Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Amazon eMusic, eVideo, eBooks

Amazon continues to make much noise in the media space and it’s interesting that its not just focused on books or the Kindle.

The Telegraph is reporting that Amazon.co.uk is preparing to launch its DRM free Amazon MP3 service in 2008 in the UK. This will clearly go head to head with iTunes, HMV and Play.com. The DRM free and Amazon pricing will appeal to many and increase the movement towards a DRM free market.

Amazon.com has moved onto streaming video and has announced a new service that is to come on-stream in the next few weeks. The will be based on an a la carte for pay , scheme and again is firmly focused at competing with the likes of Apple in the growing digital marketplace.

We then return to where it all started – books and Bezos’s biggest adventure, the Kindle. Everyone is talking it up or has an opinion on it and today, it only has one serious contender, the Sony Reader. So it’s a two horse race to capture both market and the hearts and minds of the consumer. Or is it? Amazon has clearly got the edge over Sony and Adobe when it comes to getting content and has increased its etitles to some 125,000 whilst its competition lags someway behind. But how do we go from 125,000 to millions? How do we make ebooks ubiquitous? Amazon is in the best place to pull the publishers through the hedge but its not just publishers, authors and rights. Today’s devices are still in their development phase with respect to eInk. We still do not have colour and the devices themselves remind one of the mobile phone ‘bricks’ we saw in the early 80s.

So it was interesting to read in The Washington Post that Pacific Crest analyst Steve Weinstein predicts that global e-book sales at Amazon could reach $2.5 billion by the year 2012. He also assumes that based on this that Amazon’s bottom line benefit will grow with the increased margins and cost reductions available through digital sales.

We have all heard wild predictions on digital media. The predictions themselves are unimportant but what is important is the clear drive towards digital content across all media that can then be rendered and serviced through both existing physical formats and channels, or new digital ones. Music is starting to tackle the thorny issue of DRM, video the delivery channel and books the fact that we still don’t have the content digitised and available when the market is starting to waken! Amazon appears to be nicely positioned to globally control all three channels and is positioning itself as the one stop shop yet again.

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