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Poor Reed Hastings. If only he hadn't tried to split Netflix in two, his personal stake wouldn't have plunged $640 million. It was just one of many floundering attempts by Hollywood and its partners in the past decade to navigate the digital world.
Who would have thought Rupert Murdoch's 2005 acquisition of MySpace would turn into a disaster? Or that a Finnish game company would become a Hollywood sensation via a flock of angry birds?
At any time, it seems impossible to know who's got the juice. Right now, the entertainment industry largely is operating out of fear — witness its attempts to get Congress to back the Stop Online Piracy Act, which in many ways would curtail Internet freedom.
Digital revenues remain pennies on each dollar, but if this year's CES — where the hottest items are web-enabled televisions — is any indication all that could change overnight.
Which is why, instead of playing defense, Hollywood might do well to pay attention to the innovators listed below. Each has found a way to make digital technology work for them in what still is essentially the Wild West, as in, still yours for the taking.
Profiles written by Alex Ben Block, Paul Bond, Josh Feldman, Dan Frommer, Carolyn Giardina, Marisa Guthrie, Shirley Halperin, Lacey Rose, Georg Szalai and Mimi Turner
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