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Vice CEO’s MWC message to operators: Exclusive content, not just platforms – the race is on

Shane Smith, CEO & Co-founder, Vice Media, said one of the reasons he was keynoting at Mobile World Congress (MWC) this week was to break down barriers and encourage the operator community to do the same.

He told delegates, “Let’s do new things.” Those that don’t, he warned, risk repeating what happened to the music industry – “holding onto an ever shrinking piece of the pie.”

Smith also warned operators not to focus on technology alone and not to be “lazy” and “stupid” around content.

He commented, “Everyone is investing in platform platform, platform but what are you going to fill the pipe with? At the end of the day, algorithms can’t make great content — people make content.”

For operators, a focus on premium content represents new revenue streams, data through video and reduced churn. He said it is, “ticking all the boxes of the problems in the industry”.

However, the keywords are premium and exclusivity. Reselling Netflix content is not going to work. TV fans can get that themselves anywhere. That approach, Smith said, is “lazy, it’s probably stupid and it’s not going to get you where you need to go.”

But, “If AT&T is the only place you can watch Game of Thrones it’s good news for AT&T.”

Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, also talked about content and collaboration with operators during his MWC keynote. Read more here.

Game-changer

Smith said if the AT&T Time Warner deal goes through, it will be a “game-changer” and he expects to see more mobile operators buying up content IP. Verizon bought Yahoo and AOL. What will BT do? What will Deutsche Telekom do, he asked?

He warned that first movers will be ahead of the game and everyone else will be trying to catch up.

Smith said, “It’s probably the most exciting time to be a content creator but it’s also the most exciting time to be a mobile carrier. If you can move fast, be dynamic and knock down the barriers…I think it’s going to be the most exciting time in history.”

His message to operators? You’re sitting on some of the largest networks in the world. Let’s go and create some great new content together. “Call me!”

Watch the full keynote here



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Prior to joining the Forum, she wrote for a range of technology clients. Sarah is most interested in the stories and people behind the technology.

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