Weekly News Roundup (21 December 2014)

December 21st, 2014

Going for a really short one this week, since I’ve just come back from a full day out and for some reason, this WNR remains unwritten (probably because I’ve not written it).

Copyright

The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay may have been sunk, but pirates have not be deterred

So The Pirate Bay remains down, perhaps forever. If it stays down, then it will something that rights holders have wanted for a very long time. Or is it? According to the latest piracy stats, piracy remains eerily steady following TPB closure, with a small drop, and then almost back to where it was immediately.

There may be many reasons why closing the world’s biggest piracy website seems to have had no effect on piracy. The fact that there are many other major torrent sites, like isoHunt and KickassTorrents, still operating normally may have something to do with it. The numerous TPB mirror sites that have been set up since its (temporary?) demise, including one opened by isoHunt (which itself is a re-launch of the shuttered original isoHunt), have also helped to keep torrent traffic high.

And even if the piracy rate drops, there’s no guarantee this will actually lead to any noticeable financial benefits for rights holders. I mean, that’s the point of anti-piracy, right?

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Keurig 2.0

Sticky tape defeats DRM (and not for the first time either)

A couple of quick story roundups. Remember the DRM protected coffee pod? The DRM has been broken, and anyone can do it with scissors and sticky tape. Apparently, the DRM only consists of a special ink placed on official pods, with the machine featuring an ink reader to authenticate the pods. Cut out the part with the ink from a used official pod, secure it over the ink reader with tape, and now all unofficial third-party pods will work. Doesn’t really get any easier than this, does it?

The next couple of stories are all related to the Sony Pictures hack (what isn’t, these days). We start with leaked information showing the MPAA’s plans to destroy the Internet’s naming back bone, the DNS (Domain Name System). DNS works because every other DNS mirror in the world shares and distributes the same set of data, essentially. The MPAA however wants certain ISPs to start messing around with DNS filtering, which could lead some DNS servers having vastly different data than others, thus breaking how the naming system syncs and refreshes itself all around the world.

This is all part of the MPAA’s plans to revive hugely controversial parts of SOPA, not by legislation, but through other means. These other means are explained by Google in a new blog post, where the search giant (who recently ended all cooperation with the MPAA, again due to information gleamed from the leaked data) accused the MPAA of heading a witch hunt, which included lobbying state attorneys general and building legal cases, against the company.

This particular feud could get nasty.

High Definition

Blu-ray Revenue Growth - January 2010 to December 2014

Blu-ray revenue has hardly grown over the last year, and may have actually declined

I finally took the time to summarise recent Blu-ray sales for my annual(ish) Blu-ray: The State of Play feature, and I was quite surprised at how poorly Blu-ray has done over the last year and a bit. While declining DVD sales are expected, for Blu-ray revenue to decline, that’s infinitely more worrying for the good old physical disc (2014 total sales so far, with a couple of more weeks left, are down 5.8%, or around $115 million. Now, the final couple of weeks for any year (stats for which will be available by the middle of January) are always the biggest, and it isn’t inconceivable that these few weeks will help Blu-ray sales prevent a year-on-year decline, but 2013’s final few weeks were also big (record breaking, in fact).

Even if Blu-ray sales can make a recovery in the last few weeks of 2014, there’s one stat that doesn’t lie. Of the 49 weeks that have been tabulated so far, only 17 of these had a Blu-ray revenue figure that was higher than the same week in 2013. This is the exact opposite situation to last year (for the first 49 weeks), where only 17 weeks recorded a lower revenue figure than the same week from the year before (and the year before had the exact same breakdown).

A poorer new release slate, fewer “first time on Blu-ray” catalog title releases and the rise of digital could all be responsible, but if this is a trend (and it’s a big ‘if’), then this could be the beginning of the end for physical media as we know it.

