Archive for the 'consumer behavior' Category

Global TV-Series Release Strategy Has To Change

January 21, 2009

TV stations in Germany have to notice that audience ratings of “blockbuster” TV Series like Lost are constantly not as high as years before, the German newspaper Süddeutsche reports.

A reason for this could be seen in the huge delay of release dates in the German market compared to the US releases. Often series were brought months later to the German market like in the example Lost, where the latest season started 12 months later.

Of course this incentives the fans to get their shows somewhere online, which obviously lowers the demand and “hype” about a free TV release months later. “The dark market” for streaming online services is getting better and better and many episodes have  even German subtitles just a few days after the U.S. release. A study of the research company tfactory shows that more than 50% between 15 and 25 years old are watching TV series online now. So also the awareness for illegal alternatives is rising.

I´m surprised that this discussion didn´t start earlier. Obviously the usage of mostly illegal web TV streaming websites are rising to a critical mass.

The strategy of production companies and TV stations is probably to wait how the series perform in the US key market before selling it to the global market in order to minimize their risks. But in my opinion, like in the movie industry, the global release has to be simultaneously in the future. The TV companies must react and have to change there release windowing strategy for the global market. Synchronizing issues can´t be an excuse.

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Predicting the Digital Age 14 Years Ago

October 27, 2008

esther_dyson

Yesterday I read an amazing WIRED article! Well…  great magazine…. but this one was from 1995. Remember how computers and mobile phones looked in 1995?
The article is about a new way of looking at compensation for owners and creators in the net-based economy. The author, Esther Dyson, predicted in her article all the problems the media industry will be confronted with in more than ten years time cause of digitalisation. She wrote about all the challenges for owners, creators, sellers and users of intellectual property. About the fact that quality content will be free, easy to copy but hard to find. And she made suggestions how content creators can find ways to be paid. The article could have been written last year … and still it would be a great one.

I had never heard about this article before… (sure, I had heard about Esther)
It`s quite a long article … I just wanted to quote a few of the best parts:

“In a new environment, such as the gravity field of the moon, laws of physics play out differently. On the Net, there is an equivalent change in “gravity” brought about by the ease of information transfer. We are entering a new economic environment – as different as the moon is from the earth – where a new set of physical rules will govern what intellectual property means, how opportunities are created from it, who prospers, and who loses.
Chief among the new rules is that “content is free.” While not all content will be free, the new economic dynamic will operate as if it were. In the world of the Net, content (including software) will serve as advertising for services such as support, aggregation, filtering, assembly and integration of content modules, or training of customers in their use.”

(…)

“I am not saying that content is worthless, or that you will always get it for free. Content providers should manage their businesses as if it were free, and then figure out how to set up relationships or develop ancillary products and services that cover the costs of developing content. (…) The way to become a leading content provider may be to start by giving your content away. This “generosity” isn’t a moral decision: it’s a business strategy.”

(…)

“The definition of the problem, rather than its solution, will be the scarce resource in the future.”

(…)

Owning the intellectual property is like owning land: you need to keep investing in it again and again to get a payoff; you can’t simply sit back and collect rent. To some, this state of affairs may seem unfair. It certainly is if you grew up by the old rules and don’t want to play in a new game. But if you look at the new rules by themselves, they have a certain moral grounding: people will be rewarded for personal effort – process and services – rather than for mere ownership of assets.”

(…)

“So, what happens in a world where software is basically free? Successful companies are adopting business models in which they are rewarded for services rather than for code. Developers who create software are rewarded for showing users how to use it, for installing systems, for developing customer-specific applications. The real value created by most software companies lies in their distribution networks, trained user bases, and brand names – not in their code.”

(…)

“With the means of production growing cheaper and easier because of the Net, a bifurcation will take place: more and more people will produce material for smaller audiences of their friends, while those seeking large audiences will give their stuff away or seek payment from a sponsor – and try to persuade influencers to recommend it.
In the end, the only unfungible, unreplicable value in the new economy will be people’s presence, time, and attention; to sell that presence, time, and attention out-side their own community, creators will have to give away content for free.”

This was all written 13 years ago!!!

What is the Culture of Cloudiness?

October 22, 2008

Kevin Kelly posts are “must read posts”. Here is another one about the digital future, when we are finally living in “the cloud computing world”.
He raises the questions:
If we migrate entirely to the cloud, what will life on the cloud feel like? How will our behavior change if this migration really is as invisible as it is suppose to be? How will cloudiness change us?

