This chart shows trailing 4 quarter profits for Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices group, which includes smartphones and the Xbox. (Using T4 smooths the profit spikes that happen every holiday season, which is the second quarter of Microsoft’s fiscal year.)
After years of losses, the E&D group was consistently in the black. In the 2010 holiday season (Q2’11) Microsoft introduced Kinect, driving profits even higher.
But a year later, Microsoft began paying Nokia $250 million every quarter for carrying Windows Phone 8. In exchange, Nokia pays Microsoft a license fee (estimated at under $20) for every Windows Phone it sells. (The arrangement between the two has other elements as well, like technology sharing.)
Unfortunately, Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 900, is selling poorly. So poorly, in fact, that the company just cut its price in half.
So Nokia helped send the E&D back into the red — it’s lost more than $200 million in each of the last two quarters. If Windows Phone sales don’t pick up, E&D will turn into a consistent money loser again.
Today Best Buy announced layoffs and store closures, as results continue to disappoint.
None of the businesses are too hot, but there’s one are that REALLY stands out as bad.
Entertainment (which is games, DVDs, etc.) is getting crushed. After falling 14% YOY last Q4, it then fell another 20% this Q4.
One bright spot is actually a very bright spot for the total economy and that’s appliances. This is a sign of more housing activity, and everyone should be happy about that.
As to the key point, anyone who has ever been into a Best Buy knows how much floor space was devoted to entertainment media, and area that seems to be on the permanent decline.
- CITI: Trade In Your Best Buy Stock For One Of Their Cheap Big Screen TVs
- Citi: We Checked Out The Shopping Malls, And This Is What We Saw
- Best Buy Misses Q2 Estimates
As you can see in the chart below, digital streaming/sales only accounted for 19% of the home entertainment market in the third quarter. The rest of sales comes from DVD/Blu-ray discs.
- THE APPLE INVESTOR: The iPhone Will Dominate In China
- Yes, Apple’s Building A TV — And It Will Be Powered By Siri
- THE GOOGLE INVESTOR: The TV Race Is On!
Traditionally, only the mammoth Hollywood studios could afford to work with 3D—it’s too expensive to build the necessary, air-conditioned 24 hours a day, server farms. The company behind Despicable Me decided to try something new, and cut the AC.
Illumination Entertainment, the company behind Despicable Me, decided to try something new. Instead of using air-conditioned server farms to render images, the company asked IBM to built a customized server farm using the iDataPlex system, a processing system that cuts down on energy use by 40% compared to traditional server farms.
The iDataPlex has two key advantages: a flexible configuration that doubles the amount of systems that can run in a single IBM rack and the ability to run an ambient temperature room (no costly air-conditioning required). The system has been on the market for over a year, but Illumination is the first studio to use it for animated film.
This doesn’t mean that any scrappy studio with a dream can now produce a high-end 3-D animated film. Illumination used a 330-person team of artists, producers, and support staff to produce 142 terabytes of data. And the rendering farm, which processed up to 500,000 frames per week, was built in conjunction with Mac Guff Ligne, a French digital production studio.
But the iDataPlex gives Illumination a leg up in the graphics rendering process. Illumination Entertainment’s server farm, for example, is the size of four parking spots. That’s half the amount of space the company initially allotted to the farm. “Oftentimes a small studio like Illumination really wants to put their energy behind creating as compelling of content as possible,” explains Steve Canepa, Vice President, Media & Entertainment Industry at IBM. “By minimizing the technological issues associated with building and managing the [rendering] environment, we allow studios to reduce the amount of time, energy, and resources necessary to create an underlying technological platform.”
It’s a compelling idea for studios—even major ones—that want to cut costs and look environmentally conscious at the same time. IBM is already working with a number of other studios to implement similar solutions. Canepa concedes that studios could build similar systems by purchasing off-the-shelf racks and processors, but the iDataPlex’s unique configuration of servers packs a lot of processing power into a small space—and that’s not easy to replicate. Don’t expect these rigs to be appearing in suburban garages anytime soon.
Fast Company empowers innovators to challenge convention and create the future of business.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
Collaborators – Digital Profs
- Netflix vs Blockbuster - Perfect example of an industry replaced by a more efficient version of itself
- Social Logins in Q4: Google Gains on Facebook; LinkedIn Takes B2B Lead
- The Grand Unified Theory of Marketing(tm) - Digital String Theory
- Marketing Costs Normalized to CPM Basis for Comparison
- HP Mini 311 Nvidia ION Netbook Hackintosh'ed
- Samsung 52 inch HDTV $9.99 at BestBuy - purchase receipt below (6:21a eastern time August 12, 2009)
- Are You Paying for Bots? Why, YES!
- drag2share: Amazon
- Brand Advertisers: Escaping an Ecosystem of Digital Advertising Fraud
- #SESNY: Toward a Performance Mindset for All Advertising
- Tips for Marketers Selecting a Digital Agency
- Context Is Not King or Queen; It's Just Necessary
- 2013 New Year's Digital Marketing Resolutions
- The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Online Campaign Ratings and eGRPs
- Why You Should Banish the Net Promoter Score Immediately
- Digital Strategy To-MAY-to vs. To-MAH-to
- The Agency-Client Relationship is Forever Changed
- Targeting vs. Privacy - Who Will Win?
- January 2015 (65)
- December 2014 (69)
- November 2014 (98)
- October 2014 (150)
- September 2014 (109)
- August 2014 (44)
- July 2014 (92)
- June 2014 (118)
- May 2014 (173)
- April 2014 (130)
- March 2014 (247)
- February 2014 (167)
- January 2014 (222)
- December 2013 (167)
- November 2013 (111)
- October 2013 (116)
- September 2013 (214)
- August 2013 (210)
- July 2013 (200)
- June 2013 (87)
- May 2013 (87)
- April 2013 (70)
- March 2013 (114)
- February 2013 (89)
- January 2013 (136)
- December 2012 (96)
- November 2012 (130)
- October 2012 (147)
- September 2012 (93)
- August 2012 (93)
- July 2012 (112)
- June 2012 (71)
- May 2012 (82)
- April 2012 (80)
- March 2012 (122)
- February 2012 (114)
- January 2012 (129)
- December 2011 (60)
- November 2011 (54)
- October 2011 (29)
- September 2011 (17)
- August 2011 (30)
- July 2011 (18)
- June 2011 (19)
- May 2011 (23)
- April 2011 (23)
- March 2011 (52)
- February 2011 (69)
- January 2011 (108)
- December 2010 (82)
- November 2010 (67)
- October 2010 (68)
- September 2010 (44)
- August 2010 (101)
- July 2010 (61)
- June 2010 (28)
- May 2010 (28)
- April 2010 (26)
- March 2010 (33)
- February 2010 (21)
- January 2010 (13)
- December 2009 (4)
- November 2009 (2)
- October 2009 (14)
- September 2009 (6)
- August 2009 (19)
- July 2009 (34)
- June 2009 (11)
- May 2009 (4)
- April 2009 (6)
- March 2009 (13)
- February 2009 (32)
- January 2009 (25)
- December 2008 (1)
- October 2008 (1)
- June 2008 (1)
- November 2007 (1)