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D7 Interview with John Malone May 27, 2009

Posted by stewsutton in D7 All Things Digital.
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john-maloneImplications for business – delivery over multiple channels (wireless – landline – etc.) – evolving as the different technologies come available.

People don’t think in terms of Channels anymore – they think in terms of “programs” – this is changing the way content is produced and distributed.

One of the things that happened in the music business is that the “album” as a commodity is melting away – iTunes allowed you to just buy the two songs – on the video side the analogy is in the area of “real-time sports” – what good does it do to steal it if the property is delayed.  The final episode of American Idol.  This is stealing all of the oxygen in the room and making it difficult to create a new television-based franchise program.  More movies produced than at any time, but few are making money. Big bubles get bigger and little bubbles dissapear.

Who will be the big bubbles?

Sports is the “big bubble” in TV – DirecTV paid a big check to extend their NFL contract.  Good growth quarters in TV despite the downturn in the economy.

All olympic events televised over the Internet – this is good for the consumer…

Nobody really offers a totally random access interface to content – Why can’t I buy a service that when I turn it on, it is like the Internet – content is “just there” – All HULU all the time with everybody fed into it all the time.

Why is this not available?

It’s this nasty little restriction called bandwidth – simultaneous random access to everybody – we don’t have the capacity to do this for everybody “yet” – but we are working on that.  Someday soon the technology will allow the world to be connected “live” – we still need to figure out how to monetize this stuff…

How do you produce a big-budget offereing like “Planet Earth”?

Advertising is insufficient as a revenue stream for the breadth, depth, and quality of the programming that people are looking for.

Broadcasters – control the politics in this country – TV is FREE! – when you were a cable subscriber, you were not sure that you were paying for the content or the transport of that content.

When the Internet came along – here is another thing that appears to be “free” – content off the Internet was perceived as being free.  Higher quality content – pay for that content –

AtHome Network – High Speed network for the home market – lets differentiate between high-speed and low-speed by charging for some elements of content – to show a few bucks on the bill that were vectored to high-bandwidth content

When HiDef comes in, don’t just give it away – let that service be premium and make some money on that service.

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