The Future of Movies: Pay By The Inch?

At a recent business leadering conference, DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg shared his “pay by the inch you watch” theory for the future of movie distribution and moneymaking, and pronounced movies to no longer be a “growth business”:

“I think the model will change and you won’t pay for the window of availability. A movie will come out and you will have 17 days, that’s exactly three weekends, which is 95% of the revenue for 98% of movies. On the 18th day, these movies will be available everywhere ubiquitously and you will pay for the size. A movie screen will be $15. A 75” TV will be $4.00. A smartphone will be $1.99. That enterprise that will exist throughout the world, when that happens, and it will happen, it will reinvent the enterprise of movies,” he told the crowd.

He thinks this will happen in 10 years. To me this doesn’t sound very far off from what is happening now, except I am pretty sure we will just download movies and put them wherever we want them, and continue to feel like some kind of frugality hero every time we toggle from HD to SD when downloading Mad Men on iTunes.

Guess Jeffrey Katzenberg and I will have to revisit this in 2024.

In the meantime, DreamWorks is going to start making more shorts and internetty things, which is fun! Less fun: their financial situation.



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