Category Archives: business

Hulu model in flux

It appears that there is talk of changing Hulu’s current model. Instead of free-for-all streaming of content, they may be moving toward having viewers use their cable subscription credentials for authentication. In other words, Hulu will still be free if you have a cable subscription.

This is an obvious swipe at cord cutters, who immediately reference Hulu and Netflix when discussing how they get occasional television content. The idea is that by withholding Hulu from those who are not paying for cable, it will discourage future cord cutters and possibly persuade previous cord cutters to return to the fold. It’s not a bad plan in the long run. Without Hulu, how else are cord cutters going to watch Community? That’s what NBC Universal, owned by Comcast, is expecting. Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

Consoles may become a thing of the past

Check out this article on ITProPortal: http://www.itproportal.com/2012/03/13/the-consoles-are-dying-says-developer/

Looking at the current trend, it’s hard to disagree. The mainstream consumer is definitely less likely to pick up an Xbox 360, PS3, Wii or (3)DS for casual gaming if Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies can be downloaded onto a device that has functionality beyond gaming. Not to mention the fact that the games each cost less than the average console title and will likely be supported over the course of several device upgrades. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo cannot boast that sort of longevity for their $50+ games. Read the rest of this entry

Watch out for the entertainment industry’s future protective acts in the name of copyright

The least honest, most selfish, things a person can say these days are that information “wants” to be free and that online piracy does more good than harm as it concerns copyrighted material. These are items we most definitely want to believe are true but exist just outside that realm of possibility. Information in and of itself has aims that are as clear and discernible as the aims rocks have, and the biggest contribution of online piracy is the option of bringing to awareness, through experience, a consumer’s actual opinion of a copyrighted item – which, mind you, does not necessarily translate into sales.

It is time to stop romanticizing our free love for free access to products and look at this more objectively. Consumers who pirate copyrighted goods are not bastions of a future free world. By and large they are parasites on the system of consumer goods. This is a horrible position to be in because these are entertainment goods, far from necessities. The drive to obtain these items is based on want. That want is actually created by the entertainment industry itself through their marketing departments.

It is no wonder that the entertainment industry is so upset by the state of digital piracy today. It’s no wonder that they created SOPA and PIPA to tighten the reigns on what can be posted online. Granted, their response to the situation is pretty horrible. Claiming that the bills were shot down as a result of a grassroots misinformation from the “copyleft” is a far cry from the reality – a strong reaction to a bill that gave an already powerful industry more control in the ill-defined but currently open world of the internet.

To an extent, though, the entertainment industry is right. Read the rest of this entry

Louis CK takes matters into his own hands

What Louis CK knows that most media companies don’t — Tech News and Analysis.

This is the opening salvo for which I’ve been waiting. The war on traditional media distribution has begun, and content creators finally have someone to prop up as an example of success. By the time this post is released, Louis CK has made over $500,000 on his stand up act. It must be noted that he offered it to consumers for $5 in a DRM-free digital format. He has claimed over $200,000 of that for himself. The rest goes to the website, production, etc. The whole venture was a gamble that paid off. Read the rest of this entry

Netflix Wants All of Your Friends to Know Everything You’re Watching

Netflix Wants All of Your Friends to Know Everything You’re Watching.

It’s not about social networking, like everyone thinks. Spotify doesn’t share what you’re listening to because sharing information is inherently good. No, it’s because the user becomes a commercial for the kind of content provided by the service. A friend of the user might see the update and say, “Oh, I didn’t know Spotify had [insert band/artist here]! I think I’ll have to check that out.” Netflix wants to get into that same racket and would greatly benefit from it. The primary statement throughout the whole ordeal with pricing and service splitting was, “There’s nothing worth watching in their streaming catalog!” The best way to prove otherwise is to let users know what other users are finding. It’s a great business strategy in this social media world. Read the rest of this entry

Microsoft joins list of companies opting consumers out of suing them

Batgirl 15 - Bruce Wayne - Vengeance for Rights

Stop Suing the Game Companies Because They Said So | GamePolitics.