Gaming

White Xbox One

$50 price cut for the Xbox One has revitalised the console

While Blu-ray is down, the Xbox One is up, at least for November. It appears the stats collected by shopping insights firm Infoscout were right: the Xbox One won Black Friday, and November, not only in the US and also in the UK.

The win comes after aggressive pricing by Microsoft, with discounts starting at $50 and up to $150 for bundles. And this is all after Microsoft dropped the Xbox One bundle price by $100 earlier in the year to match the PS4’s price, when they removed Kinect and changed it to an “accessory” status (as opposed to a mandatory add-on).

It seems that if Microsoft want to get back into the game, keeping the Xbox One cheaper than the PS4 is the way to go. With that said, Sony hasn’t been sitting idle either, with the PS4 getting some fairly aggressive price cuts for the holidays too. All of this is great for gamers of course.

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That’s it for this slightly abridged version of the WNR. See you next week (maybe, assuming there are stories to cover, which isn’t always true given it’s Christmas and all), and Merry Christmas.

Blu-ray: The State of Play – December 2014

December 19th, 2014

Welcome to another edition of our annual Blu-ray sales analysis, even if this one is extremely late. My justification is that I wanted to make this more of a year-on-year comparison (so the whole of 2013 vs whole of 2014), as opposed to doing one in May (May being the first month that I’ve been keeping regular stats for Blu-ray sales). So this “State of Play” report is slightly different to ones in the past, and concentrates more on 2014’s results versus that of 2013.

Note that the last couple of weeks for 2014 is still missing, and so an update to this post will be made when these results come in, sometime during the middle of January.

The data used in this analysis derives from our weekly updates, based on figures released by Home Media Magazine. Some of the historical figures you’ll see have also been adjusted, due to slight tweaking of the metrics used by HMM to create these sets of data, although the changes have been very subtle and does not change the bigger picture in any way.

As per usual, this first set of graphs show Blu-ray market share (Blu-ray and combo market share as a percentage of all disc sales) through the six year period that I have tracked them, with the release milestones pointed out.

Blu-ray Sales Percentage - 4 May 2008 to 6 December 2014

Blu-ray Sales Percentage – 4 May 2008 to 6 December 2014 – Click to see larger version

As the graph is getting perhaps a bit too wide, here’s a condensed version that allows you to see Blu-ray’s market share rise more clearly.

Blu-ray Market Share - 4 May 2008 to 6 December 2014

Blu-ray Market Share – 4 May 2008 to 6 December 2014

It’s interesting to look at the most recent additions to the “milestones”, or new releases that had a profound impact on Blu-ray weekly revenue or market share. There were many, but that’s mostly due to the extended period we’re covering in this report, but when you consider that the peak weekly Blu-ray market share has not been broken in all this time, and that the record remains with the week The Avengers was released back in September of 2012 (44.10%, re-adjusted), you can sort of start to come to a conclusion that Blu-ray’s growth has stagnated. The closest week to breaking the record came in the week that Frozen was released (42.16%), undoubtedly the biggest Blu-ray release in the year and a half covered by this analysis. The up and down nature of the weekly results show that market share, like revenue, is very much release dependent. A good “A-lister” this week or a Blu-ray exclusive can get market share and revenue rising fast, but a slow week, and it goes down again. But the rising trend is clear, especially in the second graph above.

We noted in the last State of Play report for the above graph that the “trendline just breaks above the 30% mark at the end of April 2013, and that’s probably a fair reflection of where Blu-ray market share is, or will be soon enough.” Looking at the trendline above, it is still just barely above 30%, although this will edge up a bit when the end of the year’s bumper week’s sales data are added. Amazingly, the average weekly Blu-ray market share figure was exactly 30.00% for the 85 weeks covered by this report, up from the 27.47% (re-adjusted) average weekly market share recorded from the last report period (April 2012 to April 2013). The 4-6% annual increase, seen previously, appears to be slowing down.

