Old Media Hogwash

Ok this is old news by now, but I’ll still complain about it. Rupert Murdoch is a media tycoon who owns 20th Century Fox. He has also been hailed as a technology leader because he bought DirectTV and MySpace.com. I think he’s overrated. Listen to him talk about Fox’s video offerings in Newsweek:

We’re not knocked out by iPod so far… How many will want to pay $1.99 on Monday morning if they missed “Desperate Housewives” the night before? What’s been announced so far with iPod and Disney and NBC is very small-time at the moment… There are so many things you can do, particularly in other parts of the world, where mobile-telephone service is a lot more developed. We’re downloading minute segments-original “mobisodes”-of the Fox hit “24”… It’ll be a pretty serious piece of revenue for us someday, probably. We’ll be into all these things, some quite original and some of what others are doing.

I wouldn’t mind if Murdoch said they didn’t want to lock their customers into the Apple format or that they think quality of iTunes video was sufficient. I would almost accept the argument that you didn’t trust DRM as a way of protecting your content. But to say that they know what we want better than we do, that’s just stupid. Then to say the “mobisodes” are better, is ridiculous. How can 1 minute of Jack Bauer (actually, I doubt the 24 mobisode even has Kiefer) be better than an hour?

What really bothers me about all this is the presumption that content-owners know their customers better than the customers know themselves. Apple’s model has become very successful and has actually helped shows gain a larger audience (see The Office). I wonder what would happen if Murdoch would have let people could have test Arrested Development out for $1.99 an episode?

(On an aside, last night’s “finale” of Arrested Development was spectacular. Perhaps another network would be good enough to continue it. If that doesn’t happen, it was great while it lasted and they went out with a bang.)

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