Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kids Content Helps To Drive Subscription Video

The race by video streaming aggregators to bulk up on content is on and ultimately could lead to more cable cord cutting.  The category that seems to get a ton of attention is kid friendly programming and deals are being cut left and right.  Netflix deal with Dreamworks Animation was yesterday's news; today, the latest content partnership deal is between Amazon and PBS. 

"Amazon says that the PBS KIDS shows will be available on its Kindle FreeTime Unlimited service, which, paradoxically for a service that bills itself as being 'unlimited,' is designed to help parents limit viewing time.  The new arrangement along with Amazon’s recent deal with Viacom to offer shows including Dora the Explorer, Go Diego, Go!, and The Backyardigans ”brings some of the most popular kids programming to Prime Instant Video, making it the perfect place for the whole family to catch up on all their favorites,” says Director of Digital Video Content Acquisition Brad Beale."  These are the same families that are using Amazon Prime to buy their diapers in bulk so it is a perfect fit.  Of course, not knowing the revenue model for such a partnership, the hope for each is that their is a ROI that makes sense for both parties.

So keep checking the boxes for kids programming.  Could Power Rangers be next or is a new provider lurking?  Stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel.

Nook Tablet No More

Barnes & Noble has thrown in the towel in the tablet game, conceding to iPads and Kindles.  Consumers were no longer embracing their tablet and sales were plunging so B&N decided the best course was to stop producing them.  No doubt, Apple and Amazon are formidable competition and technology leader does not describe the core of B&N, a brick and mortar company.  Try as they might, consumers chose other devices.

And while the announcement calls for the en of their color tablets, B&N will still continue to build and sell their e-readers.  I am not sure I agree with that decision.  Amazon and Apple have built both the infrastructure and the device that consumers prefer.  The decision to keep Nook e-readers going is only delaying the inevitable.  Inevitably the B&N app will be an agnostic entry to downloading books, regardless of the device.  Or perhaps a closer partnership to Microsoft is in order if the decision is to embrace a proprietary library with Microsoft branded products. 

Sad too that the Nook did not save the B&N retail business.  "If Nook hadn’t done so badly, the poorly performing retail segment — which consists of both bricks-and-mortar stores and — would be getting more attention this morning: Retail revenues fell 10 percent for the quarter, to $948 million, and fell 5.9 percent for the year, to $4.6 billion."  More stores are closing than opening with the only bright spot being their college bookstores.

So what is next for Barnes & Noble?  I would profoundly miss their presence in the retail landscape.  While I buy digital books, I still also buy hard copies too.  B&N represents a place of discovery and entertainment.  I believe that while leaving the Nook business is the right move, diversifying merchandise in their retail stores to keep customers coming remains essential.    I want to see B&N survive and prosper.