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.
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.
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.