Through the MCDM

November 17, 2009

Short Content Should be Free ———————-my Twitter feed is free, on me.—-look—-over there—>

Filed under: com597b — Tags: , , — captainchunk @ 6:42 pm

Time costs money and people understand this. Short content just costs less, and if the short content is extracted from a bigger piece, then the short content should still be free to entice people to want to buy the bigger piece. I consume short content every single day, but there isn’t a single one minute clip that I have to see. There are so many other one minute clips that I could see and I just have no motivation to consume it, free or paid.

It would be easy to use the argument that short content generally isn’t as good as longer content, but I don’t think the quality of the content has anything to do short content being consumed for free. For years, we have been conditioned to accept 30 minute blocks as our yardstick of value. Much like new car value, the second content rolls off the lot under 30 minutes, it is devalued. You roll the content off the lot under a few minutes, and it is worthless. Even if you bundle short content together to make it look like large content, it doesn’t matter.

Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.

Amen. The problem with short media is that it doesn’t carry enough weight to be viewed as having been done right. It is clear that a great deal of work goes into some short content, but the vast majority are poorly done clips. There is just too much short content in the world to be able to charge for it.

I know I’m not the average media consumer, but I can’t see me paying for short content ever. It just isn’t something I am willing to do. (And to those who say, “you’ve probably bought something from iTunes,” actually, I haven’t. I have never spent a single cent on an mp3.)


November 10, 2009

Content and Time

Filed under: com597b — Tags: , , , , — captainchunk @ 7:27 pm

I like to try different styles of posts, so this week it will be a Q & A format.

Q. Will consumers pay a premium for content they have largely been getting for free?

Consumers will not pay a premium, but they may pay. Hulu has shown that with the right content, you can get the right audience. Hulu is fighting two sources of free, pirated content and televised content, of which, only one of those it can attempt to work with and control to an extent. The major problem Hulu has is that visual content has been linked to the television for many, many decades, and getting people to view the computer monitor/internet as a viable content delivery source will take time. Hulu’s greatest chance to monetize on a subscription based model is to make deals with cable providers and let people tack on a $10/month Hulu service. Obviously this is very difficult due to copyrights, content ownership, etc., but I think it really is the best way for them to make money.

Q. What do you think the impact will be on web-based storytelling’s economic model?

I don’t think the impact of Hulu and the monetization models it uses will have much immediate impact. The biggest factor in the economic model are children. If a child grows up with something, then it becomes the “norm.” If Hulu can find a way to make a subscription model work for the next 10 – 15 years, then I think they will have made a significant impact on the economic model of storytelling. Those kids will happily spend money to get content over the internet because they have always done it that way. Us old folks from the days of television and pirates, will remember how it used to be.

Q. Will this be the shot in the arm independent and entertainment producers need? Or will this commoditization of content commercialize the web beyond repair, cementing the uneven playing filed enjoyed by the big content creators?

The playing field will always be uneven, it’s just the nature of it. The indie stuff wouldn’t be indie if they had everything available to them that the major players have. To be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way. That is one of the reasons that indie content differs from the mainstream stuff. I’m not sure that making money off the web will commercialize it beyond repair, but maybe it can help companies sell content to users. Just because I don’t want to pay money for content, doesn’t mean that other people don’t. Has iTunes commercialized it beyond repair?

Q. Is this the future, or just a lot of hand-wringing over nothing?

There is a future in making money off of content on the web. Advertising will play a role, as will features for power users, but the one thing that I don’t think has been utilized enough is time. Time is something Hulu and similar services have some control over. One of the reasons these services are successful is that people can view content whenever they choose. Netflix, right now, is trying to figure out something with movies studios in order to increase DVD sales of newly released movies.  The studios want to make Netflix wait 30 days before Netflix can mail out newly released movies in order to make people buy the DVD instead of renting it. Instead of Netflix agreeing to do this, why don’t they just charge customers more if they want the new stuff right away? They already charge me more for Blu Ray access. I think Hulu could do something similar. If you want the new content right away, you have the pay for it, but if you want catalog stuff, it is free, or a different price. There is a lot Hulu could do with immediate content, current season content, and past season content.

Content over the internet certainly is the future. Why do you think Netflix started a streaming service and has deals with Microsoft and Sony?

November 3, 2009

A Whole New World

Filed under: com597b — Tags: , , — captainchunk @ 1:28 pm

(seems like a good idea to start a blog posting with a Disney reference from my youth, of which I apparently have become completely detached.)

I was really surprised by the article describing the streaming habits of young children. Most of which revolved around me puzzling over how a two-year old streams content from the internet. I can only imagine that:

  • I have no experience with modern day children
  • Children are far more advanced that I realize
  • The study threw two-year olds in there to grab attention
  • Hannah Montana has more power and influence than any single person should have

I’m pretty sure all of those are truthful to some extent. Strange times.

Maybe children flocking to the internet are more of a testament to the power of the medium to entertain. If you were to ask me, as Drew did, to think about “if the currency of storytelling is text, where do pictures come in?” I would reply, “they close the sale. They are the marketing, the flash, the bling, les accoutrements. Images can add a layer over the text that provides something new and exciting.”

