Rethinking Hollywood


Todd Wagner, CEO of 2929 and founder of the Todd Wagner Foundation pointed out that 15- to 18-year olds were driving many of the dominant industry trends.

Speaking at Tuesday’s keynote address, Wagner mildly chided the entertainment industry for not learning to talk to the technology side of the business a€” and vice versa. In the new-media economy, Wagner said, “bilingualism is a necessity”.

Wagner was behind the pioneering move to start releasing films across all platforms a€” theatres, TV and home video a€” the same day. This innovative a€˜day-and-date’ release strategy was successfully launched with the documentary “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” last year and then again with the acclaimed Steven Soderbergh film, “Bubble”, in early 2006. Last year he entered into a deal with Soderbergh, under which six HD films will be released simultaneously across theatrical, TV and the home-video platforms.

With his business partner Marc Cuban, Wagner has established a vertically integrated group of companies that is challenging the traditional way of providing entertainment.

“It is a dangerous assumption that the consumer will wait five months to buy a DVD,” Wagner said, referring to the accepted film industry’s staggered release windows.

“The movie industry is all about control. It has fought most technology but technology is like a boulder rolling down a mountain. You can slow it down with litigation but you can’t stop it.”

To illustrate the change he sees coming, he said: “The ship is about to turn. The fear of piracy is now being supplanted by the fear of inactivity.”


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