Tag Archives: Hulu

Holes in the equation

That is what I have been confronted with. Looking or trying to see a solution, an IP, yet in the end I am merely looking towards a partial equation and I am trying to look towards the equation and the holes around it by covering it by part of another equation. So as I was looking at yesterday, at the setting of the SD cards (like the one below)

I was wondering how this could be utilised. Then my mind considered the GoogleChrome 2, but that is Google stuff. I was wondering if the ‘cast-bubble’ could support an SD card. Then my mind went on a sidetrack. You see, the makers of computers are less and less about optical drives. That gave me the idea, what if the Google Chrome 2 could be a transmitter connected to your 4K (or Bluray) player? What if that device could hand the images to the laptops in the house and considering I saw (a little while ago) a naked lady do Yoga in 4K (she looked really good doing that) I now know that a Mac laptop is able to show a lot more than an image of a Pokemon. But the setting holds, if the player (connected to a TV) can show the other devices too, the family will get a much larger audience from the one player in the house. We can watch the movie on our laptop, our console connected TV, our additional systems. As far as I can tell, the current Chrome-cast does not allow for that. So this setting is a freebee for Google, on the other hand if Amazon sees this and creates its own innovative patent, well that is up to the person who gets there the quickest. 

So as I went back to the beginning of what happened, the setting of M.A.A.S. Movie As A Service, a station that was once Netflix, the old Netflix and with the lines becoming ever more blurry. The idea that Marvel moves come with a voucher that allows you to see Disney+ for a few days could set the trend in other ways for Netflix, Paramount, Sony, Apple and Hulu too. I was so focussed on the application of SD/CF Cards in movies that I forgot that there are other applications too, not necessarily directly linked to these memory cards. You see, no matter how we are presented the stages, congestion is coming our way, those with a lot of money can avoid it, the rest need to find another way and that is where innovation comes in. How? Your guess is as good as mine at this time, but the larger setting is to surpass the points of congestion, so how to get around that? Gamers are (for now) too small a group. The movie, YouTube and TikTok group is the larger (if not largest) group. So if we can get them in other ways we could optionally delay or to a larger degree diminish the congestion that comes. And this is not a local problem, this is about to become a GLOBAL issue. And for now, I am in the dark on how this can be circumvented. Yet how to go about it? I learned at an early age that you start with the edges and as such set the dimensionality of the Jigsaw. From there you continue. Yet what if the Jigsaw is a kinetic one? A kinetic puzzle is a puzzle that does not show an mage, but a movie reel. When that is known the dimensions are still the first, but after that, how do you continue? That is the puzzle I am confronted with. We aren’t looking at a static event, but a dynamic one and there the brain (the useless one I have) shuts down for now.

I see part of the equation, but I see the holes too, so as I try to surround the holes I also learn that it is not the solution, because the holes are in motion. That is where I end, holes in the equation, yet the stage is one that I need to master, it will be a nice addition to the three IP bundles I have and at some stage either Amazon or Google will take a bite, because both want the billions and Microsoft is not invited. And as I consider the third player, I will set more time apart to take a look at him in my next article.

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The true setting

Yes, that is what we want, what we need. What is the true setting? We seek it, because (for the most) the media tends to give us a loaded canon, the question becomes for who they are loading their canons? This is seen with the BBC as they give us ‘Netflix cuts 150 US-based jobs after losing subscribers’ this headline is true, no one denies it and overall I wonder how many people left Netflix as they fired 1.2% of their workforce (150 out of 12,135). I can come up with all kinds of settings, yet we need to accept to some degree that Netflix will do what is best for Netflix, and that is not easy. Netflix has all kinds of issues. The first is that there is saturation in the streaming services. Netflix is apparently offering gaming services and become a competitor to Google and Amazon and as the BBC gives us “The redundancies, announced by the entertainment giant on Tuesday, will mainly affect its US office in California. They account for about 2% of its North American workforce.” This is fair, it amounts to a US workforce of 7500, so why did the BBC not give us that? We then see “In April, the streaming giant shocked the industry when it revealed it had lost 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of 2022, and warned another two million were expected to quit in the coming quarter. The news sparked an investor sell-off, with the firm’s stock plunging 35% in one day. It is now trading at $190 (£152), a 46% drop on its previous premium.” Now it is harder to say something about that. The stage of 2.2 million people is the setting of saturations and to some degree covid ending, or perhaps better stated, the people are expected to go back to work and there we see that Netflix is hurting the most, but not the only one. Covid endings will hit Disney, Hulu, Apple+ and others too. I see another problem, the fact that covid was ending was clearly visible, so the stage of “stock plunging 35% in one day. It is now trading at $190 (£152), a 46% drop on its previous premium” makes me wonder whether the suits of Netflix were wishful thinking or something. They are losing members, they are not correcting for 200K and 10 times that much in the coming quarter and the 35% drop implies an overreaction on one hand, or a lack of information on the other (BBC). This matters, because this knee jerk reactions from investors with their gaming enterprises will make it fail a lot faster than anyone expects. It is good news for Google and Amazon, yet there is the idea that it is not good news for gamers. You see the more game streamers there are, the more interesting it becomes for developers to sit don and seriously contemplate that dimension. Netflix would have been a decent third party. It is still possible with the other two, but three makes for a crowd and therefor for a larger interest by serious developers. That is how I see it.

