Oldie from September but a goodie! The CD bundle is dead and the newspaper bundle is dying. What will replace them? Search + RSS + blogs? Read the whole thing for more insights.

From Due Diligence: Dissecting the Media: Trust and Transactions.:


Getting on to the media, we can note compact discs, and magazines and newspapers bought off the rack as bundles of content in the real world. Many such bundles have been driven by the physicality of the medium, and the economics of creation and distribution. In days past, I might cheerfully pay a quarter for a copy of the Chron, only to read the sports, one column of classified ads, a few local stories and throw the remainder away unread. All of that wastage was acceptable to both buyer and seller, given the scale economies of printing. Note again a modest element of trust: If tomorrow I buy the same paper, but my interests have changed from sports to movie reviews, I should believe that information will be there and be useful and credible.

These bundling strategies are not stable of themselves, they exist only within the context of technology, distribution and transaction costs surrounding them. When these change, bundles may collapse. The CD is the obvious example. With individual digitized songs now easier to duplicate and distribute than the physical bundle, the albums raison d'etre has disappeared. As the simple playlist replaces the album's remaining value of simplifying choice, CDs commence a slow glide to oblivion, moderated only by the installed base of equipment and consumer habit.

The newspaper bundle, with over 350 years of market experience behind it, is a tougher nut, but it is also starting to crack.


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