Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Nook , Nook, Please Let Me In
We have already asked the question about Barnes and Noble’s international grand venture and whether it will even hit the consciousness of the UK consumer, let alone pass the ‘so what’ test?
As Frankfurt and the Christmas season nears we seen some more of their approach top the UK which is as far as we know still the limit of their ‘international’ programme today. They have announced two further stores Dixons, which is the High Street little brother of yes, PC World, which is out of town shed outlet of the same group Dixons Retail. So some would suggest they have not two but one additional retailer. The deal will not be exclusive so as with their other deals they will find themselves in a beauty contest with all the other wannabees but today with as much consumer awareness of their brand as the best Korean model.
Barnes and Noble have also announced their video offer of blockbuster movies, classic films and original TV shows from major studios including HBO, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, STARZ, Viacom and Warner Bros. Entertainment, plus favourite movies from The Walt Disney Studios. They also will integrate a customers physical DVD and Blu-ray Disc content and digital video collection through UltraViolet™. This will enable customers to link their UltraViolet accounts to the NOOK Cloud allowing them to view their content across NOOK devices and platform. This again in true Barnes and Noble fashion is behind their competitors integration and although competes well with the likes of Kobo does little against Amazon. Would you put your video library in the hands of someone who is not really in that business, is not the market driver or leader in any digital media sector? This may carry more clout if they were still going to launch NEWCO with Microsoft, but this appears to be very quiet today and it is somewhat illogical to launch Barnes and Noble Nook ventures without a big partner at your side.
On a positive note Barnes and Noble did name Patrick Rouvillois vice president and managing director of its international business. Rouvillois was previously chief marketing officer and head of e-commerce for Carrefour , the No. 2 global retailer with 15,000 stores in 30 countries. Prior to that , he was Executive Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Orange Group, one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, responsible for consumer propositions, product marketing, pricing and commercial investment optimization. Before joining Orange, Mr. Rouvillois has held positions at Vivendi Universal Net, where he managed a content aggregation portal for Vodafone and SFR and also spent six years at The Boston Consulting Group in Europe and Oceania. He will report to Jamie Iannone, President of Barnes and Noble digital products.
Rouvillois certainly has the background to make a difference but some would suggest on paper he may be a bigger hitter than the person he reports to and if Barnes and Noble are serious about international he should be standing in his own right.
The big question today is, how Barnes and Noble will define international success and the timelines they have identified to achieve this? It is often easy to get others to carry your devices, even relatively easy to sell them at a low price point, but it is far more difficult to break into an established market where you offer nothing different other than US reputation as number two.
Aug 12: Nook Nook Who's There?
July 12: Living In A US Centric World?
April 12: Microsoft return to eBooks via Nook
Apr 11: Nook Stops Short