I mentioned Louis CK was selling his latest recorded show direct to fans for $5 a couple of days ago. Since then 110,000 have been sold. It’s a safe bet that there are more to come, plus there’s always potential for more revenue from streaming and ….gasp…cable and broadcast distribution. Since most comics shows go direct to video instead of through the theater channel, direct to download or direct to stream distribution is the next logical step. And that’s a new channel that Hollywood not only doesn’t control, but one it’s working to undermine.
$5 is a no brainer those who like Louis CK enough to buy a movie ticket or rent a DVD. If the show was distributed that way it would have arrived more slowly, at higher cost, and Mr. CK would have certainly made less:
“This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video,” he wrote. “They would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video of limited value, and they would have owned your private information for their own use. They would have withheld international availability indefinitely.” (Venture Beat)
The big loser is Hollywood. For entertainers and content producers who are willing to do a little extra work to self distribute, the rewards for themselves and their fans are too big to ignore.
Touted by an odd coalition, ICANN’s .xxx domain money grab has fallen flat on its face. The expected land rush of defensive buys to avoid stigma never materialized and the smut peddlers are happy with the way things are.
The engineers who warned Lightsquared’s service would disrupt GPS are vindicated. This proves that while you can buy influence by backing corrupt pols, you can’t change the laws of physics. The idea could still work, but investment in engineering instead of elections will be required.
More Fourth Amendment abuse in the Senate: SOPA and Protect IP morph into the slightly less abusive OPEN bill. While it promises more due process, it still enables rogue agencies to violate the supreme law of the land. Meanwhile, Senator Wyden does some call out the DHS for going rogue showboating.
How to harass the competition without tarnishing your highbrow image. Wage war on rivals by proxy: Apple Gives mobile patents to a troll.
Comic Louis CK’s latest film goes direct to download for $5. Chances are he’ll make far more from self distribution then releasing through one of the big studios. Look for more big name entertainers to follow.
Another sign the patent system is broken: Google wants to patent the cloud as a print server.
As the holiday shopping season focuses attention on retail, persistent rumors have it that Amazon is planning to invade the brick and mortar space.
Is it going to happen? I think it’s very likely. As local pols move aggressively to tax Amazon’s online sales, the real driver is lobbying from big box retail as much as from the need for revenue. If Bezos and company are to be force to collect sales tax, why not compete with the big box players on their own turf? Then there’s #1 book competitor, Barnes and Noble that has surprised nay sayers by leveraging it’s storefronts to better compete with Amazon in the virtual space. The over consolidation of physical retail has left a shortage of shelf space for competing products. Apple and more recently, Microsoft began operating their own stores to combat this. With Amazon’s growth to major player status in computers and electronics, many more sales of higher priced items will be made if consumers can touch and feel before making a decision.
What would an Amazon store look like? What would it stock?No way of knowing for now. One thing for certain is that physical stores could bring more competition back to the brick and mortar universe. IF that happens, everyone except maybe WalMart wins.
While Senator Al Franken continues to throw a fit over wireless carriers spying on their customers, we learn about yet another fed program to illegally monitor communications. Dear Senator while carrier behavior is abominable, please get your own house in order first. Those of us who care about our privacy still have more than two carriers to chose from – at least until you and your cronies take that freedom away too. Meanwhile, lawyers start a gold rush trying to cash in.
The many benefits of being a Protect IP supporter (if you’re a member of Congress). In reality it’s another attempt to extend the life of a zombie business model using government to impede progress. Meanwhile DHS continues to seize domains outside of its jurisdiction.
The high cost of outsourcing manufacturing? Sooner than any so called expert would have predicted, $99 Android 4.0 tablet using a home grown Chinese CPU becomes reality. While it’s aimed at its home market, the impact will be felt in the west, much sooner than expected.
Look for the cable guys to get a little more aggressive adding wireless to service packages. After selling spectrum to Verizon Comcast and Time Warner entered into agreements to sell wireless products that will utilize V’s network. Customers connected via Clear’s network will be transitioned to Verizon, ending the Clearwire partnership.
