(By Brian Bird) I’ve been writing and producing films and television shows in Hollywood for three decades, but I’ve been a consumer of media for a lot longer. Some of the moments I treasure most from my childhood were those evenings sitting with my family watching TV… together. When I was young, the TV set was a destination all of us shared and enjoyed. I don’t believe we were alone in that. At one time, American homes were filled with that glowing, flickering warmth of families spending time together, gathered to watch their favorite shows. And we would laugh, cry and most of the time, be uplifted by the storytelling. It was a special time—not just for my family, but I believe for tens of millions of American families.

But that’s not the case anymore. Shared family media is a lost cultural experience. Advances in technology have left us in separate rooms watching niche media content on our own TV sets, PCs, electronic book-readers, tablets or smartphones—all disconnected from one another.  But that’s just part of the problem. As the media landscape has become fractured by a thousand different entertainment choices 24/7, 365 (for instance, there were 500 original, scripted TV programs produced in 2017 alone), the competition for eyeballs has become fiercer than anything I have experienced in 30 years of telling stories.  READ MORE