Microsoft Has Seen The Light!

Microsoft Has Seen The Light. & It’s Not Silverlight.

My primary reasons for disliking Flash were that it was proprietary (only one vendor/source) and that it has horrendous performance on OS X (definitely improving but still bad). I disliked Silverlight for the first of those reasons: any development only comes from Microsoft.

Well, it seems that Microsoft have had a “shift of strategy” :

During last week’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC),ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley asked Bob Muglia, Microsoft’s SVP of the Server and Tools Business, why the company failed to highlight Silverlight in a meaningful way this year. His answer was rather surprising.

Silverlight is our development platform for Windows Phone,” he said. And while he said that the technology has some “sweet spots” for media applications (presumably like Netflix, which uses Silverlight on the web), its role as a vehicle for delivering a cross-platform runtime appears to be over. “Our strategy has shifted,” is how Muglia put it.

Instead, as they made clear during PDC, Microsoft is putting their weight behind HTML5 going forward. Hallelujah.

Further convergence on a single standard. Now if we can get everyone on the same page for HTML5 audio and video, it would be a big step forward. (I’m looking at you Mozilla!)

Wasn’t 3-D supposed to be cooler than this?

Wasn’t 3-D supposed to be cooler than this?

While it seems the entire industry is rushing to 3D, perhaps it’s time to step back a little and see if it actually enhances the movie-going experience.

The author’s headings probably tell you all you need to know about the article with my summary of the intent:

Shoddy technical work insults audiences (Most 3D is not well done)

No one asked for a 3-D ‘My Soul To Take’ or ‘The Last Airbender’ (A lot of 3D adds nothing)

That’ll be one $16.50 ticket for ‘Alpha and Omega’ (3D is expensive even if it adds nothing)

Would you like an eye infection with that? (Recycling glasses isn’t always done with meticulous cleanliness.)

Broadcast Networks – On Death and Dying

Broadcast Networks – On Death And Dying

For Broadcast Networks, the end is coming and it’s time for them to Accepttheir fate.

Kind of premature because Broadcast Networks(and cable) are still dominant,still making the money and still have the premium content, but it’s also equally obvious that status will not remain static in the future.

According to a model developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying”, there are Five Stages of Grief.  
Over the past 20 years or so,Broadcast Networks have bounced around the First Four Stages in an effort to fight off the inevitable:

The Golden Age of Choice and Cannibalization in TV

The Golden Age of Choice and Cannibalization in TV My third GigOm referal today!

Mike Hudack, CEO of writes as guest blogger at GigOm about how audiences are fragmenting and where the opportunities lie. It’s a little long but it’s worth reading in its entirety.

Other than live event programming like the Super Bowl, however, the days of a single television show pulling in the vast majority of American TV households are over. The broadcast networks are long past their peak. Their audience — in absolute numbers, not relative numbers — has been shrinking since the early 1980s.

and much later

People often say that the web video industry will not come into its own until it creates a hit. This thought is, quite frankly, wrong. The cable TV industry has clearly come into its own. And it’s done this without producing a single hit on the order of a network TV success. Yes, the network television business is meaningful, but it no longer produces the hits it did just a few years ago. This year’s slate of network series premieres was the first to pass without a clearly defined “hit” show. That’s no accident. The networks are lost.

Media naturally trends towards fragmentation. As capacity increases so does choice. As choice increases audiences fragment. When given a choice people generally prefer media that speaks to them as individuals over media that speaks to the “masses.” While American Idol remains strong, the trend is clear. Americans have been abandoning broadcast television in favor of cable’s niche shows for thirty years.

For me the key takeaway is that it took Cable 20-30 years to dominate over broadcast, so it’s unreasonable to think that the distribution (and therefore democratization) revolution of the Internet is going to happen in just a couple of years? It might, but I think it’s safer to assume that long term “Internet TV” will be dominant. Broadcast Networks might still be relevant for sports and other live events, while cable’s best bet is to become an intelligent network provider. (Yes, I am saying that in the world of IP-based distribution why do we need someone else negotiating for “channels” that we may watch, when we can go direct to the source of the programming and watch it there.)

This will be a great opportunity for Producers who understand how to make a direct connection with their audiences and can package up the whole business and distribution package themselves. There’s got to be more profit (or overall lower budgets) if we remove one entire layer of distribution – the channel aggregators (TV networks, Cable networks, etc). Those Channels that focus on original programming will transition just nicely I imagine (restrictive legacy contracts not withstanding).

Cord Cutters Are Young, Educated and Employed

Cord Cutters Are Young, Educated and Employed

After the first drop in subscriber numbers ever, Comcast tried to spin it like this:

“Mr. Moffett said the image of the cord-cutter had been that of a ‘cutting-edge technologist’ who preferred to bypass cable to watch programming on computers and on an ever-proliferating array of devices. ‘The reality is it’s someone who’s 40 years old and poor and settling for a dog’s breakfast of Netflix and short-form video.”

GigOm hare only to happy to correct Mr Moffett.

