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Friday, July 22, 2005

Gilder Takes on Hollywood

At the AlwaysOn conference in Palo Alto, I had the chance to sit down with the writer, futurist, and supply-side economist George Gilder, who talked a bit onstage about what he sees as the impending dissolution of the television and motion picture industries as we know them.

His central thesis is that Internet-connected screens in the home – whether it’s the PC in your den or the plasma screen on your living room wall – are going to change the way we consume video by offering us infinite choice. “The cineplex becomes the home domestiplex,” he says.

“The film business will increasingly resemble the book business,” he says, with a few best-sellers that achieve widespread popularity, and lots of publishers making a profit selling titles that no one’s ever heard of. People will watch what they’re most interested in, rather than what happens to be playing in the local theatre, or airing on a station they get. “A first choice culture will displace the lowest common denominator culture,” Gilder says.

“The bias toward completely satisfying a small group is going to yield a better product than orientation toward gratifying and shocking and titillating billions of people.”

We can always hope.

I discovered, in the course of this twenty-minute conversation, that George may be the only person in North America who hasn’t seen “The Wizard of Oz.”

Here’s the MP3.