"On the impact of the digital giants:
Beyond acknowledging the new digital reality, these moves might signal that studios are aping the lean, mean model embraced by their new media brethren; companies such as Facebook and Google rack up billions with a fraction of the workforce.
A couple of things jump out from the article. The first is that the restructuring is beneficial from both an operational and profitability standpoint. A less-siloed infrastructure clearly facilitates creative communication and intra-company cooperation; this should, eventually, generate better products. From a financial standpoint, this streamlining allows for reduced costs and greater profitability, which is good news for investors. Inverting the issue, however, it may spell trouble for staff. The takehome point – and I would extend this to many industries beyond media – is this: if your expertise is purely in one highly specific expertise, discipline, or business area (especially if it is a fading area such as traditional distribution) and you don’t not have a broad understanding of the entire industry, you may find your career endangered. Every entertainment brand and media product is going to be conceived as a multi-platform “360″ endeavor from the ground up, and you must be cognizant of that.
The second key point is that the article arguably asks more questions than it answers. There can be little doubt that the restructuring makes sense from a corporate perspective, particularly in the current economic climate. However, how will these new structures impact existing creative processes – are we indeed going to see digital and consumer products integrated into creative development at an earlier stage? Will the studio restructuring affect how Hollywood talent and literary agencies function? Are we going to see digital departments and agents become more significant (bearing in mind CAA may open a Silicon Valley office, and both UTA and WME have expanding digital practices)?
And perhaps most importantly, when the economy recovers and the studios pick up hiring, what kind of new roles, responsibilities and opportunities will be created? I’m extremely bullish on the integration of digital distribution, social media, and transmedia storytelling, but we’re some way away from the full potential of that combination being realized...."