Piracy is a business model

Interesting post on Boing Boing, quoting a Disney co-chair Anne Sweeney. While the executive's comments at Mipcom seem clearly spurned by the belief that "content is king", Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow rounds out his post with a moment of clarity to which more studio execs and marketers should subscribe:

Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.

Well put. I'm inspired to put it this way:
Conversation is king because no one can own it.

(Not even Disney, not even with all the pirate references ... coincidentally made as a Disney pirate movie special edition DVD is made available for pre-order.)

In fact, Sweeney goes on to mention that some consumers want to consume content in a timely fashion so as to not miss out on the proverbial "watercooler moment" - conversation, in not so many words. This doesn't jive with her "content is king" stance. You don't bring content to the watercooler, you bring conversation. Let me give you an example:

This week, had I a watercooler conversation, it would have been about how the streaming online player for selected ABC programs doesn't work very well, and how the Disney-owned network was unable to stream more than twenty seconds of LOST without grinding to a halt for minutes at a time (an unpleasant, frustrating user experience). I'd then turn the conversation to the feeling I got, saying "just go buy it at iTunes and be done with this", and how I thought I'd just been teased into buying content I was supposed to have gotten for free. I'd managed to see a choppy two minutes of the episode, and now I wanted to see the rest. This is where I'd let the conversation go parenthetical...

(What do you do when the brand new, free streaming player isn't working? You can pay two dollars for the same content - plus DRM - at iTunes, or you could just watch for the content on a free P2P network, where you can get the content that will keep you in tomorrow's conversations.)

I would have concluded the conversation with mention of the BitTorrent options for freely acquiring the content on which our conversations thrive.

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