Kurt Klaus headshot

Brian Medich headshot

By: Kurt R. Klaus, Partner at Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig, & Brian Medich, Associate Attorney at Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig

We’re in the year 2020!  If you can think back to bits of your childhood 40+ years ago, … then you lived during the years “BC,” … you know, … Before Computers (before home computers- to be technical).  Those were the years when entertainment media were truly social.  We’re now in the “AD” years, i.e., After Devices, where “social media” and “streaming” devices transmit and receive entertainment platforms- but, increasingly do so for individuals.  Seems like such experiences should be labeled as flowing from anti-social media rather than social media.

Anyway, … during BC we had flat experiences with media.  TV screens, theatrical screens, drive-in movie screens, … they were all flat, … we produced flat productions for flat screens- and we liked it!  We loved it!  We consumed it in mass quantities, at a high rate.

But what’s happening to our BC experiences now?  Let’s see, … AD services had a major impact on the 2020 Golden Globe nominations, with streamer Netflix bringing in 34 nominations across both film and television (but only two wins).  Major stars (e.g., Adam Sandler, Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, …) are cutting deals with Netflix and others.  Terrestrial TV and cable TV ad buys are declining.  Then there is also cable cutting, not to mention augmented reality, virtual reality, holograms, laser-plasma technology (that creates 50,000 pinpoints at 30 frames per second in midair (or mid-water), no screen required), 7D technology, and holographs that can be felt, … wait, these things aren’t flat! ….  BC concepts clearly seem to be going the way of Mesozoic demise.

Not so fast, … this wave of change, many believe, has actually upped production value, i.e., the overall perceived quality of content is enhanced by the synthesis of BC know-how and AD technology (even if the platform modality can fit on your wrist, like Dick Tracy).

What is more, the BC business and legal affairs considerations for television and film largely remain the same in this AD environment.  That means, … if you don’t pay attention to media and entertainment legal and business affairs in this AD world of content, you’ll be just as legally exposed (if not more exposed, given the closeness and levels of branding, investors, and other financiers) to legal risks as BC content providers! Indeed, in this BC era of entertainment, where viewers continue to consume content in mass, but at even higher rates and through more media conduits than before – every night can be a movie night if you have the right password – the need to pay close (closer?) attention to media and entertainment legal and business affairs is actually growing.

So, it is merely the definition for “BC” that is now irrelevant, a curiosity, and defunct.  There is now a bigger, better BC: “Binge Content.” For this, we again turn to Netflix who alone released 371 new TV shows and movies in 2019.  Perhaps it’s no wonder that, on average, critics agree that 5 out of 10 of the best shows of 2019 belong to streaming services (but what about worst shows?).  It seems slowly many (most?) of us will be BC consumers (new and old definitions) living in an AD world.

If you haven’t already had the pleasure, why not take a look at our previous two recent blogs, Building and Maintaining Brands Through Social Media: Even “YouTube” has a “YouTube” and Online Branding – The Risky Side Of Giving (or not).

Posted in: Media & Entertainment