Yesterday, I quoted Google's CEO Eric Schmidt's thoughts to print media execs about attempts to to control or limit the distribution of their content over the Internet. His basic point -- it can't be done. Don't even try. Allocate your resources, instead, to find ways to harness the viral power of the Internet -- and to monetize it! Change your mindset -- let's face it content holders, you have no choice.
Learn from the past.
The record labels tried, but failed, to "control" the flow of their content over the Internet, pursuing a strategy of legal "whack-a-mole" against pirates -- but, with every limited "victory", there were millions of more "losses" each day viewed through the myopic lens of piracy.
And, as I have written time and time again in the past several days, IPTV strategies ultimately are destined to fail for the same reasons. Internet TV -- open and available to all when they want it, and how they want it -- will rule the day. In the words of the esteemed King of Burgers, consumers want to "have it their own way."
BUT -- and this is a critical "but" -- that does NOT mean that mass distribution cannot be monetized! Nor does it mean that content holders should not be paid! On the other hand, they must be paid. And, they will be paid -- via a Chinese menu of advertising, subscriptions, and pay-per-download. Those monetization "hooks" can follow the content no matter where it finds itself over the Internet. In this way, activities once deemed to be piracy can be converted into legitimate consumption. In this way, mass distribution is a good thing -- a very good thing. The more your content is seen, heard, read, the more you make. Read this excellent article from MIT's Technology Review titled "Embracing Piracy: How to Make Money from Online Content, Even After it Gets Loose on Third-Party Websites." Remember, we still are only in the early innings of the Internet. Yes, there is much pain for content holders right now. But, proactive experimentation and open-mindedness to evolve business models ultimately will be rewarded.
So, evolve your business models. Focus on maximizing the distribution of your content -- encourage others to make this happen. View that as a good thing, rather than evil. And, find ways to monetize it. It is starting to happen ...