Pierre-Jean Benghozi (Ecole Polytechnique/ Arcep)


Based on what we’ve heard this morning, we have two levels of complexities, the complexities of institutions, the complexity of discipline, and we have an additional layer made up of national perspectives.

I found the problem very interesting, and also the way it has been organised – this morning, in terms of a roundtable. The main problem for me is, are we discussing the transition from the analogue to the digital and the capacity to understand which kind of trajectories are at stake in this specific moment where the industries, companies and institutions are transferring their community from traditional channels to digital.

Or, are we speaking of the business model, which should be consistent and sustainable in the digital economy. A large part of this difficulty, from my viewpoint, in the debate and in the work, is some kind of confusion between the two, and it’s not very difficult to know whether we speak…biology offers a very nice name, the Red Queen, from the Lewis Carrol novel, when Alice meets the Red Queen, she is running very quickly, and Alice says to the Queen, Where are you running so fast? And the Queen says, if I want to stay in the same place, I have to run, because the ground is moving. It is a little similar in the creative industry today.

We have the feeling that we have to change continuously, to adapt and to evolve, the case of the e-book is a very good one. In order to face constant and continuous change, in user practices, in the strategy of the competitors, and the consequence of that is that we observe the huge diversity of the business model, or the strategy of the resource at stake, as the capacity for innovation of this model. The second consequence is very important for the creative industries, provided you have less attention paid to the content, because for the most part of the energy of the resource, are negated by the original business model, unless providing transformation of the content, selectivity, specificity of the content, it is interesting to see that in the intersection, it is the same thing as the book.

The aim is to compete with a traditional bookseller, we do not speak about the initial run because we assume we are distributing more or less the same content, the same book, for the most part the investigation is, which kind of digitisation, which kind of channel, which kind of price, and so for me the very important consequence of that is the multiplicity of business models, the capacity for innovation of this product will assign less market share to the content suppliers and its clear in the telecommunications sector, in the music industry, in the audio-visual industry, and in most parts of the creative sector.

Of course, the question is that this creates new and unusual forms of competition. The traditional publisher, the traditional photograph/music industry, are competing and selecting the best musicians, the best authors, the best books etc. And now they are not competing in this way, they are competing, mostly trying to develop or position themselves in a vertical integration of the value chain, invoking specific relations with technology suppliers or manufacturers of the device.

So, the problem is to understand where the competition would be, traditionally between editors and publishers, or accommodation between vertical segments integrating technology suppliers and content platforms.

We have a very important chain where the types and content at the bottom of the chain is even more important, at least for the most part of the content, not of course for the seller, and the medium-seller, and the low-seller. Of course, the content would be secondary compared to the condition of the vertical segments.

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