Hey Zucker, Did NBC Get Money From Zenith For TVs All Those Years?
from the sour-grapes-and-bad-management dept
It’s been really disappointing to watch NBC make pretty much all the wrong moves in the digital entertainment space over the last few years. Recently, it’s been getting more and more ridiculous in its bizarre attempts to blame everyone else for its problems — and I think it’s time to pin the problem squarely on NBC boss Jeff Zucker’s shoulders. Zucker took over the top spot at NBC earlier this year, and immediately bashed YouTube just as other NBC execs were talking about how useful YouTube was, and how when embraced it was a huge opportunity for the company. Then, NBC execs started blaming ISPs and the government for failing to protect NBC’s obsolete business model, even to the point of absolute ridiculousness, when a senior NBC exec had to say with a straight face that file sharing was harming poor corn farmers (despite the fact that corn farmers are doing quite well).
Zucker’s latest blame target? Apple. Apparently Apple has “destroyed the music business.” That’s funny, most people would note that Apple actually helped to save the digital music business after Zucker’s friends over at the record labels tried their best to kill it. Besides, Zucker’s flat out wrong. As we’ve seen time and time again, the music business is doing phenomenally well in every single aspect, save CD sales. More music is being created. More music is being heard. More bands are making more money through touring and alternative business models. Businesses that sell complementary products are doing amazingly well as well. Musical instrument sales are apparently up significantly and lots of folks are spending tons of money on equipment to listen to music (sometimes to ridiculous lengths).
And that’s the crux of Zucker’s second problem with Apple. He’s pissed off that the company picked the right business model, while his company picked the failing business model. That is, he’s blaming Apple for selling iPods and not giving the entertainment industry a cut of the hardware: “Apple sold millions of dollars worth of hardware off the back of our content, and made a lot of money. They did not want to share in what they were making off the hardware….” In other words, Apple understood the basic economics of content and how that would play out inevitably in the trends facing the industry and NBC was caught clueless.
It’s unclear why anyone should then feel pity for NBC. It screwed up, and it’s blaming the company that was successful. The fact that Zucker is still lashing out and blaming everyone for his own company’s failure — and then asking the gov’t to protect its business model rather than innovate — suggests that he’s the wrong man for the job. NBC should look to hire someone who actually has some sort of forward-looking vision, rather than a backwards looking protectionist who feels everyone else should pay up for his own failures. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Zucker was bad news for NBC even before he took over. Last year he was quoted as saying that NBC clearly had a better business model than Google. It’s possible that NBC could create a better business model, but the old, failing, obsolete one needs a big, big makeover, and blaming everyone else for your problems isn’t a part of that process. I know that there are plenty of folks who work under Zucker who read Techdirt (sometimes they leave angry comments). Why don’t you give us a call. We’ll help you sort out your strategy.