Friday, March 8, 2013

Nook Needs Exclusive Content Partnerships To Succeed

Barnes and Noble has announced new content partnership deals for its Nook tablet to help build up its library of content offerings and compete in the marketplace.  "The new partnerships deals involve Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF), MGM Holdings Inc., Viacom Inc.'s (VIA, VIAB) Paramount Pictures, Relativity Media, National Geographic, Little Pim and Film Buff."  Content is King and the strategy of building content is important to the success of their business plan.  But it is a very competitive landscape and others are doing exactly the same thing.  So if the strategy is to level the playing field against bigger names like Apple and Amazon, it may not be enough. 

The success of a content strategy, in my humble opinion, is in the exclusivity of content offerings that are created.  In the over the top (OTT) world, Netflix and Amazon have been investing in exclusive content to compete with cable.  Even in network and cable programming, the channels that have the better programming gets the ratings and the ad dollars.  It also enables leverage to the channel and its positioning on a cable operator's line-up.  Taking the cue from these other related industries, B&N must find its exclusivity to effectively compete with the Nook, whether in the general marketplace or in niches. 

A few off the top ideas for B&N to consider.  Exclusivity with magazine brands for an exclusive window of release ahead of general release.  Exclusivity of e-textbooks for college classrooms.  Even exclusivity of TV shows or movies.  Consider exclusive gaming and other apps that make the Nook as differentiated as possible from other devices.  At the end of the day, a me too strategy will not be enough for the Nook to succeed; other tablet libraries are already larger and B&N will have a hard time to catch up.  In my opinion, it will be differentiation in niche market offerings and content exclusivity that will most grow the Nook brand.