Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #163: NBC is singing to a new iTune

A tip of my hat to Nikki Finke for this post about how NBC is coming back to iTunes after a very noisy and acrimonious split.

To sum it all up, Jeff Zucker, NBC-Universal's grand poobah, had some problems with iTunes over issues of price, rights management, and other minutiae. However, instead of going the true capitalist route and having a chummy little negotiation with the folks at Apple where a mutually beneficial solution could be arrived at, he went the route of the 4 year old, grabbing all his toys, as in shows, and going home.

That's not how a CEO should act. Many do act that way, but they shouldn't. A CEO should understand not only the position of their company, but also of their competitors, their markets, and most importantly, themselves.

A person in Zucker's position shouldn't say something like: he will "destroy the industry" unless "we take control" of something as massively successful as iTunes. Especially when your own company, which once dominated the ratings, is now in fourth place, and by the looks of the fall season, will soon be jealous of the CW network.

When you're in that position, basically bent over a barrel, you don't have the luxury of temper tantrums, and you definitely do not have the luxury of making enemies. Especially enemies as big, powerful, and fast growing as iTunes.

Because when you do, and your attempts to market your new product on shows people don't watch don't help sell your iTunes substitute, you better break out your bib, because you're going to eat a big heaping plate of crow for dinner.

I discussed the qualities that make a good mogul in a previous post. In that post I said that a good mogul had to be part Coach, part General, part Diplomat, part Explorer, and part Monk. To boil it down you must inspire, lead, convince, discover, and, last but not least, eschew the temptations of ego and power.

Don't do that, and you'll find yourself, hat in hand, in front of those you have offended, begging to be let back in the game.

And that doesn't bode well, for the company, or its CEO.

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