In the last report, I stated that:

It’s worth noting that Blu-ray’s rising market share has as much to do with DVD’s decline as it has to do with actual rise in Blu-ray sales, probably more so. The rise in spending in digital streaming and downloading is one of the major factors in the decline of DVD sales, in addition to the rising popularity of Blu-ray.

This is still very much true, although as you will slowly realise when you read the rest of this report, the rise of digital may now be having an effect on Blu-ray sales too. Here’s a graph plotting the current weekly market share (red) compared to the same week a year ago (blue):

Blu-ray Sales Market Share: 2008/12 versus 2009/14 Comparison

Blu-ray Sales Market Share: 2008/12 versus 2009/14 Comparison

The gap between the red line and the blue line above shows how much market share has jumped in that week compared to the same week a year ago. You’ll notice that towards the end of the graph, the two lines are getting closer and closer. In fact, the blue line is often above the red line for many of the weeks (ie. Blu-ray weekly market share has actually shrunk compared to a year ago). In other words, the growth in Blu-ray’s market share has slowed and even reversed in some cases. Obviously, this has to do with the caliber of weekly releases, but another take could be that whatever was causing DVD revenue to decline has stopped or slowed, or that the same factor is now causing Blu-ray revenue to decline or to remain steady. I believe digital is the factor here.

Let’s take a closer look at Blu-ray revenue for the same period.

Blu-ray Revenue Growth - January 2010 to December 2014

Blu-ray Revenue Growth – January 2010 to December 2014

The graph above clearly shows that Blu-ray revenue peaks during the holiday sales period (of which we are still missing 2014’s, as obviously, it hasn’t finished yet. But there is a worrying dip between April and October of 2014, a dip that’s slightly lower than the same time from 2013.

Blu-ray Sales Revenue: 2010/13 versus 2011/14 Comparison

Blu-ray Sales Revenue: 2010/13 versus 2011/14 Comparison

The same trend is visible in the graph above. Just like with the market share graph further above, this comparison graph compares each week’s Blu-ray revenue with that from a year ago. The normal situation should see the lighter purple line always above the darker line (as this indicates Blu-ray revenue growth), but look at the 2014 period on the graph, and you will see quite a few times where the darker line is above the lighter line (indicating Blu-ray revenue has fallen). The overall trend is that Blu-ray revenue growth has stagnated, or even fallen from week-to-week, during 2014.

Now let’s take a closer look at the comparison between calendar 2013 and 2014 (so far).

Blu-ray Sales Revenue: 2013 vs 2014 Comparison

Blu-ray Sales Revenue: 2013 vs 2014 Comparison

The relatively poor results in 2014 can be seen much clearer in the above graph, with many weeks in 2014 being lower in revenue than the same weeks in 2013. Obviously each week’s releases ultimately determine market share and revenue, but it’s hard to ignore a trend that has been fairly consistent over an entire year.

Blu-ray Sales Market Share: 2013 vs 2014 Comparison

Blu-ray Sales Market Share: 2013 vs 2014 Comparison

The same trend is there, but less pronounced for market share, although the problem appears to be worse for the last couple of months (this could be due to a strong release slate during this time in 2013 and/or a weaker release slate for the same period in 2014).

Looking at the raw numbers, this is where things become a lot more clearer. Out of the 49 weeks for 2014 so far, 32 of them had the weekly revenue lower than the same week in 2013. Only 17 weeks recorded a revenue result that was higher than the same week in 2013. The situation is completely reversed when you look at 2012 vs 2013 results, where 32 week had higher revenue compared to 17 weeks with lower. The biggest week in the year is yet to come though, so the Blu-ray weekly revenue record (set during the week ending 14th December 2013) could yet be broken. Looking at total sales though, 2014 so far has a lower Blu-ray total than 2013, $1.854 billion versus $1.969 billion, over the same 49 week period.

Conclusion:

To sum up:

  • Blu-ray market share is growing, but at a much slower rate than the past few years
  • Frozen was the top seller in the last year and a half, but failed to beat the weekly market share record set by The Avengers in 2012
  • Blu-ray revenue has stagnated or even declined, mainly from 2013 to 2014. Total revenue is down for the first 49 weeks of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.

