Risk Aversion and Large Companies

(Serdar, one of our regular posters, noted once that Hollywood isn't in the creativity business – it's in the risk management business.  He directed me to this article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/movies/manohla-dargis-and-a-o-scott-on-hollywoods-crisis.html?_r=1&hpw, which got me thinking.)

The state of Hollywood fascinates me, both due to my interest in cultural issues and the fact that it is part of the Geekonomy.  I do see some innovative films peaking through, but I also see plenty of dreck.  The sheer amounts of remakes in the queue tells me that Hollywood certainly is aiming at reducing risk in many cases (not that risk-taking has always been weird in hollywood).  I look at the amount of reality television out there and shake my head – even the good stuff doesn't make up for the repetitious crap.

In many ways, too many media endeavors are simply extraction industries – extracting the most amount safely from whatever resources are there with least  risk, and often little concern for the future. Though this may be understandable, it's really not good in the long or even medium-term.

If you think about it, your average huge media company may have many, many advantages, but also needs to pay for all that entails (lawyers, marketing, etc.). The efforts they engage in, large mega–million-dollar efforts, also have the ability to screw up beyond belief. Let's face it, putting out a big movie or video game is a great way to lose money if you do it wrong.

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