21stCentury Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch said direct-to-consumer offerings are inevitable for programmers, but that content providers have to be careful not to damage their existing relationships with traditional distributors, who continue to pay most of their bills.
“Make no mistake, everyone will go direct-to-consumer,” Murdoch said at the Goldman SachsCommunacopiaconference Wednesday. “I don’t think there is a major media company on the planet that ultimately won’t have a direct-to-consumer product launched in the short to near term. We need to make sure that we don’t damage the current ecosystem, which is very profitable to all of us, in the process of going direct-to-consumer.”
The Walt Disney Co. announced plansto launch a direct-to-consumer of its flagship sports network ESPN next year and a similar offering of its Disney library content in 2019. And Viacom, Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks and A+E Networks aresaid to be considering the launch of their own DTC offeringin the coming weeks.
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