Crossing the Streams

A good interview on the business model and economics of streaming here:

Episode 5: Jozefien Vanherpe on the Economics of Music Streaming | Machines & Masterpieces (

Worth reading this Steve Albini thread as a complement to it:

I wonder whether the success major labels have ultimately had in negotiating the shift to streaming will also play through into video/broadcasting. Netflix unquestionable turned the tables up by making incredibly innovative, far-sighted use of CDN technology (Content Distribution or Delivery Network), Edge connectivity and variable bitrate management, but they face/faced two challenges:

  1. It’s a content first world – which means paying up front for subscribers by creating content, and as Jozefien Vanherpe points out, it’s difficult to predict the return on cultural goods.
  2. Once you reach saturation point with subscribers in the US, the job of expanding becomes a lot harder for localisation reasons (cultural, language and indeed compliance and technical). China is closed off to Netflix as a major revenue generator outside sharing some content via a partner, see my bit on Peppa Pig. Network technology coverage in India and the African content is a challenge. Europe is highly fragmented in terms of language and legislation per viewer.

Broadcasters have existing distribution channels and play the rights/D2C risk balance much more easily. Are we going to see the equivalent of the major label dominance in video streaming?

Publishing is of course the other area where incumbent businesses were extraordinarily slow and defensive in their approach to new technologies, but it’s not clear to me that e-books have disrupted to the same extent – certainly we’ve seen v little innovation in the publishing space as far as I know. Academic publishing is still in a heavily fortified mode. But this is no longer an area of strength for me, so this is just guesswork based on what little I see.

Author: diasyrmus

A melancholy emblem of parish cruelty.

One thought on “Crossing the Streams”

  1. Educational publishing remained way too reliant on big expensive textbooks that were minimally updated every year with new content and weren’t quick enough to move to digital, along with a fairly blithe attitude towards returns & the actual attitude towards the products, naively assuming the customers would have nowhere else to go. There is and was much too much complacency and though a lot of the big publishers have struggled to move to digital at speed, the last two years have proved pretty clarifying for those who are listening. A lot of this is just your same old push-the-products-we-have strategy that’s acting like it’s twenty years ago and students and colleges have no choice.

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