Tag Archives: Entertainment

TV’s Ad Apocalypse Is Getting Closer

By Derek Thompson – Before getting to the future, let’s start with the present of television. Pay TV—that is, the bundle of channels one can buy from Comcast or DirecTV—is in a ratings free fall among all viewers born since the Nixon administration.

This has created a business crisis for entertainment companies like Disney. Old Disney’s television strategy was: Focus on making great content and then sell it to distribution companies, like Comcast and DirecTV. This worked brilliantly when practically the entire country subscribed to the same television product.

Thanks to virtuous cycle of bundling, separating content and distribution used to be the obvious play for Disney

But New Disney is looking for a fresh play. Now that young households are cutting the cord, it wants to own both content and distribution.

There aren’t many great examples of legacy media empires successfully transitioning to the digital age without a few disasters along the way, or at least a long period of readjustment. Just look at American newspapers, or the music labels at the beginning of the 2000s. more> https://goo.gl/jfcC64

Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories?

BOOK REVIEW

Phone, Author: Will Self.
Pride and Prejudice, Author: Jane Austen.
Ulysses, Author: James Joyce.

By Will Self – The neuroscientist Susan Greenfield has been prominent in arguing that our new digital lives are profoundly altering the structure of our brains. This is undoubtedly the case – but then all human activities impact upon the individual brain as they’re happening; this by no means implies a permanent alteration, let alone a heritable one.

After all, so far as we can tell the gross neural anatomy of the human has remained unchanged for hundreds of millennia, while the age of bi-directional digital media only properly dates – in my view – from the inception of wireless broadband in the early 2000s, hardly enough time for natural selection to get to work on the adaptive advantages of … tweeting.

If we take seriously the conclusions of these recent neuroscientific studies, one fact is indisputable: whatever the figures for books sales (either in print or digital form), reading for pleasure has been in serious decline for over a decade.

That this form of narrative absorption (if you’ll forgive the coinage) is closely correlated with high attainment and wellbeing may tell us nothing about the underlying causation, but the studies do demonstrate that the suite of cognitive aptitudes needed to decipher text and turn it into living, breathing, visible and tangible worlds seem to wither away once we stop turning the pages and start goggling at virtual tales. more> https://goo.gl/8eOXh4

Have romantic comedies become obsolete?

By Wesley Morris – Once upon a time, women in successful romantic comedies were warriors battling men. They fought for love, parity, and respect — to be taken seriously while wearing unserious hats. The man had a position that the woman finds appalling.

Or was it the other way around? But to be appalled was to be attracted.

All Katharine Hepburn did with Spencer Tracy was fight. And you never doubted that they equally wanted to win the exasperation contest. They were both only half-surprised to end up with each other. The mutual skepticism resolved because each realized the ultimate perfection of the match.

We call them rom-coms now, which seems apt. The romance is gone. The romance of banter, of competition, of surrender, of personal style: It’s over. more> http://tinyurl.com/pzz93ej

How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood

By Alexis C. Madrigal – Netflix possesses not several hundred genres, or even several thousand, but 76,897 unique ways to describe types of movies.

Using large teams of people specially trained to watch movies, Netflix deconstructed Hollywood. They paid people to watch films and tag them with all kinds of metadata. This process is so sophisticated and precise that taggers receive a 36-page training document that teaches them how to rate movies on their sexually suggestive content, goriness, romance levels, and even narrative elements like plot conclusiveness.

And now, they have a terrific advantage in their efforts to produce their own content: Netflix has created a database of American cinematic predilections. The data can’t tell them how to make a TV show, but it can tell them what they should be making. When they create a show like House of Cards, they aren’t guessing at what people want. more> http://tinyurl.com/jvlnojb

Wall St. on the silver screen: Pros pick top movies

By Chris Taylor – In the annals of Hollywood, Wall Street has not been treated very kindly.

From “Wall Street” to “Boiler Room”, “Trading Places” to “American Psycho”, the halls of finance are usually portrayed as places of shiny excesses and dark hearts.

Now buzz is building over a new contender, which could become one of the defining films of Wall Street. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is slated to come out this November. more> http://tinyurl.com/pnupcjq