Thursday, November 29, 2007

HMV moving into social media

Early next year (or thereabouts) we'll see HMV launch a social media site.

We have some clues from HMV's e-commerce director Gideon Lask
We've been in extensive dialogue with our core music and film suppliers, to identify cool and exciting content that we hope to include when we launch next year.

The way people discover and consume music and film is changing, and we need to reflect this in what we do.

HMV staff will be the first to explore and report on the site, along with a small number of hand-picked public users who will be identified by Cake.

Agencies LBi and Cake have helped develop the site. I've had one journalist ring me up and really wanted me to dismiss this as another "me too" project. I didn't agree. I suspect that line of questioning comes from Lask saying;
There are so many details we're still finalising - we're not even sure how best to describe the concept, and we haven't settled on a final name.

Although it remains to be seen whether the social media site is successful I wouldn't dismiss this as a "me too". HMV needs to look at the way people find and discuss music these days and this is exactly how they do it. I'd love to see it. I don't think I know anyone in Cake otherwise I'd be pestering them!

If the site is successful then it should help offset HMV's poor PPC strategy which is heavily reliant on burning through tokens and database queries to update bids in line with their inventory. That's a short term strategy and means HMV's clicks are more expensive than competitors. It also means they don't get to use current hits (inventory pending) to drive traffic to the site. A better strategy would be landing pages which cross-sold should the keyword title not be currently available. Not only would that let HMV benefit from the fickle fashion in music but would allow them to bid more cheaply.

So, we've got HMV making a stab at social (there's an irony in a company called His Master's Voice engaging with the voice of the socialnet) but doing badly in PPC. We also have Zavvi (ex-Virgin Megastories) leaving themselves open for annihilation on the SEO front. 2008 will be an interesting year for Entertainment retailers and affiliates!

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