Thursday, July 28, 2005

Another Transformation 

I saw this story a couple of days ago, but I didn't want to let it slide. Hollywood is yet another industry undergoing transformation. It is of concern to PR practitioners because Hollywood has always been -- and still is -- a heavy user of publicity. If theaters shrink in favor of in-home entertainment, will publicity change?

The first response is that it probably won't. Talent will still go on tours to flack pictures, and media will lap up the pompous things actors and actresses have to say. There is still need for press material and for other publicity activities.

But, on the other hand, if the economic picture changes to one of extreme localization, will the revenue from each film be as high, or will earnings be greater without distribution costs that film cans and film stock incur? That is, will it still be as effective to conduct publicity tours?

The move to convert theaters to digital projection is advancing precisely because the studios want to cut distribution costs, but who knows? There is also a mass effect of an audience in one place and sharing the emotions of a film. That could go away if groups of two and three see movies in the home and news interest in Hollywood declines. Of course, Hollywood would need the media more than ever should movies be made primarily for home viewing.

Somehow, I guess Hollywood publicity will change over time if theaters decline to a minor revenue source for the studios. Publicity might be done more online and with less personal media contact. If I were working in Hollywood, I would be watching developments closely, very closely.


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