For the past decade, short form content was reserved to the spaces of digital domains and art houses. As if arriving with more of a quiet wave than a big bang, the once relegated category is finding a home throughout Hollywood. Where is it now and where does the medium go from here? The answer begin with understanding its roots.

THE PAST

Short form content could trace its origins to the first short films ever created. Look no further than works from pioneers such as the Lumiere brothers to understand that its humble beginnings are tightly woven with film’s overall history. Throughout the years as long form content took precedence over its former equal. Shorts would accompany the feature length titles or appear in film festivals, but that’s where it usually ended.

That availability all changed with the invention of YouTube. The video streaming service opened eyes to the possibilities and doors for content creators. Suddenly there was no more of the usual “gatekeepers” who held a stiff grip on what viewers saw. The content creators and talent that called the site home were actually getting their tryouts with the industry’s biggest names. 

THE PRESENT

Content is king throughout media. With so many channels, websites and streaming services out there, it was only a matter of time till short form content took over. Netflix and Hulu are both big names in their own right. Now, they’re expanding into the short form content catalog for new ideas. Expect projects from Hollywood heavyweights like Guillermo Del Toro and indie icons like Nick Hornby. They’re just some of the names leading the pack of developments deals in this new era. 

THE FUTURE

With attention spans steadily declining, various media services are looking for ways to keep their content fresh as well as popular. Production companies that focus on YouTube content are looking for ways to make their properties work on various outlets. Popular film and TV franchises have started their own quest to blur lines between mediums, a trend that is only growing over time. Look no further than the future of the Star Wars franchise to see the trend. Online shorts accompany content and fill in gaps of time. With Disney’s premium service on the horizon, the need for short original content to accompany new series grows demand even further. For those companies still waiting on the sidelines at this point, the future of their content isn’t as certain. With limited revenue or budgets, the lack of originals against services with short and long form content makes their offerings less appealing. It’s hard to stay in business with that type of model and the customer demand that only grows. 

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