Not that long ago, there was quite a bit of chatter about how Steven Spielberg, still the world’s biggest director, did not want streaming movies to sully the good name of the Academy Awards. He reportedly felt that if a movie was only going to be on TV, then it should be treated like TV and given an Emmy at best.
Whether or not that was completely true, he certainly doesn’t believe that now.
Amblin Partners has signed a multi-year deal with the streaming behemoth, which will lead to Spielberg’s fingerprints all over a lot of streaming content. While there was some work the two companies had done before, this makes it quite official and a real turning of the tide. And if a guy like Spielberg is going to shift his focus to streaming, even partially (as a producer or a director), then there is going to be an even bigger concern of how to make these platforms work better for Hollywood.
The data Netflix has is what Amblin Partners will hopefully use to their advantage. And hopefully they’ll know that they need AI.
While producing any film is a risk, the ways that traditional films have been measured, with test screenings and surveys, produce a lot of messy results that don’t guarantee success. Spielberg, like every director, has had his share of hits and misses. But AI has the ability to reveal much more about what audiences want to see and what will keep them watching.
Resonance AI can analyze the library of Netflix and then, by using the viewing data, can show not only the nuances of how people are watching but what elements are particularly compelling for the audience. Then Spielberg can start from a much firmer footing all the way until release.
This would not tell the filmmaker what to do, but would arm him with a wealth of knowledge of what works for the intended. Obviously Spielberg knows more than almost anyone ever on how to make a crowd-pleasing film; but that also means he might be better than anyone to see this kind of analysis and make smarter decisions.
The evolutions of film and streaming have a long way to go, but this seems like a watershed moment. The question now is how long it will take for the most valuable tools to be utilized.