Digital media

Go Read This | Tesco tablet expected on 23 September

Tesco-LogoIt has been clear for some time that probably only full-scale retailers have the capacity to respond to Amazon, Google, Apple and other digital giants. They have the advantages of scale, access to capital, direct customer interaction and customer inertia working in their favour.

Of course, those advantages are threatened by online retailers like Amazon and by the shift to digital consumption of media. It makes sense then that really forward-looking retailers will attempt to move into the digital distribution and retail space. Many of them have been offering online grocery shopping effectively for some time, long before Amazon or other newer entrants. Tesco has been making what look like smart moves in digital media for a while. It will be intriguing to see if this forthcoming tablet play works.

Success, however, cannot be measured by units sold alone. A good sign of it working would be of the company sells lots of tablets AND signs lots of people up to its digital content services. At the kind of price point the articles on the tablet are talking about, content sales and customer acquisition for the digital services are the goal in the short and medium term.

The question that arises for me is what’s the longer term play for Tesco? How can it build on success in the UK (if it materializes) and can it compete with the giants even if it does succeed in the UK. The costs of such competition can be quite hefty, as B&N has learnt to its cost:

Tesco might be able to hit the £99 price using a cashback-style promotion, Wood suggests: “I can see Tesco using substantial discounts on other services such as bundled media from Blinkbox, or vouchers for discounts on petrol or groceries through its ClubCard loyalty scheme.”

The tablet would take on competitors from the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon, and will be tailored to online shopping and video viewing – both areas where Tesco is looking to capitalise on its position.

via Tesco tablet expected on 23 September – and may be very low-priced | Technology | The Guardian.

Go Read This | With 2 million members, Storybird is ‘reverse-engineering’ the picture book

A very nice, very smart, very exciting idea:

Initially, Ury and his cofounder, Kaye Puhlmann (both formerly consumer experience designers for digital ad agencies; Ury has worked with clients like Apple, Nike and Starbucks), imagined that families would be the primary users of the site. “Parents reading on the iPad to their kids in bed,” Ury said. Parents and kids are indeed using Storybird — “and a lot of people create stories almost as extended greeting cards,” Ury said — but it turns out the largest demographic is teachers and students. Over 125,000 schools are now on Storybird, with teachers issuing assignments to students and using the site in the classroom to help kids with their writing skills. The most recent demographic — and “the most voracious,” according to Ury — is teen and tween girls. “They are using it for what I’d almost call conversation and communication,” he added, sharing images and messages with each other online “the same way you might use Tumblr.”

via With 2 million members, Storybird is ‘reverse-engineering’ the picture book — paidContent.

Go Read This | E-books overtake US paperbacks

First off, don’t get TOO excited. The figures are very impressive, but they carry some health warnings the three biggest:

  • Ebook sales are undifferentiated whereas print sales are segmented
  • Thess are self reported and not the whole market
  • These may still be seeing post-Christmas loading by new ereading consumers

That said, the market is clearly growing VERY quickly still. Read the whole release from the AAP here.

Sales of e-books in February tripled over the previous year to $90.3m, the Association of American Publishers reported, exceeding adult paperback sales of $81.2m.

A 169 per cent surge in e-book revenues since the start of the year contrasted with a 24.8 per cent decline in print book sales to $442m over the two-month period. February figures showed steeper declines in some print categories, with adult hardcover sales falling 43 per cent to $46.2m and mass-market paperbacks down 41.5 per cent at $29.3m.

via FT.com / Media – E-books overtake US paperbacks.

Go Read This | Contrast | The Blog | On Communities and Content

Odd how this, from the design perspective, chimes with the discussion over at Mike Shatzkin’s blog yesterday and my thinking about Niche Veritcals.

Step one would be “Attract a large number of potential users”. Without doubt the best way to do this is with good content. Content precedes design.

Only when you have a good audience should you start thinking about how best to serve it and turn it into a community. Unfortunately it’s very rare that we get emails saying “Guys I’ve got over 2,000 people hitting my cricket site every week, commenting, emailing me, and I’d like to build an network to support this“.

via Contrast | The Blog | On Communities and Content.