The battle between old media and new media is becoming interesting. Y Combinator, the famous firm that invests in early stage companies, has issued an RFS (Request for Startup) that they are looking to fund companies that can help (in their words) kill Hollywood:
Hollywood appears to have peaked. If it were an ordinary industry (film cameras, say, or typewriters), it could look forward to a couple decades of peaceful decline. But this is not an ordinary industry. The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise.
That’s one reason we want to fund startups that will compete with movies and TV, but not the main reason. The main reason we want to fund such startups is not to protect the world from more SOPAs, but because SOPA brought it to our attention that Hollywood is dying. They must be dying if they’re resorting to such tactics. If movies and TV were growing rapidly, that growth would take up all their attention. When a striker is fouled in the penalty area, he doesn’t stop as long as he still has control of the ball; it’s only when he’s beaten that he turns to appeal to the ref. SOPA shows Hollywood is beaten. And yet the audiences to be captured from movies and TV are still huge. There is a lot of potential energy to be liberated there.
Successful entrepreneur Marco Arment wrote a similar post on his blog, calling for people to fight back against Hollywood’s influence in Congress. As he puts it “the real problem [is] MPAA’s buying power in Congress. This is a campaign finance problem.” If Hollywood studios are swept away by some new thing, Arment won’t shed any tears:
The MPAA is a hate-sink, a front to protect its members from negative PR. … The MPAA studios hate us. They hate us with region locks and unskippable screens and encryption and criminalization of fair use. They see us as stupid eyeballs with wallets, and they are entitled to a constant stream of our money.
A few years back I was the CEO of a company that worked with the entertainment industry. If anything, saying “The people who run it are so mean” is a massive understatement. In addition to “mean” I would add “vindictive”, “spiteful”, “petty”, and for some of them “congenital liars”. I saw people do things that cost their own company millions of dollars just because it allowed them to bully some other company, and the other company was one that was helping them, not a competitor. I will never work with the entertainment industry again — it has become the opposite of free enterprise.