Monetize This It's a can't-fail plan for economic and financial recovery: blockbuster films
(MONEY Magazine) – Months after the tech wreck, investors across the country are still mourning the evaporation of $5 trillion in equity. Hey, tough break--now snap out of it. Remember, this is America, land of the comeback, home of Richard Nixon, John Travolta and Marv Albert. We routinely transform humiliating failures into fabulous fortunes--and this is just another moneymaking opportunity. So it's time to stop moping, people, and start monetizing the dotcom meltdown.
I have the business plan right here. One word: Titanic. Back in 1912 it was just another poorly designed, overhyped ocean liner rusting away on the Atlantic seabed. Fast-forward to 1998: the Titanic is a multibillion-dollar business, spawning a hit movie, platinum records, TV specials, books and undersea expeditions. How's that for turnaround artistry?
Admittedly, leveraging the dotcom debacle into a global franchise isn't a no-brainer. Nobody died, so your Oscar chances are slim. Car chases are out (have you tried driving from San Mateo to Sunnyvale lately?), which limits foreign box office. And, let's face it, even the best screenwriters are going to have trouble putting snappy dialogue in the mouths of socially impaired computer geeks. Still, if you can make an agent seem sexy in Jerry Maguire, then dotcom dramedies are doable--though we may have to throw in a few supermodels to pull in the male 12- to 29-year-old demo. (Note to CBS: Set the next Survivor in Menlo Park?)
Of course, we'll need more than a few hit movies and syndicated TV shows to get the GDP on track. That's where cross-marketing and multimedia platforms come in. For starters, there's Broadway. Triple-digit ticket prices for The Producers prove there's boundless consumer demand for con artists who can hoof and sing. So how about The Venture Capitalists? You could go highbrow with a Sondheim-type musical ("Here's to the bankers who brunch") or go after the family market a la Disney (young geeky heroine, aided by wisecracking memory-chip sidekick, slays evil Old Economy retailer!). Either way, it's money in the bank.
Then there are the fashion opportunities. Now that no one wants to be identified as a dotcommer, dotcom fashion is due for a revival. With some subtle product placement in our hit films, we can count on an irony-laden resurgence of flat-front khakis and Tevas.
And let's not overlook the profit potential from the home furnishings industry. There's a lot of office furniture getting tossed right now. But canny decorators will see these items for the valuable collectibles they are. With a little marketing, trend-setters in Manhattan lofts and Bel Air mansions will spring for authentic cubicles and foosball tables pre-owned by 23-year-old former CEOs. Then it's just one step down the retail chain to Pottery Barn knockoffs and mass-market top-line growth.
We haven't even gotten to the revenue streams from spin-offs like video games (Super Mario: Nasdaq edition); CD collections (Starbuck's Greatest Hits 1997-98); and so on. But time is short, and there's money to be made. I'm putting this genuine pink-slip party invite on eBay--what am I bid?