MIT was encouraged by students and faculty to make this case go away. They chose, in their own words, to remain "neutral". But prior to remaining neutral turned the case over to the feds. Surprising that they do not know that "neutral" is a stand in itself. Actions have consequences.
Christina Ortiz blogs: "In case you haven?t noticed, Viacom and DirectTV have been trading blows over carriage fees, the amount of money DirectTV pays Viacom to air channels. Recently Viacom, who owns MTV, Comedy Central, Nickolodeon and 23 other channels, raised their fees by 30 percent, which amounts to $7.30 in additional fees annually per subscriber, or about $144 million a year for the 20 million or so of DirectTV?s users. DirectTV thought the fees were too much and as of Tuesday at 11:50 pm, they shut off all 26 Viacom channels, leaving only an alternate channel with a loop apology from DirectTV CEO Mike White."
So where is the BILLION DOLLARS Direct TV?
$7.30 per subscriber ANNUALLY?
Who cares? This is a minor amount in my total Direct TV bill, and indeed an even lesser amount in my total telecommunication cost (cell, broadband, TV).
There are NO winners in this silly fight involving a bunch of petulant children. Yeah it is all about customers. Sure it is.
I am and have been a satified Direct TV customer. Let's face it, both Direct TV and Viacom have their share of customer problems (past, present, and future). Both want as much as they can get. Both have had multiple months to come to an agreement. Then when faced with the deadline, they claim they are working for customers? How is that? Working for US? By not coming to an agreement? By engaging us in their business conversation? By engaging in deceptive analyses?
Thanks for the concise, "billion dollars and 30% increase" analysis Direct TV. Same for the Viacom analysis... "pennies per subscriber"? What does any of that mean? If the cost was $1, and it went up "30 cents" to $1.30, would anyone complain? I doubt it. But try to get the real numbers from either company and you hit a wall. I have requested in writing the exact figures, and neither responded. COST PER SUBSCRIBER... BEFORE AND AFTER FOR THE SPECIFIC VIACOM PACKAGE BEING NEGOTIATED. REALLY IS THIS SO SECRET?
"They" seem all too willing, in this battle they decided to take to the social media crowd, to sympathize with the "public outrage". There we hear parents complaining that their kids want to watch Spongebob and are being denied...along with the "evil and greedy corporations". Yes, this is the way to settle disputes. I would love to see what actually happens at the negotiating table... do they bring out a pile of idiotic comments from their "fans"? That is "getting to yes"?
Send me the current and proposed cost per subscriber, then I will decide based on that number whether I want to pay. Simple as that.
I wonder what Terence Kealey would say about the trend analysis of top tier marginal and capital gain tax rates vs. economic growth? According to a number of economists these trends are presented as evidence that current top tier tax rates are lower than they should be to encourage economic growth. They point to the growth periods of the 40's-70's tied to top tax rates.
The trend and thought process from this analysis might indicate that higher tax rates on wealthy parties tend to encourage private investment. Simplistically, private investment is presumably a tax shelter lowering the tax rate of the wealthy. And, it follows that some portion of private investment goes into scientific research and development of new products.
I recognize that economics is often controversial, but this idea is interesting and relevant to Kealey's analysis.
Way back when... I was naive. I had a collection of stereoscopic anatomy/surgery photos from my grand-pa. The promise of 3D in games and movies (and porn!) is immersion. Despite the naysayers, Avatar accomplished this. It was subtle, to the point of forgetting it was in 3D until you walked outside after the movie. Then everything was less than Avatar.
That said, of course everyone is going to get on whatever 3D curve may persist for some period of time. Why not make what money is to be made during this period. There is no guarantee that 3D will actually make it. It has tried so many times. It may persist in games. It may persist in some sports or nature shows. But public acceptance has been so fleeting in the past, even with good tech... and Avatar represents state of the art.
If you get a headache, you represent part of the market that will not buy. If you convert a movie to 3D just to make more money... that will not do. Word of mouth is viral. I will not see Alice in 3D, it obviously was not meant for 3D!
Produce content for 3D. Shoot 3D-HD sports and put me behind the quarterback... I will watch and buy the content. As for 3D blue ray? Well, I have yet to purchase a blue ray player despite the fact that it IS higher quality than my DVD player... and in many ways I AM an early adopter... that in itself should tell you that I want a significant (not marginal) increase in my viewing experience to make the jump. Does 3D do it? What will the market bear? Remains to be seen.