So how will Netflix fare?
That is not easily seen and whatever I see makes it not truth, mere speculation and I am telling you that upfront. You see, no matter how I see it, how I interpret the knee jerk reaction by investors. There is every chance I might be wrong, and to some degree I do hope I am wrong. I have no idea how Netflix will be as a gaming solution, but a third player makes for more gamers and optionally for more embracing the streaming gaming solution. They do have options, or so we see. With “it’s looking at a cheaper, ad-based model and also planning on cracking down on password sharing which has cost it 100 million households.” We see two parts. The first is one, but one I personally would happily reject. The second one I have no issues with. The idea that 100,000,000 households share passwords implies that Netflix is losing over a billion a month. So they will need to evolve that system. At present I have no idea how, but there is always space for evolution.

So what will the future be for Netflix? I still believe that they can find all kinds of IP in the past, people forgot or merely ignored it and that is no different for movies and TV series. So saving costs in one directions does offer options in another and to be clear, there is an essential need for them to restore the loss of a billion plus. Beyond that? It will be anyones guess and a guess is as good as it gets for Netflix at present.

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As the swarm settles

It has been hours since the Netflix scare. And a few hours after that, less then 10 hours after I wrote the previous article, we get to see ‘CNN streaming service to shut a month after launch’ the article (source: BBC) also gives us “Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) says it will issue refunds to subscribers after the service is shut down on 30 April. The head of CNN+ has resigned and hundreds more workers could be at risk of losing their jobs. CNN+ was launched on 29 March in an attempt to bring in revenues from news streaming subscriptions”, we can see this in a few ways. Yet in this I personally believe that saturation is part of the issue and it will not go away. The others will feel the brunt. Netflix will bounce in part back, Disney will take a hit, but these two are too big to fail drastically, the smaller ones will take larger hits as CNN+ is doing and some of them will not survive. What I stated some time ago is now coming to pass. I wonder if I was right in the thought that smaller could survive if they would merge. The idea that smaller would combine their channels and subscriptions is a little bit extreme, but it beats being dead, does it not?

Yet there is more underfoot. There is ‘Cinedigm’s DMR Unveils Cinehouse – A Curated Lineup of Free Streaming Channels for Superfans’ (Source: Accesswire) where we see “Digital media and entertainment company DMR, is letting fans stream their favourite niche channels with the launch of Cinehouse. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Cinedigm (NASDAQ:CIDM), DMR is unveiling this new free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service to super-serve enthusiast fan bases across several popular genres.” You can take these thoughts in many ways but when I see “Cinehouse is dedicated to bringing fans the best movies and TV shows from around the world – from ancient mysteries and heart-stopping action, to classic anime, comedy, gaming, K-pop and more.” I personally believe that some are dropping small channels with ‘free’ materials to subvert the populations requiring free options to make them unavailable. A bait to get rid of the smaller fish and clean the pond, decrease saturation levels by getting rid of the opposition. It is a personal believe and I might be wrong, but we see new free channels after the drowning of CNN+?

The swarms seem to settle and some are playing the free card to take out the competition. It is one thought and my thought could be way off and massively wrong, but when you see one source that can verify the setting that the rest ‘seems’ to overlook, my wandering lobe starts to take a look at the information others leave lying round and this is where it got me. Is it me, or not?

I will let you decide.

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Chaos on the brain

Yup that was me alright this morning. It started actually pretty good, I was enjoying some tea (yes I drink that every now and then), I was enjoying being in my bonnet and behold, a thought passed me by. It was a mix of Queen, a thought of Ted (the teddy) and things started to click. You see, when I grew up (a really long time ago) I got my hands on some Flash Gordon comics and the mix started to rattle. 

