Thursday, January 05, 2006

Power to the people: video-on-demand

The Nuenen FTTH project had a stunning 80% uptake from trial households. Still, I would not quite agree with James Enck ("So much for consumer inertia"). The small miracle was that so many people participated (it was a free trial, which explains much for those who understand the Dutch psyche). Extending the service and accepting payments (some 60 EUR/mo) is really a sign of inertia.

Which brings me to user habits. There is little point in trying to change them, even though some innovations have very quick market acceptance (internet, broadband, mobile, etc). Convenience, easy of use and the ability to save time are all-important.

Give the people what they want: on-demand.
  • In movies and video: you better collapse the traditional window. Save on marketing, let people figure out what they prefer (theater or DVD) and raise your prices. That will be good for VoD revenues at cable companies and studios will get a larger slice, as this WSJ article argues.
  • In movies: the end of the blockbuster as studios (must) focus more on niche movies, as Kevin Maney argues on USA Today. Before him, Patrick Goldstein made the same point, and how this affects movie theaters, in the LA Times.
  • This ties into the a la carte programming discussion that Kevin Martin unleashed.
  • Finally, MarketWatch ran a story on disaggregation: you don't want to pay for news that you're not interested in in the newspaper; or boring tracks on a CD; or unbearable channels in your cable bundle; or even bad programming on a broadcast network.

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