What Business Are You Really In?
Gotta pity those greedy, near-sighted media execs and association “leaders” who, presented with the vast opportunities of digital and internet technology, still cling so tightly to traditional, protective, proprietary, closed and litigious models of business. The RIAA, of course, is the poster child for industries in denial of change and hellbent of stunting progress, but they are certainly not alone. Two other examples are movie theatre owners and newspaper companies. Fortunately, there are forward-thinking voices like Blog Maverick’s Mark Cuban and BuzzMachine’s Jeff Jarvis to remind these guys just what business they’re actually in (now).
Cuban vs. John Fithian, the head of the National Association of Theatre Owners:
How sad is it when the President of the National Assoc of Theater Owners doesnt think his members can create a better movie going experience than what we can see in our houses and apartments? Guess what John, I can whip up a mean steak, but I still like to go to restaurants. Because I enjoy it. I enjoy getting out of the house with family, friends, who ever. …
Going to a restaurant. Going to a sporting event. Going shopping. Cabin Fever is alive and well. Wanting to get away from your parents, your kids, your job, your apartment, your house, your problems will never, ever go out of style. For the next thousand years the question will be asked… What do you want to do tonight ? For the next thousand years, people will want to get the heck out of the house. The question is where to and why.
Jarvis vs. the idea of an Old Media Content Consortium:
Well, that would be hugely stupid. And though huge companies can be stupid, I don’t think they’d be that self-destructive. For the truth of life today — like it or not, lump it or not — is that Google is everyone’s front page. And, yes, that can make life difficult. Google kills brands; Google commodifies everything. But that’s not Google’s fault. That comes part-and-parcel with this new, distributed world where we control the entry to the content we want and where there is no longer a scarcity of content that lets a few big players control it and us. Wishing this weren’t so won’t make it not so.
So when AFP sues Google to stop it from quoting and linking to its stories, it is cutting off its nose to spite its face. When newspapers put content behind pay and archive walls, they are killing their own Googlejuice and thus their audience — that is, the audience are not now attracting to their print products and their brands. When book publishers try to stop Google from indexing books so they can be found, they are killing the words and thoughts in them and cutting them off from the world.