I loved it, it was just different. So I was a fan before Queen, Sam J. Jones and Melody Anderson decided to have a go at Max von Sydow. I loved the music, the movie all because the comic woke something up. Even nowadays, I miss the comics, I can still enjoy the Queen album (they truly outdid themselves) and the movie was for a 1980 movie quite enjoyable. But something was missing. You see, now we have the streamers and they could transform the original comics into something dark, gritty and closer resembling the comics. Who? I have no idea, but Amazon, Hulu and Netflix should seriously consider it. No matter who wins, if they can make it truly dark and more resembling the comics, they could have a large win on their hands, merely my point of view. Nothing more. So whilst that process started chaos came knocking on my display. It was Hogwarts Legacy (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AZmuZNu5LA) and it blew me away. Not by a little either. Even now as I am still enjoying Horizon: Forbidden West, I cannot stop thinking of what Avalanche Software has set in motion. What I saw was unique and flawless.  I plays a century before the Hogwarts we know and it works out that way. Yes, we recognise parts, we see things and creatures from all kind of places, but there is so much new to be seen, so much art in nearly every screen that I believe that on view alone, it will drive millions of Harry Potter fans insane with the need to get this game. Yes, I heard about the critique, I cannot say how I feel as I avoided (intentionally or not) most of the information as it was too far from release date. So whatever goblin issue there was the clip I pasted was my first introduction to the game and it looks utterly stunning. So even as some will say, I saw that. I avoided the 2018 leaks, I see no need to get hung up on something 4 years before release, and I still believe that. I saw some teasers that were released, and now some real stuff and this game could optionally set a new bar for many game developers. First Guerrilla, now Avalanche and Ubisoft cannot release anything to that level of gaming as I personally see it. Can you not see that Ubisoft is about to become a ‘has been’, like Microsoft (just a thought). So why the link?

I believe that any new IP, could be linked. Could transgress from comic to both games and series and here the path for Amazon becomes a lot more clear, but there is nothing stopping Netflix to seek an alliance with a real hungry and futuristic software house to unite and create both using one design and art team. There really is no need to reinvent the wheel and nowadays these wheels are a lot closer alike and a lot closer together than was the case in the past. 

In this fantasy and science fiction seem to be more easily adapted to both stages than others, but that is merely a personal view. And in this, what happens when you consider what games like Horizons: Forbidden West and optionally Hogwarts Legacy allows for. So what happens when the world of Flash Gordon become a much larger RPG styled game than ever before? It goes further than this. Consider Hansel and Gretel. Not the fairy tale, but the movie that gave us a bad ass Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton. Now consider the environment. Take Southern Germany, a map that maps Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria in the 11th century. And the Black Forest is only a small part of Baden-Württemberg. Now consider what you need to do to become a famous witch hunter. And optionally the golden Emma Watson statue if you kill more witches than anyone else (no need to avoid humour, is there?) And consider the era, the first Crusades are in full swing, so there is an abundance of criminals and charlatans, there are corrupt officials and in that stage you will need to put your stamp. And it does not come easy. In the movie they had the weapons, but in this game you will not get far without the help and alliance of a really nice blacksmith and they only work for coins. We are so gung-ho about the kill-shot that we forgot that before we get to do that kill-shot a lot more needs to happen. Would it work? I honestly do not know, but in this day and age, the larger entertainer and the larger holder of a unique piece of IP has a much better chance than all others. Guerrilla showed that and believe it or not, I believe (from what I saw) that Hogwarts Legacy is on that same track. Avalanche did something really good and I cannot wait to find out. And if I had to choose? I honestly do not know. I would look forward to all three games and it has been a while since more than one game was on my list. At present HFW is just so fulfilling, it is almost scary. 

But that too is part of gaming, the anticipation and finding out that it was well warranted, Ubisoft used to be like that, but now it seems the new software makers are on that path whilst the old makers are exiting the stage on the left side.

Chaos is on my brain, but it comes from a weird mix of the old, the new and what might be, and in the stage of a place that now has more than 20,000 castles? I reckon that any witch would want one, so there is a reason to play this in southern Germany and there is no reason to think that the map is limited to merely there. In 5 years, no telling what systems are capable of in 2027/2028.

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The TV as a weapon

There is an old saying and there are alternatives to it. In Australia we say:

Q: Do you know the difference between ABC and Channel 7?
A: ABC shows you how bad things are in the world, Channel 7 shows you how screwed up your TV life is.

