Break the chains
A piece for Business Week analyzes something that web denizens already know but that many traditional entertainment executives need to understand: content is and always will be king, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Author Douglas MacMillan points out that the top online content providers all have pretty much the same stuff, so a successful online presence must have something uniquely appealing about it. He generally takes the position that what these sites need is community, social network tools, whatever you want to call it, suggesting that the comments and rating system on Google’s YouTube are what boosted the site to prominence.
I believe YouTube’s popularity is due more to the ease of sending links and the fact that YouTube pays for the bandwidth. The piece kind of agrees with that after a while, noting that Hulu’s growth is because of the site’s design and its growing ability to integrate with existing communities, while CBS Interactive’s TV.com is struggling despite lots of community-building tools.
The underlying problem for many entertainment companies is that too many executives cannot bring themselves to loosen the distribution controls on their content. Rather than explore emerging alternative business models, they insist on sticking with what no longer works simply because it’s the safe thing to do. (Creative Commons photo by Will Pate.)