LOS ANGELES, CA: 03/11/2016 — On April 12, Facebook will open its Instant Articles to all (pro) writers, whereas they’d only offered this to major media outlets before making the new deal structure with writers public. You can get informed by The Wall Street Journal, it spells New Revenue Stream for writers. Even the throw-back word “articles” is indicative that there’s a new respect for blue chip content online.
Okay so here at the intersection of Entertainment and Technology, call it EntTech, we at Screenmancer have had a front row seat since about 1997; that said, we know what else is next, and now you will too.
The transition from Freemium to Premium Content has finally arrived. After years of the devaluation of everything written by humans, and some very fancy bylines, the price of words is about to get hiked up by a lot.
How do we know this beyond Facebook’s latest chess move, you may ask? Who remembers Anita Stewart? Or Florence Lawrence? How about Lois Weber? Exactly. As soon as the money came in to early Hollywood, those two top actors and top director were adios-ed right out of the industry. Notice the sale in January of IndieWire, taking along Anne Thompson‘s TOH!, to Jay Penske. You can read the PRNewswire on it. Clearly Penske had already mogulized his position with the purchase of Deadline, founded by Nikki Finke, and had Arianna Huffington not already sold The Huffington Post he’d be a likely candidate for that property. See a pattern here?
When the boys rush in to buy media companies, this can only mean one thing: Big Money is Coming. And there is the subtle tingle of bells and whistles not previously thought to be worth anything, of sudden value. This is happening online right now. Nikki Finke’s new venture, a Hollywood Fiction site, Hollywood Dementia was launched on about Aug. 2015, to the initial derision of some. Writers of indisputable literary worth, read: William Faulkner, and Michael Tolkin (The Player) are just a few names among many glittery bylines.
Again, the concept met with some resistance within the industry. But, lo and behold, as of March 2016, CNET is now publishing tech fiction, opening with “The Last Taco Truck in Silicon Valley” by Michelle Richmond, the online magazine hopes to herd its 30+ million eyeballs to this new feature each month. You can peruse the Old School New York Times spinning the intellectual gloss on it here. But Finke was there first, followed by Lena Dunham’s Lenny Newsletter with Jenni Konner that runs fiction now too, along with non-fiction and interviews. These early adopters have seeded the Cloud, and now let’s hope they are among the Compensated when the Freemium to Premium rainmaking happens.
Because the endgame is to monetize those formerly discounted content luxury items — Fiction, Storytelling, Creative Non-Fiction — and round out the myopic brains of not just the CNET digerati who now seek to find that liberal arts education they missed on the way to becoming 24/7 Code Jockeys, but for millions on Social Media who have advanced beyond Troll Valley. Now they want something good to read, and it has to be thrilling because the Boredom Threshold for the visual, the compound emoji, and TTYL’s has been reached. Scientific American agrees, and figured this out almost a decade ago with a study that shows “Bored people tend to score low on measures of self-awareness. They find it difficult to accurately monitor their own moods and feelings and hence understand what they truly want. These findings fit into the psychodynamic model of boredom, whereby people repress their true wants and desires and therefore cannot locate satisfying activity.” Interwebs to the rescue, that is.
The late insanely great Steve Jobs had this boredom thing all figured out, and he’d no doubt be at Apple with an astounding new iContent gizmo if he were still on the planet. “I’m a big believer in boredom,” told a WIRED reporter once, “Boredom allows one to indulge in Curiosity.
“Out of Curiosity comes everything,” and it still holds true. — SCREENMANCER CEO
Screenmancer is a gathering place for people who make movies & technology & owns the Intersection of Entertainment and Technology, EntTech,
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