Friday, December 28, 2007


The introduction and suspension of media services is becoming a regular occurrence and the combined effects of multiple false starts is creating turmoil in the marketplace and making consumers wary of new services.

Let me give some examples. Wal-Mart recently announced it is halting its online video download service after only a year of operation because Hewlett Packard Co. has discontinued its underlying technology due to poor market performance. The New York Times has one of the most successful newspaper websites but has changed its business model several times, most recently abandoning Times Select consumer paid model for an advertising-based model. Sony created a CONNECT Player for its Walkman, PSP, Clie and VAIO that was so plagued by problems that it ended support for the product and advised owners to use another music player and library manager instead. These are only a few of the hundreds of starts and stops of services that have occurred in recent years.

The primary reasons for failures of these types of services have been the rush to get them to market and the unwillingness of companies to financially support services for more than a limited time. These factors lead to insufficient product development efforts before introduction and rapid abandonment of products and services that may need time to be corrected or to mature in the market.

Companies of all kinds introduce and withdraw products for the market on a regular basis, but rapid introduction and withdrawal of media services tends to create more disruption for the consumer. Media services differ from other products that companies decide they will no longer manufacture because ceasing media services reduces functionality of hardware products for which the services were designed. Suspension of services also interferes with the strong habitual uses of media products and services that results from them being experience and lifestyle good and services

Media and communication technologies are changing rapidly but consumer behavior changes much more slowly. Consumers need time to learn about and get used to new technologies. The appearance of consumer technology fatigue from the constant changing and versioning of media and communication technologies is well recognized. Today, the rapid introduction and cessation of services is fueling technology wariness among consumers who have purchased hardware on the assumption that the services sold with it will continued to be offered throughout the useful life of the product.

It is a problem that media and communication companies have created themselves and it is making media markets more turbulent and complex.