He predicts some cultural dynamics he thinks will prevail in a cloudy world. Here are some headlines of his arguments:

– Always On
– Omnigenous
– More Smarter
– Inseparable Dependence
– Extreme Reliability
– The Extended Self
– Legal Conflict
– SharePrivacy
– Socialism 2.0

Read the post for more details! Great thoughts!
Obviously the media world won`t be the same in a place like that.

Radiohead Shows the Potential of User Participation

September 27, 2008

There was always a lot of speculation about the success of the Radiohead strategy around their In Rainbows album. Well…

Today I received this newsletter email:

To coincide with asking radio stations to think about playing Reckoner we are breaking up the tune into pieces for you to remix. After the insane response we got from the Nude remix stems and the site that was dedicated to your remixes…

Unique visitors: 6,193,776, Page Views: 29,090,134, Hits: 58,340,512, Bandwidth: 10.666 Terabytes, Number of mixes: 2,252, Number of votes: 461,090, Number of track listens: 1,745,304

…we thought it only fair to do the same with a tune that at least is in 4/4. You can get the stems (the different instruments/elements) from here

These numbers are insane… we are talking about a band website…  Not a big “YouTube whatever platform”.

Intel Brings Internet To Television

September 19, 2008

The next step on the mission – “the third screen goes internet”…
A few weeks ago Intel announced in cooperation with Yahoo! a new kind of interactive television. They call it “widget channel” or “cinematic Internet”.  This “connected television” attemps to combine the Internet’s world of user choice, community, and personalization with the familiar television experience. Customized TV widgets try to seamlessly integrate TV and interface experience. No complexity, no keyboard or mouse. Just lean back and stay connected. It´s based on an open platform and Intel & Yahoo say they embrace an open media standard.

Well actually there has always been some guys somewhere, who talked about  “interactive television”, but not one of these models has achieved what it should have achieved. So we should be careful…

But what I could read and see on the net (here, here and here) looks promising.

Watch the video by JD Lascia below.
Eric B. Kim, senior vice president at Intel Corp., is demos the new Widget Channel. He thinks their new application has the potential to merge television and the Internet in a way users will love. They try to combine the  most important television values – ease of use, reliability, high fidelity (professional quality), entertainment – with the internet values – personalization, community, relevance, openness.

Would love to test it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

It doesn`t look or sound so bad…but it still feels a bit “stuck in the middle”. It feels like TV with an additional digital interface…

I don´t know… but what this new generation of mobile phones has made possible (starting with the iPhone) that I’m able to use (or feel as though I´m using) the same userinterface, on my PC screen than on my mobile screen, is very very valueable.
People don´t like all these browser versions on TV screen… but shouldn`t be there a way that I can surf a website on my television screen and I would have the “feeling” that it is the same as the version on my PC or mobile phone?  To evoke the feeling that I had been there before and simply use the interface  without a mouse, just with a remote?

Three screens but just one user interface …. would be great…

Joost Goes Browser

September 18, 2008

Today Joost released a browser version of it`s p2p service (just a plug-in download is needed). Next month, according to CEO Mike Volpi to TechChrunch, Joost will offer a version of the service that doesn’t require any download at all.

In addition to the browser version, they created a video based social network complete with Facebook-style activity streams that show your friends what content you are watching and gives you the chance of commenting or “shouting” about the program (Watch the Demo Video of TechCrunch below.).

TV is and always has been a “social experience” and so I think there is big potential in these features. Imagine watching a soccer game with all your mates… even when you are in a hotel on the other side of the world…

So Joost goes a little bit in the direction of what Last.Fm does for music….  integrating “social” components… there is only a good recommendation system missing … maybe coming soon … and of course, the biggest problem of all,  the “big blockbuster” content is missing. Last.Fm made it cause they lived in the “grey” area of copyright usage… Joost is in the green area… and there is no chance to compete… it’s too expensive to finance great video content with full copyrights … we will see…

But anyway, I think this model is a very interesting perspective for the television industry…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Students Don`t Care About Piracy

September 18, 2008

Well it`s no surprise.
According to a study by Darryl Woolley, assistant professor at the University of Idaho, piracy may not be perceived as  “immoral behavior” for students. Woolley has been analyzing piracy among university students for several years. Despite the greater awareness of copyright law, students have become less accepting of piracy. It appears that education about copyright law does not influence students’ attitudes toward piracy.

“Music piracy – especially among college students – is viewed as socially acceptable,” said Woolley. “What one’s friends think about illegal downloading influences one’s thoughts and behaviors. Unfortunately, professors or authority figures do not have the same kind of influence.”

According to Woolley, students aren’t even ashamed to admit illegally downloading music off the Internet. More than 95 percent of respondents in his research freely admitted to illegally downloading music, and some 63 percent admitted to copying a CD. Students indicated that they expect the trend to continue after they graduate and move into the workplace.

