Sony Pictures CEO Micheal Lynton said this during a breakfast co-hosted by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and The New Yorker this past Thursday:
I’m a guy who doesn’t see anything good having come from the Internet, period. [The internet] created this notion that anyone can have whatever they want at any given time. It’s as if the stores on Madison Avenue were open 24 hours a day. They feel entitled. They say, ‘Give it to me now,’ and if you don’t give it to them for free, they’ll steal it.”
Read More for my take on why he and Sony are doing it wrong.
Here’s a thought: Instead of blaming people for wanting your content in a manner which suits their convenience level and price ceiling, why not try and adapt your business to to the consumer’s desire? The consumer ultimately sets their own price for product anyway, so it’s not like you have anything to lose except control.
Aha! that’s the issue: Michael Lynton is still stuck in the age of controlled media distribution where hardware manufacturers and content providers worked in concert to provide content and controlled every aspect of distribution.
The irony of the former statement is further magnified by a factor of 9000 when a little research is done on his past corporate endeavors and it’s almost a shock to find that he ran AOL International and was the CEO of AOL Europe in 2000 where he was responsible for AOL Europe as well as AOL operations in Asia and Latin America until 2004 when he moved to Sony.
His attitude towards consumers also reflects the continued ignorance of media distribution companies that half-ass or bungle their way through method after method of controlling content which is evidenced by the still-lame pricing and rental scheme used on the Playstation Network in the US and other countries, the failed Connect online music store platform, the commercial failure of Betamax and the commercial failure of MiniDisc.
No one wants to deal with a company that continually frustrates its customer base, and Sony Pictures along with Sony Home seem to be experts at that, with bad discs (Blu-Ray releases with bad encryption keys), transfers (Buena Vista and first gen Sony Home Blu-Ray discs), even dropping ongoing series (Cyborg-009) and killing demand by continually remaining silent on releases such as Blood+
The above statements made by the CEO also show that Sony is still in a state of internal disarray, with no singular vision across divisions as the media divisions still practice overt control over the near stagnant hardware divisions that were once bastions of innovation.
The only real way to fix it would be to get rid of him, but that would mean actually being willing to change the attitude towards customers if any real progress is to be made by the conglomerate, which recently posted a massive operating loss of 1.25 billion dollars, its second consecutive operating loss since 1956.
Sony Pictures can easily fix these issues with content that it has by loosening the reins and using its percieved brandimage to allow itself to innovate instead of continually stumbling over failed DRM schemes and whining about the loss of control, and instead embrace things like paid/free streaming, paid downloads with no DRM that work across all services, and once again become the company that created the consumer video recorder and ushered in a new era of consumer freedom and innovation.
Or they could dump the media divisions and let R&D return to its former glory going back to hardware only instead of buying R&D in the form of outside companies, their call.