The CurveNicholas LovellThere is a new way of doing business that everyone in publishing needs to understand, says Nicholas Lovell.  Customers today are no longer “one-size-fits-all”; they come in a wide variety, from freeloaders to super fans.

What’s also changed, Lovell says, is that people find it increasingly easy to find the content they want to consume for free, legally or illegally. The trick that will lead to business success, Lovell writes in his new book, The Curve, is to understand how to sell to all types of customers in a world, and how to get them to open up their wallets. “The way I think about how businesses will work in the 21st century is by thinking about what the Web enables,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“The Web makes it really easy to share stuff, and when it becomes really easy to share stuff, it becomes increasingly hard to charge for that stuff,” Lovell explains. “But the Web also enables us to build one-to-one relationships with our audiences and customers in a way that hasn’t been possible before.”

Indeed, Lovell asserts that free content can be put work to the advantage of authors and publishers. “Use the power of free to find your audience,” he advises them. “Use technology to work out what your customers want. At the top of the curve, look at how you allow those people who love what you do – I call them Superfans – to spend lots of money on things they truly value.”

A former investment banker, Nicholas Lovell is a London-based business consultant who advises game companies like Square Enix, Exient and Firefly, as well as media companies like the UK’s Channel 4, on how digital distribution is transforming the games industry and how to apply that knowledge to other entertainment industries. A blogger at GAMESbrief, Nicholas Lovell is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal and Gamasutra.

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