iPad is NOT here to save the newspaper

28/10/2010 § Komentiraj

After the release of the iPad, high hopes within several troubled industries have exploded; but it is not Apple alone to blame for the dramatic expectations such as »iPod to save publishing after it saved the music industry«.

Can we draw some parallels of what change was introduced to the music industry and how applicable is it to the existing situation?

Can a digital device really be an industry saviour? If we guess the answer up-front based on the fact that even Chuck “The Columnist” Norris could not save it, the answer should be pretty obvious :-).

How has Apple changed the music industry?

Apple ingeniously identified all the weak points of the major labels, leveraged their desperation and cluelessness and successfully orchestrated the effort that resulted in wealth for, well, mainly Apple shareholders. Hands down, one of the best plays seen; Apple’s efforts paid off extremely by the extraordinary iPod sales, Apple also become the biggest music retailer in selected markets.

What were the key elements of the music industry change?

  • A masterfully designed device for consumption of music in the new digital format- the iPod
  • Decoupling of albums into more basic elements- the transition from album to a »a-la cart« sales model
  • An aggregator to provide the music- 3rd party iTunes provides music from major and independent labels
  • A changed mindset of the music industry- licensed the right to sell music in the new format  to a 3rd party
  • The consumer willingness to pay for the music in the digital format- proper pricing and great user experience (fast search, no “pollution” of P2P networks)

Technology alone can’t save publishing

Technology in the means of iPod and iTunes was only a part of the solution and energy required to change the landscape of the industry. From the list above, iPad today only provides new means to consume the content. It’s not much more than the iPod was back then.

Technology is no panacea for everything that is wrong within the industry. Even more, the silver (or magic) bullet syndrome (when organizations look for a single technology solution without understanding the full scope of the problem) can be disastrous in case an organization puts all the faith into it and abandons the evaluation of other than silver bullet scenarios. This usually results in no improvements or even in regression.

What are other differences between then and now?

Yes, we have the “iTunes” store also for magazines and newspapers, but it relies on the Application (Apps) model; we are “forced” to consume the whole mag, we are not able to “buy songs from different musicians and burn them into albums”.

The Apps however properly address both client segments; on one side they provide an enhanced consumption (reading) experience for consumers and on the other side they allow more measurable marketing initiatives for the advertisers.

On everything else at the moment (the architecture of the industry, the business models, the way content is produced, edited) iPad has no or little influence.

While there was no need in changing how music content is produced, there are major changes today how new content is produced (blogs as an example) and news distributed in real-time (twitter as an example). The iPad App model does not address this.

The real challenges

As it seems, the new format is here to mainly rival the old format. This is not all bad news for newspapers looking to supplement the decreasing print circulations, however it does not introduce changes necessary to generate future sustainable wealth. And this necessary changes lie outside of the iPad and Apple.

The existing model does not address the biggest challenge we have with consuming information today; it rather sticks to the existing model and principles.

It does not change and adapt to the new ways the information is consumed today; it does nothing with regards to how social networks have changed the way content is produced, curated and editorial done (social networks as the new editors), it does not change the economics of content, neither what now possibilities the new platforms for distribution and aggregation are providing. It does little new on how marketing is embedded in the social web today (advertising is only one part). it does nothing to help implementing a more open architecture in print and publishing, it does not help the consumer to get out of the ancient closed environment of the publishers, it does not suggest the publishers how to charge for the content in an open world.

The fact that iPad tries to copy the iPod model, could lie his greatest danger; not that much for Apple, but quite more for others.

So, is iPad here to save the print and publishing industry? Nope, not by itself and not now, not in next couple of years while the industry will have to reinvent itself around some new paradigms.

Could iPad actually be bad news for the existing players?

There is a lot of experimentation today how the newspaper or magazine app of the future look like and how they should look like.

The prime focus of experimentation however should not be on the front-end, but rather on the back end side. New business & operational models and new architectures on the content creation, consumer & marketing engagement models, aggregation and distribution side.

No doubt, the iPad user base is increasing at a high pace.  Apple seems to believe (based on the very self-confident subscription model proposal) that the medium is compelling enough to drive the consumers also towards news and magazines. And that this large user base combined with industries desperation would move the publishers into this kind of a closed system.

