UMD, a format developed by Sony for the PSP market, is apparently being put out to pasture. Sales are simply not what were anticipated. Fair enough. There didn’t seem to be a focused plan for UMD.
But giving up on the UMD format might not be the brightest move. If studio executives would take a moment to listen to what consumers are saying (and doing), they’d realize that like shoes, there is no “one size fits all” format. We have entered an age where DVDs co-exist with memory cards which live alongside videocassettes which share space with hard drives sitting next to big pipes from the cable and phone industries.
While there are issues of price and accessibility, Sony can save the UMD from becoming the next Beta by realizing the fundamental truths of today’s markets, including the fact that UMD is settling into a niche market. Niche markets, by the way, aren’t such a bad thing if you understand them:
. . .Sony et al should see the writing on the wall: the only titles that are selling well are those that appeal to the young male market.
Sony has a massive software library — more titles than it realizes — yet continues to cling to old business models. Continually revamping internal business units and shoving square pegs into round holes isn’t the way of the future. Winning the game means playing the game smart (Sony, call us — we know from smart). It means listening to your customers. See example below.
Sony (and the rest of you movie execs), listen up. A company named Apple has sold millions more iPods than you’ve sold PSPs. Many of those iPods were sold long before there was an iTunes Music Store. How is this so? Simple: users could exploit their already existing CD collections (although the RIAA is now trying to stop this). Imagine being Apple and trying to sell the iPod if the only thing you could put on it was materials bought from iTunes. Still think those sales numbers would be what they are? Of course not.