Aug 6 2013
Tuesday News: Jeff Bezos buys Washington Post; iPod has been eclipsed; CBS in stand off with Time Warner Cable
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.