox, Scripps, Hulu, AMC Networks and others for instant access to its content?

For this you can blame, or thank, Al Gore. •

WhatBOX? is a weekly column featured in The Morning BRIDGE newsletter for executives, programmers and business leaders across the multiplatform industries. WhatBOX? is an article about compelling content... and how today's programming is being delivered via the silver screen, the flat-screen, the computer screen and the mobile screen.

matthew colella is the creative director at blue13creative and a media consultant for The Morning BRIDGE parent company MediaBiz.

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