Monday, January 27, 2014

Reed Hastings Netflix on Challenges for VOA, RFE, etc

Reed Hastings, Netflix founder and CEO was a (former) listener to BBC World Service while working in Swaziland. Not sure why he never ran into the VOA on the radio dial. But he doesn't know either.

I bump into all kinds of curiosities while looking for other things on YouTube. The US BBG, which overseas the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Radio Marti, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Al Hurrah, meets in public. Their December meeting had some insights on the challenges these large government entities are facing in changing their delivery technology. They have enormous challenges being disruptive.

Reed Hastings shows that Netflix's disruptive, audience driven approach was the best way to approach a very static broadcast/cable industry. Understand what people need, then give them what they want. If it isn't out there, make it. It's a strategy for a sharing economy.

The panel also includes Tom Cochran, CTO of Atlantic Media (publishers of the Atlantic magazine) as well as Macon Phillips, from the bureau of international information programs at the US State Department.

The questions and answers afterwards really show (for me) the fundamental challenge facing all these international broadcasters. They are giant shouting machines in an age of the sharing economy. They have huge difficulty in engaging in a meaningful conversation. They also have a very central strategy...they want to push information out from a single point. People like John Hagel III have shown that there is a big shift to pull.

You can also hear the doubts that people are having about audience figures. The numbers quoted by BBG and BBC are huge. But what do they really mean?

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