Rushfield: To Have and Withold
No data, no feedback — what could go wrong?
Another one here for the “spelling out the obvious” pile.
Been talking lately to some creators in these new-fangled digital times, hearing tales of climbing the streaming wars’ Tower of Babel. And what I come away with every time is: this is totally bonkers.
To put it more clearly: you've got people creating shows and films for which they get no feedback and no response — apart from whatever they can find googling themselves on the web.
In a newly refurbished industry that is supposedly hard-nosed, data-driven, no-sentimental nonsense, the people who make the basic units of entertainment — shows and films — get no data. Zero.
Their only metric of success is whether some mid-level executive overseer says they’re happy.
So how exactly is this supposed to work?
To take a step back. The thing about entertainment is that before it was part of the technology business it was part of something once known as communication.
Entertainment, the arts, the performing arts in particular are an expression of a drive to communicate a thought or emotion or sensibility to people outside of one’s self. The thought or emotion is expressed allegorically in the form of a story, or an image. The impulse to share is met by a response from an audience. Since this is about communicating, generally — thought not always — the artist has some interest in whether he or she has been successful in expressing that impulse, and helping the artist hone that impulse in future outings.