Products First, Then Channels (One Can Dream)

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Peter Davidson: A Movie Marketing Experiment:

"Movie producers need to understand that they are telling a story across multiple formats and distribution channels. The real money is not in the theatrical release but in the DVD sales, Toys, Video games and the set up for future stories. The focus will shift from theatrical release as the premiere event to the theatrical release as a skillful marketing event for the additional formats channels and formats for the same story. The theatrical release will be tailored and designed to promote the purchase (or download) of the DVD and or the video game."

That, and I think it’s a strong underlying trend that customers expect more and more control for their money rather than a take-it-or-leave-it attitude from companies, especially as far as discretionary spending is concerned.

There’s no love lost for bridge trolls. What feels too cumbersome or an unwarranted restriction (think DVD region codes) will be routed around anyway, and of course in the meantime the perpetrating companies lose a lot of goodwill. Edonkey/emule/Overnet has been more popular in Europe than in the US for years because of its focus on movie releases and a) more expensive DVDs and DVD players, b) late zone 2 releases, c) more expensive/less available/less interesting cable TV, d) amateurish rental market with high prices and low, late selection (rental companies have to buy special DVDs for rental at $80+ a piece, I kid you not – just like the VHS market used to work a decade ago).
Talk about self-inflicted wounds from an industry that keeps wanting to overcharge the European consumer, a Malthusian approach to sales which is tremendously stupid since people here have less money and tend to save more in the first place. The same screwed logic is at work for apparel which is why I’ve been shopping for clothes in London and the US for the last decade. I’ll tell you what, American and Japanese companies have a lot of overpaid EMEA VPs they’d be better off firing. Excessive taxation is only compounding the problem.
A marketing clue more Europeans should get from the US and Asia: sell cheap stuff, in volume, because that’s how you scale a consumer business, and pass additional savings down to the consumer over time. Do not pretend to be in the luxury business because people will see through it – most of the so-called luxury market isn’t even worth that (price) tag. Because they’re not only producers but also retailers, Ikea, H&M or Zara get it, but most subsidiaries of non-European corporations and companies that don’t sell direct have this aggravating scarcity mindset and try to milk every extra cent from consumers instead of working on exploding sales volume. Then they report their slower growth to HQ and whine this is due to local market conditions. Well you contribute to them, dumbass – if you piss in the river don’t come complaining that it’s polluted. EMEA VP, meet price elasticity of demand.
Back to routing around morons. It’s been funny to see American bloggers get excited by the inferior, late-comer BitTorrent when we’ve been downloading whole libraries of high-quality DVD rips during the last four years (the trend is now in favor of 1.4GB rips spread over two files that sometimes even include AC3 sound, and you can find subtitles in many languages too). It’s Tivo/Netflix for the poor, but in the absence of timely non-gouging offerings, it works. And the longer it lasts, the closer it gets to a mass phenomenon you can comfortably enjoy in your living room (for instance with a modded and networked Xbox running XboxMediaCenter) rather than just a fringe den experience for geeks.
11/06/04 update: The Decline of Brands.

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