What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

The Movie Industry's Prisoner's Dilemma

November 12, 2013, 4:07 PM
Iron-man-3

The problem with the movie business today is a problem of market crowding.  In other words when you release seven movies a weekend in the summer, and many of them have a kind of a similar feel - superhero with issues destroys a city in order to resolve these issues - the audience begins to just back away and it creates a kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

I use the game theory notion of a collective action problem.  So in some ways the movie business is in the prisoner's dilemma, and the prisoner's dilemma. The simplest way to talk about it is Pakistan and India both spend billions of dollars a year building missiles aimed at each other, but at the end of the day they're no more secure than if they had not built any missiles and just spent those billions educating their young people.

So essentially what happened last summer was the prisoner's dilemma.  Everybody built very big missiles all through the end of the marketplace at once and they kind of canceled each other out.  So I'm not saying that there won't be room for the blockbuster, there will be.  But the problem with the movie business right now involves the notion of market share dominance the notion of return on investment.  The problem with market share in a business like movies is it doesn't really make much sense.  Market share makes a lot of sense in Coke versus Pepsi.  You got a commodity product that's priced the same so whoever's got the most market share is winning.  But in the movie business you may have one movie costing $35 million and another movie costing $250 million.  How does market share make any sense in that business?

And so if you're chasing market share you want to do these large budget movies, you want to do as many of them as you possibly can, and often these movies are financed by third parties, hedge fund billionaires who want to go to movie premieres, whatever reason they have, and so the movie studios don't really have a lot at risk.  They get their distribution fees, and we have this problem of too many films in the marketplace.  And that is only one of the many problems that the business is facing.  If you look at the cable TV industry, there are actually 400 channels that exist.  The Discovery Network has 15 different channels, I bet you can't name them.

MTV has 14 channels - the Viacom Television Networks.  A lot of these little channels are being carried along as part of this bundle.  If you want Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, you've got to take my eight other channels.  If you want ESPN-1 you have to take all my Disney channels.  And so this forcing of the bundle is probably something that cannot continue in the long run. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

The Movie Industry's Prison...

Newsletter: Share: