Old Hollywood just got another year older and closer to death.
In fact, it’s getting harder and harder for Old Hollywood to get out of bed in the morning.
Food doesn’t taste as good. Hangovers are a daily occurrence.
In short, Old Hollywood is not well.
And with each passing year, as movie studios and broadcast networks become increasingly irrelevant, my thoughts are about real estate.
What is going to happen to all those soundstages and sprawling campuses scattered around Los Angeles and the world when no one needs them anymore?
Soundstages built in the early 20th century by visionaries from Poland, Hungary, New York and Kansas City.
Clearly they won’t be used as much in the future as production costs for high quality content continue to drop and new visionary kids from everywhere else in the world are able to compete head-to-head with the best Hollywood writers and directors.
Perhaps they will be torn down and apartments built. But apartments in those areas are for young writers and actors who move to L.A. to chase that Hollywood dream.
They don’t have to move here anymore.
Perhaps one studio will be turned into a museum of what Hollywood used to look like.
It’s a lot of land, man, and the shopping mall business isn’t so good these days either.
It’s going to be a real problem one day.
As I said earlier this year, YouTube’s Original Content Strategy Is Working and that should put every remaining media mogul on high alert.
The 1975 when millions of families crowded the television on a SATURDAY NIGHT to watch one of the three networks is over.
Now, in all likelihood, a family of five is watching or doing five different things on a Saturday night (and the rest of the week for that matter).
And this has been true for a few years.
In 2013, another profound and symbolic pillar will crumble in the epic story of the Decline and Fall of the Hollywood Empire.
2013 will see most of the remaining media moguls pathetically fade away from relevance with little fanfare. And that’s sad.
WHO IS LEAVING?
1. Sumner Redstone – Many would say he has already left (despite his attempt to look youthful with that shocking sprayed on orange hair). Sumner has desperately clung to power just as he clung to the side of the hotel ledge years ago to survive a fire. Sumner will be the first to leave in 2013 either by death or senility (though many would argue he has been dead and senile for the past 25 years).
2. Rupert Murdoch – Enough with this guy and his phone tapping and continued interest in buying newspapers. He’s done. There is an outside chance the family empire could continue if Rupert appointed his daughter Elisabeth to the top job (I would buy the stock if that happened). But his continue insistence on giving his idiot sons top jobs will, no doubt, destroy all that he spent his entire life building.
3. Barry Diller – Barry Diller is just tired of it all. Does anyone really think he is excited about owning Ben Silverman’s ridiculous company or CollegeHumor or The Daily Beast or Zwinky or Sports Pickle? Sail away, Barry. The media world no longer needs you. You had a good run. Now go get drunk.
4. Jeffrey Katzenberg – The last mogul standing of DreamWorks SKG (one of the last valiant attempts made to build a true media empire like the old days), Katzenberg will sell DreamWorks Animation for a few billion less than he would have hoped and leave the Hollywood scene. He will go on to become equally annoying in the Art Collection scene.
CLINGING TO POWER
1. The Weinstein Brothers (Harvey and Bob) - Despite several high profile movies (Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, Django Unchained) that will probably win quite a few awards this season, the Weinsteins are working with a business model from 1985. Attempted diversification into TV, publishing and interactive nearly cost them everything a few years ago. What they know is how to buy, market and get Awards for small to medium sized movies. And we know where that business is headed.
2. Ryan Kavanaugh – Calling him a mogul is generous (to say the least). Attempted mogul more like it. For some reason people keep giving him money. Hopefully, that stops soon and he is forced to land his helicopter not in Beverly Hills but somewhere out in Palmdale where he can live out his existence with a few other characters from “Day of the Locust.”
WHO IS STAYING?
Khan Manka, Jr. – Despite horrible performances year-over-year in both film and television (and publishing and music, etc.), Khan Manka, Jr. remains firmly at the top of the world’s largest media company. Even though he publicly states how much he hates the job and would rather be at his house in the Seychelles, he continues to stay year-after-year and I don’t see that changing anytime in the near or far future.
2. Thomas Tull (Legendary) – Even though Legendary is more of a high-end financing and production outfit than a media empire, Tull is eyeing much larger things and has the money to do it. How far he actually takes the media empire concept is the question. Is Legendary a new DreamWorks or actually something that will be successful?
3. Hed family of Rovio (Angry Birds) is the closest thing we have these days to a new generation media mogul (and I wish Raj, Mikael and Niklas Hed nothing but the best. DON’T SELL – BUILD!). Like Walt Disney and George Lucas before them, the Heds have a real chance to build an empire from a single group of characters. Their passion and ambition is infectious and they see enormous potential while others laugh in their face. The perfect scenario for global conquest.
So, 2013, endgame for moguls.
The big ones will fall.
Some smaller ones may rise (on a lower scale).
It will never be the same.
Where is Ted Turner when you really need him?
Jill Kennedy – OnMedea
P.S. – John Malone and Brian Roberts may be considered moguls in today’s terms. I just find them too boring to write about.