Like Netflix, But Not Popular: Columbia House Dying

From the no-longer-charming-anachronism files: German media congolomerate Bertelsmann says its cd, dvd and book-of-the-month clubs (i.e, Columbia House and the like) performed miserably last year because of the weak dollar and a “significant fall in sales of physical media and membership figures, particularly in the U.S.”

Revenues were down 4.1%, to $4.1 billion, and EBIT fell a staggering 90%, to $15.8 million. This comes even as Bertelsmann bought the remaining 50% of the Bookspan JV (aka Book of the Month Club) from Time Warner (TWX). For whatever reason, buying physical media via subscription seems to remain viable in other parts of the world — Bertelsmann says its French, German and Spanish units all did fine — but this looks like a dead business in America.

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