Why A-lister Film Stars Are Turning To TV and SVOD


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In the not-so-distant past, when an actor made it to the big screen and transitioned into A-List status, they no longer explored opportunities in TV, and definitely would not return to a show on Broadway. A-listers are all over the streaming service now, and even Bill Murray and Miley Cyrus are set to bring in the holidays on Netflix with the help of famous friends like Amy Poehler and George Clooney in the Christmas special titled A Very Murray Christmas. 

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler poked fun at this unspoken hierarchy in the entertainment world at the Golden Globes, stating that successful comedienne Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who recently made her film debut, had “really changed” as a result of her recent film success.  We take a look at why film actors are increasingly responding to the draw of TV.

The Draw Of TV And SVOD

But with the standard of TV today significantly raised, many consider modern television to be in its Golden Age - and it’s now become acceptable for Hollywood’s biggest names to return to star in a TV series. This transition offers the star an extremely lucrative opportunity to not only make money but to return to the art of acting, which has made the practice pervasive in the industry.


Currently, there is a bit of an employment issue that could be contributing to this change. With the film industry so focused on franchises and Oscar gold, many actors would argue that the scripts offered in the TV world are much more gripping than what exists today in film. The story is what pulls in the talent.


Case In Point: Kevin Spacey


Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and star of the hit Netflix series House of Cards—who is a great example of this shifting trend—attributed the increasing prestige of TV to a few things: Great talent, compelling character-driven stories, and the power of internet video streaming.

With the top actors gravitating towards TV, the best of the best from the film seem to follow: Directors, writers, and cinematographers. As a result, this trend could turn out to be the new norm, as the quality of television content will only get better. This shift should benefit all involved, as today’s audiences are in love with television.

That said, Spacey made a great point as far as the rise and influence of internet video streaming, specifically alluding to services such as Netflix:

"We have learned the lesson that the music industry didn't learn: give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and they'll more likely pay for it rather than steal it."


So What Does This Mean?

Spacey’s point pertains to all forms of scripted digital entertainment. The various ways that we are able to consume entertainment today have led to major changes in the industry, from content creation to varied talent involvement, to viewership range, to payment and advertising, and beyond.

Related entertainment marketing components, including advertising and product placement, have been directly impacted and will continue to evolve at a fast pace. Those specific changes will be addressed in a separate post. Stay tuned.


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Source: The Guardian, Variety, Time, LA Times