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Tuesday, November 09, 2010


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Nate Hiatt

ESPN3 is a bigger threat to "cutting the cable" than anything else. Recent studies show the No. 1 reason people keep cable is sports... In a round-about way it's why I don't cut the cord. HBO/Showtime aren't viable streaming options yet (I am a huge boxing fan)... if they do become more main-stream and start showing up on Roku/Tivo/Etc. I would like likely live off ESPN3, Hulu-Plus, Netflix and them. Between the networks over the air coverage and ESPN3 you get a large chunk of your sports. ESPN3 on the Xbox even shows the bigger games in HD. Time Warner recognized this and you must have a cable sub, not a RoadRunner, to receive ESPN3. Now that I think about it, maybe this isn't the best forum to discuss this ;)

John Akerson

Your most essential point is about the current distribution model. To quote: "Eisen’s argument is that even if putting this content online for free has short-term benefits for broadcasters ultimately it will encourage more users to cut ties with their cable or satellite provider, undermining the current distribution model."

The current distribution model is like a woolly mammoth and broadcasters are like little birds that ride the mammoths. At some point, the woolly mammoth became a species doomed to extinction. Some birds hopped onto elephants instead. Some found other ways to survive their ever-changing, evolving environment. Some of the birds didn't make it. Some of the elephants did.

The ones that thrived were the ones that were both smart enough to recognize the changes and fast enough to react.

Bruce Eisen is in a difficult position if the thinks that South Park's benefits are only short-term. Things are not going to settle back to a 1980's paradigm where media is controlled by the current industry giants. There are so many disruptors in the current woolly mammoth-dominated media environment. Although many things are difficult to predict, the future of those mammoths isn't. The smartest will see that the "current distribution model" isn't the same as the future distribution model. Acting like those things are the same, is understandable, and protectionist, but isn't the most productive long term strategy.

A better approach is to consider, given the current distribution model, and the currently known disruptors, what other distribution models can simultaneously deliver value to viewers and profit to companies that act as media managers, creators, producers and aggregators.

What do you think?

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