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Archive for September, 2009

The Death of Windows – Coming soon to a screen near you!

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

No. Not that “Windows”, (just couldn’t resist the sensationalist headline). Instead this refers to ongoing debate about the questionable relevance of release windows in the context of digital entertainment. Basically, does it still make sense to employ multiple release windows when nowadays almost anyone can get illegal copies of films and music, sometimes even before the official release date?

This is not in support of piracy, in any way shape or form, but it does beg the question that illegal file-sharing may be addressing a demand that is left unfulfilled by the entertainment industry, i.e. “unfettered, and inexpensive access to any content, on any device, at any time and in any location that the legally purchasing customer wishes to enjoy it”.

And just what is so difficult about that you might ask, but industry people will undoubtedly try to reassure you, that is exactly what they would like to see too, if not for those pesky pirates ( …and their Pirate Bays, P2P filesharing, and expectations of free online content by those leeching Freetards and other “Long tailed” miscreants, grumble, grumble & grumble ). I suspect the underlying problem to be related to release window mechanism and the creation of artificial scarcity in order to generate / stimulate demand and fat-head (as opposed to long tail) revenues for each release window cycle.

In a creative industry that is accustomed to selling the same content over and over to its customers, the release window mechanism has been a great way to maximize return-on-investment for each successful title. However, with digital media (i.e. perfect copies), and broadband Internet (i.e. near immediate global distribution), this release windows model has struggled with the insatiable demand and expectations of instant gratification from a consuming public that has tasted the cornucopia of ‘free’ content online. This surely indicates that time has come to reconsider these release mechanisms particularly for digital content (e.g. music, films, books etc).

A recent Forrester report and blog post about music release strategies, has proposed a new windowing model which takes into account the growing importance of “free” and feels-like-free versions of works; but even this model does not go far enough in my opinion, because ultimately, any lag creates an opportunity for further content leakage. Perhaps the best solution would be to do away with any form of release windows and other artificial delays, which only create more demand / opportunities for leaked content, thus allowing the full focus of anti-piracy measures to remain solely on mechanisms of illegal content distribution, after the fact.

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Twitter for Business, or is it. Really?

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Last Wednesday, I attended an excellent BCSNLB event on “Twitter for Business”, and whilst it was bothengaging and well attended (indeed over-subscribed), I am still not convinced that Twitter has a legitimate place in business – for the very simple reason that people are still talking (or trying to convince each other) about it.

There is a school of thought that evangelism can be misplaced; especially if it is stating the obvious and preaching to the choir (e.g. that social networking applications can be beneficial for business 2.0). But if this is the case for Twitter then why does it appear to be taking so long to gain traction with businesses, and thus necessitating a seemingly endless round of “gee whiz, look-what-you-can-do-with-Twitter” brand of discovangelism (SIC). Ok, so there is Dell and a few other examples of the successful application of Twitter, but does that make it the ubiquitous Web2.0 business application that it is so often positioned? Hmmph!

Granted that just like mobile’s SMS, Twitter is a phenomenal tool for exchanging bite-size information and a facilitator of inter-personal interaction with a global community of users (much like the 300M strong FaceBook). All these technologies are being used by businesses as additional, personalised channels for marketing and customer engagement. However, that does not necessarily make Twitter the must-have requirement for businesses wanting to engage with potential customers.

Perhaps I am just being impatient and this will come to pass in time, as in the innovative use of SMS for mobile money, but it would be nice see some more tangible evidence fast. I just remember dot.com bubbles, irrational exuberance, and other more recent nasties. Oh dear, here we go again…

Note: The above is just a personal opinion, and not intended in any way to detract from the excellent event or brilliant speakers / enlightened Twitterati, i.e. Mario Menti (@mario); Judith Lewis (@judithlewis) and Guy Stephens (@guyatcarphone)

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Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Event

September 12, 2009 Leave a comment

My two favourite topics of late will be discussed in a high profile event organised by the BCS North London Branch on the 21st of October. This is not one to be missed, as the speaker line-up includes no less than aBBC Dragon, so watch out!

The event flyer for this evening seminar is as shown below:

www.nlondon.bcs.org

Hope to see you there.

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Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.