What Movie Companies Did That Streaming Companies Should Do.

In the early 2000s, I talked my way into a meeting with one of the most powerful people in Hollywood.

It was my first, big “studio” meeting. And right on brand, the meeting started an hour after its scheduled start time.

We discussed the differences between the business models of theater and film. How Hollywood owned scripts instead of licensed them. How producers in Hollywood became hired guns after they proved themselves.  

And despite all that, how a Broadway show could make MORE money than a hit movie or even a hit franchise.

(Yep, it’s true. See here to read how Wicked will make more money than Jurassic Park or ET, and see here to read how The Lion King will make more than Star Wars.)

That’s why the next thing I said to this mogul was . . .

“You know, you should have a theater department at your studio. A team to comb through your catalogs for the best adaptions.  Develop some yourself.  Market some to others. There is more gold in your mine. You need a team to dig it out.”

(Yep, I’m sure I was angling for a job – since none of my shows had hit yet.)

“Nah.  That’s not what we do.  It’s still not big enough for us.”

Flash forward almost 20 years later . . . and that studio has a theater department.

As does EVERY other major Hollywood studio.

We’re at the same moment in entertainment history that we were those 20 years ago . . . except I’m not sitting down with big ol’ Hollywood studios this time.

I’m talking to the new, upstart, streaming sites out there.

Yep, Netflix, Apple and yeah, if any of them, Amazon . . . you should have a theater department.  

You’ve already optioned some of our content. Disney with Hamilton. Apple with Come from Away. Netflix with Diana, American Son, and more.  

And you should have someone keeping an eye on what you should get next.  

But you should also have a team mining all that original content for dramatization.  

The streaming sites are in the midst of an original content war. And that war has produced so much original programming, plenty of which is ripe for a stage adaptation.

And yeah, as you can see from those articles above, it only takes one to outgross everything else you’ve done.  

So get ahead of your competitors and start a theatrical division today.

And if you need some recommendations on who to run your theater team for you, let me know.  (And no, I’m not talking about me.)

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.