Audubon's Carolina Parrot. If you're selling Carolina Parrots, I'm buying.

This is a fantastic example of what images can add to a story. You can describe a Carolina Parrot to me all you want, and that certainly helps in my understanding the Carolina Parrot, but you show me this, and your information just turned into a story. Images are powerful, as they directly impact one of our five main senses. Images can be used to tell any story.

One of Muybridge's experiments

Most images are either static or strung together to make movies, but the internet really changes how images can be used in a story. You don’t need to have somebody else cobble images together for a story. The experience can be created by the user. I believe that is why streaming is more popular among young children as they can develop their own stories using images, videos, books, and any other media available. The internet offers more flexibility when it comes to implementing visuals into stories.

October 27, 2009


Filed under: com597b — Tags: , , , — captainchunk @ 1:02 pm

I’ve always felt that applying the word social to “social media” was just good enough. I mean, social media is social to a point, but I wanted a word that fit with the technology better. A fit to how the technology was used. Sure you can argue that there is much socializing happening on websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, but don’t forget that a small percentage social media users actually contribute something.

Ladder of participation. This is older, but still gives a decent picture of how it works.

When I look at the future, I see even more devices connecting people to the internet. I believe there will be an increase in participants as children born now will have a “social internet” in their blood. Because of the trend to have nearly all devices connected to the internet, I see social media transforming into an information flow. Both in and out of our lives a stream of information will flow. We can reach into the stream to grab some random data or throw a spear hoping to hit one specific thing. This isn’t vastly different from today, other than for the fact of where the information will come from.

Right now, the information populating the stream is created by people intending (for the most part) to create that information. In the future the information will be populated by the devices that people use without their knowledge. That isn’t to say that their streaming media device will try to trick them, but instead be a trade-off. If the user wants some kind of feature (and they will), then they will need to let the device add and draw from the information stream. We won’t need people consciously adding to the stream, it will just happen.

Perhaps “streaming” is a better word. “I’m using the stream.” “I found it using the stream.” “The stream is so last year.” I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t work.

October 20, 2009


Filed under: com597b — Tags: , , — captainchunk @ 1:15 pm

My local newspaper, the Tacoma News Tribune, has an extremely disappointing video presence on their website. Based on what I can see on their website, video is an extremely low priority. There were exactly three instances of the word “video” on their homepage. Just three. This could have been fine if they had created a centralized video section of the website, but they didn’t. They have a link to AP videos that links outside of the TNT website instead of having the content embedded into the TNT website. Anytime you take users outside of your website, you will lose a percentage of them.

A very, very small section on the TNT main page.

A very, very small section on the TNT main page.

When you click on the link to local videos, you are taken to a page with all of their videos in a player. The player itself is very limited. There is no way to build a playlist or even enlarge the video to fullscreen. There appears to be a way to upload videos, but I didn’t attempt to see how it works. You can at least rate videos and do some filtering of the videos on the page.

The main video page for the TNT.

The main video page for the TNT.

The lack of focus on video is apparent when you see how the TNT implemented a photo blog. The biggest difference is the layout and design. The page was a dark background making for better contrast between the photos and page and the lack of ads. There is so much more thought put into their photo blog that their video section looks downright awful next to it. Why they can’t implement something similar to their photo blog for video is beyond me. They should create a portal that houses all of their videos and enable a search system of the meta data.

This is the very nice looking photo blog for the TNT.

This is the very nice looking photo blog for the TNT.

It is unfortunate that the TNT has chosen to ignore video as much as they have. Their photo blog shows that they know how to present multimedia in a pleasing way, so why don’t they do it for video? I wonder if it has to do with their perceived cost of producing quality video? I believe they could produce good quality video content for a small amount of money, or even start to leverage the Tacoma community for video content. Needless to say, I was disappointed with their video implementation.

October 13, 2009


Filed under: com597b — Tags: , , , , , , — captainchunk @ 6:59 pm
This dude understood the economics of digital information

This dude understood the economics of digital information

I have yet to read Chris Anderson’s Free, but I’m familiar with the topic. I’ve read some of Gladwell’s books and essays, been to Godin’s blog a couple of times, and the same for Cuban’s blog. It is obvious that all of these individuals are intelligent and understand the digital landscape… they just happen to disagree as to what is beyond the horizon.

The fact is I agree with all of them on some points and disagree with all of them on others. Between their arguments lies the answer to the question, “what will the economy of digital goods look like in the future?” Both Anderson and Gladwell grab some case studies that highlight their points, which is a good idea, but the fact remains that you could find a case study to highlight nearly any point on the subject. So while it was useful, the examples held little weight with me.

I appreciated Cuban’s thoughts the most. I believe he is spot on in his suggestion to look to the music industry for guidence. It has been dealing with the problem of “free” for longer than any other media industry. He says the music industry wields “free” as a weapon of commerce, and I agree with him, but I’d add that the music industry needs to take it much, much further than they have. Trent Reznor understands this better than anybody in the music business. He knows how to make money off of his fans and he knows how to give them the free stuff they want. Follow him and he will lead you to the land of business model salvation.