Contrary to Mr. Moffett’s statement, the typical cord cutter is young, educated and employed, based on research from Strategy Analytics. The research firm surveyed 2,000 Americans, and found that 13 percent of them intended to cancel their cable subscriptions in the next 12 months. But the profile of those who said they wanted to abandon cable is what’s really interesting.

A majority of those likely to cut the cord (54 percent) are under 40, according to Strategy Analytics, and they are well-educated: a full 97 percent of those surveyed have graduated high school and more than two-thirds have pursued or are pursuing secondary education. And it’s not a lack of income that is driving them to save on cable bills — 91 percent of likely cord cutters are either employed, students or retired, and 57 percent make $50,000 a year or more.

In other words, cord cutting is real, and rife among the very people you need to have on board to keep your business going for the next generation. And they don’t seem to be doing that.

Xbox Live Now Bigger Than Comcast

Xbox Live Now Bigger Than Comcast

Microsoft has sold more than 42 million game consoles worldwide, but the more impressive stat is that its Xbox Live subscription service now has more than 25 million users. That’s more subscribers than Comcast, which earlier this week reported that its subscriber count had actually decreased by 275,000 over the most recent quarter, ending at less than 23 million for the first time in years. And while many Xbox Live subscribers are clearly international, with the service available in 26 countries, Microsoft clearly has some scale and a huge audience that it could leverage.

Of course, Xbox Live is mostly about inter-person game play over the network, but Xbox Live users also watch live and on-demand video an average of 40 hours a week on the service, of which an hour a day is for media watching: 7 hrs watching media; 33 playing games.

…over the past year, the amount of time those users have spent watching TV and movie content has grown 157 percent. Not just that, but Xbox already makes more money from media sales than through its Xbox Live subscription revenues.

The console currently has video content from its Zune marketplace, Netflix and ESPN3, and early next year will also have video content from Hulu’s Plus subscription service. That range of content has 42 percent of Xbox Live subscribers watching an hour of TV and movie content on average per day, or 30 hours of video per month.

Pirate Bay Documentary Raises $51K on Kickstarter

Pirate Bay Documentary Raises $51K on Kickstarter

While certainly not a huge budget by mainstream media measures, $51K for a documentary on The Pirate Bay isn’t bad seed money to get a show started, or even complete if it’s a lean production. That it was funded from “fan funding” via Kickstarter makes me wonder if fan-funding isn’t a viable method for the future. Kind of “pay in advance” for the content so that it actually gets made.

If this were a TV series maybe people could subscribe to the future shows in order to get them made?

The Pirate Bay documentary has received full funding throughKickstarter. They received $51,434 from 1737 backers, adding up to $29 per backer. With an initial goal of $25,000 to fund a professional editing staff and studio, the filmmaker behind the campaign exceeded all expectations by 104%. Over the course of one month, 400,000 visitors from more than 170 countries checked out the campaign. Asked why a filmmaker would want to make a film about an organization that is undercutting his future ability to make money, he responded that he believes that new ways of supporting creativity will emerge.

Sencha and Adobe offer HTML5 Authoring Tools

Sencha Takes On Flash With HTML5 Animator

Adobe Shows Off Flash-to-HTML5 Conversion Tool

It’s nice to see someone working on an HTML5 authoring tool. Adobe has already previewed add-ons and beta tools for HTML5 authoring and it seems they “get” that Flash isn’t going to be dominant forever. With new stats showing about 54% of the video on the web is “HTML5 capable” that’s a sensible approach.

I’ve not tested HTmL5 Animator so I can’t comment on its relative merits to other authoring solutions. Compared with no solution or hand coding, anything is a step forward!

Piracy Can Boost Book Sales Tremendously

Piracy Can Boost Book Sales Tremendously

It seems the problem of “book piracy” is more of an issue for scaremongers and “the sky is falling” types. In practice book sales stay constant or grow with the wider exposure unauthorized distribution can bring.

Lieber shared his findings in a blog entry, complete with fancy graphics which show that the 4Chan piracy resulted in a flood of new customers.

The picture [on the article site] shows how Lieber’s site traffic surged after the pirated scans were posted, and how 4Chan brings in more traffic than BoingBoing. But Lieber also said that the spike in sales was even more impressive.

This isn’t an isolated instance. I’ve blogged before the Corey Doctorow, who believes that widespread distribution helps more than it hurts, has always made all his books available for free for download, and yet has had many best sellers than have been translated to six languages. While every book was available for free.

David Pogue’s publishers experimented with making one of his books DRM free, which inevitable led to unauthorized distribution, but sales increased slightly.

The Terence and Philip Show Episode 12

The Terence and Philip Show Episode 12: The future of Final Cut Pro.

The discussion leads on from my post What should Apple do with Final Cut Pro? from last month Terence brings in his perspective.

This episode starts with discussion about a potential Adobe and Microsoft merger and its implications. Which leads into a discussion about 64 bit QuickTime.

The primary discussion revolves around a discussion on what Philip thinks Apple should be doing with Final Cut Pro.