Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is Distribution King?

At various times, it has been argued that content, distribution, context or some attribute actually is the crucial bottleneck, choke point or nexus of value in the media business. 

Sometimes it has seemed that distribution was king; at other times content appeared to the gating partner in the ecosystem; while during the wildness of the Internet bubble it was argued that "context" was king. 

All absolute observations are likely wrong to some degree, no matter what the prevailing view.Some might argue that in some ways, especially where it comes to online video, that "ubiquity" is king. 

There is an argument to be made. Consider Netflix, which seems to have an for virtually every popular Internet-connected digital device you can think of.  Is distribution still king?

It is true that consumers now are more in charge of when and how they watch video content than ever before. That increasingly means that getting convenient gateways to content on the widest possible number of devices is an important strategy for distributors. In many cases, that means an app. 

As a result, the distribution companies that will win are those that recognize the need to be everywhere. 

When it comes to capturing consumers’ attention now, a piece of content is only as good as its distribution, some will argue. That is true. 

It also is true that even extensive distribution is of modest help unless the distributor has the "good content" most people want. So, as usual, you can make an argument that distribution is king, or that content is king. 

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