Archive for the 'media' Category

My cable bill versus digital subscriptions

September 2, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.07.40 AM

Very interesting data regarding the relative cost of digital subscription services and cable in Marketwatch. In my case, I’m spending about 50% of my cable bill in other digital services. If I could get high quality live sports (basketball, tennis) from a source other than Comcast (plus, obviously, Internet access) I would cut the cord.

A couple of interesting stats. The average cable bill is $112 per month (Internet included?). Cable customers only watch 17 of 189 channels, on average (9% utilization). In my case, it’s substantially lower than that.

Of all of these services, Netflix and Spotify are the greatest values (and both awesome services – although I haven’t given Amazon’s video service a fair chance yet).


Media consumption on devices

September 26, 2011

Jason Calacanis asks the question: what’s your primary consumption device? For me, the answer has been evolving based on what I own.

TV. First off, my TV is the big loser.  Other than live sports (mainly basketball and tennis) I don’t use it.

Apple products. I own an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air, and purchased them in that order. I also own an Apple TV. (Yes, call me a fan boy.)

I really don’t use the Apple TV for much beyond watching the occasional movie.

My iPhone has been the big loser in terms of media consumption.  It’s always better to use either the iPad or Air.

The MacBook Air (11′) has displaced much of my iPad usage. Because it’s so light, it’s been winning the battle for what I travel with and what I use on the couch.  The iPad still wins for watching a movie or reading a book in bed.

The Air also has the advantage of being a good creation device – when deciding what to take on a trip.

I suppose in any scenario, Apple is the winner 🙂

I’m now wondering how education “consumption” is changing across devices.

Online television: Netflix is the one to watch

September 4, 2010

Good summary of recent developments in the Economist.

One outfit is steadily gaining ground. Netflix, which rents DVDs through the post, has been amassing subscribers: 15m so far. It is gradually moving into online distribution, and is becoming popular on connected TVs. It will be built into the new Apple TV. Netflix has a pot of money to spend on rights, and wants to acquire some content exclusively. Although it stayed quiet this week, it is the company to watch—and, if you are a television or film executive, to worry about.

If I could reinvent TV in my image

January 5, 2010

Here is what I want from TV programmers/distributors:

I mainly watch sports, news and movies.

For movies at home, I have pretty much have moved to Netflix (great service!).   The streaming side of Netflix needs a wider range of content.   Hopefully, that will evolve.

For news, I’ve pretty much moved to podcasts on iTunes (e.g., Meet the Press, NBC Nightly News, Nightly Business Report).  I pretty much only watch live news at the gym or when an event is in progress (e.g., an election).

Sports is what keeps me locked in as a cable customer.  There really isn’t an option for live sports streaming that includes local teams on the Internet. For example, blocks local Portland Trailblazers games.  The Trailblazers are, thus far, streaming a limited number of games.  I remain a Comcast customer primarily for sports.

I would like to cancel cable and move to Internet only.  It’s easy enough to stream shows from my computer to the big screen (perhaps I will move to another solution like Apple TV).  I would like to sign up for a monthly subscription with iTunes for unlimited, commercial free, access to TV shows (news and entertainment).  I would also like a streaming solution that allows me to watch live sports without limitation.  I would gladly pay for that too.

I’m not holding my breath 🙂

Consumer groups challenge Google-AdMob deal

December 29, 2009

Two consumer advocacy groups (Consumer Watchdog and Center for Digital Democracy) sent a letter to the FTC Chairman yesterday asking the agency to block the proposed Google-AdMob deal. The letter is here.

The letter asserts the deal would be anti-competitive given AdMob’s leading position in the mobile advertising space.  The letter also raises privacy concerns given that the combined company would potentially be able to combine mobile and traditional web usage behavioral data.  Finally, questions are raised about Google’s ability to use AdMob data to assist in the launch of its rumored smartphone.

