The Top 8 Things the Music, Television, Movie and Consumer Electronics Industries Should Do

The music,The Top 8 Things the Music, Television, Movie and Consumer Electronics Industries Should Do Articles television, movie and consumer electronics industries (hereafter collectively referred to as the industry) have been struggling with the rapid advance of technology and the new virtuality of content. Here are the top eight things the industry should do to harness the technology and recapture the simple tenet of giving the customer what they want.

1. Offer three consumption models.

a. Offer all content free with ads.

All content should be available on demand all the time free with ads. The best examples of this so far are music videos at mtv.com and music.yahoo.com and TV shows at in2tv.aol.com. The worst examples of this are the television networks who still insist on having their content time expire after only a short period of availability. Networks should use the ad model to make their entire catalog of shows, current and past, available for free all the time. All media stores, such as iTunes, should also introduce the option of listening to or watching a brief ad per 10 minutes of content or so in order to enjoy the entire content rather than just short preview clips.

b. Rent all content without ads for a fee.

This is the same as 1a only without the ads for a fee. The best examples of this so far are Netflix and Yahoo! Music Unlimited. With the former, for as low as $8.99 per month, you can rent any movie in the store, and that now includes some that can be watched directly online. With the latter, for as low as $5.99 per month, you can listen to every song in the store as many times as you want with no ads. All media stores and sites should offer this option.

c. Sell all content Digital Rights Management(DRM, or copy protection)-free.

There will still always be a market for owning content outright, such as for those times where you just don’t have an Internet connection or don’t want to be tethered to a server. In these cases, for both online virtual formats and offline physical formats, DRM simply should go. It has proven to hamper sales significantly due to treating everyday paying customers as if they are pirates, restricting them to play back the content on too few devices, giving them the chore of backing up and managing licenses on their computer and violating their fair use rights. DRM will always be defeatable and the industry simply needs to stop investing an inordinate amount of time and money into something that has a negative impact on their bottom line. The industry should abandon it and get back to the basic premise of allowing the customer the joy of experiencing the content they paid for without any strings attached. The best example of this so far is EMI which is now allowing media stores to sell DRM-free songs.

2. Wireless Internet-enable all devices.

The computer cannot be the only access point. TVs, cable boxes, disc players, DVRs, game consoles, portables, boom boxes, phones, car head units – in short all playback devices – should come with built-in wireless connection to the Internet for access goblin season 2 to content servers. The best examples of this so far are the Playstation 3 and the iPhone/iPod touch Wi-Fi Music Store.

3. End format wars.

When a new format is needed to advance the industry to the next level, there should be one and only one format that goes to market and becomes the standard. Like 1c, this applies to both online virtual formats and offline physical formats.

The current example in physical formats is Blu-ray vs. HD DVD. Two formats were necessary at first to spur competition, but the differences between them at this point are so negligible that ultimately one has to win for either to succeed. A standards body needs to exist to allow competition at first and to oversee a limited beta period to ensure customer opinions are factored in, but then to ultimately pick a winner before full-scale market launch. Companies should be required to register candidate formats in the early stages. The standards body should track investment and invention level of each candidate along the way. Then a winner should be chosen with a percentage of the licensing revenue going to all of the candidates commensurate with their investment and invention level. The candidates either agree to these terms from the get-go or they do not participate in determining and profiting from the next generation format.

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