Say what you like about Vivendi, but the French media conglomerate has done an admirable job of recession-proofing its business model. A focus on subscriptions – whether for pay-TV, mobile phones, and the ability to hunt goblins and orcs in the online game World of Warcraft – has helped Vivendi weather the downturn better than rivals more dependent on advertising. A day after Germany’s Bertelsmann reported a €333m net loss, dragged down by a collapse in ad revenues at broadcaster RTL, Vivendi on Tuesday unveiled profits that beat most analysts’ estimates.
Subscriptions are such a simple mechanism and one of the things that are actually made easier with the web, where you can subscribe to things with both smaller amounts of money and more granularity. Ease is worth paying for. Over the last few months I’ve wondered, for instance, why I can’t get just the Lex Column delivered to my Kindle (Amazon’s fault I assume) and why I can’t subscribe to all my favorite label’s releases for the year. (For whatever that’s worth.)