It will be interesting to see if the FTC takes an active role here.  I’m guessing not given that the mobile advertising industry is so young.  AdMob is certainly not in the position that Doubleclick was in related to online display advertising.

Update January 5, 2010: Apple is acquiring Quattro.  See announcement here.  At first glance, this development would seem to make the Google-AdMob deal more likely.

Movie Studios Win Copyright Lawsuit Against IsoHunt

December 28, 2009

IsoHunt is the latest peer to peer provider to lose in court. The legal theory is based on active inducement. The court pointed out site features such as top movie lists, as well as ill advised statements by the CEO about copyright law.

[The judge] ruled that IsoHunt could not rely on the safe harbors for search engines in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because the site induced infringement by promoting piracy. “Inducement liability is based on active bad faith conduct,” Wilson wrote. “The statutory safe harbors are based on passive good faith conduct aimed at operating a legitimate internet business.”

Comcast-NBC. A lazy man’s blog post.

December 18, 2009

I should take the time to write a proper blog post.  This is from an email exchange regarding Comcast-NBC.

Will be interesting to see if they [Comcast] can pull it off.  If I was placing a bet, I’d say they will mess up NBC.
Of course, all of this [decline of cable] will take a long time (I’d say substantially more than 10 years to really play out).  Cable will be around for a long time.  It will die a slow steady death.
There is something else at play on the production side that I haven’t crystalized.  When looking at the digital media categories subject to distribution channel disintermediation:
1. Print news (local).  Very little content production cost.  Easy to report on happenings at City Hall.  I would include classified ads under this category (REALLY low production costs)
2. Print news (national/international).  Relatively higher cost.  Funding the Moscow bureau is a major investment.
3. Music.  Very low production costs.  It’s pretty easy to record high quality music and there is a lot of talent out there.  Cutting through the clutter is the challenge with music (with, I suppose the goal of selling seats at a performance).
4. TV. TV industry has an advantage over music and news.  It costs a hell of a lot to create Lost and 24.  Costs have certainly decreased, but relatively speaking, it remains expensive and always will.   Sports is a bit different.  Having exclusive distribution deals is key (the Blazers keep me coming back to Comcast).
5. Movies.  Safer than TV.  Extremely high production costs to create Iron Man.
What I’m saying is that production costs are a big factor.  Relatively high production costs make the transition to digital somewhat less dangerous for the content guys.  I agree with you that we are willing to pay for the content we want.
High production value content is the “king.”  Low production value content is royalty, but not the king.
Comcast has the right strategy.  I’m guessing they will fail in the execution.
Also, have to think about the role that content piracy plays.  To the extent that it’s easier to steal, pricing is held in check.
I think that there’s a nice structure to put around all of this (e.g., distribution, production costs, piracy).

How the news media works in Japan. Fascinating.

December 7, 2009

How Kisha clubs impact the news media in Japan. This is a must listen.

Should online commenters be allowed anonymity? I tend to think yes.

November 23, 2009

Here is an interesting post arguing that those commenting on blogs, etc. should not be allowed to remain anonymous.  It’s really a publisher choice, assuming the site is not government run (not much to debate).  At least with certain topics (e.g., politics) it probably makes sense to allow commenters to remain anonymous.  Voting is private for a very good reason.

Crazy Like a Fox (Network)

November 23, 2009

The debate is raging over Murdoch’s plan to “not give away” his content. I will admit that my first reaction was that the old codger was playing in deep right field. However, I’m starting to come around.

It will take more than Murdoch’s unilateral action. He will need to bring the other news organizations along. If Bing is willing to pay for exclusive search access, this becomes pretty interesting. In fact, in theory, consumers might not need to pick up the content bill (although I’m guessing we will still be asked to pay somthing to access the “cable network of online news”). However, Bing isn’t the sole solution to the news industry’s woes.

As a news junkie, I will switch to Bing if that’s where I need to go to search for news. Furthermore, when push comes to shove, I will pay for online news, just as I pay for print.