Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment, has taken the stage here in Dana Point, California for this year's D:Dive Into Media, speaking candidly about his outfit's use of social media to advertise, and more importantly, how modern technology is impacting meaningful change on the creative side of things. Citing shows like Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men and Breaking Bad -- ones that he's obviously a fan of -- he noted that the proliferation of DVR technology has enabled a lot of it.
"I personally believe that this explosion in creativity you're seeing right now is due to the fact that you can create 13 episode, long-form narratives and then watch it whenever you want. It even brings better directors and writers who don't think that they can tell their stories in the two-hour frame of a major motion picture. I think this is a direct effect of technology. It's the first time I've seen it -- there was always talk about how technology would impact creative, and this is it."
As Lynton sees it, cable networks and the teams they work with have realized that people don't view shows as things that have to be viewed at a given time. In other words, they're free to become fans of shows that air even while they're at work -- something that was impossible before PVR / DVR technology existed. He aptly noted that broadcast networks (FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC) have yet to really get onboard with this idea, but he pointed out that Netflix's House of Cards (which Sony had a hand in funding) is a terrific example of creativity flourishing because there's no time slot attached.
Moving the conversation over to social media, host Peter Kafka noted that Sony Entertainment's marketing budget -- which runs in the hundreds of millions of dollars -- now has a "material amount" dedicated to things like Facebook and Twitter. He did confess that certain films get more traction on social than others (read: films with very specific demographics), and that Sony Entertainment feels that social is now broad enough to "move the needle" in a meaningful way.
In closing, Lynton also mentioned that many consumers "simply don't care" about the screen size that they enjoy content on. And in fact, many people go to see a movie simply to have a night out, not necessarily to enjoy the film first and foremost. That's probably a good thought to have, particularly if you're hoping that Sony Entertainment continues to push its content to the maximum amount of devices.
We'll be reporting live from D:Dive Into Media as it continues on February 11-12. You can follow our coverage by using the "dmedia2013" tag.