Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Downsizing, the New Economy and Pulp Entertainment...A New Pyramid ?

I had the pleasure and the shock to see a segment on the Oprah show today from veteran video journalist Lisa Ling regarding the tent cities that are springing up around the country. Ling's doc video focused on her home town of Sacramento (capitol of California, the entertainment capitol of the world) where homeless shelters are overflowing with families that one year ago were "Middle class."

Just outside the city corridor in the industrial side of Sacramento, middle class families are now living in tents to survive. Many of these people interviewed were in construction or related industries that collapsed when the house of cards, excuse me, homebuilding industry collapsed due to poor financial management.

Everyone has taken a hit in this new economy. Everyone. Your mad pulp bastard included.

Thank goodness that I have no major debt load and a single lifestyle (or maybe not so good depending on your perspective), but yeah - I took one to the money sack.

This isn't about me, and I'm not whining about all this... misery. What I am slowly getting around to is the fact (YES, FACT) that vast amounts of the movie-going audience are NOT going to be going to the theaters. They're going to switch to Netflix or Amazon's download system or cable or VOD....

Or they're just going to pick up a good book (either from the library or on their Kindle 2) and read... Or play a game....

It's called Downsizing, Prioritizing and plain, old fashioned "saving."

That has many people scared (me included) , but it shouldn't prevent us from going forward and making cool stuff. We're just going to have to suck it up and make it for cheaper. Sure we'll still make a profit - just that the margin is going to be tighter. As people are going to save, we're going to have to invest in a bit of D-I-Y.

It also means that we're going to have to use the web more - it's a great delivery system for all sorts of media - books, video, audio, games and comics. It's cheap and fast and...

It's pretty much everywhere- or soon will be.

Please read the article linked above, and this quote below and ask yourself:

"We started inventing technology for the bottom of the pyramid," Jepsen says, "but the top of the pyramid wants it too." This bit of trickle-up innovation, this netbook, might well reshape the computer industry—if it doesn't kill it first."

What would happen if, instead of creating entertainment from the TOP of the pyramid DOWN, we created entertainment from the BOTTOM of the pyramid UP?

I leave you with the thought that as our entertainment delivery systems become less and less expensive so our opportunity to entertain (the market) grows proportionally -- the wide base of the pyramid.

FYI - I will be discussing this further in my newsletter THE PULP LEGION ELECTROGRAM coming in March. Subscribe in the sidebar.

1 comment:

TheGamut said...

I am confused. What is the top of the pyramid and what is the bottom of it? If you mean the entertainment industry, I rather saw it more like a financial column than a pyramid.

Still, I am not sure what constitutes being at the top versus being at the bottom. I do not think financial standings has as much impact on the result as it may have (thought it) had.

Maybe that is what the new economy has done: made people take a good hard look at money and see what impact it really has versus what impact we thought it had.

Of course, I am no economologist person thingy, so I most likely have absolutely no idea if what I am stating has any merit or not. I am just a guy who has yet to be hit in the ole money sack because I never really considered money to be as important as everyone else made it to be. My financial standing has not gone down (and I am around lower-middle class). It seems to have gone up regardless that I am making no more (or less) money now, but that new standing has changed nothing in my life. What effect does it really have? (I, personally, think money is the all-time mass-hysteria of the world. Yet, that does not change how important other people make it and, in turn, realize that importance into being... and now, see what happens when everything depends on something that only exists on paper... in theory and in minds alone. It is one thing to create from an idea. It is another to depend on it. It is crazy. Yet, I am still no economologist person thingy. How could I be if I think money is little more than a religion worshiped world-wide?)