Posted on February 23, 2010
About 20 years ago a character named Ray Kinsella in the movie Field of Dreams heard a voice urging him to plow under a portion of his Iowa farm to build a baseball field. Purely on faith he built it. Soon long deceased legendary players began to show-up for practice. Strangely, only Ray and his family could see the ghosts.
Later the same voice told Ray to visit a famous novelist who had mysteriously stopped writing after the 1960s. In the book upon which the movie is based, that author was J. D. Salinger. Ray brought him back to Iowa where he too could watch the players. Read more…
Posted on February 20, 2010
Since the turn of the century Apple evolved from a secondary computer company into the most potent force transforming media. It is the premier Digital Media innovator as evidenced by the iPod, iPhone and most recently the iPad. Basically each introduction defined a new product category or enabled an incipient one to “cross the chasm” into mass market acceptance. More of the same is expected in the future, not only from products but also from transactional services.
Most any business affected by the future of media will be directly impacted by Apple’s future innovations. Moreover, its existing product lines alone will carry the company past the $100 billion revenue threshold in less than five years.
Posted on February 17, 2010
Amazon’s grudging agreement to act as agent when selling Macmillan e-books next month has important implications.
An agent is a business partner. However, Macmillan’s partnership notion is not fifty-fifty. The publisher concludes that they contribute more than twice the value of Amazon by taking 70% of the sales price for themselves and leaving only 30% for the online merchant.
There could hardly be a better example of irony considering that the 167-year-old publisher never found enough time to develop an e-book business on its own. Instead, 14-year-old Amazon.com invented the Kindle. To date Amazon has done more than any single business to launch the entire e-book industry, yet it gets the short end of the stick. Read more…
Posted on February 6, 2010
As Mark Twain put it, “Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest don’t happen at all. The conscientious historian will correct these defects.” Normally the winners write history, but Apple’s success and lofty stock price has given a number of media executives a bad case of P/E envy. They’re distorting the past by accusing Apple of dictating terms of media consumption on the Internet.
For example, when Apple convinced the recorded music industry to sell digital downloads in 2003 it allocated seventy percent of the sales proceeds to the record labels and music publishers. One might suppose a business partner would be happy with a 70% share of incremental revenues, especially when that partner incurs almost no added cost. Perhaps they actually were smugly pleased with the deal originally. Maybe they figured Apple had been suckered into giving them more than twice as much as it kept for itself. Read more…