Zucker: “We’re at Digital Dimes Now”

NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker upped the exchange rate in his famous quote about trading analog dollars for digital pennies this morning by saying “I think we’re at digital dimes now.”

The remarks were made during his keynote presentation at the Digital Hollywood Media Summit in New York.

This wasn’t just a flippant comment either. Zucker says he believes the economic landscape for content online has improved, but he added, “It’s a long way to go from those dimes to dollars,” with the caveat “I don’t know if we’ll get to the one-for-one dollar replacement.”

On the topic of new initiatives like TV Everywhere and On-Demand Online, which would require users to verify that they pay a multi-service operator for television in order to watch content online, Zucker was vague, and spoke in broad terms.

“We believe in ubiquitous distribution, we want our content to be available everywhere,” Zucker said, also noting that “We’re not afraid to try things and stop them.”

He continued: “What we’ve lost in terms of viewers and ad dollars on the tradition analog systems is not being made up for on the digital side. Until we do that, there’s a risk to all our business plans,” said Zucker.

Zucker also touched on the recent dust-up between the NBC-owned Hulu and CBS’ TV.com that resulted in Hulu removing its content from the rival video portal. While he wouldn’t go into specifics, Zucker indicated that TV.com broke its agreement in terms of distributing Hulu content. “We think that Hulu had a very clear agreement with TV.com, and I’m hopeful that that will be resolved to everyone’s benefit, soon,” said Zucker.

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