In the Netherlands it used to be NOS versus SBS6, and every nation has its own version. So what happens, when we see the millions of smart TV’s and Apple enters the race opposing Netflix? The New Daily gives the quote: “Spielberg who appeared live, touted the revival of his Amazing Stories anthology, while Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell then took the stage to discuss another Apple original, The Morning Show” with the added: “a range of new streaming entertainment services, as well as financial products, at a star-studded event Tuesday morning“. the message was apparently clearly brought and when we get to see: “Apple is expected to spend US$2 billion this year on original content to challenge established steaming players Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the forthcoming Disney+ service“, we need to realise that Apple has an optional goldmine in the making. In addition we see: “Hot on the heels of the Google game streaming service, Stadia, Apple launched Apple Arcade in a bid to grab a slice of the multi-billion dollar gaming market“, which will be fun to watch as Apple has shown a keen interest in negating the need of gamers (which is not all their fault in all honesty), will they figure it out this time? At least with the established Android gaming platform size, Google does have a huge advantage for now. OK, apple does have a gaming community on IOS and I was not short selling that (yes, I was). Yet the overall view I have seen in the past gives a better light of gaming to gamers on the android, than the Apple (a mere personal view on the matter).

So here we are watching two streams being created. First is the Netflix drain by Apple and as soon as they realise that 2 billion is a mere stack of money, to get the TV series that get the people to sign up, even besides Netflix will requires series that surpass The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House, Bird Box and a few other gems, Netflix has the writers, will Apple have them? We all know that Game of Thrones will enter their final season, so there are plenty of needy watchers to pick up after that conclusion, yet if Apple does not have the IP, they are not going anywhere. Even with the added Spielberg Amazing Stories anthology, which was actually quite decent when it was initially released on VHS, they will still have quite the task at hand. More important, even if they have all the ducks in a row, they will still having to deal with the market shares of Hulu, Stan, Amazon and the forthcoming Disney + service as well (and a few local others). Do they have the IP when that goes online? I can see half a dozen series that could be hits, and I am not the only one. Plenty of dedicated story tellers will have a list. Yet, does the Apple executive (whomever Tim Cook handed this hot potato to), does that person have a clue? The difference between a good presentation and an actual good idea comes with a gap that can fit the Grand Canyon and many Apple executives are a little lost when they face that gap.

It goes further, having a great idea is not enough and most visionaries have that in mind. to see that part we need to reflect on: “Apple, which became the world’s first trillion-dollar company in August last year, had been dropping cryptic hints about the launch event for weeks, sending the internet rumour-mill into overdrive“, yet since then Apple lost well over 20% of its value and the next few ‘slam bam’ misers will dent that even further. The next part is interesting as it impacts gaming and TV.

To get a great product you need at the very least (before marketing gets to have a go):

  1. A script, a story that will compel the reader to go on. Loading it with sex and graphics will only hold a small percentage for some time. A great example of a near perfect script was I Claudius by Robert Graves.
  2. A cast that works well together, each good actors, but together they become ambrosia, wine and nitro-glycerine, all at the same time. Again I Claudius became the golden standard. With Derek Jacobi, George Baker, Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed, James Faulkner, John Hurt, Patrick Steward, Ian Ogilvy, John Castle, and John Rhys-Davies we got something unheard of. They were already good actors, yet together they created greatness, they are now globally celebrities, but in 1976 that was not a given, they were iron rods and the director shaped them into high tempered steel increasing their mark close to tenfold.
  3. The director. Not merely the man implying 3, 2, 1, action! No, he is the person that becomes the visual visionary and Herbert Wise delivered. The evidence is seen in his work. As a director he has 91 marks on his career rod and when we look at it all, it is all decent work, insightful work, yet I Claudius is a 180 cm person walking in Indonesia (where the average height is 152cm), it stood out tall above all others. So, even as we accept that I Claudius could not have been done without the cast, it equally required the right director to make it work.
  4. The Producer (in this case the BBC), who had to put up the dough with a need of blind faith and no idea how much they were going to lose. These four required to be completely in sync and they were as such I Claudius is still seen as the best BBC drama ever produced, even now, 43 years later we see that new TV series merely hope to equal this achievement, thinking that it can be surpassed is mere folly (yet optionally not impossible).

