Friday, August 31, 2012

The Consumer's Voice

Every so often, we see something that speaks directly to what we are doing at Bitmenu.  Our focus has always been to remove barriers and enable easy engagement between buyers and sellers of media.  While we often talk about the benefits to Sellers (no need to manage registrations, credit cards and delivery), the value to Buyers is presented nicely in this article from Gizmodo.

A snip:

"I'm a person who pays for content because I want to support the people who created it, but who's increasingly frustrated by how hard content owners make it to just give them my money sometimes. That may put me in the minority, but I don't think I'm alone."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Digital Theater Downloads Extend Performances

Every so often we see evidence of sustainable business models built around distribution of digital media.  When we look into how purchases are made and media delivered, we think of how Bitmenu is different and could be used for similar purposes.

In this case, a group in the UK sells theater performances:

Digital Theatre works in partnership with the leading theatre companies and arts organisations in the country to bring the best theatre to your desktop or television screen.

As Apple TV and other internet-connected solutions bring video to the television set, people will choose to view purchases this way as well as through well-known "stores".  This review provides a great example of how this niche service is used.  As noted, the site requires registration.  Users have to create a userID and password.  They must also supply personal information, including mailing address, and credit card information.  In other words, VOD sites like this have to build a relationship with the user before they can sell anything.

Bitmenu makes it easy for users to buy without sign up or registration.  Users pay and download their purchase without handing over any of the information mentioned.  They use their Amazon or PayPal account and Bitmenu verifies the transaction prior to releasing the download.

For niche VOD services, Bitmenu enables a unique casual purchase makes buying so easy they are easy to recommend.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How Google Will Supoort DMCA Actions

Yesterday, Google issued a statement that should encourage sellers of digital media.  Anyone who sells copyrighted materials has to deal with unauthorized re-distribution of their goods.  While infringing sites can be prosecuted using the DMCA "take-down request" procedure, up until now those sites were able to freely promote themselves through Google search results.

Here is Google's statement:

"Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results.  This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily."

This statement has triggered questions about DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and what Sellers can do to generate traffic to their sites as opposed to repeat infringers.  The statement received positive reviews by the MPAA and the RIAA, as noted by popular Search Engine columnist Danny Sullivan.

At Bitmenu, we have designed our systems to benefit media creators.  Now we are seeing Google take the same stance.  From the RIAA quote:

"This should result in improved rankings for the licensed music services that pay artists and deliver fans the music they love."

Of course, Bitmenu is unique in that we enable Sellers to easily reach out to Buyers directly.  The action that Google puts into effect on Monday should help them stand out as well.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Amazon's Video App for iPad Features Amazon Purchase Flow

Today's release of Amazon Instant Video for iPad contains an important variation on most media sales made to iOS devices:  it circumvents the iTunes Store infrastructure.

Much has been made of Apple's 30% "tax" on all items sold through their various iTunes-enabled e-commerce services, including the App Store, iBookstore and iTunes Music Store.  Developers or publishers have had to work with Apple to enable "in app" purchases or otherwise make their media available from Apple.  The "native app" approach was at first assumed to compliment the "native web" approach to buying things on iOS, but the pendulum has recently swung strongly in favor of the app approach.

Now, Amazon is providing a "native web" purchase path that presents a compelling alternative.  As reported by AppleInsider, "To circumvent Apple's requirements for in-app purchases, new content must be bought from Amazon via the iPad's Safari Web browser. Purchases made on through the browser will appear in the Your Video Library section of the iPad application."

While Apple boasts a system with over 400 million active credit cards on file, Amazon has nearly 200 million.  Given there are only 170 million US credit cardholders, both of these services have pretty much covered that part of the market.

So, Amazon has creating a shopping experience that starts and ends on the web, and never touches the Apple Stores.  Users download a free app from the Apple App Store, but their purchases are handled via Amazon's Web Services.  Interestingly, they have worked for years with developers like Bitmenu to refine this technique.

We expect more Sellers to choose to market their media on their own terms.