Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Give TV audiences control - Spacey

Double-Oscar winner Kevin Spacey delivered the keynote speech to the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh television festival

Double Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey has challenged TV channels to give "control" to their audiences or risk losing them.

The Hollywood star, whose recent foray into television - House Of Cards - has been a commercial and critical hit after it was released on streaming service Netflix, said there was a danger of "thinking that something which is working now will necessarily work a year from now".

Spacey, who gave the keynote James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival, said: "Clearly the success of the Netflix model - releasing the entire season of House Of Cards at once - has proved one thing: the audience wants control. They want freedom. If they want to binge - as they've been doing on House Of Cards - then we should let them binge."

The actor said that way of working "demonstrated that 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".

Spacey, who starred in and was also executive producer on the show which was nominated for nine Emmy Awards, warned the audience of media executives that "labels" were becoming meaningless and they risked being "left behind".

He said: "If you watch a TV show on your iPad is it no longer a TV show? The device and length are irrelevant... For kids growing up now there's no difference watching Avatar on an iPad or watching YouTube on a TV and watching Game Of Thrones on their computer. It's all content. It's all story."

Previous MacTaggart speakers have included Mark Thompson, Rupert Murdoch, Jeremy Paxman and Dennis Potter.

The festival runs from August 22 to 24.

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