NBC leaving iTunes for HULU – Here’s why it’s moronic

1 09 2007

So NBC is leaving iTunes store. Why? I’ve heard they want more control over distribution options. They want more control over piracy. They want more control over pricing options. DING DING DING! We have a winner! They want to charge more money. They want you to buy things in bundles, they want you to start paid subscriptions. But you know all this.

HULU. They have this new store called hulu.com. This is where they want to bring you to buy their stuff. The stuff you see on NBC, some stuff you see on Fox… The studios want more control and this is where they want to apply it. It’s not open yet. We don’t know the full pucture yet. But hey, it’s moronic. I can think of two things to say about it.

Hey, it’s going to be a great idea! If only they had done this in the past, producers of entertainment could have made a ton more money! Instead of putting records in the record stores, open your own company record store that has your stuff exclusively, and make people go there to buy on more restrictive terms! That’ll work… Let’s see, remember all those Disney stores that were in all the malls all over America, where you had to go to get Disney stuff? Whatever happened to those?

Hey, did you know that NBC broadcasts shows like “The Office” out over the air for free? That’s right, for free! And yet, lots of people are willing to pay two bucks to get a lower technical quality copy that they can download over the Internet in the iTunes store. Lucky us! No? Not lucky us? It’s actually bad? Yeah that’s bad, we think we can make people pay more. We think we can put on heavier copy restrictions. We think we can get people to pay on a subscription basis. We think they want the pay versions of our stuff, they really, really like us, they want it even though we broadcast the stuff for free and in fact we are dying to get more people to watch those free broadcasts so we can get back up to being the number three net again.

IS that what you are thinking? It’s moronic! Your customer’s aren’t your enemy to squeeze and choke! Do any of you have kids? Go home and talk to them. You could be making money hand over fist on the Net. Instead you are killing yourselves. Look, I’m not Einstein, go ask some real people and HEED THEM. You can clean up, I’m tellin’ ya.

Don’t make your product more expensive, harder to get, and harder to use. Do the opposite. Make it easy to get, easy to use, and cheap. Go ahead and keep the commercial breaks in your shows to subsidize them a bit. Better still you are going with product placement, and those in-show ads are being WATCHED. The key is to make shows an impulse buy, make them easy to find, to get, to use, to put on the customers devices – ALL their devices. SO WHAT if they give a copy to a friend! People invite others to their living room to watch TV with them, don’t they? And you LIKE that, right? Because they might start watching themselves at home later! Well let people watch a copy of a show. Make damn sure it is easy as pie for that friend to start buying their own copies. And instead of working on DRM, work on ways to make sure you can count how many viewers you have. Count those viewers and you can crank up those proces for those product plazcements. DUH! Work on that!

That’s why iTunes is a win-win, you morons! So far it is the easiest way for people to get your shows is through iTunes. It’s an impulse buy. One click! Join the party. Make hulu, stay on iTunes, make the shows cheap, make them copyable, make ways to count those copies and those viewers. We all win and instead of being called greedy morons you are called the smart good guys.

It’s your choice, NBC, studios, content producers of all types. But the money is out there waiting for you. It’s just laying there for you – it’s actually LOOKING for you. You want it or not? Loosen up and everyone wins big time. Less DRM. More counting eyeballs. Work on that. Everyone wins.