Tag Archive: Sky


A history of the sky

This is a year-long time-lapse study of the sky. A camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco captured an image of the sky every 10 seconds …

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Future TV consumption

Moving countries throws a lot of habits out of the window. Some I’m more than happy to lose and have replaced them with much healthier ones like walking 4 miles a day (the dogs like it too). My magazine habit is tricky as air freight on some of my favourite titles means that they cost as much as NZ$20 per issue. That sure makes you think, do I really want this? Or, should I subscribe (only one title has made it over that fence so far – Vanity Fair).

As a side issue, international subscription for magazines is a really poor experience. Conde Nast and other really need to examine that experience as it’s far from optimal. The focus is on local subscribers, which while I understand, completely drives me nuts as I’m in New Zealand not New Jersey (thank goodness).

However, what has changed most is my TV viewing habits. In the UK, I used a PVR extensively, so much so that I didn’t know when programmes were originally broadcast. I simply would scan papers, sites etc to find out about new shows, try one, if I liked it then record the series. That way, in typical PVR fashion, I would watch what I wanted when I wanted. Of course, for advertisers I was a nightmare, flicking straight over the ads. Heck, I even learned how to time my fast forward so I could jump from the start of the ad break to the end. Interestingly I would be exposed to the show’s sponsors but would miss all the 30-second slots in-between.

Moving to New Zealand stripped me of that equipment – it’s available but I’m still sorting out other ‘stuff’. So, I was back in the analogue world of scheduling etc. Choices of programmes and channels aside, I tried, really tried to get back to the ‘old’ way of watching a programme when a channel had decided to schedule it but after only 8 weeks it’s all broken down and I’ve given up on TV and stick to web (and not TVNZ’s on demand service – it’s impossible to use) and DVDs.

I simply can’t go back (bit like flying business class on a plane). I’ll get TiVO or (spits on ground) Sky and go back to PVR viewing. That freedom of choice and timing is too damn good to give up, and it’s not to skip ads. I perfectly understand their purpose but as mentioned it seems pointless when you don’t have to so that model will have to change to capture my eyeballs.

That said, there will always be those scheduled events – sports and other live events – that will draw me back to analog TV but those are few and far between. Especially in New Zealand, where Sky’s locked them down even more tightly than in the UK. Way to go sports bodies – figured out why participation and attendances are dropping yet?

And those ‘watercooler’ moments aren’t gone but now tend to be focused on what I called passion points where you are really excited about something televisual but they tend to be more about series as a whole rather than the latest micro event in Coronation Street et all.

Is this a common thing, of course not yet. Adoption of these technologies is growing but by no means universal but that simply frees up conversation time for more meaningful things for now 🙂

Mark Cuban has covered the business side of things for PVRs vs Internet video on his blog and good reading it makes too.

KitchenerIt could be that finally the promise of digital music subscription is about to be fulfilled. Virgin Media has announced a deal with Universal Music (UMG) that will mean Virgin broadband subscribers will be offered an all-you-can-eat, MP3 music subscription package to sit alongside their broadband package. Virgin has promised UMG that filtering (just how is tbc) and education for subscribers will be in place for launch, which should be later this year.

Virgin could well be beaten to the launch punch by Sky, which is getting very close to having everything in place for its launch (more on that later). Virgin will, of course, need to get everyone on board before launch but with UMG in the bag, a little wheeling and dealing with upfront money for the labels should soon ensure that Virgin has a full house for launch.

With Napster, Spotify, eMusic, 7Digital and more all offering subscriptions and a pretty full set of content (though eMusic only has indies and Sony so far), and that group being joined by the bigger hitters of Sky and Virgin, the key differentials will be pricing, ease of use, selling the subscription story and what streaming services are in place. Ad-funded services such as We7 could face a pretty tough time with ad money evaporating.

Of course, a few big exclusives (perhaps tied into TV and radio as well) would help draw the public’s attention to the offerings but it will be about who offers the best combination of effective marketing and ease of use (including being pan-platform) that will draw the big numbers. iTunes won’t be worried about its dominance of the UK digital music market in ’09 but the New Year could be very interesting indeed as the UK starts to get used to music as a subscription service, especially when bundled with Net access.

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