Ion’s Brandon Burgess, Univision’s Kevin Cuddihy and Boston Consulting Group’s John Rose say that if you control content, the new means of distributing content — OTT and apps among others — will allow you to stay relevant as TV business and distribution models change.
As important as it is to keep pace with new distribution systems, broadcasters need to invest as much in securing control of content as they do in technology, industry leaders say.
“If you own your content you can participate in whatever technology comes your way,” says Ion Media CEO Brandon Burgess said. Gaining control of at least a portion of their content is one of “the most important” things broadcasters can do stay relevant (and afloat) as TV business and distribution models change.
Burgess was one of three panelists — Univision President of Local Media Kevin Cuddihy and The Boston Consulting Group’s John Rose were the other two — who discussed the impact of the TV industry’s evolution on traditional broadcasters at Wednesday at the CCW-SATCON conference in New York.
Burgess’s fellow panelists agreed.
Cuddihy noted that some of the industry’s biggest content owners are already trying to monetize their vast libraries. Sony, for instance, announced the launch of a network, getTV, which air its assets.
He also noted that despite all the talk about new means of distributing content — OTT and apps among others — a company like Sony opted to launch a broadcast network for digital subchannels.
Cuddihy said he finds it particularly “interesting” that a company like Sony is “making a bet” on airing its network on broadcast TV. “OTA can give you 100 channels at no charge, and that’s what we’ve had all along,” he said.
Yet panelists said paying due attention to content in no way diminishes the need for broadcasters to keep pace with — and adapt to — the rapid changes in the business models.
Cuddihy said reaching viewers is of utmost importance. “We need to make sure we are aggregating our viewers no matter when they are watching us or where they are watching us,” he said. “We have to make sure we are delivering our content in the places it needs to be.”
Rose agreed, saying not all broadcasters are in the position to own content — an expensive proposition — and need to confront today’s challenges by other means.
“The moves that you make really depend on your starting point,” he said.
He said the “changing underlying dynamics and economics” of the industry “will not happen as quickly as people forecast. The sky is not falling.”
However, the steps broadcasters take in this “first or second inning” will be crucial to they will ultimately succeed — or not. “The implications of those slower paced changes will really create significant winners and losers,” he said.
Read more CCW-SATCON coverage here.