The proverbial chicken verse egg is very much in play when it comes to the world of media and the question of which is more important, distribution verse content. Today, the stock market seems to think less of content creators as those media companies, from Disney to Fox to Viacom have all suffered due to cord cutting. For the moment, distribution, or to be more exact, the distribution disruptors, are leading the current battle. The rise of Netflix and Hulu and Amazon, the threat of Apple entering the content subscription business, and increased usage of devices like Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, and other OTT boxes are threatening the cable license fee model. Consumers still want content to watch; they just don't want to pay much for it.
And so low cost distribution platforms provide content choices for less. A Netflix subscription for under $10 a month. An HBO subscription WITHOUT a cable subscription, Amazon Prime with free shipping and tons of content to watch. All cost less than an annual cable subscription. And if video content companies are getting less revenues, than profits will only drop, despite additional cost cutting.
Of course the content v. distribution model is essentially a balancing act, one that will find a new middle ground as some cable channels fall away and we find clearer programming segments. We no longer watch channels, we watch shows and that also affects our search efforts. Channel surfing has lessened as broadband enables us to search specific attributes to find shows and movies to watch. From a certain actor or actress to key word search, the need to keep pushing channel up or down is no longer necessary, especially as content goes online.
Content is ultimately king in my book; but for the moment, broadband distribution exclusivity may be driving the bus for the moment.