While this will be a big revenue hit for cash burning Clearwire, it also frees it from the product and price restrictions the cable guys had imposed. Unfortunately Clearwire, it’s probably too late to take advantage of this new freedom even if it’s management was up to the task. I expect for Clearwire will go bust early next year with Sprint absorbing most of its assets and customer base.
The new Verizon arrangement does give the cable guys tremendous opportunity to innovate and disrupt. I don’t expect we’ll see much of either. Cable management tends to drive looking through the rear view mirror. Nothing that could be seen as a threat to the walled garden pay TV package will ever see the light of day. Only monopolies can survive doing business this way.
As for Verizon, look for more deals like this one. While quality of service has much more to do with tower density and backhaul, Verizon and AT&T are on a quest to lock up all available spectrum. Unless they control virtually all spectrum, their broken wireless business model can’t be sustained.
In case you didn’t know, the search results you see on Google aren’t anything near raw, rather they are baked. The formula is a secret that is more carefully guarded than the colonel’s 11 herbs and spices. That formula is also constantly tweaked to ends that are more for the benefit of Google than you might think. Tweaking can favor internal projects, friends, sponsors and political cronies as well as punish outsiders. That’s all fair game, since when you use Google, you are dining at it’s table. The snack you are enjoying isn’t free. You’re just not paying directly.
While Google competitors came and go, there hasn’t been a truly open alternative that could scale until now. YaCy depends on it’s users for infrastructure and allows you to build and manage your own search profile if you install software that also distributes the search load. Yes, it’s a lot more to do than just Google-ing, but if you’re weary of being Googled, it’s the best alternative I’ve seen so far. It could also be the beginning of the democratization of search. That’s bound the shake up the control freaks in boardrooms and Washington like never before. (more at BBC)
The wireless business as we know it should have ended with the smartphone. It did not because of tight handset control by a small cartel of service providers. This cartel succeeded in locking up the supply of devices largely by denying access to their networks with third party devices. By leveraging a tight knit relationship with regulators and lawmakers, these companies have also successfully locked up the lions share of wireless spectrum for their exclusive use. This same cartel is now clamoring to lock up more of the most useful airwaves even as they hold currently hold spectrum that is not being utilized. Lawmakers who have an unending need to spend more welcome the idea of a new windfall from yet another auction to exclusively assign public airwaves to the cartel.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, wireless carriers are aggressively offloading increased data traffic to narrow, increasingly overcrowded unlicensed WiFi networks. The reason isn’t hard to figure out. If more traffic can be pushed onto someone else’s network they can still charge large without building adequate infrastructure. Why not allow more unlicensed frequencies? Congress wants more money, and the carriers do not want an abundance of open spectrum available. That would encourage a whole new wave of competition that will demand new investment while pushing down prices. Make no mistake about it: The growing abundance of cheap WiFi only tablets and entertainment devices that do more than the carriers’ locked handsets could spell doom if the availability of WiFi grows.
I’m not the lone wolf howling on this open spectrum soapbox. Yochai Benkler at Technology Review seems to agree with me on most major points and has several good ones to add. Open spectrum is not being discussed by lawmakers because it does not benefit them. The next wave of wireless could lift all ships, including those of pols and a cartel. They need to get out of the way to make it happen, and they need to hear from all of us to make it so.
FCC chair magically discovers the AT&T T Mobile really is anti free market after the public outcry becomes deafening. With his unpopular boss’s re-election prospects dimming, this is one crony deal that may not make the cut.
High debt and the promise of more new competition inspires Wall Street to lose it’s enthusiasm for Netflix. The short term winners to watch for are big media companies that own large content libraries as demand for their product grows.
Penguin nixes library lending of eBooks. On self inflicted bullet to this publishers right foot, with five more to go.
Protect IP filibuster planned by Senator Wyden. It will include the reading the names of citizens who oppose it. Is your name on the list? If not you can add it here.
Core wars: 144 CPU chip goes into production.