Barry Diller, the former broadcasting executive whose Internet and media company IAC InterActivecorp is a major backer of Aereo, says that the online content service could achieve a market penetration of more than one third of consumers, provided that it wins court challenges brought by broadcasters. Aereo, which supplies over-the-air broadcast signals via a broadband connection for $8.00 per month, is very attractive to younger consumers compared to the high price of traditional cable subscriptions, Diller said at a conference sponsored by Bloomberg. “This closed circle of broadcast and cable and satellite is going to break up,” Diller was quoted as saying. “It’s not going to maintain itself in the next decade.”
The notion that ever-higher retransmission consent rates cannot be passed onto cable consumers indefinitely seems to be gaining traction. The CEO of DirecTV has expressed similar sentiments, and a consumer “tipping point” was a major theme among rural providers at the closing panel of the TelcoVision event which took place last month.
Diller also dismissed a statement from the National Football League (NFL) that threatened to shift NFL games from broadcast channels to cable. NFL and Major League Baseball recently filed in support of broadcasters in their court case against Aereo. Earlier this year, some broadcasters had made a similar threat to shift their programming to cable in the event of an Aereo court victory. Diller noted that the NFL makes a significant amount of revenue from showing its games on broadcast channels. While an Aereo victory in the courts would dramatically alter the broadcast market, it is unlikely that programmers and sports leagues would cut themselves off from the large amounts of revenue that would remain available to them via over-the-air transmissions.
I still write to Santa Claus (a.k.a, my lovely, generous and patient wife who makes more than I do) every year. In years’ past my list has been mostly confined to “manly” gear like power tools. This year I thought I’d branch out a bit in my interests and tie my Christmas list to things that piqued my interest while writing for the New Edge.
So, my list is below, what it is, why I want it. I’m not going to send it directly to my wife; I’m going to see if she actually reads the New Edge. She say she does, so this is like a test.
When I first started looking into game consoles, I wrote about how they are becoming much more than mere game consoles; they’re multimedia entertainment hubs (“MEH”, a term I made up, by the way). MEH refers to an all-in-one device that funnels games, live TV, video-on-demand and even Web chat and other apps to users. Microsoft’s Xbox One fits the MEH category, according to reviews. Sony’s Playstation 4 is being marketed more to the hard-core gamers, and early reviews say it’s the best choice for those folks.
As one reviewer wrote when discussing the Xbox One, “[y]ou can even multitask, watching TV while playing a game. If the thought of this makes you misty-eyed about the future (or if you just like the idea of your TV and game console sharing a single HDMI slot), and you don’t have any particular attachment to either game library, buy an Xbox One.” Read more
Time Warner Cable Business Class recently announced the start of a trial of its “Virtual Visit” telemedicine program. Virtual Visit will allow Cleveland Clinic’s healthcare providers to deliver care remotely to patients via video conferencing technology. Patients will be able to interact with healthcare providers via an encrypted two-way video without leaving their home. The Time Warner Virtual Visit product will be offered as a bundled service consisting of connectivity installation, customer premises equipment (modems and video conferencing equipment), and technical support in patients’ homes.
The Virtual Visit trial is being conducted with Cleveland Clinics’ Center for Connected Care, which consists of about 500 healthcare professionals serving approximately 3,500 patients. As part of the trial, TWC will measure the cost savings realized by the Cleveland Clinic. You’d have to be on another planet not to realize that healthcare costs are rising rapidly in this nation, and any cost efficiencies realized by the increased use of telemedicine are likely to spur its adoption by healthcare providers. Of course, getting started is the hard part, and the cable provider is supplying a lot of the upfront costs, at least in the trial. Read more
By 2015, Americans will consume on average more than 15 hours of traditional and digital media daily per person, or 1.7 trillion hours annually, according to a new report released by the University of Southern California’s Institute for Communications Technology Management.
That quantity of media is equivalent to 8.75 zettabytes annually, or 74 gigabytes — roughly 9 DVDs worth — of data sent to the average consumer per person per day. (A zettabyte is a million million gigabytes, or 1021 bytes.)
According to the report, entitled “How Much Media? 2013 Report on American Consumers,” hours of media consumed grew by more than 5% annually between 2008 and 2013, while consumption measured in bytes grew by 18% annually over the same period. (For purposes of the study, researchers did not include media consumption at work.)
While television and radio contribute 60% to the hours of consumption, newer digital sources are contributing to the gains in bytes consumed. Mobile computers are the fastest growing segment: in 2008, mobile computers accounted for 3% of all bytes consumed, while in 2013 they were responsible for 10%, corresponding to a year-over-year growth rate of 27%.
The report’s authors note that “[w]hile in the past media consumption was overwhelmingly passive—we sat and watched TV or listened to radio—new media consumption is increasingly interactive, with time-delayed, multi-tasking and interrupted viewership fast becoming the typical consumptive behavior.”
Anyone who is keeping count may have noticed that I am linking to a lot of Wall Street Journal articles lately. That is because I spent some expiring frequent flier miles on a subscription. When it runs out, I might revert to citing Sports Illustrated Kids.
Last Wednesday’s Journal featured an article titled, “Meet the Man Who Really Runs the Internet” (for now, we’ll give the Al Gore jokes a rest). The half-page interview featured Andy Jassy, head of Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) division, which sells computing power and cloud services. AWS recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA, and while Jassy would not disclose how that amount compares to the total volume of AWS sales, he noted that it certainly enhanced the credibility of cloud services, generally.
Some market analysts estimate that the AWS is ringing up about $4 billion in annual sales; Jassy did not dispute reports of his predictions that the cloud division could one day eclipse Amazon’s $60 billion retail business. IBM, Microsoft, and Google are also jumping on the cloud bandwagon, indicating the potential for exponential growth of this sector. Read more
Last week, Amazon announced a new effort call Amazon Source to court independent bookstores as sellers of the Kindle. You may have reacted to this announcement the way this reporter and I did: why would an independent bookstore want to take the rope provided by Amazon to hang itself?
This seems like a pretty risky deal for a seller of actual paper books to start offering a digital reader device from the company that is widely blamed for driving them out of business. An Amazon spokesman addressed this issue, saying, “[w]e believe that retailers, online or offline, small or large, should be striving to offer customers what they want—and many customers want to read both digital and print books,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “For many years, bookstores have successfully sold print books on Amazon—now Amazon Source extends this opportunity to digital. With Amazon Source, customers don’t have to choose between e-books and their favorite neighborhood bookstore—they can have both.”
Under the deal, the independent booksellers would be able to purchase Kindle devices at a wholesale price with a 6% discount, and would be entitled to 10% of every of e-book their customers purchase. The booksllers would also get a discount on Kindle accessories which they could then, like the Kindle device itself, turn around and sell to their customers for a profit. Read more