The Money-Making Trifecta Of Content + Access + Hardware
More than 2 years ago today, I did rounds to a couple of companies, presenting in what I thought to be the next step in entertainment media – the media ecosystem. The idea itself was not new, and many of the parts of the idea were inspired by real-world businesses, like Nokia’s Ovi, RIM’s BlackBerry platform and of course, Apple’s iTunes. I simply tried to point out that the market is still wide open to create a seamless ecosystem for media products – music, movies, news, sports, and so on – to meet with advertising and brands, to become equally beneficial to all parties involved. This concept was based on 3 principles:
- Content and Context – the 21st century consumer consumes content as part of daily life. So an ecosystem that can provide a wide array of content (so not only specific to one type of media) would appeal to a wide range of audiences. Of course, context would have to be provided via recommendation engines, social networking and curating systems.
- Access – access to the content is probably one of the most easiest ways to calculate, monitor and control usage of content; but in this context it relates more to the connection itself – the internet connection. A growing ecosystem cannot and will not exist without an internet connection, as the ecosystem ‘exists’ not only on the device, but in the service’s servers (now more popularly known as cloud computing).
- Hardware – an ecosystem experience can be optimized with a device that is made for that ecosystem. The BlackBerry works best using RIM’s data packages, as does iPhones work the best with apps downloaded from the App Store.
My favorite example of this ecosystem was the BlackBerry ecosystem – RIM makes money from providing email services (back then they did not offer apps via Blackberry App World yet) = content. RIM makes money from the BIS/BES packages, and RIM makes money from selling BlackBerry devices. Unfortunately things are not working out for RIM since their content and hardware components are not compelling enough for the changing market, but the concept is sound. Another example would be themed handsets issued by Bakrie Telecom; a basic phone + themed services + charged access via SMS did well for them for their HP Hidayah line.
So the trifecta of content + access + hardware is a winning formula, provided that the ecosystem keeps evolving to meet beyond the needs of the consumer.
Naturally at the heart of this ecosystem, as the final stage of the ecosystem’s development, I proposed a small touchscreen device as the portable screen for all the content and services provided. I even proposed that the UI should be wholly customizable, through ‘UI layers’ offered or sold by designers/programmers; and easily switchable to the default UI. Monetization could occur by selling content, but could also happen through advertising , CRM and data mining. So it become the TV, the game device, the ebook reader, social network browser, internet browser … something that everyone can bring everywhere; but most of the companies I approached said, “don’t Indonesians hate the touch screen?” Then of course, a few months later the iPad was launched.
I still think the potential long-term market for this content + access + hardware ecosystem still exists in Indonesia, even with ecosystems from Apple and Google are already partly in place, but as it is not a simple thing, it will require a company with significant resources and power to license/partner for all the content, and have the sales capabilities to create the advertising experiences (as opposed to just sell ad banners). The closest thing that exists in the Indonesian market of this concept is Bakrie Telecom’s AhaPAD, which I think can only succeed when they can break the USD 100 ‘sweet spot’ price for tablets and provide a more simpler, seamless interface to purchase and access all the content and services.
This is an idea I’ve basically been sitting on for 2+years, but I decided to share it. Because knowing the idea is one thing, making it a reality – and having the expertise to do it – is another. My concept is definitely imperfect, and it will take many people to shape it into a feasible, relevant consumer offering. So, who can make it into a reality?