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Why Exactly Did B&N Launch Nook Video Apps for iPad, Android, and iPhone?

pod-1_image_Vid-apps[1]Remember last Fall when B&N launched Nook Video with the Nook HD and promised that they would release NV apps for Android and iOS?

It may have taken 10 months but that day has finally arrived. B&N has just announced the new apps, and they also announced a surprising bonus: they’re also releasing Nook Video apps for the Nook Color and Nook Tablet as well as Roku set top boxes.

You can find the apps in iTunes, Google Play, and the NT/NC will have the app pushed out to the devices. But why would you want to?

I mean, Amazon, Apple, Google (and pretty much all other tech companies in existence) already offer similar services. What exactly does B&N bring to the table to make this service worth the bother?

What makes today’s news even stranger is that B&N’s own tablets, the soon to be closed-out Nook HD and HD+, have a competing service bundled into them (Google Play Video). It came with Google Play, and  while Google might have issues with tech support they are still better at selling video than B&N.

I would have thought that with the addition of Google Video, there was no longer a need to have Nook Video any longer. In fact I had taken the delayed launch of the Nook Video apps as a sign that they were never going to be launched. I was waiting for B&N to announce the closure of the service, not its expansion.

TBH, I’ve never really understood why B&N launched this service in the first place. Sure, it ties in with the meme of platform equals hardware plus content, but B&N had never really followed through on the idea.  I mean, B&N still doesn’t sell mp3 music even now. And it took them a full 2 years after they launched a tablet before they sold video. And the Nook App Store was so anemic that it was more of a detriment than a net contributor.

If we look back at B&N over the past 6 months I have to wonder if anyone is in charge there. B&N has killed reading apps and then brought them back.  They launched Nook Video, made it redundant, and then wasted money developing apps.

I wish whatever Magic 8-Ball they are using would give more consistent answers. It’s a little confusing for outsiders to follow.


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cookie August 19, 2013 um 9:29 am

Why bother. It is over. They are done.

Alexander Inglis August 19, 2013 um 9:51 am

They release Q1 (ends Jul) earnings result tomorrow. Hence, a good news announcement today.

Nate Hoffelder August 19, 2013 um 10:12 am

So this portends bad news? Ouch.

flyingtoastr August 19, 2013 um 10:29 am

Chances are that BN will actually crush earnings estimates because of the way they reported their last earnings.

BN chose to take the entire markdown for the HD series shortfall in Q4 2012. That means every single NOOK that they’ve sold between the end of April and the end of Q1 2013 has had a functional cost of zero dollars (on their balance sheet, at least). In other words, even with the drastic price drops BN is still making huge margins on their NOOK devices – a NOOK HD sold for $150 has functionally no cost attached to it, pure profit.

It’s a trick of accounting called the "Cookie Jar", and it means BN is going to look far more profitable this quarter than the last.

flyingtoastr August 19, 2013 um 9:59 am

Come on Nate, you know you want to talk about all the times you insisted BN hated puppies and would never bring NOOK Video to their older devices.

Nate Hoffelder August 19, 2013 um 10:04 am

No, I said that they baked kittens into pies and had no plans to update their older hardware:

I didn’t expect to see a Nook Video app on the older hardware, no, but my previous report is still not wrong.

Anne August 19, 2013 um 11:05 am

We have 2 Nook HD and a Nook HD+. I just went to Google Play to look at the app, and it says Nook Video is incompatible with ALL of my devices. Woops!

Nate Hoffelder August 19, 2013 um 11:24 am

That’s okay. The Nook HD shipped with this feature.

The Rodent August 19, 2013 um 3:40 pm

I have a Nook Color. After connecting to WiFi, it seemed to update itself and install a video app. But when I click it it does nothing. Maybe I need to have some videos…

Nate August 20, 2013 um 6:44 am

If it were already in development than why not release it. It is not like rel;easing hardware where it costs for production and storage, Maybe the pencil pushers decided that this would generate more revenue than it would lose.

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