On Wednesday, the leadership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the producer of the annual Oscars ABC telecast, told its members that the show the will be changed in 2019.

It will be three hours long. A new award will be given for “best achievement in popular film.”

The reduction in length will be achieved by awarding Oscars in certain categories live during commercials and showing the edited version of the winning moments later in the telecast.

Details of the new “popular film” category will come later.

Whatever the outcome of these changes, the Academy is making an effort to improve the telecast. It did not create the intractable problems the Oscars show and the movie business now confront.

The telecast has come on hard times. From the 2017 show to the 2018 show, the audience shrunk 20 percent, continuing a multi-year decline. ABC charged $2.8 million per thirty second ad, a number that can be expected to decline. And 80% of the Academy’s budget comes from its fee for the telecast.

The Oscars’ hard times and the proposed “solution” ought to be a course at Harvard Business School.  In short, the announced plan will be an unsuccessful correction made by two sinking businesses: feature films first shown in theaters and appointment television. The Academy champions the former ( individual nominees and  their pictures must have been seen in theaters in Los Angeles and New York to be considered)  and lives off the latter.

With the explosive growth of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and others, their budgets for films exceed those of all the studios combined by billions largely because they are preferred by young people, the most significant part of the entertainment audience. Most of that entertainment audience is resisting network television,  prefers  digital offerings, and is exiting cable in droves to leave network television’s distribution highway.

Thus, getting more juice out of the orange by an arrangement between appointment television and the feature film business, i.e., the Academy, is rearranging the deckchairs on “The Good Ship Lollipop.”

ABC has rights to the Oscars telecast through 2028 and presumably wants to keep them. Otherwise, Netflix and its ilk could easily match or exceed the amount the Academy gets out of the show. That would make the show (including the parts omitted from the telecast) available to consumers for a year and without commercials.

Since a migration to Netflix is not going to happen, the question is how should the telecast be written, produced and directed in 2019? Just as the study of medicine begins with the study of pathology, so too should the Academy examine the failings of past shows to create a vibrant, different and entertaining telecast.

No more carting of tourist bus patrons or film goers next door into the telecast venue in a grandiose display of  superiority and of casting pearls before swine.

No more insider “jokes” about film stardom.

No more exclusion of material directed at audience members who have no plans to enter a movie theater.

But most important of all is the manner the Academy deals with the new category, “best achievement in popular film.” Is there to be a distinction between the winner in this new category and the best picture winner with the popular winner being a “good” picture that made money and the best picture being a “really good” picture? Isn’t that just another version of the tacky visits by filmgoers next door or tour bus patrons?

And how is the popular winner to be selected? (Hint: voting by viewers during the show as in American Idol.)

The producer of the 2019 show should not be an Academy insider.  It should in fact be an outsider, probably a Netflix creative executive, or a similar person from one of its competitors, someone who knows the audience studio pictures need but cannot get. That would signal real change.