Here’s a link to an article that summarizes Disney’s Bob Iger’s thoughts on TV Everywhere. What I find entertaining about this article and Iger’s comments is that they act as though the music industry died. The music industry is alive and thriving under both the old and the new business models. TV will be the same way and fighting change with DRM or by trying to make people authenticate to watch their favorite shows will be pointless because it’s too easy for anyone to screen capture content and rebroadcast it.
When I think about this issue, my thoughts go to my husband’s behavior. He hates commercials and he hates waiting for episodes of a show to come out. Since he’s not one of those folks at the water cooler, it’s not a priority to him to watch a show while it’s current. Rather he waits until the season is over and then watches blocks of episodes on demand via Tivo. He believes this as safer than Bittorent (after all you don’t know if someone has put something malicious in one those free movie or TV show files — why doesn’t the entertainment industry scare the beejeebees out of people with this argument???) and it’s definitely less work and waiting than BitTorrent. He also feels there is value in being able to watch whatever he wants for $15.99/mo. We still have cable, but that’s because we have a legacy deal with our broadband service provider and we don’t want to upset that apple cart. My feeling is let the people view first run for free with commercials like they would on broadcast TV and then sell commercial free rebroadcasts or, heck let the rebroadcasts be free without commercials after a couple of weeks. The folks who are hooked on the show will watch the first run. As for the commericials, I will state this AGAIN: If you want people to watch commercials, make good commercials and keep them fresh! A TV ad campaign really should last more than 2-weeks or a month at most. I also think well integrated product placement is a good strategy (nothing would sell more items to ‘tween girls than Miley Cyrus actually using the product in her shows). Anyhow, I look forward to seeing if the TV and the movie execs can fight their way out of this paper sack. Hopefully, they will bring in some savvy folks in under the age of 45 to tell them how to do this properly.
Here’s a link to an interesting article from Ad Age Magazine. The CEO of Time Warner, Jeff Bewkes, want users who access TV content online to prove that they are cable subscribers. Buwhahahaha!!! I guess he sees the writing on the wall as a middle man between customers and content producers. As usual, it’s a fight about how gets the ad and the subscription money — the content producer, the content provider, or the Internet Service Provider. Personally, I see no point for cable to do anything more than provide a content “pipe” into my house. I pay for that pipe just like any other utility and get what I want from it. As for paying specifically for content, I’m a little confused. We currently pay a subscription fee to Tivo and Netflix to watch content when we want to. My husband is currently watching “Jericho” as a video stream from Netflix. It’s convenient for him and he doesn’t have to deal with commercials. But that’s beside the point. I imagine, currently, many people get broadband access through their cable provider, so why add the extra layer of authentication? If a person drops their cable service but keeps broadband … so what? It just means that the cable companies are no longer “double dipping.” In theory, if cable providers only provided the pipe, then they could quit serving up cable tv in general and let the content producers figure out how they want to generate revenue. It seems to me to be a logical simplification.
On the other hand, let’s consider how many people are gonna give up cable in general to watch things on the small screen. Not everyone is tech savvy enough to pipe content from their computers to their big screen tv. I think for the most part, watching via a computer is a singular experience, whereas you watching the big tv in a group. Until the tv and computer become one with a simple interface to access content from the internet, I think Bewkes is barking up the wrong tree because people are gonna view via the both small screen and the large screen. The proper move to make is to develop that technology that joins TV, the PC, and Internet and to charge for that convenience to both the customer and the content provider — “TV Everywhere + Any Content.” With respect to Bittorrent … well, content providers should put out their own Bittorrents and high quality streams of a show in a convenient location and either charge a “reasonable” fee to watch the show or make people watch commercials (or maybe forward the trend of incorporating product placements into the shows). Either way, the only way to beat pirates is to join ’em ;p. I will say this though, as this economy tightens, and money tightens, the urge to kill cable and just go broadband is strong.
Here’s a little article from InformationWeek about consumers’ desire for more interoperability and networking options for their various personal gadgets. Hahaha!!! Well … in terms of networking, WiFi, Bluetooth, TCP/IP are just that. All of the devices I have that use these protocols I can see on their respective networks. When I remove DRM and other barriers I can push and pull data between these devices over their respective networks, too. However, I would imagine for those that are not inclined to explore or are technically challenged, all of this networking stuff is daunting.
Because the electronics manufacturers want to lock consumers into their product ecosystems, the manufacturers are not inclined to make their products open to consumers. Of course this never really works. Successful products like the iPod work with a great many accessories and other non-Apple products and crafty people have come up with ways to “crack” the iPod so users can get around DRM and reclaim the music they have purchased. These products also tend to have a bunch of third party companies that make accessories and software for the devices. Of, course it takes market dominance to begin with to have cottage industries pop up around a product. iPod can thank the mp3 format, USB, and great product design for their success. The glue, though, for interoperability are the mp3 file format and the USB hardware interface. iPod took advantage of protocols that were already well established as universal.
So it seems to me that the foundation for device interoperability already exists. It’s simply a matter of making it such that ordinary people can communicate with their devices over the common networks. Centralized network devices like home servers and the third generation consoles like the xBox360 come close, now, to knitting everything together. The problem is that these devices are not accessible to the lowest common denominator of consumers. The wii comes closest to a device that is very accessible, but its hardware and software are not capable. Continue reading Consumers Want More Home Networking