Publishers should appreciate something Amazon has long since shown to be true: that the consumer is king, and putting the consumer’s interests first ultimately pays off big time.
ViacomCBS has been in the publishing news this week as its planned sale of Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House looks to be in jeopardy, but a bigger publishing-related story is about to pass unremarked in most industry journals.
This week Viacom CBS added 4.3 million global subscribers to its global streaming service, with almost 47 million paying subscribers now on board, with quarterly streaming revenue surpassing $1 billion for the first time.
ViacomCBS also announced a new streaming deal with telco T-Mobile.
Publishers averse to the subscription model will be sagely shaking their heads, saying there is no comparison between film and book consumers. Others will be taking a more reasoned view and realising that the video industry, like the music industry, is merely lighting the path for publishers willing to follow the light, and enlightening consumers as to the obvious benefits of unlimited subscription at the consumption end of the equation.
Publishers (not all, but far too many) need to take a step back from their engrained resistance to all things digital and appreciate something Amazon has long since shown to be true: that the consumer is king, and putting the consumer’s interests first ultimately pays off big time.
Digital books subscription cannot hope to match the volume of subscribers and revenue that video is delivering, but publishers should be looking at the potential subscription offers – especially as audio production costs come down – to reach audiences on a global scale hitherto unimaginable with the traditional print and bookstore model.