The Sony Movie Debacle Is a Good Thing For Everyone But Apple and Amazon
Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, North Korea is bit ticked at Sony for a new movie called The Interview. To prevent release of the film North Korea hacked Sony and leaked some confidential info. Then North Korea threatened the US if the movie was released. Sony pulled the picture because of the threats.
On Christmas Eve, Sony changed their mind and released the movie online for streaming for $5.99 through Google Play, YouTube, Microsoft Xbox and through a dedicated website.
The most interesting thing about this is that iTunes and Amazon are not offering options for streaming of the movie.
Look at the list again—Google Play and Youtube—both Google products. Even slow-moving Microsoft made the cut but not Apple or Amazon.
For the non-Android audience, this release officially puts Google Play on the map.
What on earth is Google Play? Well, Google Play is one-stop shopping for all kinds of content with a very important hook—it is shareable and no specific software is required to use it (unlike iTunes). Google Play is also backed by one of the biggest marketing machines on the planet. It is no secret that Google is continually moving chess pieces around to attack Apple and Amazon.
Don’t be surprised when one of Google’s next moves is turning Google Play into a hub for ebooks.
It’s coming soon. Think about it—other than Amazon, what are the major book or ebook options for the masses? Barnes and Noble? Well, surprise, surprise Google is working with Barnes and Noble now.
Amazon typically offers low prices but cannot offer the experience of walking into a bookstore. The smell of fresh coffee brewing and your kids holding a stack of books is not something easily replaced with free shipping and low prices. Because of this, many customers don’t mind paying more to shop in a real store with books at their fingertips.
Another thing to consider is how Amazon’s prices continually change; if the price is close or even the same at Barnes and Noble or Google store, Amazon suddenly does not have their distinct advantage.
The Google/Barnes and Noble alliance has the potential to revolutionize books.
Google is not subtle when it goes after a competitor. Apple’s iTunes store is in the crosshairs as well. iTunes is a fairly easy target for Google as the iTunes store has been very successful in the past with the success of the iPod and iPhone. Google’s Youtube is one of the main reasons for Apple’s sliding iTunes revenue (down 13–14% this year). Youtube is absolutely free and the ads can often be skipped after a few seconds. Streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify are also lessening iTunes stranglehold on media content as well. Why pay $9.99 or more for one album on iTunes when for the same price each month you can hear millions of songs via streaming? This is likely why Apple bought Beats—for the streaming capabilities—the headphones and cool factor were just added bonuses.
Years ago, Steve Jobs was the bridge between the mass media gatekeepers and the public.
Jobs fought for online distribution when such a thing was unheard of.
Now Google is leading the way in this area and the stakes are huge. There will always be demand for good content but now there must be an option to have it delivered to the consumers home at their convenience at a good price.