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《经济学人》:网络媒体分销,愤怒的公牛

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Even so, are the record labels wise to fight back? Their position is a tricky one. Digital music downloads, which had been growing quickly, stalled last year in America and Japan, according to the IFPI, a trade group. Piracy is one reason; another is that the limitations of digital downloading are becoming clear. Mark Mulligan of Forrester, a research firm, says music fans now expect to be able to play their collections of tunes on all sorts of devices. Some are finding, frustratingly, that they cannot. Amazon’s new service is designed to solve that problem.

即便如此,唱片公司反击就明智了吗?它们处境也颇棘手。据商业团体IFPI称,数字音乐下载一直迅猛发展,但去年在美日却陷入停顿。盗版是原因之一。另一个原因,则是数字下载的种种局限正日益明朗。市场调查公司弗雷斯特的Mark Mulligan称,音乐爱好者如今期望各种设备都可播放自个的收藏曲目。但有些人沮丧地发现,无法办到。亚马逊的新服务正打算解决此问题。

Anything that makes digital downloading more appealing should be good news for the record labels. They should also welcome strong competition for Apple, which has held sway over digital music for a decade. On the other hand, collapsing CD purchases are making them desperate for new sources of revenue. If there is going to be money in digital-locker services, they want a cut. Some have stayed quiet about Amazon’s move so far because they regard it as the foundation of a more ambitious music service that will provide new revenues for them. It may be, for example, that consumers will be offered the chance to listen to each other’s music for a fee.

无论哪种方式,只要能让数字音乐下载更吸引人,对唱片公司而言都是喜讯。它们也会欢迎针对苹果的激烈竞争,后者左右数字音乐市场已达十年。另一方面,CD销量急剧减少,唱片公司亟需新收入来源。倘若媒体“数字寄存柜”服务有利可图,它们也想分一杯羹。对亚马逊的举动,有些唱片公司至今默不做声,概因其认为,那是一项更具雄心音乐服务的基础,会增加收入。这种服务,打个比方,或许是消费者有机会付费收听彼此收藏的音乐。

If the record companies are understandably torn about how to respond to a new distribution model, the television firms are simply wrong. It is hard to imagine a less disruptive innovation than TWC’s iPad app. By letting people who have already paid for a programme watch it on another screen, the app raises the value of a television subscription and strengthens the pay-TV ecosystem on which media firms depend. They may win their fight, but it might have been better not to enter the ring.

在如何应对新分发模式一事上,唱片公司左右为难尚可理解,电视公司却大错特错。TWC的iPad应用创新破坏之少,殊难想象。用户可用其跨屏收看已付费节目,从而提高电视订购价格,巩固媒体公司倚赖的付费电视生态系统。自相残杀,电视公司或许会赢,但最好别进拳击场。

注:Raging bulls

语带双关。原是1980年出品、 马丁??斯科塞斯导演的一部电影,一般译作《愤怒的公牛》;本文中作者将网络媒体分发市场比喻为ring,即“拳击场,角力场、竞技场”,而将媒体巨头(包括唱片公司跟电视公司)、高科技公司、电子零售商等比作进场决斗的encounters,也就是标题所指的bull,该词既有“公牛、雄兽”之意,也指“力大如牛的人,粗壮如牛的人,声粗如牛的人,粗汉,彪形大汉”。这里将媒体产品制造商(唱片公司与电视公司)比作力大如牛的拳击手,它们面临与分销商和高科技公司的两场激烈对决,恼怒不已。



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