“The business of movies as a traditional business has been challenged on many levels and it’s not a growth business,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg today at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in Beverly Hills. “TV is a growth business. Short form content is a growth business. Movies are not a growth business,” he added of the shift in the industry in recent years. The DreamWorks Animation CEO was joined by Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei on a panel at the annual boardroom confab on Entrepreneurial Leadership In the Corporate World. “The stakeholders are trapped in an enterprise that can’t get out of its own way,” Katzenberg added. “For it really to grow it needs to break out of the windows that have existed for many generations. And I think that’s 10 years away.”
“The model will change and you won’t pay for the window of availability you’ll pay for the inch that you watch,” Katzenberg told the packed ballroom at the Beverly Hilton. Saying he may be putting his foot in his mouth, the DWA boss predicted that movies will still come out on the big screen in a decade but what happens next will be the big shift. “On the 18th day it’ll be available everywhere and you’ll pay for it on the size of the device you watch it on,” he said. “When that happens and it will happen, it will reinvent the enterprise of movies.
Diversification of platforms and formats was another big topic for the panel today. “I wish it was an offense move,” said Katzenberg “Diversity is essential for us if we want to grow the business.” He added, “It can’t come fast enough” of the need to seek new platforms and outlets like TV, streaming and on-location entertainment.
The panel started out this afternoon with big-time Democratic fundraiser Katzenberg being gently taunted about being on the far right side of the stage. “I’m not comfortable here,” he joked to a big laugh from the well heeled crowd in the chilly ballroom.
Another topic for today’s panel was Netflix, which carries the studio’s animated series Turbo FAST. It’s not been disrupted, said Katzenberg of the movie biz in the 21st century. “It’s been enhanced by Netflix. New distributions have created new opportunism.” The Liberty CEO added his own two cents. “Netflix’s success is the failure of the cable company to not create TV Everywhere,” said Maffei. “We’re in the middle of a technological revolution,” added the DWA CEO who predicted that his company would be an entirely different beast in 5 years, claiming there are so many platforms, so many formats and “no limit” to the imagination of creativity and animators.