Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Are You Worth $10 A Month?

Seattle Times staff columnist Brier Dudley: The digital-media business has a new mascot:
Alexander Hamilton, the treasury secretary on the $10 bill. Hamilton sorted out the nation's financial policies during its chaotic early days. Entertainment companies are doing the same thing now that the digital revolution has happened — they're finding their footing and figuring out standard ways to make money. Their solution appears to be charging $10 a month for access to the most desirable content (click to read his column).

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt says that the experience of reading news will move to digital devices quite rapidly – and that it will involve personalized and local news which will be alert to your interests and existing knowledge. Speaking at the Activate 2010 summit held at the Guardian, Schmidt also warned that organizations should think of their mobile strategy ahead of their internet strategy – but that the two were intertwined so deeply that it was impossible to think of one without the other.

"The internet is the most disruptive technology in history, even more than something like electricity, because it replaces scarcity with abundance, so that any business built on scarcity is completely upturned as it arrives there," Schmidt said. "The next great success will be built even faster than Google, and the one after that even faster. It's just how it is."

TV news consultant Graeme Newell: "If you judge the success of your work by its share, you can continue to declare victory book after book, when the reality is that fewer and fewer people are using your product. Judging performance by share gets us off the hook. In the strange reality of share, it is okay that the number of people watching/listening to the show have seriously declined, as long as the guy across the street has a lower share than me. We ease our mind by telling ourselves that if all the competitors are declining, there is nothing that can be done. This measurement allows us to delude ourselves into thinking that losing slowly, is actually winning. It gives us an excuse not to improve, not to throw the bums out, not to transcend tired priorities. This channel performance measurement has sabotaged innovation. By skillfully concealing the number of customers in a statistical representation, we can turn a failure into a success. The metric serves the ego, not the bottom line. A bigger share of nothing is still nothing."

Think about this:

  • Netflix and Rhapsody cost about $10 per month. Kindle books are mostly $10, although the software and online access to your Kindle library is free.
  • A pioneer was TiVo, which charges people a little more than $10 a month for a service giving people more control over their TV consumption and ready access to a collection of shows.
  • Apple is also onto the Hamilton thing. It nudged iTunes App prices up when the iPad arrived in April, with flagship-productivity apps costing $10 apiece. Apple is believed to be working on its own streaming-media service in the cloud, which probably won't cost much more than $10 per month.

What if your listeners were given the option of subscribing to your show/radio station commerical free for $10 a month? With commercials for $5?

Is what you do every day unique and special enough to be worth a Hamilton to enough listeners to build a business on?

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