Microsoft joins the list of companies that puts into its terms of service that you cannot join class action suits against them. In this special case, if you go through the measures necessary to opt out of waiving your right to sue, you cannot use Xbox Live. That’s pretty horrible.

This really shouldn’t have become a thing to do. It’s clear why companies would want to cover their asses with such legalese, especially since the Sony Network and Xbox Live have histories of going down and hacks. However, how is this legal? This is a ridiculous legal precedent that I’m surprised hasn’t yet been fought.

Netflix reveals people’s first-world problems

Read Netflix’s blog post about the change in their service rates!

It has only been a day, but there is a large outcry over the fact that Netflix plans to introduce new subscriptions and change the rates of their old subscriptions. The biggest news is that people have the choice of having only one DVD out at a time for $8 or just stream online for $8. To combine the two plans is roughly $16 a month. That currently costs about $10 a month, so I guess there’s a little room for complaint. Read the rest of this entry

Building Cult Status

I'm not giving anything away about next year's top pick...

The idea of a cult classic film or television series has been bothering me lately. If one really thinks about it, it’s more of a marketing term than anything else. According to Wikipedia, a cult film is one that ” that has acquired a highly devoted but specific group of fans.” By that definition alone, almost any film (or piece of art) can technically acquire cult status so long as two people really like it. The article goes on to say that not everything goes on to acquire cult status for a multitude of reasons. To this I have to ask Why? Why are lesser known films that a handful of people like not automatically cult classics? The answer is recognition. Read the rest of this entry

Why are movies failing?

My friend Kaz linked me to an article about decreased movie attendance (and featured an image of Sucker Punch to indicate its one of the flops), which linked me to an article about decreased movie attendance (featuring an image of Red Riding Hood to indicate a flop), which finally linked me to an article about CinemaCon and the shared discussion of executives in the movie business who think that the problem with movie attendance is the product. They cite other factors such as economic woes, the price of gas, and the increased prices of movie tickets and concessions, but they narrowed in on the product itself. To some extent, this is exciting news. It means people in the movie industry are taking responsibility for the product they’re releasing. Read the rest of this entry

Give the networks some credit

The closing of multiple Borders Bookstores nationwide has left me with some mixed feelings. On the one hand, I grew up going to Borders at least once a month and walking away with some shining treasure. Not only was Borders where I discovered the wonderful novel Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, but that is where I also picked up my one and only copy of Diehard GameFan magazine. That magazine is unparalleled to this day. It’s probably why I have such warped sensibilities about video games. I later went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which happens to feature the first Borders Bookstore right on its campus.

But on the other hand, sales speak loudly to my multimedia habits. It was difficult to hold back, but I refused to go until the minimum discounted price was 50%. My fiancee and I went and tried to find new treasures. By then the store was already picked apart by people who give in too easily. Scott Pilgrim books and DVDs were not to be found, nor were any of the more exciting graphic novels and manga. The science fiction was left bare once we realized that the only items present were derivative materials and new releases that had been pulled out of overstock. The only section that contained anything at all worthwhile was the DVD section, because their discounted material was still around the cost most stores charge for the items – which makes me wonder if one business failing of Borders was the fact that Borders is the only store anywhere that sells DVDs at MSRP.

Click for a Veridian Dynamics commercial from the show

I came across two of my favorite recently canceled shows: Dollhouse (Season 2) and Better Off Ted (Season 1). I think overall I saved approximately $8 on what they would cost me through Amazon, but I didn’t care. These were shows that belonged in my collection. It’s one of the few times in recent years that I ignored my $15 per DVD/set limit.

Interestingly, I had actually been thinking about canceled shows quite a bit. This was sparked by my reading too many comments on various blogs about enthusiast materials. There is an annoying aspect of fandom that seems to require everyone think the same way and regard all material in a similar fashion. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down. New movies that get released require the same opinion, and only certain television shows require support. Then there’s the vilification of anything that gets in the way. The most common form of this is the canceled TV series, whose failure must be blamed on the television network. Read the rest of this entry