Conde Nast topper: Content is still king

CANNES — The head of Conde Nast’s entertainment division has warned TV players that they need to take the threat of digital media seriously or risk going the way of the music biz.

In a rousing address at the Mipcom sales mart, Dawn Ostroff, prexy of Conde Nast Entertainment, said Conde Nast was well placed to take advantage of emerging digital platforms such as Hulu and YouTube because of its great tradition of storytelling.

“We’re the world’s premier storytellers,” Ostroff claimed, as she reminded delegates that films like “Brokeback Mountain” had started out as articles published in one or another of the company’s 100-plus magazines.

Ostroff said that “the day that TV died” for her was five years ago when, while running the CW, she realized that her young audience no longer viewed TV on an appointment basis, instead using the DVR to timeshift their viewing choices.

“What matters is not the platform but the content. Without the content, distribution platforms are just empty pipes,” Ostroff said.

YouTube today is the equivalent of MTV in the 1980s, when the music specialist and other nascent cable webs concentrated on short-form content, Ostroff said. Cable operators have raised the bar for creativity by “becoming better storytellers” and finding new ways to speak to auds.

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