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【澳门威尼斯人】Forty years ago, when Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the US Federal Reserve, was an economist at Harvard University, she was interested in the film Five Easy Pieces. She noted the scene in which a diner waitress refuses to bring Jack Nicholson’s character an omelette with coffee and wheat toast because it serves omelettes with cottage fries and rolls. “I know what it comes with, but it’s not what I want,” he retorts.40年前,现任美联储主席珍妮特耶伦(Janet Yellen)还是哈佛大学(Harvard University)的一名经济学家时,她对电影《五只歌》很感兴趣。她注意到电影中的一个场景,餐厅女招待拒绝接受给杰克尼克尔森(Jack Nicholson)饰演的角色末端上煎蛋卷配上咖啡和全麦面包片,因为店里供应的是煎蛋卷配上农家煮土豆和面包卷。尼克尔森驳斥:“我告诉这个的配菜是什么,但那不是我想的。

”The lesson that Ms Yellen and her co-author drew in a study of the economics of bundling was that it repays a restaurant to offer its customers an à la carte option alongside items on the set menu. Most people will be happy to choose from a fixed list, with lower prices, but “the à la carte menu is designed to capture consumer surplus from those gastronomes with extremely high valuations of particular dishes”.耶伦和她的年出版者展开了一项关于绑销售经济学的研究,结论是,如果一家餐厅在相同菜单以外获取顾客单点的自由选择,餐厅能获得适当的报酬。绝大多数人乐意通过较为低廉的相同菜单点菜,但“单点菜单是为了捕猎那些对某些菜品有极高评价的美食家消费者”。For Nicholson’s restless young oil-rig worker in Five Easy Pieces, read a generation of rebellious millennials who have been angry at being forced to buy a cable subscription to watch Game of Thrones and True Detective on the HBO network. All they want are those shows, they protest, not the entire package.尼克尔森在《五支歌》中饰演的不安分的年长油田钻井工,折射出富裕叛变精神的千禧年一代(millennial)。

为了收听美国家庭电影频道(HBO)的节目《权力的游戏》(Game of Thrones)和《真为搜》(True Detective),他们不得不订阅者有线电视服务,为此他们深感气愤。他们抗议称之为,他们只想看这些节目,而不是包的全部频道。HBO gave in last week, announcing that it will offer a separate service for broadband users who have “cut the cord” to cable television or did not subscribe in the first place. It told investors it will go direct to the 10m Americans who use a cable or digital line for broadband rather than paying $100 a month for a multichannel subscription including HBO or Showtime.HBO近期作出了妥协,宣告将为暂停订阅者或未曾订阅者有线电视的宽带用户获取分开服务。

HBO告诉他投资者,服务将必要面向这1000万美国人,他们用于有线方式网际网路,而不是每月缴纳100美元订阅者还包括HBO和娱乐时间(Showtime)在内的多个有线电视频道。HBO’s move, in response to the rise of Netflix, an “over the top” service that does not require a cable subscription, is a big moment in broadcast history. It was followed by CBS, the broadcast network, unveiling a $5.99 a month online service, and promises to reset how US customers watch and pay for their television programmes.HBO的措施是为应付Netflix(一项需要订阅者有线电视就能向客户获取节目的OTT(over the top)视频服务)的兴起而作出的,这是广播电视史上的根本性时刻。哥伦比亚广播公司(CBS)之后也效仿了HBO的作法,发售了5.99美元每月的在线服务,并允诺将改革美国用户收听电视和收费的方式。Some analysts go further, suggesting that this will undermine bundling itself, and with it the economics of television. If people decide to buy popular programmes and channels à la carte rather than taking the 500-channel set menu, $70bn of revenue could vanish in the US. “Unbundling dwarfs any other risk to the television ecosystem,” Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham, an investment bank, wrote last year.一些分析师更进一步,认为这将巩固绑销售模式本身乃至电视制播的经济性。

如果人们要求按照单点的方式出售热门的节目和频道,而不是按照相同菜单订阅者500个频道,700亿美元的营收有可能在美国早已冷却。“和去绑化比起,电视生态体系面对的其它任何风险都相形见绌,”投行Needham的分析师劳拉马丁(Laura Martin)去年写到。If, that is. There is clearly a move to what Ms Yellen called “mixed bundling” – the combination of set menu and à la carte. But the bundle is not dead simply because it is possible for the internet to fragment distribution entirely, with customers making micropayments for every ingredient of every dish.不过,那只是如果而已。


