Sony chief has his head in the sand with anti-internet assertion.
Sony Pictures chief executive Michael Lynton, last week made a bold assertion: “Nothing good has come from the internet, period.” At mine on Friday night, a number of good things (including a couple of bottles) arrived from the internet so he’s clearly wrong.
What an odd thing for an entertainment exec to say about a phenomenon so embraced by customers that it is undermining his business. Can a master of the distribution monopoly universe embrace something that is destroying his well-paid world? The internet is not just the revenge of the numerate on smug arts graduates.
Something good is coming from it, if only Mr Lynton and his friends could see it. If they spent as much time working out how to use the power of the internet as they did in denial about its properties, they might have a more promising future. Take, for instance, Hulu. As most broadcasters should know, this is the high-quality content outlet backed by News Corp, NBC and Disney in the US. Figures out last week from Nielsen showed Hulu has grown almost 500% in the past year.
Actually, the shareholders dispute this version of events; they claim 45 million visitors a month rather than the somewhat more modest 9 million polled by Nielsen. The explosive growth of this service, which can earn advertising revenue, is not powered by inarticulate bands of spotty youths but by the older pre-mium audience downloading their favourite shows in the comfort of their Parker Knolls. Over-55s were early to colonise the portal, but traffic has grown among 24- to 35-year-olds, who have become its largest segment.
So here is something good that has come out of the internet – a set of established media players working not in competition but in collaboration to attract audiences. It works because it provides a better experience than what is there already (YouTube) and is reliable and easy. In other words, it puts the audience first.
Now, none of the stakeholders will be able to charge the same rates as they do for spot advertising on primetime, and a Hulu business model is potentially much smaller than the current broadcast model. But the promotion and engagement of an alliance of ‘old media’ to start to engage with changing audience behaviour offers at least a path through the gloomy forest of the past in which Mr Lynton seems irrevocably trapped.