Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Brave New World?

You would expect even competitors to realise that in an un-established and immature market that a certain amount of collaboration is healthy to create consumer confidence? Maybe first past the post is what it is all about.

Take one digital option –totally closed from one source and clearly not ‘open’. The content can only be served up one way and although the consumer may be happy with the service, the content providers must question what sort of power monster they are creating. Everyone wants to recreate iTunes!

Take another option – totally ‘open’ standards but maybe not. Today you can only use one DRM wrapper and can only download it to one device. Not only that but to top it all this is only initially available exclusively through one retailer.

Hello – spot the difference?

Ignoring that this may only be a temporary situation and that others should soon be able to join in, what is the message that these approaches is sending out both within the trade and out with it? Imagine a new Harry Potter being given an exclusive release to one supermarket? Would other retailers be happy and not plot their revenge? Would other publishers seek similar deals? Would the consumer wonder what is happening?

The PA and BA have stood up and backed open digital standards. Ian Hudson’s BA conference speech reiterated our own words on the importance of interoperability. Many want a level playing field that enables all to play, supports the existing channel and delivers the messages from the Brave New World report.

So why are some acting so short term? Why aren’t publishers objecting to the narrowing of the field before the race has begun? What is this obsession with global domination before a shot has been fired?

Instead of World ebook day, some would say that we heading towards many exclusive ebook days and a future divided?

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