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Yesterday on ReadWriteWeb, Mike Berkley penned an article about Comcast’s impending battle with Hulu. He also gave a succinct description of the TV Everywhere ecosystem. There have been other articles about TV Everywhere, but in the spirit of less is more, Berkley’s well-chosen few words nicely summarized it.

Without defending the specific plans of Comcast and Time Warner, technology will soon give rise to TV Everywhere or something like it. Here’s the television landscape of the near future:

comcast_hulu_oct09a

Maybe TV Everywhere won’t entirely succeed. Maybe the associations (i.e., the columns in this graphic) won’t have exactly these entities, or the payment systems won’t work quite as envisioned. It can be hard to forecast what consumers will or won’t accept, or precisely how money will change hands. Still, a new distribution model with this general shape is “duh” obvious. And every entity here will be happier with fewer hops between the content and consumer, because fewer hops means fewer slices in the money pie.

There’s a reason you don’t see any television affiliates, such as KOMO or KING, in the TV Everywhere ecosystem. It’s because television affiliates become road kill. They don’t have a place in this brave new world. And they have no allies. In fact, they’re already dead, but their fearless leaders don’t yet realize it.

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Clearing the mental attic of some odds and ends…

A little bird told me that Fisher Communications is up for sale. I have no idea if this is true. But interestingly, Fisher filed an 8-K on August 24, notifying the SEC of changes in its top executives’ Change of Control agreements. From its preamble:

The Board believes it is imperative to diminish the inevitable distraction of the Executive arising from the personal uncertainties and risks created by a pending or threatened Change of Control, to encourage the Executive’s full attention and dedication to the Company currently and in the event of any threatened or pending Change of Control, and to provide the Executive with reasonable compensation and benefit arrangements upon a Change of Control.

IANAL, but the document indicates that in the event of a change in control, Colleen Brown will receive 2x her annual salary plus any optional bonuses then in effect, and other execs will get 1x their annual salaries plus their optional bonuses. These terms are generous, in my experience.

If you know anything about this, drop me a line at john at seeknuance dot com. Or if you prefer, tack on a comment to this post.

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Yesterday’s World Plone Day in Seattle was interesting, and helped me think about a few matters.

Fifteen – 20 people were physically present, with another 10 watching via Brian Gershon‘s ustream.tv wizardry. (It was lower quality than a separate camcorder recording, due to a ustream.tv bug.) After Jon Stahl‘s introduction, Andrew Burkhalter, David Glick, and Cris Ewing previewed new Plone 4 technologies. Their talks rocked.

As I listened, I thought about what Fisher Communications lost when they killed their Internet division, which included shuttering our Plone project. I’m sad about the opportunity that Fisher walked away from, and the effects of inept management.

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Consider:

Tonight, I watched the latest episode of Kings. I watched it on Hulu, at 480p, which is so-called Enhanced Definition TV (EDTV). It needed only a little over 1 Mbps of bandwidth.

Video and audio quality depends on more than the stream’s resolution, so it’s possible for a 480p stream to look no better than, or even worse than, a standard definition television picture. I can attest that to my subjective eyes, Hulu’s EDTV quality on my 17″ 1920×1200 MacBook Pro was superior to standard definition television.
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Clay Shirky wrote a brilliant treatise on the Internet’s effects on the newspaper business. It nicely summarizes how newspapers got into their current state, and advocates a from-within-the-revolution way of thinking about what’s happening to information.

It has many money quotes. Here’s one:

If you want to know why newspapers are in such trouble, the most salient fact is this: Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and to run. This bit of economics, normal since Gutenberg, limits competition while creating positive returns to scale for the press owner, a happy pair of economic effects that feed on each other. In a notional town with two perfectly balanced newspapers, one paper would eventually generate some small advantage — a breaking story, a key interview — at which point both advertisers and readers would come to prefer it, however slightly. That paper would in turn find it easier to capture the next dollar of advertising, at lower expense, than the competition. This would increase its dominance, which would further deepen those preferences, repeat chorus. The end result is either geographic or demographic segmentation among papers, or one paper holding a monopoly on the local mainstream audience.

If you’re interested in this area and read just one blog post today, read this one.

I’ve been thinking about the television business model a bit since Fisher Communications laid me off. I’m far from understanding it all — no pun intended, but I only know what I read.

Local television affiliates, like Fisher Communications, are next in line to be demolished by the web.
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