At the Edinburgh Television Festival, Kevin Spacey stood on the stage to deliver a keynote, affectionately known as the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, that spoke to the television industry and others related to it on the subjects of intellectual property, young talent, shows that aren’t immediate hits, and digital distribution.
Spacey, a show tradesman for nearly 28 years and considered a veteran actor by many, said that if film, television and music studios didn’t start to take notice of how their audience wanted their content and embraced digital distribution platforms as a way to increase their user base, they could be in danger of losing market share and money.
Spacey related how his work with Netflix had shown both himself and other studios that the way consumers were finding and getting their content was changing. “With the modern age of mobile phones, tablets, Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Vimeo, Twitter and social networking, nobody goes outside! You are connected to all these things all of the time, but TV shows still require an appointment in your busy schedule. That needs to change.” said Spacey.
He also noted that piracy wasn’t really an issue of theft. Like other giants in the consumer entertainment industry, he’s a firm believer that piracy, for most people, is a service issue.
He continued, “If you give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in at a reasonable price and they’ll more than likely pay for it rather than pirate it… and if those corporate bigwigs don’t take note of that, they’re not going to be around ten years from now.”
Spacey also touched on a critical point that not only affects the television industry, but the movie and gaming industry as well. House of Cards, an incredible series in which he stars and produces, was shot all at once and the entire season was released at the same time. Spacey was adamant that this be done, because people consume content not only at different times, but also at different rates.
“If they want to binge watch the show, then let them! The viewers want to see more of the show and the storyline, and the acting. Episodic content is great, but making people wait for it is no longer going to work!” he added.