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I spend a lot of time talking or writing about the "broadband economy
." And when I'm doing it, I suspect that most people don't know what the heck I'm talking or writing about.
And why should they? It sounds like such an abstract idea, like globalization or paradigm shift or collateralized debt obligation. It sounds like it has nothing to do with Main Street: with the daily doings of the people in your community in all their different walks of life.
And then, every once in a while, comes a real life story that perfectly illustrates why the broadband economy is the biggest thing to hit Main Street since the automobile.
Jon Horne is a journalist who covers the movie business for the Los Angeles Times. In a recent story on National Public Radio's All Things Considered
, he spoke about how connectivity is putting new pressure on the studios. The new Shasha Baron Cohen movie, Bruno
, went into its opening weekend with a lot of what Horne calls "marketability." People knew who Cohen was, they remembered his hit movie Borat
and were eager to give his new film a try. But then, said Horne, "People came out of that movie and started texting and twittering their friends and telling them it wasn't any good. So from the Friday opening to Saturday, Bruno ticket sales fell off 40%, which is just unheard of."
How does that affect movie-makers? "It puts pressure on them to make good movies," Horne said. "Even as little as two years ago, if the studios had a turkey, they would know that they had two weeks of business before the stink really caught up to the movie. Now they have twelve hours. People will come out a theater so quickly and share their opinions so fast and that word will spread so virally everywhere, that if a movie is bad, the audience will know it by Friday night and the movie will be dead by Saturday."
That's the broadband economy at work. It is the ability of millions of customers to rate their experience of a purchase instantly and move markets overnight. It is the opportunity for a small-town manufacturer to sell goods to customers on the far side of the planet - and for multinationals to move manufacturing anywhere they find the best mix of talent, cost and access to markets. It is the story of the swine flu circling the world a dozen times before we even had meaningful facts about how dangerous it was or was not. It is the power to export local culture, knowledge and experience for profit - and to have children in your schools encounter first-hand the culture, knowledge and experience of distant lands. Whether we like it or not, the broadband economy puts pressure on us all to "make good movies." In the broadband economy, success goes not to those who know how to play for time but to those who know that twelve hours is all the time they have.