Found via Coolfer.

People Love Their DVR

September 15, 2008

Just found this survey via DMW of 1,000 DVR owners in the U.S., U.K., Italy and Australia conducted by NDS.

The survey shows how many people like non linear content usage. More than 70% of DVR owners say they cannot live without it. Owners ranked the DVR as the second-most essential household technology item, behind the mobile phone.

I don´t know how good the quality of the study is, but anyway… Non-linear content usage will be the biggest driver for people to change to web TV as soon as technology is ready. HD or quality is not as important than this chance to finally personalize your TV watching.

It´s sad that non-linear content usage is still not mainstream. People sitting in front of TV and complaining about the programme… they don´t have to…

Cognitive Surplus Of Society

September 13, 2008

An amazing speech by Clay Shirky at the Web 2.0 Expo conference in April this year. He talked about the enormous potential society has nowadays with the opportunities of the new media technology.

Below is a short section of the transcript. Read the full transcript here. Or watch the video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“Starting with the Second World War a whole series of things happened—rising GDP per capita, rising educational attainment, rising life expectancy and, critically, a rising number of people who were working five-day work weeks. For the first time, society forced onto an enormous number of its citizens the requirement to manage something they had never had to manage before—free time.

And what did we do with that free time? Well, mostly we spent it watching TV. We did that for decades.

(…)

People asking, “Where do they find the time?” when they’re looking at things like Wikipedia don’t understand how tiny that entire project is, as a carve-out of  the cognitive surplus that’s finally being dragged into what Tim O’Reilly calls an architecture of participation.

Now, the interesting thing about a surplus like that is that society doesn’t know what to do with it at first—hence the gin, hence the sitcoms. Because if people knew what to do with a surplus with reference to the existing social institutions, it wouldn’t be a surplus, would it? It’s precisely when no one has any idea how to deploy something that people have to start experimenting with it, in order for the surplus to get integrated, and the course of that integration can transform society.

(…)

This is something that people in the media world don’t understand. Media in the 20th century was run as a single race—consumption. How much can we produce? How much can you consume? Can we produce more and you’ll consume more? And the answer to that question has generally been yes. But media is actually a triathlon, it ‘s three different events. People like to consume, but they also like to produce, and they like to share.

And what’s astonished people who were committed to the structure of the previous society, prior to trying to take this surplus and do something interesting, is that they’re discovering that when you offer people the opportunity to produce and to share, they’ll take you up on that offer. It doesn’t mean that we’ll never sit around mindlessly watching Scrubs on the couch. It just means we’ll do it less.

And this is the other thing about the size of the cognitive surplus we’re talking about. It’s so large that even a small change could have huge ramifications. Let’s say that everything stays 99 percent the same, that people watch 99 percent as much television as they used to, but 1 percent of that is carved out for producing and for sharing. The Internet-connected population watches roughly a trillion hours of TV a year. That’s about five times the size of the annual U.S. consumption. One per cent of that is 98 Wikipedia projects per year worth of participation. I think that’s going to be a big deal. Don’t you?”

Talking With Pirates

September 11, 2008

I found this story via The Technium (Kevin Kelly).

The game developer Cliff Harris (e.g. Kudos) asked the online world on his website (including many pirates of his own games obviously), why they pirate games. He made no judgement, he was just asking. He got a lot of attention in the blogosphere (et al. Slashdot, Digg) and got tons of replies. “It was as if people have waited a long time to tell a game developer the answer to this question”. After analysing hundreds of replies, he found some very interesting insights.  I recommend to read his post. It`s not too long.

But the most important thing to me is how this new insights and the process of acquiring this information altered Cliff himself:

“My games aren’t as good as they could be. Ironically, one of the things that reduces your enthusiasm to really go the extra mile in making games is the thought that thousands of ungrateful gits will swipe the whole thing on day one for nothing. It’s very demoralizing. But actually talking to the pirates has revealed a huge group of people who really appreciate genuinely good games. Some of the criticisms of my games hit home. I get the impression that if I make Kudos 2 not just lots better than the original, but hugely, overwhelmingly, massively better, well polished, designed and balanced, that a lot of would-be pirates will actually buy it. I’ve gone from being demoralized by pirates to actually inspired by them, and I’m working harder than ever before on making my games fun and polished.”

I don`t think enough people in the industry are doing this. Talking to pirates. Understanding pirates. Seeing them as potential customers instead of judging them, fighting them.

There is a huge potential in having a closer look on the customer type “pirate”. Not just in optimizing your own product to get more value so they don`t pirate anymore, but also in motivating your own team and getting a deeper customer relationship with your target group. And pirates are definitely your target group.