Innovating the business model in the film industry

The threats and opportunities of the near future

Ben Johnson
3 min readOct 11, 2017

In 2015 we wrote Looking Past the Headlights: the Next 10 Years in the Entertainment Industry, where we made predictions on the changes likely to affect the industry.

By 2017, many of the trends we spotted have already developed. However, in our analysis we failed to anticipate one important and worrying new trend: the decline of the cultural relevance of movies relative to the competition for audience attention brought forth by the flood of original content from Netflix and Amazon. According to Rotten Tomatoes audience appreciation scores, the top shows often significantly outperform the biggest movie releases.

The art of the big film seems to have lost its way and independent film is struggling to find funding and audiences outside of the acquisitions made by the tech streaming giants.

I wrote about why movie marketing and distribution need to change in order to preserve, as much as possible, the relevance of film in the face of so many digital rivals in a recent opinion piece for The Drum.

In order to go much more in depth and provide an overview for various industry stakeholders- including producers, distributors and exhibitors- we have recently published a third chapter to our ebook, Winning Your Audiences. In this new section we are looking at the largest trends impacting the film industry over the next 5 years and making predictions regarding their development and outcomes.

The trends we analyse include:

  • Smashing the box office window;
  • The rise of VOD;
  • New masters from Silicon Valley;
  • Piracy.

Our main observation is that the business of distribution needs to innovate quickly in the next few years. The internet and digital technologies are in the process of massively disrupting the movie industry. The distributors’ traditional role as gatekeepers is being challenged more than ever.

In Chapter 3 of Winning Your Audiences (available as a free download HERE) we examine the types of change that will be required for the modernisation of the distribution process in this increasingly fragmented landscape. We also identify the principal actors within the industry and assess what each of them should be doing.

In the concluding section of the book we look at Blockchain, the foundation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. We make the argument that Blockchain could fundamentally solve many of the important challenges we have highlighted.

If you’d like to learn more, you can get your free copy of Winning Your Audiences, including Chapter 3, on our website. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you’ve got any feedback on the content!

Thank you for reading! If you’ve enjoyed this article, please help others find out about it by giving it a clap. Or several, if you feel so inclined.



Ben Johnson

I run a company called Gruvi: we help entertainment brands reach and build audiences for their content through technology and intelligent media buying.