The End of Hollywood as We Know It
Disney Veteran Predicts a Blockchain Revolution in Entertainment
👋🏽 Hello everyone, gm gm, WELCOME BACK to another edition of the Overpriced JPEGs newsletter, where we’re catching you up on the world of web3, NFTs, and the metaverse.
Today we have a special guest post from Jon Rogers, formerly the founding executive and global head of live-action franchise development for Walt Disney Studios.
Overpriced JPEGs has teamed up with Jon to create Blockbuster, a recurring series that looks at what is happening across Hollywood, the global media industry, and the blockchain.
Jon is a brand leader with 20+ years of experience in media/entertainment, consumer packaged goods, and most recently Web3. Prior to Disney, Jon was a member of the Star Wars brand marketing team at Lucasfilm where he managed theatrical campaigns, brand partnerships, and retail marketing. Earlier in his career Jon was a strategy consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton working with clients in media/entertainment, high tech, and oil & gas industries.
Edited by Carly Reilly
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In the 1950s and ’60s movie studios released their movies as an annual “slate,” typically spacing the releases equally through the year. While this was highly profitable, in the 1970s, Hollywood’s “Big-6” movie studios realized they could make even more money investing most of their resources in fewer, but bigger movies to be released during the summertime, when children and teens were out of school. It started with Jaws (1975) whose success blew everyone away... Then, two years later, in 1977, Star Wars released and did even better, becoming a cultural phenomenon lasting to this day.
And, with that, the summer blockbuster was born.
The emergence of blockbuster-focused IP development is an example of an architectural innovation - a concept developed by Harvard Business Professor Rebecca Henderson to describe innovations that require companies to comprehensively reorganize and establish entirely new processes in order to take advantage of the innovation.
The consequences are serious. Firms that fail to reorganize and embrace new architectural innovations will find lower-tier competitors catch up, or nimble startups emerge to challenge, and even surpass them. Think: Netflix, Amazon, Spotify. All challenged their industry status quo and became leaders of their space by riding an architectural innovation.
Hollywood’s history is littered with examples of this.
In 2005, I was working at Lucasfilm on the Star Wars franchise when Dick Cook (Chairman, Walt Disney Studios) recruited me to Disney to establish Hollywood’s first Franchise Development function. Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, had a decisive new strategy: franchises. During his (first) tenure as CEO, Bob acquired Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm (creators of Star Wars and Indiana Jones), investing in the best differentiated content in the world to build evergreen franchises that could be renewed again and again.
My role was to help realign Disney’s business units to be franchise focused: stewarding franchises for long term success first, and for near-term revenue growth second.
The core belief was (and still is) if we were successful in managing our brands with a long view, the desired financial success would follow. This was the Lucasfilm model, now applied at a Big-6 studio, thus flipping the traditional Hollywood strategy, which had been to suck up every dollar of revenue you could in the moment, but potentially at the cost of future opportunities.
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Like the industry shift towards the summer blockbuster in the late 70’s, it changed everything. Disney reorganized at least three times, between 2006 and 2012 to embrace the architectural innovation, catapulting Disney from the #4 Hollywood studio to #1.
I have now spent the past 2 years fully-focused on blockchain because I believe it is the global media industry’s next architectural innovation around which the studios need to reorganize. Failure to do so will come with great peril for legacy media companies.
Blockchain technologies will have an impact in every aspect of business operations, not just how the secret sauce is made, but how it is consumed as well.
Let me repeat that in another way: embrace and reorganize, or die.
Just like blockbusters and franchises before it, blockchain has the potential to disrupt every step of the value chain in media. Starting upstream with IP development, financing, and physical production, then moving downstream with marketing, and distribution, and finally with the development of ancillary opportunities such as licensing. Each of these domains will be disrupted. In fact, no previous innovation has been as all-encompassing in the scale and scope of its potential.
I recently partnered with Carly Reilly & Overpriced JPEGs to launch Blockbuster – a recurring series through Overpriced JPEGs that looks at what is happening across Hollywood, the global media industry, and the blockchain. We’ll dive deep into the value chain of today’s media conglomerates and discuss in real-time industry news and subsequent blockchain disruption as it occurs.
If you’re interested, stay tuned and catch the latest episode of Blockbuster w/ Overpriced JPEGs on YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts!
Follow Jon on:
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