The Next Great Media War

Larry Kramer, The Daily Beast: Who will win the battle between content providers like Viacom and distributors like Time Warner Cable? Viewers, of course.

The New Year’s Eve drama between Time Warner Cable and Viacom was the opening salvo in what promises to be a long and brutal battle for the future of our major media companies. It’s media’s version of the Hatfields and McCoys: Content vs. Distribution. Who should make more money?

At stake is how content creators will be compensated and control over the relationship with the consumer of that content. How this plays out could have a major impact on which companies own the future of media. Based on last week’s dramatic showdown, we’re seeing the beginning of the shift of power from the companies that deliver content (broadcast networks, cable systems, satellite systems, etc.) to the companies that create and own it.

Large media companies will be watching as customers change their consumption habits, advertising revenues drop, and creative talent goes in a hundred directions. This is all your fault of course. You, the consumer, empowered by all kinds of new technologies have begun to expect that you can view video programming whenever, wherever, and however you want to.