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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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新たなテレビドラマの時代

 

Wired [US] April 2013 (単号)Wired [US] April 2013 (単号)
(2013/03/29)
不明

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Wired4月号はテレビドラマ特集でした。Mad Menが依然としてブームのようですね。先ほども紹介した数話のドラマを一挙に観るBinge­watchingという言葉が市民権を得つつあるようです。これから紹介するWiredの記事ではBinge­watching—churning through mul­tiple episodes at a time—became a national pastime.とありました。

日本でもHuluによって気軽にドラマが楽しめるようになってきましたが、このような視聴方法によって、我々のドラマの楽しみ方も変わりつつあるようなのです。そのような新しい動きをとらえつつ独自の視聴者を獲得しようとするNetflixの試みを紹介している記事が以下になります。話題の中心は意外にもHouse of CardsではなくArrested Developmentというドラマでした。



BY WILLA PASKIN 03.19.136:30 AM
THE NEW RULES OF THE HYPER-SOCIAL, DATA-DRIVEN, ACTOR-FRIENDLY, SUPER-SEDUCTIVE PLATINUM AGE OF TELEVISION:
RULES 9 & 10

7年前にArrested Developmentというドラマが放映された時は、キャラクターに癖もあって、ジョークもストーリーになじんでないと付いていけないものがあり、批評家には好評だったものの、視聴率はよくなかったようです。

When we last saw the Bluths, in 2006, nothing could have been further from the truth. The critically adored but ­little-watched show about the wacky, white-collar-criminal Bluth clan had just been canceled because of chronically low ratings. Arrested Development, it seemed, was too dense to win a mass audience, its deeply flawed characters too unlikable, its layers of jokes too tightly packed for the casual viewer to penetrate. It won Emmys and other accolades, but it was the kind of show you couldn’t join midway through a season unless you enjoyed the sound of in-jokes whizzing over your head. It was just not made for TV, at least not as it existed in the mid-2000s.

しかし、Binge watchingが広まった今では、その複雑さが逆にうけるようになり、5月には新エピソードが公開されるようです。

But over the intervening years, something happened: TV changed. Net­flix went from a DVD-by-mail service to a purveyor of online streaming video—most of it television. Binge­watching—churning through mul­tiple episodes at a time—became a national pastime. The very qualities that made Arrested Development such a hard sell on network TV—its complexity, depth, layered blink-and-you’ll-miss-it humor—made it perfect for this new era, in which obsessives can watch and rewatch their favorite shows whenever and wherever they feel like it. On Fox, Arrested Development would set up a joke in one episode and pay it off three weeks later; on Net­flix the joke would pay off in an hour and a half. When ­people say Arrested Development was ahead of its time—something the show’s staff is as likely to say as its fanboys are—they’re really saying that it was ahead of Net­flix.

So when Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz decided to listen to his fans and revive the series, Net­flix was interested. It was just beginning to develop its own original programming and was willing to pay up for marquee content. It outbid Showtime for the right to revive the show; it agreed to pay about $3 million per 30-­minute episode, about as much as it costs AMC to make an entire hour of Breaking Bad. In May Net­flix will release all 14 new episodes of Arrested Development at once.

先ほどの記事で紹介したHouse of Cardsのようなドラマがあたしい試みだと思っていたのですが、記事ではthose are all fairly traditional in structureと語っているようにこのArrested Developmentの方がずっと野心的な内容のようです。例えば、Each episode will cover events from a different character’s point of view, like a comedic Rashomon.とあるように各エピソードが登場人物ごとに違った視点から語られるようです。Rashomonとあるあたり黒澤監督の影響の大きさを感じ取れまあすね。

It won’t be the company’s first foray into high-profile programming—its mobster-in-Norway dramedy, Lilyhammer, debuted in 2012, David Fincher’s House of Cards arrived in February, and ­torture-porn auteur Eli Roth’s werewolf saga, Hemlock Grove, will come out on April 19. Orange Is the New Black, a women’s-prison series by Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, is due this summer.

