So Tesco has sold 400,000 tablets in just three months. The company says it is planning a new edition of its HUDL device and that it could have sold even more tablets before Christmas had they had them in stock. It’s interesting in the context of books and my recent post on Barnes & Noble’s Nook troubles that all of these sales took place without an ebook offering to bolster or encourage buyers (Blinkbox books is to launch in 2014, but is not yet live), cementing the very clear evidence that ebooks are not the biggest motivator for tablets (nor were they ever). Some impressive data on increased sales from Blinkbox itself too:
Tesco’s TV and movie streaming service Blinkbox saw sales spike by a massive 245 per cent year-on-year over the festive period…
New Year’s Day was the biggest day ever for the service with sales up by 266 per cent year-on-year, while mobile sales have increased by 674 per cent and smart TV sales by 465 per cent.
Ahead of Christmas, Tesco launched its own Hudl budget tablet and reported sales of 400,000 in the three months to December. The supermarket brand now plans to launch a second edition of the device later in the year.
A thoroughly fascinating piece over at the New York Times looking at Stacy Spikes’ struggle to build a subscription based business in the film going space. It’s fascinating one so many levels but the one that sticks, firmly, in my mind is his answer to the question below:
Q. Are you saying that you could lose money on the subscriptions but make it up with other revenue? A. We believe the best way to have a successful business model is to have multiple revenue streams. This model is very similar to that of a studio that is focused on more than just box office ticket sales.
The Kindle Fire is a beautiful device (and by that I mean it looks pretty nice from a distance). What’s more, it’s at the right price and has a library of content to beat the best on offer. Yet I find it worrying, exceptionally worrying.
Worrying because it marks a shift away from a singular focus on digital books and towards other media forms. Digital books (and their publishers, traditional and self) have benefitted from Amazon’s desire to move their consumers towards digital consumption and purchasing. Benefitted enormously.
Amazon’s strategy though, as the launch of Fire makes clear, is about ALL media forms not just books. As the company builds digital sales of those media (a MUCH bigger market than books), digital books will become less important overall. At some point it may just be the case that they will cease development of a dedicated ereader, just as Apple is close to ceasing the development of a dedicated music player (or at least has relegated the music only devices to the bottom rung of its offering).
More importantly, Amazon is popularising mobile, digital media consumption and at relatively cheap prices. This long-term strategy is all the time building the competition plain text ebooks face.
There is only so much audience attention to go around and as mobile gaming, tv and film watching and web browsing become possible for everyone, it is just possible that digital books will lose out*. Of course maybe the audience that moves digital will be big enough for this to not be an issue, but even so book publishers and authors will need to compete with movies, games and music much more directly and immediately than they have in the past.
The possibility then that the Kindle Fire presents is one where the dedicated device that has done so much to build the digital book market is, however distantly, headed for a quiet retirement and the publishers who think they have it all so sorted now are going to faced a changed game yet again.
But maybe these are just wasted fears! I certainly hope so.
* I’m a pessimist on this score and think that possible is a definite.
Good review this! I’ve not seens Kick Ass yet, I may not after reading this!
One of the major differences between Kill Bill and Kick-Ass—besides the twenty-seven years that separate Uma Thurman from Chloë Moretz—is that Kill Bill is good and Kick-Ass is bad. Tarantino’s action sequences are as elegantly constructed as a well-turned phrase. When Thurman kills Gogo Yubari, Gogo’s metal ball drops to the floor, ending their fight as neatly as a period ends a sentence. The only part of Kick-Ass at all worthy of comparison with Kill Bill is one that has drawn dutiful outrage from critics: Hit-Girl, dressed in a white blouse and plaid skirt, is granted entrance to D’Amico’s lobby by his guards, whom she shoots quickly and quietly. In a movie full of jet-packs and gigantic explosions and burning warehouses, the scene seems spare and refined. But the sequence is one reason why critics have called the movie’s violence pornographic.