In defence of Y-Combinator’s `declaration of war against Hollywood’

The `Kill Hollywood’ call if put in the right perspective, is more of a call to ‘Disrupt Hollywood Model of Business’ than killing the entire industry altogether.

Y-Combinator, one of the Internet’s most influential startup incubator gave a call to `Kill Hollywood’. And it also declared its intention to back startups who `compete with movies and TV’.

That’s one reason we want to fund startups that will compete with movies and TV, but not the main reason. The main reason we want to fund such startups is not to protect the world from more SOPAs, but because SOPA brought it to our attention that Hollywood is dying. They must be dying if they’re resorting to such tactics. If movies and TV were growing rapidly, that growth would take up all their attention. When a striker is fouled in the penalty area, he doesn’t stop as long as he still has control of the ball; it’s only when he’s beaten that he turns to appeal to the ref. SOPA shows Hollywood is beaten. And yet the audiences to be captured from movies and TV are still huge. There is a lot of potential energy to be liberated there.

This has prompted several responses, commentaries on the internet including this particular one advocating inclusion of Hollywood instead of working to kill it.

The `Kill Hollywood’ call if put in the right perspective, is more of a call to ‘Disrupt Hollywood Model of Business’ than killing the entire industry altogether. The post in support of including Hollywood rightly throws light upon all the stakeholders who make up the industry.

Disrupting the movie industry would mean introducing better and easier ways for movie production, hiring artistes, distribution using newer and wider channels like the internet, lowering capital and distribution costs, enabling cheaper access to new and library content, etc.

A key point that needs changed is the mindset of the Hollywood studios about control of content. History shows us that popular content become popular when people identify themselves with it, they play with it, create variations of it and in general make it their own.

The `Hollywood mindset’ should be modified from a `Source to Consumers Model’ to more of a `Creator to Community’ mindset. Just as the software industry discovered the benefits of having their user community contributing back (the Open Source model), the `Hollywood community’ could see the multi-fold benefits as their consumers number much more and has a better global reach.

Thus `Killing Hollywood’ would in turn give birth to a `new Hollywood Community’. And this I believe is the essence of the Y-Combinator’s call.