Only Jamba does the Simpsons

Jamba struck a remarkable deal, we read: in the US, content for Fox's cult TV series "The Simpsons" will be exclusively available via Jamba (or Jamster as it is known there). This will mean that consumers will NOT be able to download it from carrier decks. A major push for the D2C business (and only a day after we mused the consolidation of the sector). They introduce a new subscription plan ("Yellow Plan") for $9.99 a month, which offers credit for six downloads from a selection of The Simpsons content, including the Simpsons' mobile game which is produced by EA. No word if EA is prohibited from selling the game elsewhere; I doubt it.

The really interesting point is however the way Jamba positions itself with this: the company had been struggling and was indeed hit by lawsuits (class actions and all; there are even dedicated hate websites for it) over what many people found questionable business conduct, namely by allegedly luring people into relatively costly subscriptions (e.g. in the UK £4.50 per week; for games even £6.00) by offering - at first sight - free content.

Whether or not a consumer feels ripped off depends on the perceived value they receive. When I want to purchase a ringtone and end up paying £22.00 in the first month because I did not realise that I was entering a subscription, then the perceived value does not add up. If, on the other hand, I enter into a $9.99 per month subscription to obtain free access to my favourite TV show, then that might well be a different story: perceived value adequate equals happy consumers equals return customers equals a very successful and - more importantly - sustainable business.

Despite the bumpy ride through the courts, Jamba has always been very innovative and also quick to react to successes and failures, so it is somewhat unsurprising that they should have come up with this concept now. That they did this with so prominent a license deserves respect. Given that Fox (the owner of the Simpsons brand) owner News Corp holds the majority of Jamba, the deal will not even have been very expensive but be more of an act of cross-leveraging company divisions. It would arguably have been a worthwhile strategic investment geared to driving consumers to off-deck propositions in any event: this is an area where the US somewhat limp behind. This could now well be about to change.

On a sideline, this will also likely benefit the likes of Buongiorno: besides yesterday's announcement of their acquisition of I-Touch, they had previously acquired US firm Rocket Mobile, giving them a substantial footing in this market.

The trophy for deal of the week goes to Jamba though! Hats off!