from our friend Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee:

While paying lip service to Hulu is something even its non-partners like CBS do on a regular basis, long-form distribution of TV shows is still a surprisingly controversial idea for some. Discovery Communications in particular advocates a strategy that could be described as the opposite of Hulu.

Discovery CEO and President David Zaslav said in an on-stage interview at the NAB Show in Las Vegas today that he didn’t see an economic model for free web distribution of long-form content. He said he’d only distribute episodes online if circumstances forced him to, and so far the numbers aren’t significant enough. “If people start watching content on mobile phones and on the web in droves, we will have to go there or we will lose market share.”

I asked him off-stage when that day might be, and his response was an emphatic “Hopefully never!” He described a la carte online content consumption, where fans identify more with shows than the channels they run on, as the antithesis of Discovery’s niche brand strategy.

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I had to laugh at Mr. Zaslav’s refreshing honesty with the “Hopefully never!” comment.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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