In practice, most people prefer a simple life and some choices to be made for them, as long as they feel that they are getting a bargain. Indeed, consumers and businesses are increasingly paying subscriptions for digital packages of software and content, rather than buying them piecemeal.实质上,对大多数人来说,只要他们指出自己享用了优惠,他们更喜欢非常简单的方式,让他人替自己作出一些自由选择。的确,更加多的用户和企业自由选择采购软件和内容的数字服务包在,而不是零散出售。

This is evident in music. Digital piracy and services such as Apple’s iTunes initially fragmented consumption, leading consumers to stop buying albums and to choose individual tracks instead. A growing number, however, now subscribe to all-you-can-hear subscription services such as Spotify.这一点在音乐方面展现出得很显著。电子正版以及如苹果(Apple) iTunes这样的服务最先使消费碎片化,导致消费者暂停出售专辑,改回出售单曲。


然而,现在有更加多的用户收费采购如Spotify这样的“无限量收看”服务。It is occurring in software, with cloud-based subscription packages replacing shrink-wrapped discs. The rise of software-as-a-service companies such as Salesforce.com has challenged software providers such as Oracle.软件方面也是如此,基于云服务的采购服务包在替代了塑封光盘。类似于Salesforce.com这样获取“软件即服务”的企业正在兴起,挑战像甲骨文(Oracle)这样的软件供应商。

IBM ’s poor financial results this week come as it struggles to compete with providers such as Amazon, which are offering cloud-based technology.IBM近期发布的财务业绩不欠佳,无独有偶的是,该公司于是以面对亚马逊(Amazon)等云服务提供商的白热化竞争。It is also happening in television. In parallel with the push toward wider access to premium shows, cable and satellite companies are drawing customers into combined “triple play” subscriptions that fuse together telephone, broadband and television. Of British Sky Broadcasting’s customers, 37 per cent are now on triple play, compared with 23 per cent four years ago.电视业也在再次发生某种程度的事情。

在希望不断扩大精品电视节目的覆盖面积人群的同时,有线电视公司和卫星电视公司正在引领用户采购将电话、宽带和电视融为一体的“三合一”服务。英国天空广播公司(British Sky Broadcasting)目前有37%的用户用于三合一服务,而4年前用于该服务的用户占到23%。The fact that bundling refuses to die is not surprising. As Ms Yellen and other economists have pointed out, it is an attractive pricing strategy for businesses because it is an effective way of appealing to groups of consumers with similar appetites, without the hassle of setting hundreds of prices.绑销售拒绝接受解散历史舞台,这个事实并不令人吃惊。


正如耶伦和其他经济学家认为的,对企业来说,这是一种富有吸引力的定价策略,因为绑销售能有效地更有口味相近的消费者群体,企业又不用费心原作数百种价格。Consumers like bundles for several reasons. One is that they are a form of insurance – paying a flat fee and being able to watch as much as you like is akin to insuring against an unpleasant shock when the bill arrives. Another is that it takes too much mental effort to keep on calculating whether any individual programme or channel is worth the à la carte price by itself.消费者讨厌绑销售的原因有几个。一个原因是绑销售是一种保险——缴纳一笔相同费用后,你可以想要看多少节目就看多少节目,与投保以防止账单来临时深感愤慨和不无聊的不道德十分类似于。另外一个原因是,要不时地计算出来花费单点的价格订阅者某个节目或者频道否有一点太费精力。

Although digital technology seems to foster fragmentation, it makes bundling simpler and more attractive. There is logic to the fact that most physical goods are priced individually while digital ones are often grouped. In the online world, it is easier to discover the right price – one that attracts most consumers – for combinations.尽管数字技术或许增进了碎片化,但它也使绑销售变得更加非常简单,更加有吸引力。绝大多数实体商品使用分开定价,而数字产品往往使用绑定价,这个事实合乎逻辑。

在网络世界,找到套餐的合理价格更容易——也就是更有最多消费者的价格。The marginal cost of online distribution is near-zero: once a customer has a broadband link, it costs nothing to offer another item. This helps networks to discriminate flexibly – HBO thinks it can appeal to disenchanted cord-cutters without losing committed cable subscribers. Rather than abolishing bundling, the internet enables it to be practised with greater efficiency.在线销售的边际成本完全为零:一旦客户有宽带相连,要销售另外一件商品或者服务完全不必花费任何成本。

这协助电视公司采行灵活性的区分策略——HBO指出,它既可以更有丧失兴趣的“擦线族”,又会丧失心目中的有线电视订户。互联网没废止绑销售,而是提升了绑销售的效率。That is what we are witnessing. The choice of everything or nothing is giving way not to anarchy but to a wider menu of set meals and à la carte. The bundle is dead; long live the bundle.这就是我们亲眼的潮流。