Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Executives say the darndest things

Studio execs ask stupid interview questions, make lots of bad decisions and now, I'm happy to add, say many silly things in front of large audiences. Put a microphone in front of them and you never know what'll come out of their mouths. While most of their comments are likely rote (and scripted by corporate PR), periodically they say things that make little sense.

Lucky for you, I'm here to document it.

Merit badge for dictatoring
Jon Miller, Chief Digital Officer, Chairman and CEO, Digital Media Group, News Corporation (longest title ever): Explains when what's left of MySpace relaunches in mid-October it will be "not fascist." That's encouraging. Of course this means Francisco Franco probably will take his profile down.

Dick Costolo, COO Twitter: When asked if Twitter will be around in 10 years "I think so. I hope so." Your employees would prefer more certainty. May I recommend selling advertisements? That'll ensure...what's the term I'm looking for...revenue stream.

Jimmy Pitaro, VP and General Manager, Yahoo: "We produce 25 shows." Can you name any? One of these days they'll rid themselves of the ghost of Terry Semel, hopefully it's before Google acquires whatever market share Yahoo has left.

Bacon cupcakes, highly irregular
Scott Moore, U.S. Executive Producer, MSN: "The algorithm made the call" explaining why a story about (no joke) bacon cupcakes became a top news item on their site. He then explained they need to tinker slightly with the algorithm. Yes. That seems like a good idea.

Lauren Zalaznick, President, NBC Universal & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks: "I feel like a brontosaurus at a fruit fly cocktail party." Honestly I have no idea what she meant about this. In a completely unrelated note, Lauren won't actually refer to the departed Project Runway by name, only calling it "the show."

Ben Silverman, CEO, Electus: Truth be told, he sounded like a presenter at every investor conference I've ever gone to. Dull and full of buzzwords like synergies, paradigm shifting and collabortainment. But you know you've hit the motherload of a snoozer when the presenter mentions Moore's Law. But Silverman did have a brief moment of "huh?" when he said "College Humor is a channel of the future." While I've never read or seen anything funny on the site, at least they have Cute College Girl of the Day.

Applicable photo from The Onion
Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks: If you've ever wondered why you can't go anywhere without running into one of the 11,000 Starbucks in the U.S., the Barista in Chief explained their strategy to become "this third place in America, between home and work." Isn't there a better third choice? In an unrelated note, Schultz also said they've made nearly $5 million in donations to help the rebuilding of New Orleans, but not for any press release or media coverage. That said, here's the press release Starbucks put out about donating $5 million.

This is pretty much the point where I started to zone out.  The thing about conferences that focus on monetizing digital video content is these conferences shouldn't be necessary.  If Hollywood execs had been paying attention to what Napster did to the music industry, they'd have planned for this eventuality.  They'd have recognized in 2000 it was just a matter of time until this "series of tubes" had the capacity to handle streaming video content and looking at ways to protect their property and make money doing it.  Perhaps then they'd have developed a digital video strategy that was something slightly better than ad hoc and poorly considered.  But too many ignored the warning signs and buried their heads in the coke sand.  And who knows, if they did, we could have avoided Internet royalty-driven Writer's strike too.

If only someone had raised this issue years ago.  Oh whoops. They did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Myspace is hoping The Social Network will make everyone decide to quit facebook and go back to Myspace....yeah, not gonna happen.

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