Although we still have a couple of (big) weeks to go, unless these prove to be exceptional and record breaking, it does look like 2014, at best, would be a year where Blu-ray growth stalled. Blu-ray revenue may even be in decline, but its market share is still growing slightly thanks to DVD’s faster decline.

As for what’s responsible for 2014’s lackluster Blu-ray results, most data support the growth of digital as being the catalyst for disc’s fall. Or it could be the releases themselves that are to blame, although a 2014 line-up that includes ‘Frozen’, ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’, ‘Thor: The Dark World’, ‘Maleficent’, ‘The Lego Movie’ and ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’, doesn’t sound like such a poor year. There is no doubt about it – 2014 could be the year that Blu-ray goes backwards.

I will be updating this post (either directly here, or via a new post) once all of 2014’s data is complete, but the conclusions here are unlikely to change with so little time left.

Weekly News Roundup (14 December 2014)

December 14th, 2014

Welcome to what is probably the penultimate “proper” WNR for 2014, with the WNR scheduled for December 28 likely to be a very short affair (given it’s that time of the year and everything). Where has 2014 gone? It seems like it was only yesterday that we were talking about The Pirate Bay’s journey to find a new home and HEVC’s growing stature as the industry codec for the (immediate) future. I guess things haven’t really changed that much in a year!

Onto this week’s all copyright, all the time, WNR …

Copyright

The Pirate Bay

Where is The Pirate Bay?

The Pirate Bay ship has been sunk … or at the very least, it has disappeared into a cloud of smoke, fate unknown. With the site still down at the time of writing, this one looks like to be one of the biggest TPB outages in history. All of this is because of a Swedish police raid on the nuclear bunker style data center that TPB (and other sites, including EZTV and a few BitTorrent trackers) used – the bunker may be nuclear bomb proof, but it wasn’t police proof, it appears.

Still hard to find any definitive information on just what happened, but it appears that TPB’s load balancers were taken offline in the raid, while the actual servers that hosts the site and files are “in the cloud” and so, I guess, still there somewhere (without the load balancers to direct users to where the servers are). For all the talk of TPB being “raid proof”, the load balancers still appears to be a single point of failure for the site, although I guess there are solutions for this as well.

——

I found the headline for this article, “Sony Pictures mad at Netflix’s failure to block overseas VPN users”, particularly ironic this week given that pretty much everyone, from President Obama to Kevin Hart to Angelina Jolie will have been pretty mad at Sony Pictures this week (for those not keeping track, leaked emails revealed very insensitive to downright racist remarks made by executives at Sony).

Just as damaging may be the leaked emails explaining the MPAA’s strategy in dealing with piracy, with several key, previously unknown details being revealed. You can read this article for a brief overview of what’s in the leak, but it appears that the MPAA will be moving ahead with litigation in several countries in a bid to stop what they feel is the top piracy priority, cyberlocker and video streaming sites.

The introduction of a “site scoring service” was also interesting, and may tie in neatly with Disney’s patent for a new piracy-free search engine. The service will rank sites based on “trustworthiness”, with I suppose official and legal services being more trustworthy than say the Pirate Bay (if and when it gets back online). Support services such as payment processors and domain name registrars can use the service to identify and boot suspected piracy sites. So in reality, this “site scoring service” may just be a fancy name for an Internet blacklist.

One of the priority targets is piracy related apps, which may or may not have anything to do with this story. Google has pulled piracy related apps from the Play Store, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is happening as part of a bigger plan, the very plan that was leaked.

This kind of cooperation between the MPAA and Google may be a thing of the past though, as Google’s recent algorithm changes, which have proved quite effective at taking down piracy related sites, were met with a ‘snarky’ response from the MPAA. Against, the Sony Pictures leaked emails proved to be very insightful, as Google’s intentions of doing something helpful for the MPAA was met with disdain and distrust, which may have caused the relationship between Hollywood and the search engine to completely break down. Nice one MPAA!