And I declined. He wanted to get me that phone because he knew that I would have internet service all the time, because I carry my phone everywhere. Then he wanted me to provide the text mail address for my current phone to some other idiots who would be texting me, instead of calling me directly, about problems with orders. Answer to smart phone? No, unless you don't know about it. Answer to text address to idiots? No, you need to call me when you have problems so we can discuss directly. Those same idiots have a history of simply handing off problems rather than doing their jobs--(think about the problem and provide me some potential resolutions BEFORE you call me please).... texting is the perfect excuse.."we sent him a text...."... And these are the same cubicle dwellers who seem to think field sales people are always in front of their computer on the web--so we can fill out web forms and work flow processes. NOT! I don't want my busy day interrupted by the minute details of the process.... especially by people who are avoiding doing their own jobs.
I DID accept a cellular wireless card (I live way out of the metro areas) so if I really needed to get on line I could. That has been a life saver at certain points. But I still have the excuse to avoid... "I am driving", "I don't have cell phone service", "I am not online", "It will take a while for my computer to get started up, what can I help you with?"....
Below is what I wrote on a blog a couple of weeks ago about Netflix tossing out non-negotiables terms.
[I take the comments back about Netflix--welcome back to the real world where consumers like to believe they are always right and things are negotiable. Now if I could just figure out how the rest of corporate America runs...]
I guess the attitudes and concepts of Tom Peters “Thriving on Choas” are dead at Netflix. They correctly executed on “fleet of foot” from the beginning, but now are leaving out the key element–customers. No point in being fleet of foot when you are losing LOYAL and VOCAL customers is there? Losing LOYAL customers is not churn, it is a disaster.
A key point here is that the elimination of a feature that customers like is presented as a “non-negotiable”, “decision is final” management decision. This is the attitude so many large companies take when they think they are the only seller on the market. People (customers) generally do not like non-negotiables. It takes them back to the unconscious transactional analysis that they are “children” and the company tossing out the non-negotiable is the “parent”. We all know how much we liked being children and parents telling us what to do! “Adult to adult” transactions are always more productive.
Everything, absolutely everything, is negotiable–the idea is to make people believe they have a choice, that negotiation is possible, even when they *know* it probably isn’t.
A better strategy for Netflix? Say “we are temporarily discontinuing this feature for system improvements”. That starts a dialog. And, depending on where that dialog goes determines where the feature goes in the future. Maybe after a couple of months of “temporary discontinuation”, Netflix finds that the churn level is too high–and they bring “profiles” back. Maybe customers find out that they don’t really miss it and like Netflix anyway–even those that went over to the competition. The whole point is that if the changes were NOT presented as non-negotiables, more information can be gained and churn rates can be reduced.
Unfortunately, arrogance and stupidity, are part of our corporate culture today… and THAT is what is killing American business.
I am always amused by these conversations, especially in regards to marketing. First, in regards to Reznor "ripping off his fans"... pulllease. Not only would his fans pre-order his next disk without even a listen, they would purchase special boxed editions. Reznor has years of musical capital behind him--his success did not come because of a free business model, it came because he had the right promotion at the right time (yes from a label contract). Now he chooses to give away some of his music (the taste--to attract more fans and endear his current fans--that could lead to a purchase; heck Costco has been doing it for years... it is nothing new, and no one feels ripped off!). Now Reznor acts to compliment his so called "free model" with the promotion of other side bands--and they will benefit. I just downloaded (for free, on nin.com) the 5 song compilation of his opening bands. Then I went out and purchased the physical CD from two of them--from just the taste of what they had to offer.
My real point here is that marketing is supposed to be more than just "market share" and your slice of pie. Marketing is supposed to be about finding and exploiting niches and new models. I like to say, "it is more important to make the pie bigger so everyone gets a larger slice". This is what the current pinhead marketers seem to miss. They fight over a piece of pie like wild dogs (CD sales), instead of looking for a larger animal to share (CD boxed sets, downloads, etc). There is room for all of these different models in the business world.
Give me a taste, I will try more if I like it.... just like a drug addict.
What these pinheads with marketing degrees don't get? It is not about your piece of the pie, it is about making the pie bigger. Maybe if they got out of the office and did a little number based research they would find out WHAT COMMERCIALS STOP THAT FAST FORWARD IN ITS TRACKS? I find myself stopping and rewinding to watch some commercials because I caught something in the FF that was interesting.
