As many debates are going on over what will happen to media (print, TV, radio, music, movies) in this Internet age, I want to remind that distribution is the key.
Hollywood has not dominated the film industry for years because it came up with the brightest idea, it did so because it did concentrate the distribution channel.
Today, with broadband Internet becoming the norm and with mobile Internet progressing by leaps and bounds, the historical distribution model is collapsing. With diminishing audience on TV, less readers for newspaper and less sell of DVD the content producers are fighting to find alternative revenue stream.
Producing for less, trying to find advertiser on the web, restricting content access, suing illegal downloads are but a few of the ways that they are trying to achieve.
However, the question that we should be asking ourselves is “Who will control distribution?”
The answer is at two levels:
1) The Internet Access: A this point in time, the access to the Internet is controlled by cable operators and telco. As for the mobile Internet these are the mobile phone operators. All of these are quasi-monopolies and charge a increasing high fee as the need to higher bandwidth is increasing.
2) The content aggregator and directories: These are basically places where you can locate content. Some are big search listing such as Google (search) while others are repositories that are finance by advertising (youTube) or sales (iTunes).
These are really the new distribution channels of this Internet age. Those are the one that will have considerable financial resources to negotiate with content producers to buy content (or acquires them like the Comcast-NBC/Universal deal).