Last night I went with some colleagues to a Media Society event called “Newsprint – It’s Ain’t Over Yet?” After listening to the panel and some of the questions, I think the end of printed newspapers could be nearer than previously thought.
The panel consisted of two academics, Professor Roy Greenslade and Professor Jane Singer both from the City University London; Sarah Baxter the Deputy Editor of The Sunday Times; Christian Broughton, Editor of The Independent; and Alison Phillips, the Editor of The New Day. Professor Greenslade was the chair, and Alison sent him a text half way through the event to say she couldn’t make it. Continue reading Are printed newspapers dead?→
Last night I sat down with Mrs H last night to watch Kingsman (an except film, highly recommended) on Google Chromecast. The film was pay per view, which was selected on my smartphone and then ‘transferred’ to Chromecast.
I noticed a new feature last night – while the film was playing I looked at my phone and the screen showed the characters and actors currently on the TV screen, as well as the music soundtrack. It was like Shazam on steroids!
How many times have you been watching TV and wondered who a specific actor was? If this happens to you regularly, you’ll love the experience.
One of my favourite annual Internet reports is out. It’s the KPCB report, from the Venture Capital company based in the US.
It’s 196 pages of fact-packed charts, and here are my favourites.
The US makes up ‘only’ 10% of the 2.8bn online users. 73% of the World has a phone, of which 40% are smartphones. So there are 2 billion smartphones.
The top 15 Internet companies (by capitalisation) consist only of American and Chinese companies.
The only company featuring in the top 15 companies in 1995 and 2015 is Apple, which has increased its capitalisation by over 190 times! The combined capitalisation of the top 15 has increased by 141 times.
This week I’ve been working from our newest sales office in Atlanta, USA. It’s been a great week, and we’ve met some really interesting (and super friendly) people and companies.
During the visit, I spent some time looking at the consumer media offerings over here. The US has often been ahead of the UK market when it comes to television, but the UK leads the world in some web offerings – such as grocery shopping and BBC’s iPlayer, so I wanted to see what the US has to offer. And it’s difficult to do this from the UK because so many sites are geo-blocked. Continue reading A British review of US sports and media offerings→
Whilst doing some research at work on innovation within the Publishing industry, a colleague of mine found a leaked report from the New York Times from March this year (the full article is at the end of this page).
At 94 pages, it’s a must-read for anyone within Publishing. I took 11 key points from the document:
(page 16) Hallmarks of disruptors… number 4: “Initially inferior to existing products.” This is so true. Almost every time we work on a new innovative project, there will always be someone criticising that product A does things better, or product B is more comprehensive. The answer is twofold – firstly, you can have something more superior, but it will take a lot longer and cost a lost more money; and secondly, it’s part and parcel of developing something new. Remember Twitter’s outages? Remember how basic Facebook looked?
The concept of freemium is to offer a free service, and if users want more content or functionality, they must buy a subscription.
One of the most common freemium products is the music service, Spotify. Users can download Spotify and immediately listen to music. If users want to be able to listen to the music when an Internet connection is unavailable, or they want to listen to ad-free music, they need to pay a monthly subscription.
The digital subscription model is similar to a paper magazine subscription – users periodically pay to keep receiving content, whether it’s daily, monthly or annually. The digital version is often called a paywall.
In order to implement a paywall, the website owner requires a registration mechanism and a payment system. The registration system can range from Facebook Login to a proprietary implementation.
For the payment system, there are systems which can be tailored, to third-party providers such as Apple’s App Store. The issue with the latter, is the commission can be as much as 30% of the value of the subscription. The upside of course, is that the content owner doesn’t need to worry about the billing, the integration is often easier, and the third-party (such as Apple of Google) handles chargebacks and user support.
In the next couple of years, TV will change significantly, both from a distribution, content and rights point of view.
From the rights point of view, UK customers have until now enjoyed a single provider for all their television. This has slowly moved to multiple providers, for instance Netflix and a Sky subscription. With BT winning the Champions League rights from Sky, this leads us further down the path of more subscriptions – similar to the US television model.
On the content side, we’ve’ve seen new companies commission (the TV word for “fund and then produce”) new shows. The leading example here is Netflix and their House of Cards production. See the stock price chart above – House of Cards was released on Netflix in February 2013. Netflix’s share price has doubled since then, and the second series is being released on Netflix next month.
While traditional broadcasters are churning out low-quality reality TV, Netflix are hiring A-list celebrities to produce high-quality drama. Which one is likely to attract the most viewers?
For the latest new television technology, 4K, it’s the distribution method more than the screen technology that I find interesting. I’m not playing down the advanced engineering and manufacturing to get 4,000 pixels working completely separately resulting [finally] in pure black.
4K will be the first television media technology distributed over the Internet before physical media.
In the past we’we’ve used DVDs to introduce HD technology (before satellite and then digital terrestrial broadcast).
With 3D TV (I never saw the point personally and I think we’ll see 3D services being quietly shut down this year), it was available on DVD and then satellite too.
The first 4K broadcaster will be Netflix. Think about that… a seven-year old company is beating the BBC and Sky to a new consumer broadcast technology.
And the reason for this is straightforward. The infrastructure required to support 4K is already in place. 4K “only” requires a (stable) 8 Mbit Internet connection. To distribute this over satellite television would mean removing some other channels – there isn’t the remaining bandwidth to broadcast all of Sky’s existing channels and a new 4K one. This is also why so many of Sky’s SD channels seem low quality – they have been compressed to squeeze the data into the broadcast.
Digital cinemas have been using the internet to download 4K movies for some time. A 4K movie is between 90 Gb and 300 Gb. Although, a cinema can afford to take a long time to download the film if it is only allowed going to be viewed in a few days’ time. With Netflix, which is currently streaming only, you’ll need that stable 8 Mbit connection.
What does this all mean for consumers?
Two things. The first is that we are moving ever toward non-physical content: think rental, or Spotify, not buying DVDs.
The second, is if you are planning to buy a 4K TV, make sure you’ve got a decent Internet connection.