Category Archives: Video

Hulu is Likely Hurting More Than Helping

Lately, I’ve been “hooked” on the television show Fringe. I don’t typically get into shows much, but this one is well written, has decent effects, and I’ve been surprised by the no holds barred science fiction in prime time vibe.

I started watching Fringe a bit into the second season and it occurred to me today that I haven’t seen the first season at all. I went on iTunes to check out how much the first season download costs and immediately decided against it. I simply balked at the $39.99 and $59.99 price points for standard and high definition downloads.

It’s not that I believe those are horrible prices per se, but that I’ve been used to getting content for a much lower price. We pay for Netflix and Hulu Plus; we don’t have cable or broadcast TV. Our bill for both services is under $25 per month. While we could afford it, I have a hard time justifying $60.00 for something I’ll only watch a couple of times.

This is a very bad thing for content providers. The market price of their content is getting closer and closer to zero and, perhaps even worse, people who could pay more are getting conditioned to paying less for consuming content. Pricing is all about setting expectations, and it’s very hard to change them once they are set.

You could argue that Hulu, even Hulu Plus, is partially add supported and that allows networks to continue to get paid, but adds are becoming a less and less effective way to pay the bills. Most networks rely on syndication and sales of physical media to help make ends meet. However, physical media like DVD and Bluray are rapidly being replaced with streaming services and syndication’s sole purpose, offering more options for watching a back catalog, becomes unnecessary if an entire back catalog is available for streaming online.

We’re not far off from being able to access just about anything we want to online for little to no cost. It’s where the momentum is. However, this is likely bad for the industry as a whole. If the streaming services had been structured more like a cable offering (perhaps ala carte) and opened their content up for distribution on every platform from the get-go, things might have been different. As of now, I see content providers demanding more and more from their high paying customers (those subscribing to cable or satellite television) increasing the likelihood that people will simply cut the cord as their cable bills, and the number of viable low-cost alternatives, climb.

On iMovie ’08

I bought iLife ’08 the weekend Apple announced its release. While most of the suite was a bit of let-down for me, imovie2.jpgsome events happened this week that have changed my mind about the new version of iMovie.

iMovie ’08 was practically re-written from scratch from iMovie ’06, and there are a few people (including me) that believe this was a mistake. I don’t like iMovie ’08, and I found myself firing up ’06 after only a half-an-hour or so doing some video importing and editing. My background is in timeline based editing (such as Sony Vegas, Adobe Premier, and Final Cut) and the removal of the timeline as we knew it was one of the big controversial design changes in this new version.

This week, Amber asked for some help in creating a slide-show for a friend of ours that is celebrating a 10 year remission of cancer. I initially opened iMove ’06 but some sort of video filter was in place that was causing the pictures I initially placed on the timeline as an example to look, well, weird. I didn’t have time to figure out what the problem is, so I just opened iMovie ’08, demonstrated to her the basic idea of making a slideshow, and let her go to town building something.

She was up until 4:30am, with work at 7:30, working in iMovie.

The next day, I asked her about her experience in the software. Suffice it to say, she loved it. On top of that, the movie she made was really, really good … much better than she (or I) probably could Picture 2.jpghave done in practically anything else in that amount of time. In fact, she is so good at it that I asked her to consider making these sorts of things on a regular basis to take the place of Christmas cards, presents, etc.

I realized this week that Apple’s goal in redesigning iMovie was for her, not me. She doesn’t need fancy timeline editing, advanced special effects, a robust plugin architecture, etc … she just needs an easy way to get photos, music, and titles on the screen and have it look good. And that’s exactly what she did with practically no problem at all in iMovie ’08. Additionally, her experience unlocked her creativity in that arena, and proved to her (and, frankly, to me) that she can do this sort of thing well. There is almost no way that could have happened for her in a complicated editing environment like Final Cut, but this experience might eventually move her into something with more umph behind it if and when she needs it.

So, I take back the bad things I’ve said (and thought) about iMovie!

Amber’s iMovie ’08 Photo ProjectiMovie1.jpg