Buying and selling longevity

Martin Thörnkvist is a media market analyst at Media Evolution and runs the music company Songs I Wish I Had Written. The text is taken from our publication “Access over ownership”, about the trend of wanting access to things instead of owning them.

Recently, I realized I’m increasingly buying longevity. I think it’s so inspiring to see companies who put real effort into adding long life to what they produce.

For me the trend is clear, companies that know they are creating products with high quality add repair and service as an integral part of their business. It serves as a proof that their goods have a long life.

Proven business

The automotive industry realised this a long time ago. ”Authorized” and ”original” have a strong link to the warranty, durability and resale value. It is natural that there is a service book in the glove compartment and the car should be serviced at regular intervals. The State checks that all vehicles on our roads are well taken care of.

The Finnish furniture manufacturer Artek had an interesting project the other year when they repurchased used furniture, gave it some TLC and resold it. Recently the company made the concept permanent by opening a shop for their used furniture.

Artek Stool

The Swedish furniture company Norrgavel has a section on its site that is a second-hand market for its furniture. Of course they want to sell new furniture, but by creating a market where they can show that the expensive furniture you buy has value even when you get tired of it, or grow out of it. Other customers see it as great value for a customer when they make an investment.

In the media industries

This long-term approach is also becoming relevant for the media industries. As we move from a structure of owning media, that is to say that we buy copies of a book, a movie, a game or a music album, to buying access to a platform that owns the distribution rights to stream media content, the time perspective for earning revenues for media producers is also changing.

We are moving away from an era of strong hit culture. One where backup from a strong marketing machine invested everything to focus attention on a release date, knowing that you have just a few months to recoup production costs and make profit on it.

With platforms that sell access to media, media producers earn money when customers use the product. There isn’t one purchasing instance, there are lots of user instances where people listen, read and watch.

Payment per usage is naturally significantly lower than what people received per purchase. So, to reach reasonable levels of payment you need volumes. Large volumes. So much volume that you need time and a constantly growing media catalogue.

Suddenly, it is important that media producers create content that is relevant for a long period.

I am convinced that this creates a good basis to work with exciting, niched productions. A lot like most media industries worked from the beginning.

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