Small is the new big when it comes to movies and TV: the hot new trends are for shorter series, bite-sized video clips and everything viewed on smaller screens.
Times have changed in the world of entertainment, and the days of made-for-TV movies being the low- budget ‘poor cousin’ of big screen blockbusters are over.
The way people watch video entertainment has changed completely over the past ten years. Linear TV programming, where viewers had to wait a week to see what happened next in their favourite series, is no longer good enough. Now, people want to know immediately ‘what happened next?’
With more than half of viewers preferring to watch movies at home, and younger viewers spending literally hours a day viewing video content on mobile devices, people are watching more video content than ever before. So, where is all this entertainment coming from and how are people choosing to watch it?
On-demand viewing, which started with internet audiences discovering quirky, short form, shareable and engaging content on YouTube, has sparked change across the entire TV and movie industry. Once viewers discovered they could have a choice in what they viewed, viewing patterns changed forever and the streamed, on-demand and IPTV market is expected to be worth $80 billion in the next three years.
The arrival of smartphones and improved mobile internet access speeds have powered growth of on-demand video and mobile small screens account for a fast growing share of viewership. The mobile trend is taking off so fast that movie producers are being forced to look at new ways of compressing video to reduce the amount of data needed without losing picture quality; and they are even experimenting with vertical video to suit the way mobile users hold their devices.
On-demand video has paved the way for more niche, unusual and indie movies and TV series; it has opened the door to more independent producers, and even citizen movie makers. For every off centre and unusual show that is made, a cult following waits to embrace it. International on-demand services like Netflix, Apple TV, Roku and Hulu have moved quickly to start producing their own original content and local services such as DEOD are following suit.
With the entertainment world having expanded far beyond the realm of just blockbusters and soapies, older, experienced actors and filmmakers are quickly taking advantage of this opportunity to explore creative new approaches to storytelling. Traditional big screen actors are finding a new life in small screen hits like Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Big Little Lies, The Fixer, Designated Survivor, Black list and Madam Secretary to name a few. Where once, success was measured by the big screen and the only TV stars were soapie stars, now we’re seeing mature, big-name stars looking to the small screen to produce movies and series that are more niche and experimental. They are also able to produce content that is relevant to specific minority groups and special interest groups. And in countries around the world, local production companies now have an opportunity to create a richer, more extensive slate, of locally relevant entertainment and pitch it to a global audience.
The future of the digital entertainment space will see more independent production companies and independent studios emerging around the world to develop niche content, innovative new movies and TV shows and new models for distribution. With that, comes the upward trajectory and career extension of new stars and older stars both in front of and behind the camera.