This issue will continue to be a concern. As a semi-pro--but all for fun-- photographer with lots of money invested in gear and super high quality lenses, I avoid bringing any of this stuff to anything that would look even semi-pro to any event that might require a "camera pass". I am amused that a Canon 10D gets flagged as pro, and later the user convinces them it is a lower end Canon model. A 5D or 1Ds? Forget it--unless you put a cheap and short lens on it! Then it is not pro? Meanwhile as compact cameras increase in the available image quality, and zoom abilities, these people get in without any problem, and shoot away--along with their crappy flashes (learn how to use a camera folks--flashes are distracting to the artists on stage, and it is not a wedding!). These days, I just bring a high quality "so called one shot"--(Canon A650is). It takes some time to get it to take nice pictures in the dark, but it is better than getting harassed. Oh, and did I tell you about my Roland R-09 digital wav recorder with custom built mics? None of this is for profit, it all about preserving an experience. WWJA? What Would Jerry (Garcia) Allow? The Grateful Dead, and like bands, allow recording for the exact reason that FANS want to preserve an EXPERIENCE in their own way. As long as that recording is not distracting to the artist or the surrounding audience I think artists should lighten up a bit.
Hopefully, "digital" means high quality (full resolution audio downloads, esp as web/server speeds increase--not 128-256-320 kps files) and open source downloads that can be used freely to purchasers of said download (made into a CD, transferred to players, etc). It also means competitive pricing per download. Sorry, I am not going to pay $1/song when I can buy the CD for less money. Downloads compete with CD's they should act like it. (Amazon seems to understand this with their pricing model for most full "album" downloads).
Trent Reznor's recent release is a great model... covering all segments of the market--but even on the lower end with the basic paid download you got the "art-book" that is so often missing in the normal download. As a CD listener, I usually want the hard disk so I can do with it what I want AND get something I can look at while I listen.
The options are great, cept when I went to the site and tried to order the CD, or do anything else, it got hung up between the first and second pages (moving to the purchase-cart-quantity page). Reloading it did not help. (Meanwhile I am running a speed check and it shows a strong connection at 1.5 MPS).
Web to Reznor, you need to have a site that works if you want people to use it.
If they ever did that to a hard disk CD copy, it would kill some portion of the used CD market. I buy a lot of used CD's some of them were destined for radio stations, reviewers etc, with the standard capitalized gold fonts on the front cover... "FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY". So occasionally I will buy a disk (sometimes unseen--off the web) and it will have that message on it. I would never buy one again if I thought it was not the original music....containing voice overs and interruptions.
(The topic of used CD's sales always interested me in the royalty area. after all doesn't the first buyer pay royalty on the new disk, and then subsequent transfers to new owners should also pay some prorated portion of the royalty? Don't give any ideas of this distorted philanthropic but impossible view of used CD sales to any lawyer--all of a sudden used CD's will be illegal--especially the ones that are marked "for promo purposes only, sale or transfer is illegal".] Ouch. And if any legalities use this idea above as a variation of copyright enforcement... it is copyrighted BY ME. Pay UP!
That EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from the nukes will take care of the notion that mp3's are the best way to store music. Magnetic media, whether hard drives, cassettes, or otherwise, all eventually fail. Ones and zeros read by laser from those primitive, green house gas producing, pitted hard disk CD's will survive.... as long as they don't melt!
Vinyl is warmer sounding than digital.
Downloads should be priced at $0.25/each.
Now that I have your attention...
Peer to peer and digital downloads represent a segment of the total market for music purchases. LP's still are being made. That should tell you something. CD's are still purchased. There are reasons that are obvious. Actually owning the hard copy at full resolution with the art work was important when records first came out. This concept is still important. People like having something in their hands with detailed information I expect.
These disks can still be put on a portable player in another format. Unfortunately, the download industry seems to think that $1/song is a reasonable value? Not sure... when I can buy the hard copy with the art and full resolution recording to do with it what I want for personal use for much less than the $1/song.
Some artists and marketers have figured it out. Take U2 "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb". Four versions were released. Online, a budget disk, a disk with more artwork, and a disk with a book. Each should have been priced fairly and were (except the download!). That is called marketing. Knowing your buyer. Who can afford what and what they want.
Let's face it some people are not going to BUY anything. They are not necessarily trying to break the law, but sometimes they cannot afford it. Peer to peer downloads spread the word, the art, and the music. I have plenty of reasons to PURCHASE THE MUSIC as presented above. Why don't the record companies provide more reasons to purchase music (more art, unique covers, etc)? Simple marketing.
Unfortunately, artists have seeming little say. Lawyers and business idiots seems to have more say.
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