M+E Daily

HITS Afternoon Keynoter Jonathan Taplin Taps In to the Future of Innovation and Disruption

By Lyndsey Schaefer

With a storied career that included producing Mean Streets alongside Martin Scorsese, producing the “Concert for Bangladesh” and founding the first online VOD company, Intertainer in 1996, Jonathan Taplin, currently the Director of the Annenberg School of Innovation at the University of Southern California has spent decades on the cutting edges of the media and entertainment industries.

At Friday’s HITS Digital Marketing & Analytics Summit in Los Angeles, Taplin outlined the current state of entertainment today, and what the future may hold. Taplin said that recent research shows that global growth of the middle class, coupled with the growth of online media content translates to positive growth for the entertainment industry.

“The next 10 years should be the best of times for the media and entertainment business,” Taplin said. “The global middle class is growing exponentially. When people begin to have discretionary income, the first thing they do is buy a TV, go to the movies or buy a gaming console.”

Taplin said that online media content experienced tremendous growth over the last five years, and now boasts 2.5 billion users, which he predicts will reach three billion in the coming five years.

That growth comes at a cost, however.

“The money from streaming is never going to amount to the money you get from selling a DVD. Video games sales are down; Music streaming has never replaced what the CD did and the newspaper business is in the toilet,” Taplin said.

Cord-cutting, once an urban myth, is now a reality, he added.

Taplin shared that piracy continues to be a problem for the entertainment industry, with 465 million IP addresses accessing pirated material in just one month – a problem that isn’t going away.

Despite the many disrupters facing the business, Taplin shares that what he calls “signposts of opportunity” exist, primarily among “the new studios,” such as Amazon Studios, Hulu, Microsoft Studio, Netflix and YouTube. With the proliferation of new distribution platforms and new studios, the door is open for new types of content, Taplin said.

“YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple Apps, Flixster and Google Play are just storefronts,” Taplin said. “Everyone should be able to have access to these films. This whole windowing thing has to go out the window. Then you can access that three billion person market – if you get a tiny bit of that market watching your movie, it’s off the charts money.”

Taplin also introduced a new project he is spearheading at USC called the Edison Project – which aims to collaborate on solving key issues of the emerging entertainment economy around new creators of content, new platforms and distributors, business models and metrics to measure success. He encouraged the members of the HITS community to get involved in the research effort.

For more information on the Hollywood IT Society, visit https://www.mesaonline.org/communities/hollywood_it_society/.