I have a theory. It's actually pretty obvious and it goes something like this:
In the very, very near future, every studio will have it's own CONTENT DELIVERY SERVICE a.k.a. streaming service. And every established Content Delivery Service will develop and produce original content to compete with the studios who are streaming their own libraries directly to viewers. I will also add ... traditional broadcast is doomed. 100% doomed. Broadcast will becomes live streaming. And we will be streaming 4K live (and obviously HD) via H265 before you can say 35mm film will never die.
Imagine ... when you access your Smart TV, Ruko, Boxee or Apple TV ... or REDray .. which is connected to this crazy little thing called the World Wide Web ... you don't just see icons for Netflix and Hula and Amazon ... you see icons for Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Paramount Vantage, The Weinstein Company, Universal, NBC, CBS, HBO. Because ... there's just way too much money is the 30% average that these streaming platfroms charge the content owners.
If you are paying attention you know it's already happening. My thoery isn't really a theory. It's actually a "fact-in-process". Amazon is making original content. Google is financing original content. Netflix is producing orginal content. And this just in - Warner Brothers has launched Warner Archive Instant.
Now ... the $100 million dollar question that many are trying to answer is ... "how do you find the film you want to watch". We have all done it ... scrolled through seemingly endless TV menus ... 100 channels and nothing to watch. There are a bunch of folks chasing the "cross-platform search" concept except the established platforms don't really want to share that data via APIs because they don't want you to watch another "platform". Netflix wants you to stay on Netflix and Apple wants you to stay inside iTunes. And that's not going to change. Just like CBS doesn't show commercials for TV shows that are on NBC.
Personally, I think there's a lot of opportunity for a start-up(s) to create SPECIALIZED, GENRE SPECIFIC web apps driving horror fans, or comedy fans or sci-fi fans to various streaming services. Web-app based, "streaming platform" agnostics film marketing hubs. In the mood for a thriller - launch your "Noir Night" app on your tablet and see what's on, read reviews, watch clips, etc. I'll write a longer, follow up post about my thoughts on how I think all of this is going to dramatically change the advertising industry and also radically change the profitibility of independent feature films for the better.
Sure, it takes some solid cloud infrastructure to host and serve high volume streaming and Amazon and Apple have that in spades ... but if you do that math ... of what the studios pay to the current, established platforms for hosting and streaming their content, well ... if I was a studio or TV network executive, I would cancel production on a couple of big movies or shows and start building a solar powered server farm in the desert ...