Publishers [Studios, Broadcasters, Networks] currently constrain the whole media value system by absorbing the financial risk of investment in media supply, controlling media demand by ensuring distribution scarcity [controlled by them and possibly by regulation]. In return they take a lions share of the value, financial and otherwise. This strategy works.
However, when there is no distribution scarcity and an abundance of media supply, i.e., on the Internet, the model is blown. The current value system can no longer efficiently [and effectively] allocate financial resources to invest in the right Talent to ensure a blockbuster. In fact, the blockbuster can no longer be realised using todays methods.
Any change to the existing model means shifting who participates in the risk of funding media, without guaranteed returns. Looking across the rest of the value system, there are candidates who can take this of investing in supply; the Viewers, the Marketers and the Producers.
A. Viewer Funding. One or more Viewers fund the production of for-profit and non-profit media. The Viewers take the risk, and could have an option and desire to participate in the return. However, funding with an expectation of a return is likely to be treated as a security, limiting the options for how this model works due to regulation.
B. Marketer Funding. One or more Marketers take the risk and fund the production of media (This was how soaps were originally created). The current ROI revenue model for video entertainment, in-stream advertising, is driven by marketer money and this model flips the investment to the beginning of the production process. By committing marketing money up front, and by participating early in the process, marketers have an opportunity to be significantly more involved and relevant to the experience and therefore more than just an interruption to the experience. This however should not mean branded programming and heavy product placement. This is an opportunity to innovate how marketing experiences are created for video.
C. Producer Funded. One or more Producers take the risk and self-fund production. This gives Producers complete control but the only people that can do this are the ones that have funds at their disposal; These are a) Producers with existing revenues to reinvest (high up in current Publisher funded hierarchy) b) Producers with VC backing who are trying to establish a pedigree in the market (there are so many of these today), and c) Producers of user generated content, mostly a labour of love from people with financial and/or time freedom. However, producer funded systems are not financially or creatively scalable as they are inherently limited by reinvestment of revenues. A series of failures, and a Producer could fall just like the Studios today.
So, which will it be? or will a combination of two or all three of the models above?