Tweaking the Cable Model, to Avoid Newspapers’ Fate
Story in the New York Times
Ever since the rise of Napster, discussions among movie and television executives have included a vow not to let happen to Hollywood what happened to the music industry. After spending a few days last week at the Cable Show in Washington, I’m starting to hear a new worst-case scenario: that Hollywood goes the way of newspapers.
“The biggest risk is so much stuff gets on the Internet for free that we turn into the newspaper business,” Stephen B. Burke, Comcast’s chief operating officer, said in an interview last week.
Ironically, this new fear results from the partial success of Hollywood’s attempt to fight piracy. Sure, like the music labels, studios sue file traders and push for draconian copyright laws. But what is really making a difference is that they are making a good chunk of their content available digitally through services like iTunes and Hulu. This gives the early adopters an alternative to stealing shows, and it gives the studios a promise of profit from digital distribution.