Jeff Zucker: Please STFU

Categories: TV Business

Written By

October 29th, 2007

Jeff ZuckerDude, run NBC instead of running it into the ground while crying about Apple.

Jeff Zucker is crying about Apple.  Crying about iPods. Crying about iTunes.   What the Zuck!?  I mean I totally get crying about Apple. I shorted AAPL at $52 and covered at $60 (fortunately), but didn't have the good sense to go long even though I am the ultimate Apple fanboy these days. Love my iPhone - best gadget EVER - even with all its flaws.  Anyway, Zuck didn't have the sense to go long either, I'm guessing.  I can totally understand shedding a tear.  But crying about iTunes killing the music industry and that it will do the same thing to the video business?  Crying that Apple sold millions and millions of dollars of hardware on the back of the video content NBCU had on iTunes?  C'mon.

Hardly anybody is downloading video content on iTunes but everyone has an iPod - it didn't have a freaking thing to do with NBC content.  OK, maybe out of every million iPods sold, five people did it because they wanted to watch Heroes on a 2" screen.  Yeah, yeah, now you can pay more and get a 3.5" screen (and it's worth it if you like watching video on portable devices) , but you can't get NBC content on iTunes now.   Apple sold like 1.4 million iPhones already - not sure how many iPod touches it has sold,  but what I am sure of is this: none of those sales had a Zucking thing to do with NBC content.

Nice try though.  And given all the $$ Apple apparently spends on product placement on NBC shows, not to mention advertising - I do admire the stones.  But, it's just dopey commentary.

One thing Zucker said that I kind of agree with was this: "Nobody has figured out the economic model yet. And if we don't figure it out soon, those dollars will turn to pennies."

Zuck - it's math, and the equation = pennies on the dollar.  That's as it should be. For the longest time the technology was such that the big media empires got to get paid more than once for the same content -- that's all going away. 

Just wait until Steve Jobs puts a DVR into Apple TV and makes it "push button easy" to watch the content recorded on your hard drive.  Whether you want it  on your TV, your internet connected computer or your iPod, someday with a press of a button you'll get it.

Zucker is really going to hate Jobs then, huh?  

That's how the technology is progressing and  it's all perfectly legal.  Who could blame Apple for trying to capitalize on changes to technology?  They're a freaking technology company. Duh! The control people have to do what they will with  content for their personal use will get easier and easier and there's no business model to stop it.  

Using the legal system to challenge the legality of  making it easy for you to copy content you acquired legally for your personal use is not a business model.  Big media has tried that route before and failed (tape recorder, VCR).  Failing paved the way for the DVR.  Game over.  It's just a matter of time. In the meanwhile... 

Is Steve Jobs responsible for NBC's lousy ratings?  I understand the desire to distract everyone from the fact that NBC is mostly an also-ran broadcast network these days. I do love Heroes and Law And Order, but they're no House.  I want to love Journeyman and the Bionic Woman, but like most other people in the world, I don't.  So stop crying about Apple and make better shows.  Then perhaps people will watch them and you'll make money for NBC the old fashioned way: selling advertising.

 
  • wren again

    Apple DID kill the music business. It wasn't premeditated murder…more like vehicular homicide. The big labels had moved to a hit-centric product that was very very easy to cherry-pick, file share and iTune. Who needs albums? The record industry got hit by the Apple at the intersection of Digital Highway and CD Avenue. Fortunately for Apple there was nothing illegal about what they did.

    Likewise the big networks are pushing their shows (like Heroes) as stand-alone brands. How many viewers care about NBC vs FOX vs HULU? Or networks vs affiliates? TV content can now be cherrypicked by file sharers for free or Apple for $1.99. No matter. The $70B advertising model that keeps affiliates, syndicators and networks afloat is sinking….almost as fast as the music business sank last year.

    I'd recommend that Jeff build a bigger boat.

  • wren again

    Apple DID kill the music business. It wasn’t premeditated murder…more like vehicular homicide. The big labels had moved to a hit-centric product that was very very easy to cherry-pick, file share and iTune. Who needs albums? The record industry got hit by the Apple at the intersection of Digital Highway and CD Avenue. Fortunately for Apple there was nothing illegal about what they did.

    Likewise the big networks are pushing their shows (like Heroes) as stand-alone brands. How many viewers care about NBC vs FOX vs HULU? Or networks vs affiliates? TV content can now be cherrypicked by file sharers for free or Apple for $1.99. No matter. The $70B advertising model that keeps affiliates, syndicators and networks afloat is sinking….almost as fast as the music business sank last year.

    I’d recommend that Jeff build a bigger boat.

  • Robert Seidman

    “Show me the way to go home…”

    Wren, we completely agree on the outcome (bigger boat), but little else. By the time I bought the 1st generation iPod, it was my 6th or 7th MP3 player. Apple showed up late for that dance, and they were not the first at the $.99/song party either. Technology and proliferation of inexpensive computers (never Apple's strong suit) changed the landscape. Apple just made the most out of the opportunity.

    I know it's bad for big record label execs who were being paid millions for doing nothing. I'm not sure it's bad for consumers or even the artists — but that's a discussion for another web site :D

  • Robert Seidman

    “Show me the way to go home…”

    Wren, we completely agree on the outcome (bigger boat), but little else. By the time I bought the 1st generation iPod, it was my 6th or 7th MP3 player. Apple showed up late for that dance, and they were not the first at the $.99/song party either. Technology and proliferation of inexpensive computers (never Apple’s strong suit) changed the landscape. Apple just made the most out of the opportunity.

    I know it’s bad for big record label execs who were being paid millions for doing nothing. I’m not sure it’s bad for consumers or even the artists — but that’s a discussion for another web site :D

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