“Over the next 5-10 years we have an opportunity to redesign what entertainment experiences will be … This is a time for us to create new projects and services.”
That was the message of Thomas Gewecke, chief digital officer and executive vp for strategy and business development at Warner Bros. Entertainment, who delivered a keynote Tuesday at the SMPTE conference.
One way that Warners is responding to change in the foreseeable future is by making its content as accessible as possible. Noting that Warners has more than 250 distribution partners in more than 100 countries, Gewecke said, “It needs to be in as many places as possible so consumers have legitimate way to access it.”
Looking at additional ways to buy, Gewecke described the Cineplex Superticket program in Canada that now allows movie-goers to pre-order a digital copy of a film that they are seeing, while they are at the theater. “It’s helping them make the purchase at a time when they are most aware of the movie,” he said.
On potential new opportunities, Gewecke pointed out, “it’s difficult to reproduce the serendipity of walking around looking at things [in a store]. ... We are at the very beginning of reproducing that experience in the digital space. There are many technologies that could drive that.”
During his address, he also expressed interest in the potential of creating “communities of interest,” using as an example the recent Veronica Mars kickstarter campaign (more than 91,000 contributing to the project, which raised $5.7 million to fund a movie based on the TV series).
The takeaway: “It was about quantifying the number of fans. They created a community and effectively [learned the level of interest] before making the movie.”
Concluded Gewecke: “We think it’s critical to continue to assume that content is being changed by technology. We need a sense of urgency and it’s important that we act to drive innovation.”