Eisner: (High-end) Content is King

It’s not a huge surprise that Michael Eisner is a fan of premium content. He did, after all, run Disney (s DIS), one of the largest entertainment factories in the world. But in a nice little Q&A over at Broadcasting & Cable, Eisner showed just how big a proponent he is of high-end content. You should read the whole thing, but here are some highlights:
On free content: “It’s hysterical experimentation, but it’s not altogether inappropriate. Nobody knows what the next act is.”
On distribution vs. content: “My bet has always been what is more important, content or distribution; distribution companies tend to be more and less relevant with the waving of a wand. People still underestimate the value of content. If you have ownership of high-end, exclusive content, end of game.”
On high-end content: “This [environment] has killed mediocre content. Audiences don’t just have to sit there anymore and be entertained by mediocre content like in the past.”
Eisner’s words dovetail nicely with a discussion we had in our comments over the weekend about Dr. Horrible‘s success. That was a case where ownership of high-end content stood out from all else out there, and created both paid and free distribution opportunities for itself. It didn’t matter whether you got Horrible through Hulu, iTunes or physical DVDs, people just wanted it because it was so good. Granted, not everyone has those sweetheart relationships with Hollywood talent and distribution muscle, but Whedon’s actions and Eisner’s words are worth paying attention to.