Digital News, , , , , , , , , — July 25, 2013 17:58 — 0 Comments

‘Embrace digital or die’ – Hollywood studios told

paramount, hollywood, digital. amy powell

Amy Powell, the new president of Paramount TV

Amy Powell’s appointment as president of Paramount Television with her ‘start-up’ philosophy ushers in a new era for major studios


The announcement this week of Amy Powell’s appointment as president of Paramount Television is a sign that traditionally slow-moving Hollywood is at last thinking digital first.

Combined with the recent promotion of Kevin Tsujihara as the new Chief Executive of Warner Bros, there is now a clear message to the rest of Hollywood: embrace digital or die.

“Tsujihara, like Powell, was in charge of a less sexy, less moneyed part of a major media company. In Powell’s case, digital and microbudget films; Tsujihara was focused on Warner’s digital assets before taking over WB’s home entertainment division,” says Hollywood-based news website TheWrap.

Both Warner Bros and Paramount are now placing an emphasis on opportunities afforded by new digital technologies in production, marketing and distribution.

“Amy has proven herself to be a highly talented, innovative and creative executive,” Paramount chief executive Brad Grey said in a statement. “Her skill and experience working across all platforms, at engaging audiences, and, most recently her work at Insurge, will be instrumental as we build a versatile television operation.”

“Powell and Tsujihara were chosen because of their handle on new business models, new opportunities and new talent. In other words, they have a vision for where Hollywood is going, not where it’s been,” says TheWrap.

To reinforce this philosophy, Powell says her brief is to be creative, flexible and innovative and run the TV studio along the lines of a start-up. “We can really do something different and not replicate a model that is established,” she says.

In an interview with The Wrap she says: “The idea is for Paramount to be a creative studio where talent can come and pitch us any idea for any screen. A director or writer can come to us and have an idea that could be for a digital episodic content, for a prime-time series. We’ll create and distribute programming for audiences across every screen – digital, cable, online, traditional broadcast and maybe even microbudget theatrical. We’re an incubator for all of that.”

LA-based actor/comedian/producer Mhairi Morrison told smartmoviemaking.com that Hollywood is starting to resemble its early days again when auteurs such as Charlie Chaplin breezed into town and discovered opportunities in the then new medium of film, now of course the format is digital.

Young creator-makers such as Morrison are already developing ideas and content to pitch in the new digital market, where the primary screens are not at a multiplex or in a TV box, but on tablets and smartphones.

Morrison says she is working on a comedy web series, which is “an alternative cookery show complete with a feather boa and a cup of soup,” that is already attracting interest from studios.

Rich Raddon, the former director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, says: “In five years time, you won’t have a studio chief who doesn’t come from digital or understand digital in a deep way.”

The way the industry is moving, we reckon it could be in five months. Watch this space.

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About the author

Tony Myers has written 861 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

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