Letter : Game not over for CD-Rom

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The Independent Online
Richard Phillips is right to predict a shake-out in CD-Rom publishing ("Is the game over for the CD-Rom?", Business, 20 October). I disagree, however, with his analysis that things look bleak for the industry.

It is the scale of the industry's potential that lies behind thetraumas. Over the past five years there has been a scramble for a share of what anyone could see was a juicy cake. Most of those participating possessed only the bare minimum of insight and aptitude. For the market to mature, blood must be shed.

Unsuccessful CD-Rom publishers fall into two camps. Most are simply producing bad products. These are clogging up a retail market which has insufficient mechanisms for helping consumers discriminate between good and bad. The second group understands the medium's potential, but not the market. Many book publishers fall into this category, Dorling Kindersley at their head. These companies produce exquisite products in the best craft tradition. The world is richer for them, but the maths just doesn't work.

Mr Phillips suggests it costs pounds 500,000 to produce a half-way decent title. My company produced a documentary CD-Rom with Lord Owen on the Balkan peace process for pounds 50,000.

Charles Scott Armstrong

the electric company/ multimedia ltd csa@electric.co.uk

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