HOLLYWOOD — Media companies may be seen as giving away their precious content and audiences to social network platforms – but the tension between content and distribution is really as old as the hills.

That’s according to a media executive who has seen the evolution of the relationship over the broad sweep of time.

“A number of companies … have adapted to a very new important reality of distributed media creation,” says Hearst Digital Media digital president Troy Young, in this video interview with Beet.TV

“How is that creating tension between distribution and content, around how the spoils are divided? This is not a new conversation – it’s as old as media.”

Young was delivering a presentation at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting and an interview with Digiday on the same topic. He says Michael Eisner’s threat, to undermine Time Warner by buying customers satellite dishes to carry his programming direct, showed the crucial relationship between content and distribution had frequently been as tense as it was important, even in the analog age.

Whilst the tension may have been around for a long time, for Young, it has been inverted. “The platform was delivering value to content, now content is delivering value to the platform,” he says.

Publishers and producers are now living in a Catch-22 where they see value in owning audience data, but social funnels are perhaps their best chance at snagging audience in the first place.

Young thinks the equation has been weighted too strongly in platforms’ favor – but things are getting better.

“We’ve maybe taken content for granted a bit,” he says. “We’ve not worked hard enough at creating a mechanism to divide finances equitably.

“We’re seeing that now. Facebook has talked about monetization for publishers, disruptors like Snapchat are putting pressure on how curated environments work. It’s very welcome.

“I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing from Facebook, but I want more.”

This video is part of a series produced at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. Beet.TV’s coverage of this event is sponsored by Index Exchange. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.

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