Friday, August 31, 2007

NBC ending its relationship with iTunes

As the NBC relationship with iTunes expires in December and the launch of Hulu is expected in October, the change in distribution by NBC begs the question, what is more important, content or distribution.

I have always contended that content is king, and like the line from Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come." Quality content will find distribution. Recently, however, a friend of mine made the opposite assertion that distribution is king. If you have the pipeline and the access to an audience, they will come to you no matter what you offer. In fact, many cable networks have done quite well once they got access to distribution with what some may argue was not great programming.

Its the kinda question as old as the chicken or the egg.

So, what do you think. Which matters most - should an entertainment company building new content concentrate first on great quality of its content or should they spend their money first on securing great distribution deals with whatever content they can offer quickly or cheaply. Is content king or is distribution?

In the case of NBC, they seem to be saying that their content is king. Despite the huge distribution that iTunes offers, they are willing to cut that off for their own, brand new distribution platform, Hula. Content over distribution. But will the audience find Hula like they know iTunes. Only time will tell and maybe it will answer the question, content or distribution.