Thursday, March 24, 2011

As Media Evolves, Will The Consumer be Left Behind?

Can Netflix Make a series of their Own?

Will AT&T Buy T-Mobile?

Did Showtime Shoot its Foot Off?,, Definitely Yes..

Is the IPad2 a Hit Definitely Yes...

Lots of things have been happening in the world this last week, Netflix ; AT&T ; and Showtime,shoots itself in the foot.
One of the top news stories everyone talking about is Netflix picking up the first run option on a show that's not even made yet. Having now had the pleasure of enjoying streaming content from them on my computer and on the Wii, I can see where they would be interested in doing a deal of this type. They know their bread and butter is the catalogue of material going back to the 1920’s on a very few cases and being to let a consumer explore either old shows they watched and loved in younger days, or just find new and interesting stuff to watch and discover treasures they missed before.
So, For Netflix to spend 100Million dollars to get the first run rights to “House a Cards” seems out of character, however... Looking at it from their side, If they do this and if works, and they wind up bring in more subscribers on top of the 20 million or so they have now, and the publicly is good for the show itself, interest in the show and Netflix will increase along with its stock price.
On the content creators side,developing a project for the like of Netflix where one knows theirs a instant 20 million+ viewer audience is a big plus, and the publicity that goes with it is priceless. Netflix only has first run rights, which means it then be resold and of course that means more revenue streams coming in down the road.

Showtime on the other hand shoots itself in the foot. At least to my way of seeing things. Showtime is renegotiating the deal which ends later this spring and starts in the summer. The end result is that they are pulling new content from Netflix, like Dexter, and Califorination . One will only able to stream them if one is a subscriber and and log into their official site. I was under the impression that one of the great things about site and venues like was the eyes it got in front of a show. If you can get more people interested in watching a show, particularly one that on the likes of showtime, the chances are they will subscribe to the network to see the new shows, Taking off the older episodes and forcing those who really want to see the content to go to bit-torrents and the like or say “the heck with it” and don’t bother even trying to watch them if they can’t get them, is defeating the propose of publicly which when it come right down to it Netflix is a great publicly machine for a huge world of content that's been long forgotten about.

AT&T has put in a bid to buy T-Mobile for 39Million dollars. There a a lot of questions that arise from deals like this. Such as, a big one will the FCC and/or FTC let it go through? The advantages to AT&T are they get more network to expand their 4G layer, They have a reputation for very bad coverage in cities where they are not a primary provider., so they need the T_Mobile towers and coverage. What doses T_Mobile need? They need the IPhone, which they can’t get right now, I’m also thinking it would give them some better android phones. AT&T will be able to provide T-Moble with other support services that that probably lack.
Will this be good for consumers. I’m not sure sure. On the face of it it looks like its reducing the numbers a main cell phone carries from 4, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile to 3.
I think that will only tell half of the story. The rest of the story is how they change rates planes and most importantly, customer service. AT&T customer service is notoriously bad, I suspect that T-Mobile’s is all that great either. In any case a complete overhaul of customer service is probably in order.

I would be completely remiss if I didn't talk about the IPad2 which just recently came out.
On March 2rd Steve Jobs surprised the crowd by just showing up on stage. Steve Jobs had stepped down from day to day operations of Apple earlier this year citing health issues. So his being there to present today was a huge surprise to those in attendants.

The bigger questions emerge: Do we need a new version of the IPad, for some the new capabilities will fit right into what they are doing now, and allow them to do more with one device.

Why they announced the IPad this early is easy: Competition.

Apple has the knack for staying ahead of the curve, even when they invented it.. As I said in my last article, there were 18 new tablets announced in CES in early January.

At this point there seems to be a number of contenders for the “Tablet King” Now Title: Motorola Xoom, HP TouchPad, Blackberry Playbook, Samsung Galay, . I am already finding comparisons about which one has best stats. To my way of thinking the stats of any device don’t tell the whole story. The real test is how a device is used by the end consumers. In the IPads case the consumers have overwhelming said that the Ipad is the right device at the right time and it dose what they want/need it to do, will the IPad2 do as well?, its a pretty safe bet..

Apple has done a number of things right, the reduced the price of the 1st generation units, and they kept the pricing the same for the 2nd generation the same as they were for the originals. a very smart move.

The improvements in the IPad2 will force the competition to up their game, and continually evolve their products to make them more more appealing to consumers. No matter nice they look, if they don’t preform, and do what the consumers expect them to do, they will be dumped for the next big thing to come along.

While I have not have the pleasure yet of experiencing any of the tablets. The ideal way to test a unit is to take it for a week and see what it will and won’t do, and how you like it. However not many folks have the option of “Borrowing” a unit for a week to see if they like it. So we must rely on reviews and what we feel when we see at the store..

There are many more things yet to discuss, hopefully I can continue to offer my humble opinion in a more timely matter as the summer progresses..

Ken Lawson