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Tuesday, 8 December 2009
So...Jeff Zucker was on CNBC
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I was watching Jeff Zucker's appearance on CNBC today (I watched it online, so I'm not sure what day he appeared on CNBC).  I came to the conclusion that Zucker has zero clue about what the future holds for media.  All he kept saying was that NBC/Universal had changed drastically, and that the Comcast deal was part of that continued change, and the deal put NBC/Universal and Comcast in the change.  The hosts kept asking him what the deal meant for media and the dude really had no answer, other than making it very clear that both entities wanted to find a way to get paid for content (particularly digital content) in the future.

What does this deal mean for media?  And, how do they get paid for content in the future?

I guess I was just sitting there thinking, "how the F does this guy (the Prez and CEO of NBC/Uni) NOT know the answers to those questions?  How does Zucker hope to make money moving forward?  Does he know and just doesn;t want to tell?  Or, is media leadership completely clueless as to how they're going to accomplish this?

Not exactly awe inspiring stuff.  I have to say.  Because our ability to make money is directly related to their ability to make money.  After watching Jeffy smile and aw shucks his way through that interview, I'm seriously consdiering sounding the alarm.

Having taken meetings with executives at NBC, Universal, and other networks and studios, I can assure that most of these folks are equally clueless.  Just clueless.  MOST people in media are clueless.  That's largely because there aren't really answers out there right now.  Media is unsure about the power (current and future) of the digital audience.  Sure, 18-24 year olds are largely watching their content on computers and hand helds--but the vast majority of content viewers are still getting their fix via the boob tube.  So, until demand increases in other delivery devices, advertisinig dollars will not be there to support digital media.  The other thing that renders these folks clueless is that they haven't really put any money into developing cost effective unique digital content.  Some studios have digital media development executives, but they're still trying to create programming with names--actors, directors, showrunners--it just doesn't work.  It's too expensive.  Instead of looking at digital media as a way to discover talent, they view it as a way to repurpose current talent and content.  Until they shift their digital strategy, they will continue to fail miserably.

One more time: what works in television will not work in digital media.  You are working with two completely different cost structures.

I hate to be such a downer, but to watch Zucker in that interview just verifies everything I have been saying for years.  The star F-ing mentality of Hollywood works against success in digital media. 

As I have said before, networks and studios really need to look at digital media as a completely separate entity--a new Hollywood. 

They'd better do it, before someone else does.  And, we all starve to death.

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Posted on 12/08/2009 10:16 AM by Todd Carr
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