The Hit Parade: Hollywoodization of gadgets

What does this:

“Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster is estimating Apple sold half a million iPhones from 6 p.m. Friday through the close of business on Sunday. With the devices going for $500 to $600, that’s around $250 to $300 million in cash changing hands…”

Apple iPhone

and this:

“Sony Corp sold about 250,000 units of the new version of the PlayStation Portable in Japan in the four days since its launch…”

Sony PSP

have to do with this?

“Cashing in on 18 years of pop cultural prominence, The Simpsons Movie drew a stellar $74 million on approximately 5,500 screens at 3,922 theaters over the weekend.”

The Simpsons Movie

The numbers (and the way they are now being reported) speak for themselves. Some likely consequences are:

  • This is going to put enormous pressure on consumer electronics and media-focused PC companies to design for first impression.
  • Trade press will likely penalize major products that don’t immediately garner “blockbuster” status with their opening week numbers.
  • Fearing opening-week risk exposure, such companies may decide to fundamentally alter their product launch patterns in time and scale.
  • Not fully-baked, version 1.0 products (like Microsoft Zune) where companies had grown accustomed to improving products over a long stretch of time may fare poorly.
  • Hit factories like Apple may garner bigger market and mind share as they are able to design and showcase blockbuster products and take risks.
  • For product designers, focus on opening-week success may become as important a strategic factor as focus groups, script doctors and last minutes movie re-cuts have been to Hollywwod.
  • Since marketing costs will significantly rise for products vying for blockbuster status, resources will likely be siphoned off from other products not destined for the Hit Parade, thereby compressing the depth of product lines.
  • Embarrassing kitchen-sink variety product introduction strategies like HP’s recent “Your Life is the Show” (buried under the avalanche of Apple’s new iPods) may be taught as case histories in business schools for what not to do.

Clearly, it’s a new ball game.

UPDATE: Here’s how Steve Jobs described the introduction of iPhone 3G into the marketplace: “iPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend.” Not unlike the description of a Pixar movie opening.

4 thoughts on “The Hit Parade: Hollywoodization of gadgets

  1. Pingback: Consumer markets: Time for Microsoft to exit? « counternotions

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