Kevin Spacey On Content, Convergence And Communication

Kevin Spacey

A month ago I wrote a post about how I feel companies, their brand custodians and partner agencies need to return to the fundamentals of communication and avoid the “channel bias” that plagues our industry. Since then I’ve been fleshing out a new model for business communication that I think will help our clients focus on the correct elements in the equation – things like content, community and commercial objective – instead of being distracted by the buzz and hype of the multitude of platforms and channels. Watch this space for developments on that model.

Back to this post though, and a quick story to set the context. This last week Thursday I was enjoying my morning caffeine and news fix, alternating between my Mac and Sky News on the TV, when I caught the tail end of a feature about Kevin Spacey’s keynote speech at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. Being a big fan of Spacey, my ears pricked up and when I heard what he was saying, my jaw dropped. Not because it was revolutionary, but because it was exactly what I’ve been trying to tell my clients about marketing, branding and advertising, only articulated perfectly for film and TV executives. This is the exact quote from the speech:

Is 13 hours watched as one cinematic whole really any different than a film? Do we define film by being something two hours or less? Surely it goes deeper than that. If you are watching a film on your television, is it no longer a film because you’re not watching it in a theater? If you watch a TV show on your iPad is it no longer a TV show? The device and length are irrelevant. The labels are useless – except perhaps to agents and managers and lawyers who use these labels to conduct business deals. For kids growing up now there’s no difference watching Avatar on an iPad or watching YouTube on a TV and watching Game of Thrones on their computer. It’s all content. It’s all story.

To say nothing of the audiences’ attention span. For years, particularly with the advent of the Internet, people have been griping about lessening attention spans. But if someone can watch and entire season of a TV series in one day, doesn’t that show an incredible attention span? When the story is good enough, people can watch something three times the length of an opera.

Speaking to a film and TV audience, Kevin Spacey has very eloquently expressed what every company needs to hear. It’s not about the platform, or the channel, or the medium. It’s about CONTENT and STORY. He also touches on how our age-old definitions about what film and TV are and where film and TV belong have been obliterated by convergence driven by technological advancement. Sound familiar? Our definitions of mobile, web, online, digital, social, etc. are being challenged by convergence driven by technological advancement.

I’d recommend watching the full keynote here, or you can read the full text of the speech here.

What do you think of Kevin’s opinion?

  • rrcatto

    Like Monty Python would say, he just stated the bleeding obvious. Anyone who uses torrents to get their TV shows, movies, games, software, ebooks, pr0n, hacks & crackz also knows this already. Bittorrent is the most pervasive and widely used internet protocol and typically of this free network, it was not designed to accept credit cards before it works.

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