This is the setting that Apple is trying to get into and throwing 2 billion at it thinking that it will be easy by presenting a few famous people is as reliable as getting rich by spending what you have on blow and hookers. It looks pretty, yet it is an absolute non-winner 100% of the time. Finding the right people will be the task for Apple and as they are all competing for the same pig through increasing the value of good scriptwriters, yet they too are starting to look critical at the offers, because they lose value with every failure and often enough, they do not get to blame the director of the production company, they get to be the scapegoat. So they will require their optional bosses to set an income and levels of freedom and commitment to a much higher degree.

As for gaming

Gaming has a similar setting. It will be about getting the gamers on board and that requires a great product, in an age where Apple has been all about marketed iteration, they are vying for innovation? In a market they do not seem to really comprehend? I am slightly puzzled.

There the director is the project director; the cast are the graphic designers and the scripters and coders. The art and stage might have similar issues, but finding these parts to intertwine and interconnect is where good coders are required. Then there is the learning curve of the game. And it gets to be worse fast when it becomes a product relying on micro transactions. Ubisoft, Bethesda too never quite worked it out and the first screw up will diminish the value of the event overnight. Apple will have to steer clear of micro transactions in the first year by a certainty of 100% and in the subsequent 2-3 years for 90%. Can they afford that game? Their essential path will be the RPG games that call the horn of attendance for gamers on a global scale, if not, than this becomes a long term project that will not end up becoming a winner. In that they have additional competition form makers like Nintendo, their Switch is still gaining momentum and the games I have seen lined up for that system shows that Nintendo is taking this momentum extremely serious. I wonder if Apple has thought this through beyond their return on investment expectations from executives who rely in spreadsheets and lack essential data skills other than identifying their ROI and bonus column. Once that goes south Apple will take a few hits in short succession and they will be painful. If it goes wrong (I am not stating or indication that this is the case), they could face the hits where their total value is a mere 50% of what it was on September 16th 2018.

Yes, Apple could rise high with streaming on TV and consoles, but in the end they require the golden eggs to get there and I am not convinced that they have what it takes to get there. For the most it is an art, I have been involved in gaming since 1984 and I still miss elements in all it. It is both science and an art, the moment you separate the two is the moment you lose. That has been an essential given for close to two decades. Ubisoft got it wrong more than once, Bethesda took massive hits with miscalculations and they are dedicated experts in that field, I doubt Apple has seen that shortfall at present.

To illustrate that we need to look at a game called the Division 2, an Ubisoft product. Important fact, it is seen as a really good game, better than the first version and steps forward, at times leaps forward, some reviewers have stated that is sets a new bar of online gaming and that is awesome to learn. Now add the two headlines: ‘Ubisoft Patches Annoying ‘The Division 2’ Skills Bug‘, as well as ‘The Division 2 PC players report a 100% CPU usage issue, Ubisoft is investigating‘, on games this size this will always happen and the fact that it is looked at and fixed this early is really good, so this is not about pulling Division 2 down. This is what happens on games this big depending on online elements, which is besides server down times. A consequence of online gaming and in this Apple is as I expect it not ready to see gaming to the higher levels it needs to see it.

If they see these two elements as a method to use the TV as a weapon, a data weapon for additional wealth, we see a company that is about to get hit really hard. That is in the foundation of it all. I believe that they are making the same mistake that Microsoft made. Microsoft is talking a good talk, yet the people all over the world are seeing the impact, the most powerful console in the world is being surpassed by the weakest of the three. Their setting of always online, their bullying tactics, their essential inability to listen to gamers (or ignoring what they are being told) is what is dragging down Microsoft and Apple will experience that lesson in a very hard way soon enough if they walk that same silly line.

Just like Microsoft, we see a company that more likely than not does not comprehend gamers and will falter because of corporate ROI needs soon enough. They see the two as connected to grow better, but these are two separate entities (TV and Gaming) representing 6 dimensions that can go in any direction, when these executives learn that lesson the hard way and they are looking what to do next, I will offer Tim Cook my last $99 for the company (Apple, a fruit of the loom division).

Could I be massively wrong?

Absolutely, yet the Apple marketing need of the hype and their viral needs seem to be on my side, as the gaming industry as a whole tends to be as gossipy as any old tea lady, so word would have circulated into my inner core of contacts much earlier, as such I think that Apple is not ready, nowhere near ready, personally I do hope to be proven wrong. I would love to see more contenders in the gaming world, more choice, more innovation and better games is the consequence from that war, and I do love playing good games.

I will keep you all posted on what happens next.

 

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