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Tuesday News: Jeff Bezos buys Washington Post; iPod has been eclipsed;...

Ned speculated, at my request, that it isn’t unlike growing up and buying something you always thought was cool as a kid.  Whereas mere mortals we might say, buy a worthless piece of stock of the Green Bay Packers, Bezos buys the whole team.  Or in this case, fulfills his lifelong desire to publish the news.  All of the articles were clear to point out that Bezos bought the paper personally rather than Amazon.com acquiring it. 

In other Boston related newspaper sales, John Henry of the Boston Red Sox is buying the Boston Globe.  I know that’s kind of random but who knows whether I’ll want to refer to this five years from now.

Time Warner Cable’s spat with CBS revolves around so-called retransmission consent fees, which cable and satellite companies pay to broadcasters for the right to carry their channels. In recent years, these fees have become substantial sources of revenue for the broadcasters, and led to financial disputes between broadcasters and cable and satellite providers. CBS wants more money from Time Warner Cable for its flagship network. The cable giant has balked. Time.com

CBS is owned by the same person who owns Simon & Schuster. S&S refuses to come to terms with B&N. Sound familiar? You have to wonder what the overall strategy is here by Viacom.  Other outlets have suggested that this impasse between CBS and TWC will be over shortly but I’m surprised at how long the BN and S&S agreement has lingered. I have seen a lot more advertising at Amazon.com by S&S so maybe that’s its solution for books. CBS could offer all its content via the internet for the cut off TWC subscribers, moving people away from an intermediary and selling more direct. Deadline.

One way publishers could leverage this is through the “choose your own adventure” style books. While in the book, you could pay to get increasingly more options to change the book’s outcome.  It’s not for me, but there may be a market there.

The other interesting thing about that article was how cloud based storage was reducing an individual’s cost in switching from one proprietary platform to another. That’s not really true because the cloud access itself is proprietary.  You can’t access the iTunes library on an Android device, for example.  Still, it’s given me a lot of food for thought and it’s a post I’ll revisit to think about the implications that extend beyond what Benedict Evans wrote about.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

10 Comments

  1. Tina
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 07:16:22

    CBS could offer all its content via the internet for the cut off TWC subscribers, moving people away from an intermediary and selling more direct

    My understanding is that CBS is either already blocking or considering blocking the ability to stream cbs.com content to Time Warner broadband subscribers as well.

    I don’t subscribe to cable at all because from a cost-benefit ratio it isn’t cost effective in my house, we don’t watch enough tv for it to be . And even thought this feels like the Clash of the Titans where the little guy is gonna get hosed no matter what, I can’t help but be a little on Time Warner’s side on this. It feels greedy for CBS to want to raise prices that are then passed onto consumers for content that is already ad-supported and free via the airwaves.

    Or maybe Les Moonves’ smug face makes me want to kick him in the shins.

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  2. Stephanie
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 07:59:41

    So pissed about TWC! They’re just going to pass on any price increase to us the consumer (will probably increase our prices anyway) so I’m upset that I missed the recent Ray Donovan. Oddly we are still getting CBS-not sure why…this better be fixed before Homeland returns!

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  3. Kati
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 09:04:33

    I grew up in DC, still consider myself from there. I’m extremely nervous about Bezos buying The WaPo. He’s already says he’s changing the name, which is heartbreaking. I’m also nervous about how they’ll cover DC. The WaPo has always been, in my view, the hometown newspaper of the Nation’s Capital. Will his ownership change that? To be completely honest, I’m also nervous that it will change the sports department. I’m a rabid DC sports fan, and their beat reporters are super. If he changes the way they cover DC sports, I’ll be heartbroken. All of it makes me very nervous, but then I’m not a big fan of change as it is.

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  4. Kim
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 09:08:13

    @Jane: There was an interesting theory about the Jeff Bezos purchase on Morning Joe. Joe Scarsborough noted that leading Dems and Republicans in NYC quake in fear at what Rupert Murdoch will put on the cover of the NY Post to embarrass his enemies. He claims that this is an actual discussion at dinner parties that he attends.

    Joe went on to say that Jeff Bezos can use the Washington Post in much the same way. The WP’s articles or cover stories can be used to push back at politicians and lobbyists in Washington, DC who try to curtail Amazon. He brushed aside the fact that most businessmen don’t want to buy a newspaper for the sole purpose of taming his critics if it means losing millions of dollars a year. I think this last point really weakens the argument.

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  5. MarieC
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 09:22:50

    As annoying as the TWC vs CBS war is, it is kind of interesting. I didn’t realize how many networks were impacted until this weekend, when the shows went blank. Now, in lieu of an issue statement showing on the screen, TWC has started playing shows from other networks on the CBS channels.

    As a consumer, I’m with TWC. If the demands of CBS are met, that means that all the other cable networks will be re-negotiating for money and I’ll be seeing another increase!

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  6. Kathryn
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 09:46:43

    The newspaper will remain The Washington Post. It’s the company named after the newspaper and that sold the paper to Bezos that now has to change its name. Which makes sense since the company no longer will own The Washington Post.

    Washington Post Co. chairman and CEO Donald Graham called Bezos a “uniquely good new owner.” He said the decision was made after years of newspaper industry challenges. The company, which will continue to own the Kaplan college and test preparation business along with six TV stations, will change its name but didn’t say what it will be.

    See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/us-business/tears-optimism-as-bezos-takes-over-the-washington-post/article13607924/

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  7. Darlynne
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 10:22:04

    Plus, Bezos bought the paper personally, not through or for Amazon. I’ll be interested to see how things go.

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  8. CK
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 13:00:34

    CBS totally dropped the ball by cutting off streaming to TW customers. They could have come out as the ‘customer friendly’ titan but now they look just as petty as TW and what’s going to happen when customers get used to not watching CBS because they’ve found other shows/networks instead?

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  9. MikiS
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 19:53:40

    There are lots of things the cable and satellite companies do wrong, but I’m with TWC on this. I think it’s entirely ridiculous that cable/satellite companies have to pay to include free-over-the-air channels in the local market – at all.

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  10. Isobel Carr
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 13:42:06

    You can’t access the iTunes library on an Android device, for example.

    Yes you can. I do it. You use iSyncr and Rocket Player.

    ReplyReply

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