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Download Wars: MTV V. Apple

Tuesday, August 21, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

This will be a battle to watch:

In a bid to create a stronger competitor to Apple Inc.’s market-dominating iTunes Store, Viacom Inc.’s MTV Networks is set to announce today that it is merging its online digital-music offerings into a joint venture with RealNetworks Inc., the company behind the Rhapsody subscription digital-music service, according to people familiar with the matter.

MTV has deep hooks into the young demographic of course, but can it get its viewers to depart from well-established patterns of download consumption?

Some extraordinary portion of the audio download business is already the captive of iTunes –two years ago Apple reported it had 82% of the downlaod market captured– I suspect there is a significant market for the new venture in dumbing down the process for the technologically inept, older beginner, but even whispering about an interest in the above-25 demo must be dangerous business. 

And difficult.  The penetration into the 40 demographic must be a frustrating and time-consuming effort, but given the completeness of the domination of the current youth market by Apple, any new effort will have to capture the credit cards of the parents to have any hope of grabbing the next generation of the kids.

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