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Go big or go home

Tue, Mar 12, 2019

Read in 4 minutes

‘Everything that used to be small is getting smaller. Everything that used to be big is getting bigger. And technology is to blame (or thank, depending on your field of work).' It's called simply - the Superstar Effect.

It was 9 am and my dad and me were sitting in a quiet Bosnian café, everybody

reading their own newspapers and slowly drinking our coffees.

‘Technology advancement had been so fast that the number of data produced every

days goes up to…’ the article stated.

My dad just calmly looked up and said: ‘This world is officially going to hell.’

However, it was only morning and since we couldn’t start our day in

such a bleak fashion (not even in Bosnia), he started illustrating his point in a

more elaborated manner.

‘You know, Red Star* played with Manchester in 1958. And almost won! There’s no

way they could play with them now. The big clubs started becoming more popular

and more people started watching them. Then, based on the TV rights they were

able to invest more and buy only the best football players. Today, their game is better, more interesting and they only want to play with other big teams.

Meanwhile, the small clubs are getting less and less popular and have to fight a whole group of other small clubs in order to even gain the opportunity to play with the big dogs.’

I could not be further away from a football fan, but I understand his logic:

‘It’s very simple: everything that used to be small is getting smaller. Everything that

used to be big is getting bigger. And technology is to blame (or thank, depending on your field of work).’

It’s called simply - the Superstar Effect.

The scary/exciting realisation happens when we start applying this logic to

almost any industry.

So, let’s talk about films.

There used to be a time where the world was producing merely 1,000 films per

year and the small countries had to wait 2-3 years for these films to come to their

local movie theatres.

Today, however, it has become so much easier to produce and create a film, thanks to all the

new tech.

So called “hyper production” means that there are roughly 12.000 films that are

created per year, out of which only 150 – 200 end up on cinema screens.

And you guessed it – only the biggest and the most expensive films make the

‘final cut’.

The big studios realised that it is much better to invest in a gigantic film such as

‘Avatar’, than to create 5 smaller films.

Since only a few big films are created, this leads to: ‘optimisation’ of special

effects quality; mainly the big name actors are hired and big music production is used (or no risk

game is at play).

Why is this important?

Well, there are a couple of consequences.

For films, the technology advancements also mean the segment of cinema enthusiasts is

becoming younger and this consequently means the overarching genre of these

‘hyper’ films is becoming more suited to their younger audiences’


This is potentially a reason why we can enjoy fewer (slower) dramas such as

‘Mystic River’ and more superhero/action films such as * insert any comic book

character *.

Whether this is a positive or a negative thing can be left to a debate, but there is

de facto less variety than there was 20 years ago.

The good thing is that (thanks to the same tech) we can watch the same film

simultaneously across the world and with no distribution delay.

Maybe even more importantly…

If we only focus on films, football clubs or surviving companies that ‘make the final

cut’, there will always be a bias as this sample is not truly representative.

This means we only witness the winner’s testimony, as we are

unable to hear all the losers.

When the pool of competition is closed for all those ‘small people’ it

is, by far, much harder to become ‘big’.

Maybe there is a really good kid in Red Star club that is (yet to be)

discovered and that could, at this very moment, score the goal for Manchester United.

But England’s never been so close, yet further away.

‘Let’s do some work.’

My father closed the newspapers.

It wasn’t yet time to go home.

*Serbian football club


Photo by Nubia Navarro (canva)

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