Tuesday, August 13, 2002

On the entertainment industry's stupidity when it comes to digital technology.

For "content providers", supporting and pushing digital technology == big profits.

Remember how during the dot-com craze there were all these "e-businesses" that were having terrible losses. That none of the big names was making any profit?

At that time I was working in the stock photography industry. An industry that embraced digital delivery (to the extent where traditional stock media are about as accessible as 8-tracks now). The company I worked for, EyeWire, made big profits off of web sales of digital content (stock photos, video, illustrations).

Two simple lessons stand out from my experience there:

1) Customer service is the backbone of the business. You can have a crappy website (we didn't - but it did have it's problems as with any service), but if your customer service will do whatever it takes to get the product to the customer as quickly as possible, you will have customers and those customers will stick with you.

2) Make it as easy as possible for the customer to get your product in whatever form they want it (without technical constraints on usage - only legal constraints), and make it easy to pay for the product in that process.

The entertainment content industries don't comprehend either of those. If they did, they would likely already be making more from digital delivery sales than all of their traditional modes. (IIRC, for the stock content industry, web sales overtook 'hard goods' sales around 1999-2000)

There's something else that comes to mind: If you treat your customers like they are criminals, they will come to see you as a criminal. Case in point, the audio recording industry whom many (if not most) of us now perceive as thieves riding on the backs of musical artists.

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