Archive for December 3rd, 2010
Yahoo IS Focused: “We’re A Content Company” http://tinyurl.com/286g7dv See update at end.
Yahoo’s CEO Bartz made an interesting statement in light of yesterday’s The Truth about the Future of Media post: Yahoo – one of the new media companies listed – has come out firmly that they are a Content Company.
On stage at Web 2.0 last month, CEO Carol Bartz said Yahoo is focused on content. Technology is important to personalize that content to users, but editors are important as well–for instance, no algorithm could have predicted that users would be interested in the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year, since a similar event hadn’t happened in a long time.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. When I posted the link yesterday I really felt that it was a stretch to consider Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Apple et al “new media” as we think of it from a content perspective, but the above post and some other items today make me wonder.
There’s an unsubstantiated rumor that Apple are negotiating a deal with Howard Stern for an exclusive agreement after his Sirius radio contract ends, although I do feel it’s unlikely.
Stern’s contract with Sirius is up in January, and the response from the media has been mostly skeptical. Objections include the expense and short term of the deal, Steve Jobs’ stated dedication to keeping iTunes family-friendly, the FCC fines Stern has accumulated in the past, and the probable angry reaction from the many fans who have paid to follow him on satellite radio.
Apple are showing some signs of intending to be a distributor. They have an exclusive period with the Beatles collection until some time in 2011. They also have an exclusive deal to distribute a single from Michael Jackson’s posthumous album via Ping. But these are distribution deals, not content creation like the Howard Stern deal would be.
Then on another note Facebook CEO is quoted as saying:
“Facebook expects insurgent entrepreneurs to “reform” the film, TV, news, e-commerce and music industries with the help of Facebook. Some of these companies will be incumbents. Some will unseat incumbents. Facebook will then – perhaps through credits or advertising, but also perhaps some other way – tax these companies in exchange for the value it has added” Here is “Zuck” quoted:
“Anything that involves content or specific expertise in an area – games, music, movies, TV, news, anything in media, anything e-commerce, any of this stuff. Over the next five years, those verticals are going to be completely re-thought. There are going to be some really good businesses built. Our view is that we should play a role in helping to re-form and re-think all those industries, and we’ll get value proportional to what we put in. In gaming, we get some percentage of the value of those companies through ads and credits. But that’s all because we’re helping them…”
This suggests Facebook see themselves as playing a role in the inevitable changes that are coming to media production and distribution (and want a cut).
So, of the “new media” companies identified in yesterday’s quoted post, Yahoo and Facebook are both focused on content creation at some level, with Apple a possibility. I hypothesized about this about a year ago when I wrote What if Apple or Google simply bypassed Networks and Studios?
[Update] Not even an hour after I initially posted this the news comes that Google has purchased content distributor Widevine (from Google’s announcement):
“So we’re pleased to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Widevine. The Widevine team has worked to provide a better video delivery experience for businesses of all kinds: from the studios that create your favorite shows and movies, to the cable systems and channels that broadcast them online and on TV, to the hardware manufacturers that let you watch that content on a variety of devices. By forging partnerships across the entire ecosystem, Widevine has made on demand services more efficient and secure for media companies, and ultimately more available and convenient for users.”
Now its getting interesting.
DirecTV Kicks Niche Content to the Curb http://tinyurl.com/27j6278
If networks carrying niche content don’t find distribution with the traditional cable and satellite broadcasters their only recourse will be to find distribution via the Internet. Once people get used to consuming content through that infrastructure – because they were forced to in order to watch the content they enjoy – it becomes that much easier to drop the rest of DirecTV (or your cable provider) and go all IP.
So, good on DirecTV for driving the conversion to IP based networks and the eventual lack of need for DirecTV.
The decision by pay TV providers to drop low-rated networks is happening as distributors are coming under pressure to pay ever-increasing fees to programmers. In most cases, those costs get passed on to the consumer in the form of higher cable bills. But with cable bills rising about 8 percent over the past year, it’s clear that continually raising rates is unsustainable. Rather than pay increasing fees, some consumers have begun canceling their cable or satellite subscriptions altogether, as the number of people who pay for TV hasdropped for two consecutive quarters.
[Update] It was pointed out by Austin Wallender, via Twitter, that G4 was rating poorly on DirecTV and was owned by a competitor so it’s dropping was from “normal business practice”. I can support the low ratings but if ownership by a competitor is really driving DirecTV’s programming, that’s a bigger and more worrying issue.