Zucker: Viable, Viable, Viable

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Jeff Zucker, the CEO of NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), was on Charlie Rose the night before, and talked about, among other things, the company’s digital businesses. Count the number of time he uses the word “viable”, when talking about digital media side of his company’s business. He said it will be at least five years until the industry and his company has developed “viable” economic systems to replace traditional dollars with the digital dollars. He also talked about Hulu, the company’s relationship with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), and digital distribution of content.

And then, about YouTube: “YouTube had a lot to do with our thinking of Hulu.” Probably the first time any senior executive has admitted to that. He further said that his company now has a good relationship with YouTube, in terms of their video site doing a much better job of filtering out NBCU content uploaded by users.

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I agree with Jeff that it may take five years to properly monetize digital content, especially in the face of piracy, but I think he and other media companies are ignoring what works best in their traditional business model.

1. Know your customer
2. Keep her in front of your family of content

It is difficult to know who is watching online, especially if your content is spread on others' networks. But if you aggregate a user's viewing history and personalized it, you can anticipate what they will want next.

This knowledge is extremely powerful for both converting high-impact targeted advertising and providing a personal viewing/listening experience that keeps her in your network of content.

We are finding great success with that approach at Dash Media, LLC.

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