——

iTunes 10

Pirates buy more stuff on iTunes than “model consumers” who don’t pirate

All of this week’s stories so far have been about stopping downloads, pirates, piracy sites, blah blah blah … but does it all really matter? According to a survey released by Australian consumer group CHOICE, stopping pirates may not be the most important thing ever, and kicking them off the Internet may be the last thing you want to do. This is because, according to the study, people who admit to regularly pirating spend more money than people who say they never pirate. Similar results have been found in the past, in other regions, and it also makes sense if you think about it. It’s because people who like to consume digital content will do so both legally and illegally. People who don’t pirate may also be the same people who just don’t want the content on offer, whether it’s a movie at a cinema or the same movie on BitTorrent.

The interesting question for me is how these so called “regular pirates” decide what to buy and what to download (illegally). I think this is where value, availability, quality, ease of use and things like DRM come in. People ARE spending money, and it’s important to find out why they’re doing so. Of course, once funds are exhausted (consumers do not have unlimited funds, take note RIAA/MPAA), there’s only one real option left. Now whether content owners want people to have this option or not, or to simply stop consuming when they run out of money, that’s sort of where the debate is at right now – either way, they’re not going to get a cent more, but allowing people to still download may have promotional value beyond a simple dollar return.

——

And that’s all we have time for this week. Actually, I have a lot of time, but I also have a lot of stuff in my Netflix queue to catch up on. Like, A LOT of stuff. See you next week!

Weekly News Roundup (7 December 2014)

December 7th, 2014

A nice and quick one (I always say this, and often don’t deliver), as I’m running a bit behind having just watched the new Hunger Games movie at the cinemas. No spoilers from me, but I thought the sex scene between Katniss and Haymitch was totally out of place, a real departure from the books (yes, I’ve read them!) and exploitative to say the least.

Now onto this week’s news, of which, just like everything I’ve written so far for this WNR, will be completely truthful.

Copyright

Sony Pictures Hacked

Staff at Sony Pictures had to resort to pen and paper after servers were hacked – image sources

The big story of the week involves Sony and hacking yet again. The PlayStation Network wasn’t the target of hacking this time round, but it was actually Sony’s film division that was victim to one of the most brazen hacking attempts yet. Not only were sensitive and personal data stolen, so were several digital copies of new and upcoming Sony films, some of which will eventually be leaked onto the usual places.

The newest update from the FBI seems to indicate some kind of undetectable malware was used to infiltrate Sony Pictures computers, and gain access to the data. There’s still no confirmation as to whether the North Koreans were involved, which is one of theories doing the rounds due to Sony’s imminent release of The Interview, which provides a the less than flattering look at North Korea. Would be funny if it was true, and would also provide a great premise for a sequel to yet unreleased comedy.

Something perhaps a little bit harder to crack than the security on Sony’s servers (but not that much harder) is the gaming DRM, Denuvo. As with every single other article talking about Denuvo, I must make it clear that Denuvo isn’t actually a DRM, but rather an anti-tampering system designed to protect existing DRM (such as the Steam or Origin DRM). It’s essentially a DRM for DRM. After months of it being unhacked, due to the use of a 64-bit encryption system, many have started calling it an “infallible” copy protection method. But those that have followed the various stories on DRM I’ve reported here will know that no DRM (or anti-tampering system) is infallible, and it appears Denuvo isn’t any different in this regard. While no working crack has been made available for games that deploy Denuvo, including ‘FIFA 15′ and ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’, it seem it’s only going to be a matter of time.

While doing the research on this story (yes, I do do research … heh, “do do”), I did find some interesting information on FIFA 15, and how despite being completely protected by Denuvo, its sales compared to FIFA 14 wasn’t higher at all (and was something really low like 5,000 copies). Publishers need to take a good look at the hard data and decide if DRM (or DRM for DRM) is really worth it or not.

