Kevin Spacey, the double-oscar winner and recent Netflix sensation with TV show “House of Cards” has made a thought-provoking speech at the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival. In this he challenges Television Networks to not only deliver shows to the audience in a format that they want, but also to remove the barriers and labels that keep Television and Movies apart.
Is thirteen hours watched as one cinematic whole really and different than a film? Do we define film as something 2 hours or less? … The labels are useless”
In his speech he explains how House of Cards ended up on Netflix and no other networks in the USA.
“We wanted to start to tell a story that would take a long time to tell.” He explains that his show was going to be a long story with complex characters and plot developments that would take time to grow and reveal themselves to the audience. There is a colossal lack of respect in modern television for the audience. Television and Film seem to have forgotten that the audience is smart, that they want stories with questions and answers, with real character arch’s and realistic consequences, something that House of Cards appeals to. He continues onto what networks fear, the device which people use to watch video is irrelevant.
“For kids growing up now there’s no difference. Watching avatar on an iPad, or watching YouTube on a TV or watching Game of Thrones on their Computer. It’s all content, it’s just story. And the audience has spoken, they want stories, they’re dying for them”.
This is a fantastic double message for TV and Networks who are looking at how they do business. The message is to forget the television set as the boundary of their medium, embrace the concept of giving people what they want, when they want it and how they want it. And to create stories, not single episode storied with the stereotypical format of introducing a problem for lead character, use entire cast to explore this with bumps on the road to resolution and wrap it all up just before the end allowing the show to reset and repeat next week, but long seasonally developed stories where real challenges present themselves and payoffs show the brilliance of the solution rather than simply progressing the story.
The video embedded below is only 4.54 long as it has already been edited and is worth the watch.