Back when Robert Iger took over the reins of the Walt Disney Company from Michael Eisner the word on the street was that Iger was no technophobe. Even more, he was an avid practitioner of technology. Never far from his blackberry, used an iPod, and was known to surf the web in the morning while working out.
So the hope was that Iger could do more than just steer Disney away from any fiasco’s like Go.com but make Disney the leader in telling stories across all media, whether IMAX or iPod, internet or flatscreen. It may still be a work in progress, but at least its progress. Add to that the fact that The Walt Disney Company is now the largest media company in the US and it adds up to one thing, when Iger speaks, people should listen.
This week the Disney CEO was speaking to cable companies, aka, Disney’s direct customers. Cable continues to dominate as a delivery method for Disney’s three main TV products (ABC, ESPN, and The Disney Channel), but that dominance is fading as internet delivery is taking off.
Reuters reports from The Cable Show, an industry gathering, where two new web TV products were rolled out: Comcast Corp calls its plan Online On Demand while Time Warner Inc calls its plan TV Everywhere. Both products plan to charge consumers for access to shows online.
However, Bob Iger cautioned cable executives from being too aggressive. “The consumer is king, not us the content provider and not you the distributor,” said Iger. Restricting content to pay viewing only would only serve alienate consumers.
The obvious example here is the music recording industry. So lets home that Iger’s taking his own advice and that the Cable industry listens as well. We don’t need to go through that again.