Piracy gets the brunt of the blame for media companies’ dwindling profits, but Miramax CEO Mike Lang says that’s not necessarily the problem with media companies these days; monopolies are.
Lang joined Netflix chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, at the MIPCOM conference, an entertainment conference frequently held in Cannes, where they expressed their opinions during a keynote. As long as you can give consumers what they want, it’s not really a problem, opines Lang.
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The best way to deal with piracy (yes, even with college kids) is to “offer [a] legitimate and great service for them.” Lang has a point: Netflix and Hulu are good examples of successful business models that have offered streaming media to the masses, although illegal movie downloads obviously remain the most cost-efficient option.
He then went on to express that he believes that the main problem indeed lies with digital monopolies using Apple’s digital music business—did you really think you’d be free of Apple news today?—as a prime example.
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“Apple is the strongest company in the music industry because there was not enough competition, and still to this day there is not enough competition. As an industry it can’t then influence, packaging, merchandising – all the things that are vital,” Lang said. Sarandos chipped in, noting how important the distribution process is. To drive the point home, he suggested that Walmart changed the industry more than Napster ever did.
The bottom line? You better figure out a way to give consumers what they want, which is hard to do in a monopoly-controlled industry, or they “will figure out a way to get it.”
Erica Ho is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.