If publishers want another reason not to use DRM, just have a look at Apple’s ten-year legal battle over a DRM they no longer even use.

Gaming

Denuvo

Denuvo, close to being hacked?

Both the previous story about Denuvo and this subsequent one are ones that I’m not entirely convinced will hold true given the luxury of time. The Denuvo story because it’s based on information posted by a Chinese warez group, without any other confirmation as to its veracity. This story, about the Xbox One’s total pwnage during Black Friday, comes from a credible source, shopping data analysis firm Infoscout, but I’m not too sure about the methodology used to derive at this conclusion. Based on sales receipts received from its panelists, Infoscout’s data shows that Xbox One sales accounted for 53% of all console sales during the BF sales, that’s more than every other console combined, including the PS4 at only 31%.

It does seem quite high for the Xbox One, given the trend over the last year, but it’s important to remember that the Xbox One also won BF last year, and that the Xbox One had a very generous promotion going on during BF (and still on at the moment), making it cheaper (sometimes a lot cheaper, when bundled games are taking into account) than the PS4. But even if the reported 53% is true, the Xbox One still has a long way to go before it starts to catch the PS4, but this would be a good start.

But in Japan, it seems the Xbox One (just like the 360) is struggling, so much so that the boss of Xbox Japan has just resigned due to the poor sales. It’s a hard ask for any non Japanese console to break into the Japanese market, so I don’t know if a new Xbox Japan boss will be able to turn things around by much.

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Okay, I’ll try to keep to my word and not make this WNR go any longer, although at 800 words, it’s not exactly the shortest WNR in history (which is almost always the Christmas/New Years edition, coming soon to a screen near you). See you next week.

Weekly News Roundup (30 November 2014)

November 30th, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to those in North America, and Black Friday to those that took part. Remember when I used to do a lot of coverage of Black Friday Blu-ray sales here? Back when Blu-ray deals were still rare on the ground, and that paying $12 for a movie was considered a great bargain. Black Friday isn’t as special any more though, and we should have the sales stats in a few weeks to see if others feel the same way as well.

Here’s the news from the week.

Copyright

Google may be taking a hard line stance against DMCA requests that are not specific enough. In a recent example, Google decided not to take action against home and category pages on potential “piracy” sites, despite these pages often providing list of links to copyrighted titles.

Traditionally, Google prefers each DMCA takedown request to contain one specific copyrighted title, and a URL that corresponds to that title. For category and homepages, these not only feature more than one title, they also often don’t offer direct downloads, and only link to another page that has the download. Google is more than willing to remove a page with a direct download link, but it seems they’re not too sure about category or homepages.

You can sort of see why the likes of the MPAA and RIAA feel frustrated in their dealings with Google, because for them, it would be a lot easier if they could simply get homepages and category pages deleted, as these pages are far more important to the site and are harder for the site admins to change URLs for. But you can also see why Google has drawn a line here, since technically, these pages aren’t “directly” offering any pirated content on them.

BayFiles

Bayfiles has disappeared, no reasons have been given …

But just because Google doesn’t think that a page is worthy of a DMCA removal, it doesn’t mean that Google won’t punish the page in its own way. This could be through piracy demotions, activated when a site receives too many DMCA removal requests and all pages on the site are demoted. Or it could be something else entirely, and unrelated to piracy at all. This is what appears to have happened to Bayfiles back in June, when most pages on the site were removed from Google’s index. What is more mysterious is that that Bayfiles appears to have disappeared entirely, shortly after its co-founder and former Pirate Bay operator, Fredrik Neij, was arrested in Thailand (unrelated to Bayfiles, but related to the sentenced handed to Neij in the Pirate Bay trial.

No reason has been given for the closure of the site, and for now, the site simply redirects to the main Pirate Bay website (which still links to Bayfiles). Some files on the site (for example: http://bayfiles.net/img/logo.png) still appear to work, but almost everything else has been redirected. Something strange is happening here, and we may hear more about it in the future.

