Cats, Boobs, On Demand Content, and Video Games. The internet in a nutshell, brought to you by Google Play.
Last night I had a horrifying dream that a group of well-intentioned middle-aged people who could not distinguish between a domain name and an IP address were trying to regulate the Internet. Then I woke up and the Judiciary Committee’s SOPA hearings were on.
It’s exactly as we feared. For every person who appears to have some grip on the issue, there were three or four yelling at him.
“I’m not a nerd,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D- Calif.). “I aspire to be a nerd.”
“I’m a nerd,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
If I had a dime for every time someone in the hearing used the phrase “I’m not a nerd” or “I’m no tech expert, but they tell me . . .,” I’d have a large number of dimes and still feel intensely worried about the future of the uncensored Internet. If this were surgery, the patient would have run out screaming a long time ago. But this is like a group of well-intentioned amateurs getting together to perform heart surgery on a patient incapable of moving. “We hear from the motion picture industry that heart surgery is what’s required,” they say cheerily. “We’re not going to cut the good valves, just the bad — neurons, or whatever you call those durn thingies.”
This is terrifying to watch. It would be amusing — there’s nothing like people who did not grow up with the Internet attempting to ask questions about technology very slowly and stumbling over words like “server” and “service” when you want an easy laugh. Except that this time, the joke’s on us."
"Google is not going to be Facebook. Likewise, Microsoft was not going to be Google. And it is partly because, contrary to the shibboleths of user-created blah-blah, people love content—and, mirabile dictu, it increases traffic. The problem is, advertisers don’t love it. Or they don’t love it enough. Or there is so much of it, they can be fickle lovers of it—hence the cost goes down (and down). This math has actually created an entire genre of online businesses that are all about being able to keep lowering the cost of content to keep up with the ever-lower price that can be charged for it.
And yet, there is content that works—that remains unique and that commands premium pricing. That’s television—or video.
Put another way, what still works, what advertisers and audiences still seek, is superexpensive content.
And there is a model in which mature non-content-producing businesses help themselves by becoming sophisticated content producers: the premium channel business, the HBO model. HBO was not a content creator; it was effectively just an aggregator and a redistributor. But faced with higher licensing fees and lower margins, and looking to solidify its own brand, it started to produce its own content."