Saturday, November 18, 2006

David Beckham and Tom Cruise vs. Umair Haque : Can you pick the winner?

Umair Haque thinks that attention is a scarce resource.

Oh dear. No.

Some pretty basic analysis will tell you that the scarce resource is actually the talent that creates the content for which media companies are forced to pay exorbitant sums to attract large audiences.

Consider:

Would you rather be the one selling the rights to Tom Cruise's services, or the one with the obligation to acquire them in order to compete for attention in a packed media market?

Would you rather be the one selling the services of David Beckham, or the football club paying through the nose to get top goalscorers to keep winning the league cup?


It's obvious who has the real power in those relationships, and that is exactly why Sumner Redstone fired Tom - Viacom lost money, Tom made a fortune. Owning Manchester United or Viacom is not the same as owning talent; Katie Holmes has realized this, as have the Scientologists.

David Ricardo was right: the unique resources attract the rents. Does Umair have the smarts of a numpty like L. Ron Hubbard?

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