Following the money
September 30, 2013
— Silicon Valley has
TV envy. The same
digerati who deride
the old school TV
really like to be part of an old school TV
business, or at least just like one.
Maybe it’s locational. The Bay Area’s
beautiful and has major local software
celebrities. But “L.A.” rolls off the
tongue like a sigh and has the Jolie-
L.A. also now has the gold. It’s
in a suburb called “Burbank,” where
TV content rights live. They live there
because that’s where TV content and
movies come from, and why Brad and
Angie are up the hill. It’s also why Barry
Diller, and in a slightly more psychedelic
way, Alki David, are trying to convince
federal judges to let them resell TV
content as if it were their own, without
licensing the rights. Because it’s worth a
lot of money—like gold.
Gold’s, what $1,350. an ounce? TV’s
what, $133,333 per second during the
2014 Super Bowl? Gold? (<_<) (>_>) TV.
Hmmm. Tough one.
Except that while gold travels in tightly
controlled networks and is of a solid
nature that when taken is considered
stolen, TV content is of a nonphysical
nature and is distributed literally
everywhere, in a way that nearly anyone
can capture and reproduce. The ease of
sharing and redistributing TV content so
obscures what constitutes its theft that a
media law degree is now worth its weight
in TV seconds.
TV and movie makers have locked
down the legal rights of their stuff as
a result. This creates a relatively high
hurdle for the profusion of nouveau
distributors and software-based content
enhancers, who respond by pressing
for free access and usage while
simultaneously courting the industry
from whom they want to steal to adopt
and deploy their technology.
That’s why “TV everywhere” may
not include your favorite show. Détente
between new and old media is the only
way it will.