On Monday December 5th, Ross Levinsohn, President of Fox Interactive Media, shed light on the strategy behind his company’s high profile acquisition of sites like IGN and Myspace.com in “Storming the Walls: Media Breakout!” You can read up more fully here.
The key points, as far as I understand, were that young people don’t read newspapers or watch much telly. That Fox’s antiquated infrastructure for circulation, advertising etc needs to be revamped to allow seemless purchasing across multiple sites. That there’s a whole mess around distribution rights and whether content broadcast on tv can be broadcast on the Internet. And that digital rights notwithstanding, Fox will start up an iTunes-style video store.
What I didn’t see was how Fox will convince advertisers to remain with them even if do make it easier to purchase cross-sites. That distribution rights are all very well, but when Robert Greenwald has just released all of the interviews from Outfoxed as a 500 MB MPEG file, suitable for editing and remixing via BitTorrent, what long term future is there in starting up an iTunes store? If I was a movie producer, I’d be handling my own digital distribution rights (or dealing with a niche marketing specialist) thank you very much. Not handing them over to the big boys. And not just movies – pay the tv producers directly, not the stations. There’s a tonne of info out there on how incumbent newspaper and tv and movie companies are in a world of trouble – Fuck Big Media by AFTRS Mark Pesce is an interesting read – and like Mr. Levinshohn reveals, not too many clear ideas on how to get back out of trouble.
Talking of films, Cane-Toad.com has “What happened to Baz?” a really great funny, downloadable short Aussie movie. If they had a donation page, I would’ve contributed. But I’ve beaten this drum before – its just too hard to throw down a dollar or two on the ‘net.