Because there is no longer scarcity, an hour-long drama is not going to exist at the multimillion-dollar production level and not in the current distribution scheme. For everybody in that world, you talk about creative destruction. General entertainment is absolutely going to change for all of us.
Q: Live Nation is the country's largest owner of arenas. Ticketmaster is the largest ticketing company and has deals with several stars. Why shouldn't we be nervous about seeing them get together?
A: Well, you can be nervous all you wish. It sounds awfully arrogant. It's not meant that way. The thing is: These companies don't compete with each other directly. We don't own venues as Live Nation does. And Live Nation just entered the ticketing business but they don't compete with us at this point. So, it's vertical, and there's nothing legally wrong with vertical.
The issue is: Will consumers pay more? No. I actually think that what the combination will do will allow us to develop what was really lacking. The big players are getting rather old. The Rolling Stones are out there now. What we don't have is a great development process for new talent.
The recorded music business now is, in a sense, the loss leader for live entertainment. And the truth is that they should have symbiotic relationships, and I think we can bring that. But it's under review at the Justice Department and we'll know whenever they get around to dealing with this.
Q: Fleetwood Mac will be playing in St. Louis in a couple weeks. You can get a midpriced ticket for about $77, then there's a convenience charge of $9.70, a building facility charge of $2.50, and for the privilege of printing out my own ticket at home, I've got to pay you $2.50.
A: I would tell you what a great privilege it is for you to be able to do that and how much infrastructure we had to create and desks we had to make in order for you to do that. But here's the thing: Ticketmaster is the definition of an unloved company. Many more people are denied tickets than we are able to give them because there are only so many seats in the house.
The problem with the ticketing business is: It's the essence of non-transparency. And the reason is that everybody has an ax to grind. Artists do not want consumers to know that they have a take of different parts of the ticketing package. People who own venues want to put in service charges. So I think there's going to be legislation which is going to force transparency, and I think that would be great for everybody.
Video on the web
Q: You've been very excited about video on the Web. But no one's making money at it yet.
A: That's definitely true. We have a site called CollegeHumor.com some of you have probably seen. A few years ago it started to produce videos, and over a relatively short period they built up this little group, about 30 people, and they now make about eight videos a week.
And they're extremely successful in the sense that a lot of people view them. They get spikes in the millions of hits, and the quality is very good. And it's not expensive to produce a three- to five-minute video. Now people are getting used to the fact that they're going to have some commercial interruption of videos.
Q: So what's the business opportunity?