Can Media Products Ever Actually Deliver What Consumers Want?

The question may sound excessively controversial, but perhaps less so when worded in another way:

 

Where should the product development balance be struck between consumer wants and business imperatives?

 

All consumer products should meet the needs of the target consumers right?  Well yes and no.  Of course if you fail to meet consumer needs a product will fail.  But at the same time not every consumer demand can be met, certainly not at a price that those same consumers would be willing to pay.  For consumer product managers at consumer electronic companies these will be highly familiar concerns.  But now media companies are finding themselves thrust into a product manager’s crash course. 

 

Throughout the peak years traditional media companies didn’t have to worry too much about product innovation.  They focused on their core competencies of developing great content, and then marketing and programming it.  In the age of the Media Meltdown though those assets alone just aren’t enough.  The fundamentals of many media products need wholesale review (see my previous post for some specific analysis from the music perspective.)  But most media companies will find themselves needing to take a much more proactive role in this process. 

 

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New Forrester Report: The eReader Price Squeeze

A new Forrester report on the eReader market just went live (clients can access the full version here).

In brief: We surveyed 4,706 US consumers in an online survey to find out what value they place on eReader devices. We used a Van Westendorp Price Sensitivity Meter methodology to ask consumers four open-ended questions:

  • At what price would you consider an electronic book device/eBook reader a bargain?
  • At what price would you consider an electronic book device/eBook reader expensive but still purchase it?
  • What price would be so inexpensive that you would question the quality of an electronic book device/eBook reader?
  • What price would be so expensive that you would not consider buying an electronic book device/eBook reader?

We plot all the data and to find the optimal price range for different segments of consumers--what price you'd have to charge for the device to get the maximum number of consumers buying an eReader.

What we found was that the price points for how most consumers value eReaders is shockingly low--for most segments, between $50 and $99. (Currently, eReaders in the US are priced between $199 for the Sony Pocket Reader and $489 for the Kindle DX.)

Here you can see the breakdown for how different segments of consumers answered the question, "At what price would you consider an electronic book device/eBook reader expensive but still purchase it?":

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