According to Wayne Rosso (marketing & consulting executive music industry veteran), the record labels are more like Apple’s death grip hostages. If there is something to learn from the music industry it is the fact that there is little to nothing philanthropical about Apple that would support the “Apple is here to rescue the old media giants” mantra.

Interesting times and challenges, and another opportunity for the second (the first one) Slovene crowdsourcing project “The Slovene Manifesto: how to save democracy via new journalism and media models”.

Slovenski crowdsourcing projekt ali »Gooooodbye Apple fuer immer und ewig«

22/10/2010 § Komentiraj

Podnaslov bi lahko bil tudi »dragi Borut, evo ideje, kako narediti prvi korak k slovenski Silicijevi dolini«, oziroma »dajmo najprej poceni prototipirat a sploh imamo potencial na področju produktnega marketinga-managementa«.

Gremo k stvari. Eno najbolj vročih področij potrošništva zadnjega leta so tablice, iPadi, kjer Apple nima konkurence. Ne da nima konkurence, vsa potencialna konkurenca je očitno in prav nič simpatično izgubljena.

Kar gre nam Slovencem super na roko, saj imamo krasno priložnost da z majhnim vložkom pokažemo naše znanje na enem trših tržnih problemov ter hkrati s tem, ko poskrbimo za nekaj konkurence na globalnem trgu doprinesemo k blagostanju potrošništva (etično in socialno in ne samo zeleno osveščen projekt).

Kdo je Mr. iPad

Na trg je prišel v začetku aprila. Do danes se je prodal približno enih 8 milijonkrat.

Postal je sinonim za tablične računalnike.

V tem času si je zagotovil nekaj tisoč aplikacij, ogromno jih je namenjenih prav njemu- velikosti ekrana in drugim specifikam.

Ker se je nekam moral umestiti, se je ob prihodu pozicioniral, kot konkurenca Kindlu za branje knjig ter prenosnim igralnim konzolam ala Sony PSP.

Ni namenjen telefoniranju preko GSM protokola, lahko pa seveda preko IP telefonije.

Zanj obstaja obilo inovativnih in novih, nepredvidenih aplikacij uporabe (predvsem v tem je njegova inovativnost in genialnost) … in še več jih bo nastalo.

Zase zahteva (v Evropi seveda, tam od koder prihaja, je seveda cenejši) med EUR 499 in EUR 799.

Njegov mlajši, genetsko izpopolnjen brat, bi se mu naj pridružil v obdobju naslednjih šestih mesecev.

Sadjarjem je pomagal definirati nov trg, ki izjemno raste. Ne eni strani odžira del trga netbookom.

Sadjarska konkurenca iz sosednje vasi vidi na tem trgu ali novo priložnost ali pa enostavno mora začeti sodelovati in preprečiti padec prodaje lastnih mobilnih naprav. Niso pa naredili še nič, počitnice trajajo že doooolgo.

Ko se konkurenca odloči za (pre)dooooolge počitnice

A je kak razlog za tako dolge počitnice ali so enostavno leni? Jep, danes imajo izjemno dober razlog, nimajo pa ga za vso “lenobo” do začetka leta 2010 preden je iPad prišel na trg.

Za ilustracijo je najbolje, da poskušam razmišljati, kot Samsung.

Vemo delati mobilne naprave-telefone, ki gredo dobro v prodajo, tehnično so na nivoju konkurence ali celo superiorni, vključno z sorodnikom iPad-a iPhone 4.

Imamo tudi lastno mobilno platformo-operacijski sistem, ki pa trenutno še nima zadostne aplikacijske podpore, ki bi lahko konkurirala Apple. In tudi ni dovolj preverjena na napravah z ekrani večjega formata.

Edino pravo alternativo zaenkrat vidimo v Android-u.

Na trgu še ni 9 inčnih Android naprav in aplikacij specifičnih za ta format- torej sadjarjem zaenkrat ne moremo zares konkurirati na področju aplikacij.

Če vseeno naredimo 9 inčno napravo se spopademo direktno z Golijatom. Pri vseh minusih (ni aplikacij, prepoznavnost) bi za kak bolj masoven uspeh produkta morali s ceno biti zelo agresivni.

Na trg bi radi prišli pred božičem, da postanemo del nakupovalne mrzlice.

A sadjarno, da naj kar napademo?

