2010-03-21

Lost opportunities.

As Murdoch, and others, are trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube and get people to pay for content I am still somewhat surprised that it is 2010 and the content rights holders are still not displaying any appropriate sense of urgency in addressing the real issues that threaten to disrupt and kill their business empires.  Here is a short list of things to consider:
  • Regional licensing is the #1 problem for content owners.  Whenever consumers can legally obtain a particular piece of content in one geographic region but not another, you create demand without providing supply.  This invariably leads to consumer-driven piracy.  The content-consuming world is now largely global, but the content-owners still live in the past.
  • The fragmentation of available channels is a variation over the theme in the previous point.  Content-owners are being too picky about whom they are doing deals with leading to some content being available from just some vendors.  This is not congruent with consumer expectations.
  • Convenience is more important than price -- but only for as long as the consumer is conditioned to pay for content or feel bad about pirating content.   Due to DRM and the two previous points there are often fewer hoops to jump through if the consumer pirates content. The convenience factors to consider are:
    • Immediacy: consumers want immediate access to content.
    • Universal: consumers want to consume the content on the device of their choosing.
    • Reasonable terms: people do not want to be screwed over.  Reasonable pricing, reasonable terms of use.
It is hard to force consumers to do what you want.  The carrot is more powerful than the stick.  Besides a few carrots are cheaper than truckloads of sticks.

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