Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Motley Fool wonders "Is Netflix Doomed?" Or, at least, their readers do. Tim Beyers tries to convince the wary that Silicon Valley is all talk until the tech is at the consumer's reach on a broad scale, and that the DVD-by-mail business is hardly dead.

Fortunately (for me), the technology is here, by and large, even if it's not being embraced as widely as the fringe would like you to believe. Streaming video is a Godsend for people like me who A) aren't hardasses about video quality, B) care more about timing and avoiding commercials than catching the latest episode and C) have the hardware on hand and know how to use it. Category C is growing leaps and bounds each day, as we're all well aware. As more people naturally migrate to hardware with the capability to use streaming video (broadband enabled televison, Xbox 360, etc), people will naturally migrate to using the services, just like they did with HDTV. Feedflix just released stats projecting 2009 to be the first year that streaming video overtakes DVD by mail at Netflix (note: you'll still have to take this with a grain of salt, though, because it appears to count individual episodes of sitcoms as a title, so when I watch all 24 episodes of Season 2 of 30 Rock, Feedflix reports that I watched 24 "movies").

So even if we assume that DVDs are and will continue to be alive and kicking for the next decade, the question remains, can Netflix survive the transition to a market that prefers streaming to receiving and returning DVDs by mail? There is obviously demand for the services. 10% of Netflix's subscribers have watched from an Xbox. What percentage will be watching from broadband enabled Samsung and LG televisions when every TV on the market has broadband? The rub will be if we see the dollars follow subscribers. One of the hurdles for on-demand media is licensing agreements which stipulate that fees are incurred each time a video hits a pair of eyeballs. Buying a copy of Groudhog Day on DVD probably costs $10, and each disc will last for, for simplicities sake, 10 rentals in it's lifetime. How much does Columbia charge Netflix in licensing each time I want to watch Groudhog Day? More or less than the $1 (plus shipping) that the DVD would have been? How many times do customers start to watch a movie and get five minutes in and decide that they don't want to watch it? Are there fees incurred here? Last night I started Radio Days and got ten minutes in before I was totally interupted by the Wife who wanted to talk or something. Did I cost Netflix money? In my opinion, cost is probably the biggest uncertainty in this equation when you assume (as I do) that the demand for this type of service is absolutely huge.

I may sound as puffy as Silicon Valley, but the day that almost everything you watch is available on-demand in your living room is right around the corner. Streaming everything available on network television is only an extension of the concept of an HTPC or TiVo, which is practically standard with any cable TV subscription (Time Warner charges $10/month extra). HBO is in talks with Netflix as we speak working out deals (fingers crossed) for preminum streaming content, and Netflix already streams limited Showtime and Starz content. Hulu, CNN, YouTube and others are already available in the living room if you're willing to fiddle with an AppleTV -- and we've all witnessed that the step from kids making smart shit into capitalist cash cow is a small one. Media delivery is in for a hell of a ride over the next ten years as broadband penetrates the long tail of consumers. With no content-specific boxes or cables necessary, the global potential is unlimited. Some Motley Fool readers can continue believing that Americans want the security net of "ownership" (which I can relate to, but only in re: books -- I will never buy a Kindle), or that somehow people dumping shares is a sign of inherent weakness in the business model (never trust a technical analyst, I don't see any dips since Nov/Dec 08, and it's picked back up to $32/share today), but the fact of the matter is that the model appears to be strong, and as it stands Netflix is in the lead.

*Also, what is going on with the love for Redbox? It looks like garbage: a Blockbuster in a vending machine is still a Blockbuster, and the DVD-by-mail model is lots more convenient, right? I'm a snob, though, so if I can't rent Breathless from your vending machine, you can kiss my ass.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spring mix
for your ears. Later I realized that tracks one and two should probably be switched and it gets kind of slow towards the end, but oh well. Enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Maybe a reason to buy Rock Band:

3:31 PM (2 minutes ago) Rock Band Weekly: Alt Country and Jimmy Eat World
from Xbox 360 Fanboy by Dustin Burg

Jimmy Eat World Pack (440 / $5.49)
"Futures" by Jimmy Eat World (160 / $2)
"Lucky Denver Mint" by Jimmy Eat World (160 / $2)
"Sweetness" by Jimmy Eat World (160 / $2)

Also: JEW playing through Clarity at Terminal 5 this in a few days SOLD OUT. At $35 a ticket! Who knew there were tons of underground JEW fans hiding out in New York? Scum bags on Craigslist (is there anyone else on Craigslist anymore?) are selling them for $75 a pop. Related mid-90's emo info: Blake Schwartzenbach's (Jets to Brazil, Jawbreaker) new band Thorns of Life (some, like, Blake reference. Fucking dork) is floating around Park Slope playing a house party every few months (that I will never get invited to) so be on the lookout for them to break out any minute. They even have a Wiki page and some bad videos on Youtube already. Can you smell the anticipation?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ben and Lindsey Tie the Knot. Yes, I jacked the Blogger html for the time being.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Do not sleep on this. Obits (ex Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu) played their first show January 12th last year at Cake Shop, and they are finally getting around to releasing a full-length record (on Sub Pop) and going on a for-real tour in March. They will blast your face off. So so good. They sound pretty much exactly like Hot Snakes. "We're not into innovation as a band, I think innovation is overrated," said Rick Froberg of his band. Thank goodness.

Monday, February 09, 2009

If you don't already have jjjound (caution: interspersed, tastefull boobs) in your RSS feed, why not, huh? Do it it's good and has helped craft apartment decorating skillz.

Serious lack of updates because: New apt in "North Chelsea" a.k.a. "South Hell's Kitchen" meant lots of headaches and shopping and cleaning and decorating &c &c. Christmas and New Years wore me out. Mom visits. Cold weather makes me apathetic. The internet is boring. Xbox and Netflix. There's live music, like, every night during the winter. Maintainance (and ill-maintanance) of interpersonal relationships. Drinking.

Maybe I will be back now and again? Who knows. If you used RSS it would make your life easier!