Content is back to being king!

Media’s love affair with content has been in an ebb and flow for years. But as the means of distribution continue down the path of more choices for less cost, the value of owning content has returned to its throne of supremacy in this digital age. Increasingly, content consumers are choosing their online destination by virtue of where it can get the desired programming.

Once upon a time, the major studios would supply content to the highest bidder, even if that was a direct competitor. Indeed, it was common for Warner Brothers Television and others to supply the spectrum of broadcasters, without regard to who was distributing it. But in this age of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc., owning content takes on greater importance.

That is what makes this Ad Age article particularly enlightening. Clearly, Comcast is pursuing a strategy of owning as much of its content as possible, with its move to acquire DreamWorks Animation.

“Content owners have become increasingly valuable as of late and we could argue Comcast sees potential value in the library of franchises, characters that could be integrated,”¬†said Eric Wold, a B. Riley & Co. analyst covering the entertainment industry.

It is likely that the success of Netflix has been largely a result of its being the sole source of programs like “House Of Cards” and “Orange Is The New Black.” And, apropos of the DreamWorks Animation news, Amazon Studios has been an avid producer of children’s programming.

This is good news for creators, but like everything in entertainment, conditions can change on a moment’s notice, so get while the getting is good, because it may not last. One scenario that I think may be a trend is the sourcing of content via app, as opposed to cable, satellite or SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand).


  1. Kelvin Ishigo says:

    I wonder if it is just content alone that is “king” or content in conjunction with fine grained big data analysis of what your viewership is watching / not watching. One suspects that Netflix is able to hone in on the proper content to create based on the fact they own the distribution medium and that the particular distribution medium they use allows viewership analysis down to the clicks the viewer makes on the user interface via the client server backchannel. Given the high cost of creating content, the traditional model of top down ideation of content might be less efficient than crowd driven content ideation.

    • Todd says:

      I would take issue with the idea that Netflix owns the distribution medium. They have access to it, and can claim a piece of it, but ultimately it is accessible by everyone. They own the content, and that gives them access to proprietary data about the viewers of said content, but they are at the mercy of competitors who will probably match, if not exceed, their appeal to the viewers. Every show has its time, and this is seen every season (although some, like Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead, seem to buck that trend).

      This makes the Amazon model so interesting, in that almost everything is put before its subscribers so they can chime in before a single season is ordered. The easy access to customers and the abundance of data about those customers is changing the models that had been in place for decades.

      Good comment!

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