I believe the issue of free comes down to the simple fact that in order to make money, you have to produce something that nobody else is producing. If you can do that, you can make money. What is hard is creating that unique voice and getting people to notice. There is nothing easy about the “free” problem, but as Godin said, the world will morph to fit the solution.

October 4, 2009

Food and Drinks

Filed under: com597b — captainchunk @ 2:11 pm

While thinking of grand topics like water, I came up with food. It’s not groundbreaking, but it felt like it could work for our class project in the same vein as water did for the previous class. Every single person eats food, so everybody will be familiar with some sort of food and everybody will have a story to tell.

There are a billion different kinds of food. From the cliched Ramen of college fame to locally grown lettuce to sushi to pop tarts to Tony’s frozen pizza to a porterhouse from Wolf Lodge in Coeur d’Alene, ID. (I probably shouldn’t have typed that because now I want a porterhouse.) Our experience of food is universal, but manifests itself differently in each person. Some people don’t eat meat, some do juice diets to cleanse themselves, some people grow their own food. If there is nothing else with food, there is at least variety.

The best steak Ive ever had.

The best steak I've ever had.

I’m not sure I can talk about food without talking about its liquid partner. Drinks are just as much a part of food as the food is. I still remember drinking glacial water directly from the ice it flowed from in the Cascades. I’ll just mention wine because all it needs is a mention. The cocktail is an American invention closely tied to the beginning of our country. Drinks are an integral part of every culture on the planet and to leave it out of the food discussion would be lazy.

The Godfather of bartending, Jerry Thomas and his Blue Blazer

The Godfather of bartending, Jerry Thomas and his Blue Blazer

I think our class could produce some very compelling content based on food and drinks.

Edit: Harry is right about the Rosewood Cafe. If you come to Tacoma, you must check this place out in North Tacoma. Good wine and beer and fantastic sandwichs.

The Rosewood Cafe located in North Tacoma, near Proctor.

The Rosewood Cafe located in North Tacoma, near Proctor.

March 10, 2009

Saving What Matters

Filed under: Research — captainchunk @ 11:35 am

Archiving at the personal level is an important topic that is intricate and detailed, but can be simplified to a few important concepts. The most important concept is the medium is the archive. Understanding that at the personal level, people end up archiving information in the medium in which it was created.

February 24, 2009

Last group of questions

Filed under: Questions — Tags: — captainchunk @ 9:53 am

1. Why shouldn’t governments/colleges/institutions keep every record possible?

2. Should the US government control other methods of communication like it does with the radio spectrum? Why or why wouldn’t this be in the interest of US citizens?

3. Does new technology actually degrade the family unit or is it just the usage that degrades the family unit? Why is this a recurring theme with technology?

Media Monoploy: You Landed on the Television Industry, Rent is…. Your Soul

Filed under: Reflection — captainchunk @ 9:38 am

Mr. Bagdikian isn’t a very happy individual, at least he doesn’t seen very happy in his article The Media Monopoly (1997). Saying that he is critical of the media (specifically the television) industry, is like saying cars go “vroom vroom.” He attacks the government as being inefficient and ineffective by not taking a stronger hand in how the television industry operates. He cites other countries around the world as successfully supporting commercial-free television and how the government should adopt a similar stance in America. I don’t agree with the author that America could just be like the United Kingdom and the BBC. The qualities of American society that make us different than our international allies, also make our American broadcast system different. Commercial television is here to stay. I do think that there is more opportunity for commercial-free programming on the internet. With the extremely low cost of distribution, advertising revenue is not needed to make commercial-free programming.

A portion of the article is devoted to the American family and the television. His pessimistic attitude shines once again, as he supports the decaying family unit with evidence such as, “a limes Mirror poll in 1993 showed that 53 percent of Americans want less violence and 80 percent agreed that TV violence is harmful to society.” I question the validity of the data that births those numbers. People want to think of themselves as generally good people. It is one thing to say that violence on TV is bad and quite another to be entertained by it and watch it. The author says that people could have turned off their televisions, but they didn’t. Why not? Perhaps people liked the programming, or maybe they preferred the ease of staying at home and being entertained instead of dressing up and going downtown. Whatever the reason, they obviously liked it and pushed television to become the dominate form of entertainment in the household to this day.

I agree that watching 18 hours of television a day is a bad thing for Americans. Has the typical American family dynamic changed because of the television? Yes. He would have said the exact same thing about the internet and how it turns everybody into an anti-social internet user. I don’t agree that our media industry is in the state of shambles that Mr. Bagdikiam probably thinks it is in. To be honest, I don’t care if commercial interests are backing my televised programming or even news programs. The beauty is that I get to choose what I watch. Even if people don’t turn off their televisions like the author wants them to, they still can. The day that I can’t choose my programming, what channel I watch or if I want to turn off my television, is the day that America will be in a crisis.

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