Media

Techtainment is taking down Hollywood. Here's what the disruption will bring

Movie still from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

Above: Movie still from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

Hollywood and the entertainment industry are under a vicious and unstoppable assault from tech barbarians that are pillaging studio, cable, and TV profit streams.

This is no secret within the entertainment industry. They are fully aware of the threat to their traditional business models and are moving to adjust to the new paradigms of streaming media through multiple platforms (i.e., tablets, gaming consoles, smartphones). But they aren’t moving fast enough.

The first wave of disruptive tech companies brought consumers on-demand, short-form videos on YouTube. Currently, the industry is dealing with the second wave of disruption created by companies like Netflix, delivering on-demand, long-form content to our devices. But the third wave is coming. New techtainment companies will leave very little of the current entertainment models standing.

Something better and more exciting will rise from the ashes of the media establishment. Here are five ways that techtainment companies will combine targeting technology and content creation to change entertainment forever.

1. People will not only pay only for the shows they want but also the stories they want. Have you ever watched a show and hated a character’s decision? Maybe they made a decision not to help someone else or started a romance with someone they shouldn’t and that ruins the viewing experience for you.

In the future, shows will let you make that choice. Episodic and movie entertainment will be a two-way street – more like gaming. You will be able to decide how each episode or movie ends. This will lead to multiple story lines and a more involved and satisfying experience for the consumer. Tribeca Film Festival is already embracing this idea, holding a contest for non-linear short films this year.

2. Content will have multiple structures targeted to different regions and demographics. People from different parts of the country have diverse preferences for content. Tailoring media to cultural and social identities hasn’t been possible, but we’re already targeting digital ads to consumers based upon their region and behavior. In the future, your favorite content will be customized based on your social preferences or location – allowing a more relevant, socially friendly viewing experience.

3. Content will literally be designed to be addictive. This might be a surprise to you, but game designers have long known how to create games to be addictive. Game creators understand how to take advantage of how your brain works and design their content to get your brain to reward and reinforce behaviors with task completion. When game designers create levels or surprises in their content, they’re targeting that part of your brain to trigger this reward system. Entertainment content makers will start to use these same strategies to get you addicted to their movies or shows.

4. Content creation will become automated. Services like Netflix look at your viewing habits and suggest content that its algorithm thinks you would like. Techtainment algorithms will take this to the next level. They will learn that you like 90 minutes of explosions and 10 minutes of destruction, with most of the action occurring on a beach with aliens. Then a computer program will build that movie and deliver it right to you.

Techtainment companies are finding new and original ways of not only creating content but partnering with the viewer to create it. This is in large part being driven by what viewers have become used to in other content industries, like gaming. All of this will change the nature of the entertainment business and will soon come to be what the viewer expects.

Bobby Campbell, CEO of Columbia-based tech startup, AdKarma.