The current fight between the media companies versus the illegal boys versus iTunes is not much of a fight.
The media companies stride into the ring, all prettified up – wearing satin trunks, doing exaggerated neck warm-ups and trying the intimidation stare … sure, they are still 6 feet tall but now they’re just 135 lbs and they have stepped into an octagon ring where the illegal boys while a foot shorter are fighting a new, different fight – swarm from everywhere – kicking out their legs and are pummeling the kidneys with punches, kicks and head butts. iTunes meanwhile is just walking around the ring and gets in a punch whenever the media weakling’s now bloodied head get exposed for a second.
And as each media company weakling gets carted off, another immediately runs into the ring after spending $100 million in training – only to receive the same UFC treatment.
It ain’t a pretty fight.
The media body count is pretty piling and yet, they refuse to give up.
That is how the fight is going – in fact, the bigger question to ask is why fight at all?
They’d rather spent HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS/A BILLION? to launch new efforts to topple what consumers want – instead of reducing the cost of a TV series online at iTunes to $.99 and make a legal customer, they’d rather spend hundreds of millions launching a new effort.
Instead of selling DRM free music because it’s more convenient to customers AND can make an extra $.30 a track, they’d rather spend millions to launch/help launch a new effort to force listeners to listen to ads in front & after a music track (maybe someone should tell them we already have that – it’s called Clear Channel AM radio).
The king of formats that consumers reject being forced down their throats (MiniDisc, MemoryStick, Betamax, ATRAC, etc, etc …) has launched more stores than they can probably even remember:
THE STORE (Nice name – really well thought out not just in a trademark sense but also as creative force – lots of thought went into it). For some reason, tracks that RENTED for $3.50 per was not that enticing.
DUET/PRESSPLAY (with Universal – surprise, another failure).
And of course, instead of knocking a few bucks off of CD’s, not only do they waste $12 million paying for the copy protection, they had to spend another $10 million settling the rootkit lawsuit.
EMI, AOL/Time Warner and BMG
MusicNet. Also noted by PC Mag as one of the worst 25 tech products in the last 25 years (also rented tracks for 30 DAYS).
This one is a real beauty. Viacom claims that YouTube for copyright violations but often hosts the EXACT same videos on its own site, iFilm or worse yet, Viacom’s VH1 uses this guy’s video without permission and then turns around and sends a takedown notice for this guy posting it on YouTube.
Instead of re-upping with Apple, they decide that people would either buy a TiVo and then pay $1.99 to watch or watch it on a PC and of course, the other course of action … to spend millions to launch a new site (hulu.com) with Fox (of course, here’s what we think of that venture) to get people to pay them directly or watch with ads – because the TV network model is the only one they understand. Yes, that is of some interest to people but an iTunes-YouTube like business? No.
NBC has spent the most (including paying $600 million for ivillage.com – that’s the revenue from 300 million video downloads) in trying to launch websites and they have FAILED with every venture – guess all those network ads are really not that effective … shhh, don’t let that secret out:
And one from CBS/Viacom:
Hey, what’s $600-$900 million dollars spent on new ventures that they fold up a year later? That’s much more exciting that offering discounts on iTunes or selling DRM free music – after all, that’s just steady revenue – who wants that when I can talk the board into spending $600 million … quote from 2006 that you can pretty much re-use on their launch of hulu in 2007 – all just PR BS:
“iVillage immediately gives us scale and a profitable, established platform to expand our digital efforts, especially in the rapidly growing areas of health and women’s interests,” Beth Comstock, president of NBC Universal Digital Media and Market Development, said in a statement. “We envision connecting more deeply online, on mobile and on demand with key consumers throughout their various life stages.”
Here’s the follow-up a year later (August 2007). Surprise, they have no clue.
Yes, they’re always excited to buy and form partnerships but then, it’s just like the DMV, we’ll shuffle paperwork and then some more and then have our lawyers review your lawyer’s work.
Meanwhile, consumers will now just make up their own distribution net.
The networks & media companies think they’ve been kidney punched … maybe the fight’s not as fair as it used to be (well, from their point of view), maybe the rules are different and maybe it’s a different fight … but they don’t seem to have to notice that the ring is no longer square …
See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.