Tag Archives: new york times

New York Times Helps Movie Studios Spread Lies and Fear

(FILE PHOTO) Jack ...
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New York Times writers By BRIAN STELTER and BRAD STONE (full disclosure: Brad interviewed and quoted me for his article on $200 netbooks and I think he seems like a real nice guy) seem to have been drinking a bit too much of the movie industry’s KoolAid.

In an article in today’s paper they write the following:

But if media companies are winning the battle against illegal video clips, they are losing the battle over illicit copies of full-length TV episodes and films. The Motion Picture Association of America says that illegal downloads and streams are now responsible for about 40 percent of the revenue the industry loses annually as a result of piracy.

The problem here is that this 40% figure is completely mythical and the reporters neither back up this outrageous claim or offer any subtantive basis for it being made.

The truth is that Hollywood revenue was up year-to-year and there is little true corellation between rates of piracy and Hollywood profits.  The concept that every “pirated” viewing is lost revenue is simply absurd.  It is wrong to assume that people who watch something for free would be willing to pay instead if the free version were gone.

I might watch “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” on a pirate stream for a few minutes but I will not pay $12.50 to go see it on a big screen.  If the pirated version isn’t available I just won’t see the movie at all.  However, if it is a great movie I want to see on a big screen I will cough up the coin.

The overall tone of this article makes it seem like this piracy is a massive crimewave instead of a rational response to an industry that refuses to evolve with the times.  There is a reason that the studios are losing this war: they aren’t changing to meet their customer’s needs and so their customers are going elsewhere:

But many industry experts say the practice is becoming much more prevalent. “Streaming has gotten efficient and cheap enough and it gives users more control than downloads do. This is where piracy is headed,” said James L. McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Consumers are under the impression that everything they want to watch should be easily streamable.”

Of course they are under that impression – it’s true.  Where studios and TV networks are losing money is by not finding ways to offer a similar service at a reasonable price.

When they do make the effort, like with Hulu.com, they see great results.  Viewership goes up immediately.

Why they don’t simply release copies to torrent sites with ads embedded is completely beyond my comprehension.  With what they waste each year trying to “fight” piracy, they could develop and distribute a new business model that would make pirating basically obsolete.

Instead, they risk going the way of the music industry and suing their way right out of business.

Meanwhile, I am baffled as to why the New York Times seems to be siding so heavily with “Big Hollywood.”

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NYT Sees Gold in YouTube’s Hills (wow, bad metaphore…)

Michael Buckley wears a pair of shorts when he...
Michael Buckley –                         Image by feastoffools via Flickr

The NYT has a splashy piece about people making “real” money posting videos on YouTube.

Actually, it’s about one guy making real money, sort of through YouTube and a lot of other outlets.

“What the Buck” is the YouTube show profiled and it is the one most often trotted out to show how great the YouTube partnership program can be for independent video creators.

The only problem with the article is that makes it seem like what Michael Buckley has done is something that is/could become common on YouTube but that’s just not the case.  The vast majority of semi-pro video makers simply don’t put the sort of time, energy and commitment into their work and thus, do not get much in the way of rev-share from YouTube.

It takes a staggering combination of artistic vision and hard work to make a go of it online, to break through all the noise and to actually produce a consistent product that keeps viewers coming back.

While there is nothing especially wrong with the NYT piece, I think it falls short of communicating how impressive it is for Buckley to have done so well.

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Atlantic Records Goes Hardcore Digital and Beats Expectations

Atlantic Records Logo from 1966 to 2005.

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Seems like all I am doing today is citing the NYT.  Maybe they hope that by actually covering the internet they can remain a relevant media outlet…

Anyhow, they have another piece about the challenges facing the major music labels in the digital age.  This has been discussed ad nauseum but they do highlight one fascinating fact that ArsTech also picked up on: Atlantic Records became the first big record label to make more money via digital sales than via CD sales.

The interesting thing to note is how this was accomplished:

“In making that transition to a digital business, the music business has become immeasurably more complicated. Replacing compact disc sales are small bits of revenue from many sources: Atlantic Records’ digital sales include ring tones, ringbacks, satellite radio, iTunes sales and subscription services.”

It used to be much easier to be a record label – just sell records.  Well those days are long gone and for the labels that refuse to accept that fact it’s going to be a fast trip to backruptcy.

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Girls Rule the Web

The New York Times has a long and informative article challenging the common assumption that creating web-content is a male-driven world.

“Research shows that among the youngest Internet users, the primary creators of Web content (blogs, graphics, photographs, Web sites) are not misfits resembling the Lone Gunmen of “The X Files.” On the contrary, the cyberpioneers of the moment are digitally effusive teenage girls.”

Definitely recommend reading the whole article.

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NYT and Facebook users force change – fast!

So, two days ago there was an article in the New York Times that looked at just how difficult it was to delete your Facebook account.

There was plenty of buzz about this on the webs for a while.

Now, a mere two days later comes this article in the New York Times in which they report:

“Aiming to address the privacy concerns of disenchanted users, Facebook.com said on Tuesday that it was trying to make it easier for people to delete their accounts permanently from the social networking site.”

Here was a clear example of a company that has generally been well-received by its users, was cited for doing something that is perceived as extremely “unfriendly”, and instead of arguing or justifying, they swiftly changed their protocol.

That’s how you survive in today’s market.

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