According to this article, Murdoch feels “people are going straight to the sites” and that portal deals aren’t necessary. I’m not so sure I agree with him.
His Fox television network is a good example to consider in this. Of the few television shows I enjoy these days, I’m hard pressed to tell you which ones (any?) of them are on Fox. I used to be better at knowing facts like ER is on channel 12 at 10:00 on Thursdays. Now I just let my DVR do the work and I play everything back through the equivalent of one channel (the recorder itself). I’d argue that DVRs have made individual networks even less memorable than they were 5 years ago. In other words, DVRs have eroded some of the brand equity the networks built up over the years.
If that’s true, what are the chances someone will go to fox.com to watch/buy an online version of their favorite show? Google certainly helps, since a quick search of “House” points me to Fox’s website. But if portals and other video aggregators rise in importance, is it dangerous not making your content available on all the leading sites? You can still offer it on your own site, but as a consumer I’m more likely to go to one site where I’ll be able to find all the networks together and all the content I want.