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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Changes In Hollywood To Be Mirrored By Publishing?

Music, news media, movies, television, and the book publishing industry, in some ways are in the same boat.  They’re all competing for the consumer’s time and wallet and each has been challenged by advances in the digital world and the recession.  So, if one industry undergoes a challenge or change, others are sure to follow.

Two articles in today’s New York Post make me wonder if proposed changes in the movie-TV world will come to fruition, and if so, will they be copied by book publishers?

In one story Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is quoted as saying HBO Go, a relatively new web service, poses a threat to Netflix. HBO used to provide original content to cable and satellite TV subscribers; now it’s providing streaming content. Netflix, which used to rent out DVDs and then streamed content is now producing original content, copying what HBO does. 

In publishing, we’re already seeing companies get into each other’s businesses.  Amazon used to sell books, now it also publishes them.  In fact, it just expanded, buying  a children’s book publisher, Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. Barnes & Noble used to sell just books, now it sells a zillion products online.  It also publishes books via its imprint, Sterling. Penguin used to publish books; now with its Book Country division, it makes money off of the self-published.

The other Post article rumored that a number of smaller film studios would either merge together or each would find a home with a bigger conglomerate.  Such consolidation, amidst a shrinking box office, makes sense.  Consolidation also makes sense amongst book publishers.  Further, I can see book publishers merging with other media-related companies, as there could be some synergy there.

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