When we talk about “convergence” here at Loper HQ, what we aren’t talking about is getting our internet, cable and phone from the same evil multinational corporation.
Instead, we mean devices that combine several formerly disparate functions into a single, easy-to-use interface. Like, of course, the iPhone, which Tim Gaskill declared this weekend to be the greatest thing ever made.
While the iPhone is most certainly a major step in portable convergence, there hasn’t yet been a device in the home video space that allows me to watch a combination of internet video and recorded TV with a single, easy-to-use interface.
You know, the One Box.
One Box to rule them all
One Box to find them
One Box to bring them all
And in the darkness bind them
Kassia is fond of saying that around ‘Loper HQ, April Fools isn’t a day, it’s a season. However, this year, real life has gotten in the way, so in honor of that, I’ve decided to point out a few actual real things that are far more absurd than most of the jokes you’ll see today.
Let’s begin, shall we.
- Continuing Record Company Cluelessness About the 21st Century
Last week, there was an article in Entertainment Weekly about the rush-release of the new Gnarls Barkley album. Apparently, the fact that it leaked online a few weeks early caught Atlantic records by surprise.
I don’t have the juice to go in-depth about anything this week, so I thought that I’d take a few swipes at some things:
Download Service Explosion — With Nokia’s recent announcement announcement of their download service on the heels of CD Baby and Wal-Mart’s services, it looks like we are in another round of download service offerings. Add these to the DRM-free service that Universal announced last month, and the long-rumoured Amazon download stores, and consumers will have every type of choice.
Throughout the year, we are going to be subjected to various and sundry “YouTube killers”. One such animal is (was?) Bud.tv. Launched with the full faith and credit of the mighty Budweiser empire behind it, the site promised to be an edgy, Bud-oriented alternative to existing online video services.
Since then, numbers have declined from the reported 250,000+ viewers per month to approximately 150,000 viewers. These are not bad numbers, you might think, especially for a new venture. Today’s audience is fragmented enough that these numbers should not the be reason for the Bud.tv to commit the virtual version of hari kari (see: the short-lived Pirate TV or whatever it was called).
I’ve started and stopped a good half dozen posts about the Viacom/YouTube breakup. Like most business deals, this one came down to money. The amounts offered by the Google team didn’t meet Viacom’s notions of what their programming is worth. This makes me wonder if Viacom has a clue how the Internet works — to date, I have not seen evidence that anyone is better at leveraging online eyeballs and advertisers than Google.
For all of the press and hype, it is still not known whether or not YouTube is just a flavor-of-the-month. The kind of audience we’re talking about is very fickle. Yet, the evidence shows that right now, the viewers are at YouTube. Water cooler discussions make it clear that the site is the first, second, and third choice for those who don’t TiVo — “I’m sure it’s on YouTube” isn’t just conversation, it’s a belief.