——

LG Android Wear

Digital watch face piracy is a thing now, apparently

Here’s a new form of piracy that’s only been possible recently – pirated digital watch faces. With the hype over smart-watches, there’s now a demand for digital watch faces from the most famous watch brands from around the world, including Rolex, Tag Heuer, Omega, Armani and Swatch. Users can download these faces to their watch, often for free, and they would instantly have a digital replica.

These luxury watch brands that have had their designs digitized, however, aren’t so happy. And according to TorrentFreak, several have started taking legal action against sites that offer watch face downloads.For now, the sites hosting watch face downloads, many of which are original and very creative works, are complying and have implemented ways to prevent future uploads of “stolen” designs.

While everyone involved seems to be taking appropriate action, I do wonder if this is also another example of a lost opportunity. If these luxury watch companies offered a way to purchase official watch faces (especially at a more than reasonable price), then perhaps there wouldn’t be a need for pirated downloads.

It’s all about anticipating demand, if you can anticipate where pirates will be doing next, then perhaps you can also anticipate the next business opportunity too.

——

An update on a story from a couple of weeks ago, regarding the MPAA’s WhereToWatch.com website – enterprising hackers have made a browser script that adds torrent links to WhereToWatch movie and TV listings, turning the useful legal content search engine into also a torrent search engine.

The team that released the script, PopcornCab, says they’re actually big fans of the MPAA’s new site (even if they’re not big fans of the MPAA, normally), but that adding a torrent options will help users (even if the MPAA won’t be fans of their work either).

High Definition

Apple TV Movies

How we watch TV in 2030 might be far closer to Netflix than NBC

Is broadcast TV doomed? That’s what Netflix’s boss thinks, and he thinks that 2030 is when broadcast TV (that is traditional “linear” network and cable TV) will finally come off the air. His prediction isn’t entirely groundless – a recent study found that broadcast TV viewership dropped by more than 50% in the ten years between 2002 and 2012.

While I’m certainly a big fan of “on-demand” TV, there is still something quite reassuring about “linear” TV. Someones makes the decision for you regarding what to watch, and that’s a comfort sometimes. After a hard day’s work, the last thing I want to do is to spending an eternity flicking through Netflix, unable to decide on what to watch (until it’s too late to watch anything and I have to go to bed). And finding something interesting to watch while channel surfing is its own kind of reward.

And there will always be live sports, which so far only really works on a linear fashion, although I think more interactive viewing options (multi-angle, commentary, player cams …) might be welcomed.

So I hope that while on demand and Internet TV will take over as the dominant form of television by 2030, part of me still hopes that linear TV, and other “quaint” things like physical media, will still be around by then.

Meanwhile, have a look at this article to find out just how much Netflix’s subscribers are loving their original programming, and this one which looks at the tricky situation with second screen usage during TV viewing, looking at what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to user interaction, lost eyeballs and advertising.

Gaming

October’s NPD results did not provide any real surprises. The PS4 was still the top selling console, and the other gaming companies are still choosing not to be specific when it comes to releasing sales data.

What is interesting though is that if you look at the top selling games data, you’ll usually find that for the top selling franchises, the PS4 version will usually outsell the Xbox One version. For October, this was true for ‘NBA 2K15′, ‘The Evil Within’, ‘FIFA 15′, ‘Madden NFL 15′ and ‘Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’. The Xbox One was only ahead of the PS4 for ‘Destiny’ (and ‘Skylanders: Trap Team’).

This is a dangerous development for Microsoft, who had gotten used to the Xbox 360 beating the PS3 for multi-platformers. It’s dangerous because it means more and more developers will simply follow the money and make the PS4 their lead development platform for games – this could mean slightly better versions of the games on the PS4 than on the Xbox One, and it’s these “little” things that wins console wars.

——

That’s the end of this week’s WNR. Hope you enjoyed this issue, see you next week.


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