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What does it mean to be "digital" in 2018? Is Netflix, which will release hundreds of film and TV projects this year, still digital? Or, with its $134 billion market cap, is it simply the second-largest media company in the world? And what about Disney? The $170 billion entertainment conglomerate is planning one of the most buzzed-about subscription streaming services of the year. Does that make it digital?
Tech companies that were once considered disrupters — like YouTube and Google — have grown into media giants in their own right. In 2017, online advertising reached $209 billion, for the first time surpassing the TV ad market. So, in this new media environment, where virtually every studio is launching its own streaming service and every tech company is getting into the TV show-producing business, exactly who is disrupting who?
This year's Digital Disrupters list cuts through the confusion by focusing on the people straddling the very edge of the digital wave, the startups that could one day grow into the next generation of giants. The folks on these pages are developing new online technologies (like Yoni Bloch and Nancy Tellem's interactive streaming platform), experimenting with new storytelling techniques (like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman's upcoming shortform video play) and inventing whole new ways to make money (like the microtransactions in Tim Sweeney's Fortnite). Then, of course, there's Will Smith. Old media or new? In his case, both.
Profiles written by Natalie Jarvey, Patrick Shanley, Jeremy Barr, Bryn Elise Sandberg, Rebecca Sun, Lindsay Weinberg and Ashley Cullins.
This story first appeared in the Oct. 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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