Johanna Koljonen:
The Audience Mindset

The Nostradamus Project was invited this year to give a session at the NEXT pavilion at the Marché du Film at the Cannes film festival. On Saturday, May 14th 2016, with support from .film, we presented a lecture by Nostradamus analyst Johanna Koljonen, followed by a panel with industry heavyweights Lene Børglum (Space Rocket Nation), Mike Goodridge (Protagonist Pictures), Martin Dawson (Creative Europe) and Anna Godas (Dogwoof).

Johanna’s thought-provoking lecture places the participatory shift of entertainment in a wider historical context. She discusses how the recent challenges of the film industry are not just a result of technological disruption, but connected to wider paradigm shifts in society. She suggests that moving towards solutions and new models requires an analysis of the wider media landscape and the asking of new kinds of questions. What is the value of film to the audience? What is the social value today of traditional celebrity, of being knowledgeable about film history, of participation in film culture? And if we accept that the problem of the film industry fundamentally is that audiences are losing interest in our products – why might that be, and what can we do?
“You have to invest in activities and frameworks to enable a conversation, rather than just telling people that your thing exists,” Johanna pointed out, and went on to list the only five fundamental strategies available to us as filmmakers to reach an audience: piggybacking on an existing relationship, creating a moment, building a community, enabling engagement, and – most basic of all, but very commonly forgotten – speaking to the needs and interests of your audience. “All of this is about respect.”

In conclusion, she boils it down to the distinctions between the old paradigm value chain of film production, and the new paradigm value chain, which looks very different.

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