Lots of juicy stuff here from this morning's ad:tech keynote interview concerning NBC’s digital strategy with respect to YouTube and iTunes (brought to you by my trusty little Flip Camera). I think that, all in all, CDO (Chief Digital Officer—yeah, that’s C-level position) George Kliavkoff has a healthy perspective on the situation. In his view, it’s much more beneficial for NBC to take an offensive approach by creating a place – Hulu.com – where users can gain access to high quality NBC content free, on demand, and before it hits YouTube. Gaining friends instead of skewering enemies (aka the VIACOM way)… very wise approach, in my opinion.
But there was something else that came out of the conversation that really threw me off. It has to do with iTunes.
NBC has a film distribution deal with iTunes, but no distribution deal for their television content. George K says that he’d love to distribute NBC TV programming on iTunes—that iTunes provides a great customer experience—but then in the same breath says that another one of NBC’s primary concerns is piracy. Fighting piracy.
So, umm, what does iTunes have to do with piracy? In George K’s words:
“Without talking about any particular partner, I would say if you looked at some of the studies about mp3 players – especially the leading mp3 players – and what portion of that content is pirated content as opposed to legitimate content and then you think about how that content gets on those devices, it really has to go through a gatekeeping piece of software, which would be a pretty convenient place to have some anti-piracy measures that would give someone the opportunity to buy the legitimate copy if they’re trying to upload the illegitimate copy.”
Translation: iTunes will not adequately protect our television content from piracy. Wow.
I know that most, if not all, pirated content on people’s mp3 players comes from old downloads off of Kazaa a million years ago. NOT iTunes. In fact, peeps found iTunes’ anti-piracy measures to be a major bummer. I for one have never downloaded anything for free of off iTunes, TV shows included. So why does NBC have a movie distribution deal with iTunes and not one for TV? What exactly is George K trying to say about iTunes with respect to piracy?