Summary:

The last panel of the day at the Milken Institute conference was a heavy hitter one: Peter Chernin of News Corp, Bob Iger of Disney and Jona…

The last panel of the day at the Milken Institute conference was a heavy hitter one: Peter Chernin of News Corp, Bob Iger of Disney and Jonathan Miller of AOL (who told me today that he is a big fan of us, which made me happy). The moderation was more irritating than useful, but other than that, the weight of the speakers carried it through. They know how to say the right words now, and that’s a big difference from say even a year ago. And all three of them are doing the rights things, at least externally. (Audio of the panel at the end of the post)
Iger: The speed of change is accelerating, and now the traditional players are the catalyst for it. It is not external anymore, it is within. We are not playing the game of catchup, but we do need to get on the train. Technology is to media companies what refrigeration was to Coca-Cola.
Miller: Convergence: I am bringing back that word…people themselves are becoming convergent.
Iger: We tend to ignore what younger generations would tolerate..they are used to smaller screens, download times, quality. Huge mistake.
Chernin: We as an industry are much better positioned (compared to the music industry)….but the music industry lessons made us do the right things now. YouTube: Exciting as it shows the potential pent up demand…we did a survey and more than 80 percent of video on this site is copyrighted content.
Iger: We have America’s Funniest Home Videos…so we know how addictive user-generated content is. People are just fascinated by voyeuristic content. It is not that bad for our business…it just increases consumption of media. That is a very good thing.
Miller: The MySpace deal was a great deal for Fox.
Chernin: It is probably the best acquisition we have ever made. In a couple of months, it might even surpass Yahoo in terms of traffic.
Iger: Affiliate issues: We didn’t have any meeting with our affiliates before we made the ABC-iPod deal. Traditional distributors should not get in the way of us putting our content on all platforms. Change is hard, but we do not view it as threatening. We create a lot of value for these affiliates…they get a first crack at those shows.
Chernin: On movies and collapsing windows: We are trying to do a 60-day window after theatrical. My job is not to protect the existing business, but to maximize them. But we also need to embrace new revenue stream. We will abandon theaters in a milli-second if someone shows us we can get some more revenues elsewhere, but that will not happen.
Iger: On the iPod vs free streaming online: The experience on iTunes has been excellent: they are selling about a million videos a week. Our own has been about 7 million or more.
Chernin: We invented mobisodes…24, and now Prison Break. That is about as exciting a platform than anything that exists.
Iger: Affiliates: not giving them a cut for iTunes downloads. On Google: we don’t view them as enemy or rival. They ultimately makes our business easier by helping people find things.
Chernin: Ad sales on MySpace are doubling every 3-4 months.
Miller: Price of online advertising is similar to cable TV (CPM)…national cable.
Chernin: Brands matter, and leadership matters…it is so difficult to reach such fragmented audiences…so those CPM numbers will keep rising.
Miller: The biggest obstacles: making good experiences…all the screens and interconnecting are not fluid yet.
Iger: You can’t ask all the questions and hope you get all the answers…we need to rely on the gut and we’re learning all the way along.
Chernin: The most positive thing going on right now is experimentation in the media business.
Chernin: On the mobisodes: Vodafone: Paid us triple the production costs…I am not convinced that cellphone is the greatest medium to watch narrative content. It is a short-form, commuting experience.
Iger: Ipod vs Cellphones: Not either or..it all wins.
Chernin: Anyone who tries to protect their traditional business loses.
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