Spacey Recommends TV Industry Give Viewers More Control

Actor Kevin Spacey’s recent MacTaggart lecture at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival is generating a great deal of media buzz while it is busy making the rounds in the tech and TV industries. During his speech, the Academy Award winner discusses how Netflix and other companies are disrupting the traditional network and cable TV models. Spacey suggests that viewers want more control and that adopting a new distribution model could actually help curb piracy.

Business Insider has posted a 5-minute edited video version of Spacey’s speech, in which the actor “touches on how Netflix, which has produced a handful of excellent original series this year, has the potential to disrupt the traditional cable and network TV model of forcing content creators to make a pilot before accepting a show.”

“For example, Spacey says there will be 146 pilots made this year at the cost of $300-$400 million,” notes BI. “Only 56 of those will actually be made into a series.”

“That makes our ‘House of Cards’ deal for two seasons really cost effective,” Spacey suggests in his speech.

“During the lecture, Spacey calls for the TV industry to give control to the viewers, citing the success of ‘House of Cards’ as an example of what TV could and should become,” reports Digital Trends.

“Clearly the success of the Netflix model — releasing the entire season of ‘House of Cards’ at once — has proved one thing: The audience wants control. They want freedom. If they want to binge as they’ve been doing on ‘House of Cards’, then we should let them binge,” said Spacey.

The actor also recommends that the industry could curb piracy by adopting a new distribution model. “I think we have demonstrated that we have learned the lesson the music industry didn’t learn: give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in — at a reasonable price — and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it,” he said. “Well, some will still steal it, but I believe this new model can take a bite out of piracy.”

“The warp speed of technological advancement — the Internet, streaming, multi-platforming — happens to have coincided with the recognition of TV as an art form. So you have this incredible confluence of a medium coming into its own just as the technology for that medium is drastically shifting. Studios and networks who ignore either shift will be left behind. And if they fail to hear these warnings, audiences will evolve faster than they will. They will seek the stories and content providers who give them what they demand — complex, smart stories available whenever they want, on whatever device they want, wherever they want.”

The Guardian has posted a full transcript of Spacey’s lecture and a 47-minute video of the speech in its entirety. It has also published an excerpt online: How Netflix Killed the Watercooler Moment — and Breathed New Life into TV.

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to community member Lee Lanselle of the Entertainment Development Group and AsiaParks Partners Limited for first bringing this to our attention.