But those are all fairly traditional in structure. Arrested Development is exploring the more playful, outré structural possibilities offered by the new platform on Net­flix. Each episode will cover events from a different character’s point of view, like a comedic Rashomon. There will be moments and Easter eggs that will make sense only in retrospect. There will be a suggested viewing sequence, but it will be pos­sible—even rewarding—to watch out of sequence. Cross describes the new structure as being “like if you could mash up a Venn diagram with a nautilus shell. And then put that inside a Möbius strip.”

それだけではなく、配信方式なので、決まった放映時間などは気にしなくてよいなど、自由に作れるそうです。ドラマは30分か、60分という感覚でしたが、そんなのに縛られる必要はないというのは画期的に感じますね。

Hurwitz may not have all the time or money in the world, but he does have unprecedented freedom. Because Net­flix doesn’t have to worry about commercial breaks or time slots, he can make episodes of variable lengths that can run in any order. (He even briefly considered designing the new season as a choose-your-own-­adventure story.) He can make television built to be binged. “In its purest form,” he says, “a new medium requires a new format.”

DVDレンタル会社からストリーミング会社に変身を遂げたネットフリックスが独自コンテンツにこだわるのは、想像できるように、競争が激しくなっている業界での視聴者の確保です。By creating original series, these cable companies weren’t just getting more subscribers; they were getting more loyal subscribers, who couldn’t imagine life without the latest episode of Game of Thrones or Homeland.と書いていますね。

To answer that question, the company is taking a page from HBO, Showtime, AMC, and nearly every other prestige cable company that has emerged over the past decade. Those channels began by airing movies. Then they began paying for higher-­quality movies. Eventually they started making their own TV shows. The strategy paid off: In 1999, the year The Sopranos launched, HBO had 24 million subscribers; in 2007, when the series ended, it had 29 million. In 2008 Showtime elected not to renew several film deals and began investing heavily in original shows. Since 2009, on the strength of series like Homeland, its subscriber base has grown from 17 million to 22 million. Hoping for similar results, Net­flix is investing about $300 million in original programming over the next three years, 5 percent of its $6 billion content budget for that period.

By creating original series, these cable companies weren’t just getting more subscribers; they were getting more loyal subscribers, who couldn’t imagine life without the latest episode of Game of Thrones or Homeland. That’s been a problem for Net­flix, says media analyst Richard Greenfield. “There are lots of ­people trying its service every year, yet lots of ­people turn off,” he says. “The best way to make its service stickier is to create high-quality programming that ­people want to access on a regular basis.”

ネットフリックスの強みは、視聴者のストリーミングのデータを細かく取れることのようです。どんな番組を何時間観たのか、一人一人のデータが手に入るので、番組作りに生かせるというのです。If you love films with strong female leads, it will likely market House of Cards to you with images of Kate Mara and Robin Wright.と視聴者に合わせた売り込みも可能になっているようです。

Net­flix has something that not even HBO’s market researchers can compete with: years of near-­perfect data on what its subscribers watch and like. Netflix has already tapped into that information to pick new projects. “When we heard about a remake of House of Cards, our ears pricked up because of our own knowledge of the original,” says Ted Sarandos, Net­flix’s chief content officer. “Our data showed that there were a lot of ­people who watched it over the years. And certainly when you start layering in the pools of fans of David Fincher, of Kevin Spacey, of political thrillers—all of a sudden you’ve got a very large addressable market.” (Net­flix also uses that data to target its marketing. If you love films with strong female leads, it will likely market House of Cards to you with images of Kate Mara and Robin Wright.)

メディアが変われば、楽しみ方も変わっていくのですね。どうしてもテレビドラマというくくりでしか見ていなかったので、この記事は参考になりました。日本でもタブレットが流行し出しているのですから、動画をどんどん楽しめる環境を作り出してもらいたいです。出版にしろ、テレビにしろ、既得権の保身的な試みばかりではねえ。

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