We’re stuck with bundled TV – for now

More Cracks In TV’s Business Model – NYTimes.com:

Susan Crawford, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and the author of “Captive Audience,” says she thinks television bundles will be with us for a while — six to eight years — regardless of what the consumer wants.

“It’s like the picked-on kid who tries to get home to his front porch; he has to make it past all the bullies first,” she said. “We have a heavily defended, heavily concentrated programming industry and a monopoly in distribution, with none of the big players willing to act like a maverick. No one wants to break ranks because the current system has been so lucrative.”

Here’s how college students get video content, from most to least utilized:

  • Streaming sites
  • Netflix (usually family’s or a friend’s family’s account)
  • Hulu
  • YouTube
  • Torrents
  • Family cable/HBO Go account

The only people I know who have opted to get cable after graduating are sports fans. It they aren’t the kind that cares about March Madness, they aren’t paying for more than an Internet connection.

Six to eight years sounds about right for the amount of time it will take for the growing population of cable-cutters to disrupt the current TV business model. After all, it is a rather small portion of the total population, seeing as how there are over 100 million “households” in America and over 90% of them pay for some kind of television subscription.

Maybe that means we can get the last season of Game of Thrones all at once, House of Cards-style? *fingers crossed*

Vimeo now lets artists sell and rent their videos

Vimeo now lets video producers sell and rent their work – and keep 90% of the revenue – The Next Web:

Vimeo On Demand allows Pro account subscribers to sell or rent their videos on the platform at a price of their choice, with Vimeo taking a cut of just 10% of revenues.

Beyond price, the new offering allows users to set country-by-country availability and customize their page design to better suit their own brands. Creators can sell their content on Vimeo itself or via their website as they choose.

Launching at SXSW, Vimeo On Demand’s first title is a remastered and expanded version of animated film It’s Such a Beautiful Day, by the Academy Award nominated Don Hertzfeldt. The film is available to rent for $2 or buy for $6.

This is awesome. It’s basically a paywall for high-quality video content online – I hope it leads to more artists deciding to make content independently like Louis C.K. did back in 2011.

Mahmoud Tabei Brings the Harlem Shake to Politics

 Tunisian Harlem Shake Protest - Feb 27, 2013

From Amar Toor at The Verge:

After months of political unrest, Tabei says he and his friends see the “Harlem Shake” meme not only as a platform for their message of reform, but as a way to “raise the hopes and spirits” of an increasingly frustrated opposition movement.

Tabei isn’t alone, either. As the nonsensical trend passes its saturation point in the West, it’s evolving into a distinctly more political phenomenon in both Egypt and Tunisia, where students and opposition movements have re-appropriated Baauer’s bass-heavy anthem as a rallying cry for reform — much to the chagrin (and perhaps befuddlement) of conservative authorities.

This is certainly a case where the medium is the message

While the excessive virality of the “Harlem Shake” and Gangnam Style can make them all too pervasive in Western media, dissidents like Mahmoud Tabei and his compatriots raise hope as they appropriate the web’s tools and culture to promote social and political change.

Of course, the fact that these gatherings lead to arrests and tear gas, as in the case of 75 Tunisian high school students, show just how much work still needs to be done in the name of an open political and civil society in much of the Middle East.

Ultimately, though, Tabei remains realistic about the chances of a viral video resulting in any substantive change. After having already seen seven of his friends killed since the beginning of the Arab Spring, the teenager is markedly disillusioned with his country’s revolution. Publicity aside, he says a fundamental goal of his group’s “Harlem Shake” movement is to simply build morale — a way to “refresh our minds in order to continue with our larger struggle.”

That last point is where the “Harlem Shake” protests become fundamentally different from many other acts of civil disobedience: mixing fun and freedom with political expression.