Uf, ta bo težka, a lahko še malce počakamo in razmislimo? A se lahko kako drugače pozicioniramo, kot Apple? In pri tem izkoristimo obstoječ ekosistem Android-ovih aplikacij, ter dodamo še kako funkcionalnost, ki je iPad nima?

Kako, da ne, seveda lahko, nič lažjega:

  • zmanjšajmo ekran na 7 inčev, kjer bodo obstoječe Android aplikacije še zmeraj delale, naprava bo pa tudi šla v vsak malo večji žep
  • dodajmo možnost telefoniranja, ki ga iPad nima
  • dodajmo kameri, ki ju iPad nima
  • obvezno rabimo GPS, saj ga nekateri iPad-i nimajo
  • Pozicioniramo se, kot- all-in-one tablet, sporočilo trgu bo pa »zakaj bi nosili iPhone in iPad, ko pa lahko nosite samo Galaxy Tab« in izpostavimo video konference (iPad nima kamere) in navigacijo (iPad Wi-Fi nima GPS-ja)

A moramo biti pozorni še na kaj drugega? Ah, seveda, ne smemo si odžreti lastnenga tržnega deleža na trgu mobilnih telefonov, kjer iPad sploh ne igra, saj imamo tam dokaj uspešen Galaxy S.

Ni problem, bomo ceno tako nastavili, da bo galaxy Tab dražji od galaxy S, ki stane med 500 in 600 EUR brez subvencij (predvsem operaterjev), nekateri mobilni operaterji pa ga v »splošni akciji« ponujajo tudi po 400 EUR. Hmmm, če predpostavimo, da se naslednje leto cena S ustali med 400-500 EUR, potem Tab moramo ponuditi nekje med 600-700 EUR brez subvencij.

In, a smo potem res zmagali?

Tako nekako bi lahko zgledal dejanski dialog v Samsungu, ki je dosti logičen a zelo interno orientiran- ne vem če so imeli kaj časa posvetovati s trgom.

Po moje je Samsung naredil tisto kar je v danem trenutku, in ob danih dejstvih, lahko. Tako, kot ostali so pa sami krivi za spanec do aprila 2010.

Neumnost bi bilo namreč splaviti 9 inčno napravo, ki je direktna konkurenca iPadu v trenutku, ko zanjo ni pravih aplikacij. Tako pa Samsung proba zavzeti nek srednji prostor in potencialno ustvariti kak nov tržni segment. Izbrali so boljšo od dveh (v tem trenutku slabih) možnosti.

Razmišljanje zgleda zelo interno, ker so morali in hoteli nekaj narediti v kratkem času. Uporabniki pa bodo povedali ali se da telefonirati s 7 inčno napravo, oziroma a je cenovna logika tudi tržno sprejemljiva.

Po moji presoji iPad ostaja brez konkurence. Samsung je pred kratkim tudi najavil cene svojega Galaxy Tab. Pri nas še niso obljavljene, je pa O2 v Nemčji najavil ceno 759 EUR. To je sicer pri plačilu na 24 obrokov, direktne cene brez vezav na žalost ni podane, tako da je v tem trenutku nemogoče reči kakšna bo dejanska cena brez in s subvencijami. Taka cena je izjemno samozavestna- beri premalo agresivna, da bi lahko naredili karkoli »masovnega«.

Je se pa še enkrat več pokazalo Apple-ovo mojstrstvo pri postavljanju cen- konkurenci niso pustili nobenega manevrskega prostora.

Slovenski crowdsourincg projekt

Cilj je enostaven- vsebinsko dati nasvet največjim proizvajalcem naprav kaj in kako uspešno pozicionirati pravo konkurencu iPad-u, zgornje »Samsung like« razmišljanje pa lahko da kako mogoče uporabno idejo.

In zakaj projekt?

Ker proizvajalci in njihovi veleumi tega očitno niso zmožni, mi pa imamo ambicijo postati nova Silicijeva Dolina.

Ker zna malce možganskih vaj, namesto vsakodnevnih kritik in tarnanja blagodejno vplivati na, po Borutovih besedah  “okostenelo atmosfere doma in mentaliteto dežele”.

Steve Jobs je že reševal glasbeno, sedaj rešuje medijsko in bi lahko bil primeren za reševanje naše blaginje- lahko se “prišlepamo” na en tak trendy val.

A ima kdo kake izkušnje z organizacijo-infrastrukturo crowdsourcing projektov?

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