In Hollywood, the annual release of a slate of blockbuster films and so-called "tent-pole productions" makes it almost entirely unnecessary to refer to a calendar or examine the weather to recognize that summer has arrived once again.

Krishen Iyer on Entrepreneurship and the Film Industry: Stimulating Progress Through Continued Innovation

The predictability of this annual pattern is representative of one of the key issues currently plaguing Hollywood today, as the movie trailers promoting this season’s new releases are essentially indistinguishable from the trailers of a year ago.

With film critics increasingly bemoaning the lack of creativity and innovation coming out of Hollywood, a number of entrepreneurial-minded individuals have analyzed the available data with the goal of identifying the root cause of the issue. According to one recent article published by the MIT Entrepreneurship Review, the dominance of just a few large distributors is at least part of the reason that creativity and innovation is lacking in the film industry’s recent releases.

In the article, the author collected a wealth of relevant data demonstrating how seven distribution companies alone substantially increased their overall market share while effectively squeezing out all the rest. Over a period of 10 years, the market share of those outside of the seven largest distributors declined by almost 20 percent, falling from just under 30 percent to a meager 12.2 percent. As the author concluded at the close of the article, “Innovation rarely comes from fat and happy incumbents, which is what we have [in the film industry].”

The overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs would wholeheartedly agree with that statement, and they would certainly have good reason for recognizing that a lack of competition often breeds a sense of complacency that hinders innovation. Krishen Iyer, the entrepreneur behind Managed Benefits Services, offered a more nuanced assessment of the relationship between competition and innovation.

Iyer, a digital marketing expert who specializes in technical development and client relations, agreed with the idea that a lack of competition increases the likelihood of complacency hindering innovation within any industry. Iyer, who recently overhauled his entire company by incorporating a new, multi-layer platform, also pointed out that competition is not necessarily a prerequisite for innovation: Creative individuals, whether they are entrepreneurs, filmmakers, or studio executives, do not always need an external source of motivation to fuel their desire to innovate.

Iyer pointed to his recent experience in revamping Managed Benefits Services with a newly developed platform as an example of intrinsic motivation leading to important innovations. When the founder of Managed Benefits Services decided to begin developing a new platform, he did so because he saw an opportunity to improve his company, not because he was concerned about what his competitors might be doing.

While the film industry might benefit from some thoughtful reflection, the absence of competition is not the sole reason that audiences are increasingly frustrated by a lack of innovation and creativity in recent movie releases. Extrinsic sources of motivation will help, but a lack thereof will not necessarily prevent the creative individuals in the film industry from innovating in some meaningful way.

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