Hollywood and digital content – will it ever be truly easy?

I’m a digital home fanatic and have been integrating my computers with my consumer electronics for a long time, moving and steaming my content from room to room or device to device. But the thing that frustrates me the most is content acquisition. Sure, there is tons of it out there, but it’s available from so many (read too many) varied sources, it’s actually painful to get.

I went to a great panel discussion at CES on Monday afternoon titled “TECHNOLOGY IMPACT: The Shaping of Hollywood Digital Decision Making” hosted by Variety. The moderator, Charlie Koones, president and publisher of Variety, talked with top execs from the digital divisions of Fox, ABC, Warner Bros and Paramount about how technology advances impact their strategic decisions.

On one hand, it was great to hear that these media companies really do understand what consumers want – a great experience, free or reasonably priced valuable content, and lots of options to getting that content. They understand that DRM has not been a great experience all around, but they have to be able to protect their copyright (I understand this) and continue to struggle with how to do this. In an unprecedented move by any of these companies, Paramount released “Jackass 2.5” in HD online (ad supported steam) and a few days later, they found it posted on YouTube.

On the other hand, all companies continue to experiment with different business models and distribution means and for me, this furthers the difficult mess in order to get my content. Though they all agreed that Apple has been a great partner with iTunes, they all are distributing and syndicating through their own branded players and various outlets like AOL and Yahoo.

I use two primary interfaces – Windows Media Center and iTunes – and I’d like to be able to acquire and enjoy all my entertainment content through these two interfaces and the devices that work with them.

I can’t!

Case in point. NBC just moved away from iTunes and now I’ve lost that easy access to those shows. Other shows, I can only get through the branded players.

Bottom line, for me anyway, is that offering all these “options to the consumer” will just prolong the confusing mess I have to wade through to get my content as I wish – simply and easily.

What’s the chance that they’d work together to find a solution that truly is easy for the consumer?

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