Category: Video

hello Homeland and the #screwcable problem

I have been thinking about cable tv and the future of video for what seems like forever. Much has been written here about tv in general, boxee, and the future of television (remember Joost?).

Tonight I finished watching Homeland from Showtime – and tweeted about it (really great show by the way!)

To my surprise it set off a flurry of responses from friends and colleagues who were at various stages of being either interested in starting to watch it, in the middle of it, or interested in more.  This presents a “hello Homeland” situation for many of my friends who want to see the show from this tweet, heard about it elsewhere, or maybe just have an interest and want to sample it.  But right now they can’t do that.


Some friends even started watching it right away based on or tipped into watching it from my recommendation.

This is the part I find extremely fascinating (and no, I am not looking for a pat on the back).  Everyone is looking to cut their cable, and stop paying large cable co’s for service, or switch to an a la carte model.  The problem is that this does not mesh well with the behavior that we currently follow.  Its extremely hard to change peoples behavior, and although the complaints are real, the bills are high – the benefit of cable to solve this need/desire to consume things as they are broadcast is a real benefit.

This all got me thinking about Fred Wilson‘s #screwcable post in which he says:

I’ve long believed that piracy is largely a business model problem not a human behavior problem. If you give people a legal way to consume the content they want, they will pay for it.

So what business model supports the current behavior? Affiliate links and capturing attention.

Currently there are different models that could support this type of behavior.  The simplest is affiliate links.  More difficult is capturing attention.  If I could have linked out to two (or one if they were smart) types of content, I bet I could have generated direct sales, or possibly even subscription sales for Showtime via Homeland.  Afterwards, there is interest and intent around the show – just waiting to happen online.

Affiliate links

The first, and simplest method would be to allow someone to deeplink to content that only subscribers have access to.  Meaning a Showtime subscriber could link to an extended viewing of Homeland to their social network, attributing the longer viewing and following episode sale or subscription sale to their account.

The second, would be driving views to content (read: ratings) via my recommendation.  This attention could be monetized by ads, and because it comes from a trusted source (me) my friends and colleagues may sit through advertising supported video for their first viewing of the show.  Subsequent purchases and subscriptions would also be attributed to the original seeder (again me).

Capturing attention

This method has been tried for years by many startups.  I have personally seen many companies that have promised solutions, but never delivered.  A real time chat room or re-played chatroom next to video content isn’t what anyone is really looking for.  They want to share their thoughts about something when its over with their friends in real time.  This is today solved by Twitter and Facebook – usually in a hard to follow thread of comments.

The real time (somewhat solved by Twitter today) and post watch need for a watercooler is very prevalent.  Some friends even wanted to chat about it as soon as they were done watching.  Why can’t Showtime (or someone else for that matter) give us a place to have this conversation.  I am much less excited about this opportunity, but if it offsets the cost of all-you-can-eat cable and gets us to the a-la-carte model faster than so be it.

The problem with an immediate consumption based behavior means that only true a-la-carte cable pricing would suffice.  This would mean an ever growing firehose of video on demand, available at a clicks notice.  Since this is not going to happen anytime soon, this affiliate model would work quite well.

Based on the reactions of some of my various friends, its clear this would have resulted in views of Homeland from a single tweet, which in an affiliate model would have ultimately been good for the show, good for me, and great for Showtime.


The Boxee Beta Event & Boxee Box

Last night I attended the Boxee beta launch party event at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. I have been using Boxee for some time since it became a portfolio company of Union Square Ventures and written about it a few times on this blog.

The last Boxee event back in March was a huge success and brought out a huge crowd – but this time the show was even bigger.

You can watch the entire presentation here:

Watch live streaming video from boxee at

A lot was announced last night and I have included highlights below, but the biggest news was the showcasing of the Boxee Box by Boxee and D-Link

Above is a picture of Avner Ronen, CEO of Boxee, talking about the new device.


You can read the full details of the announcement on the Boxee Beta blog post.

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The Crisis of Credit Visualized

I recently came across this credit crisis video explaining the credit crisis in plain english.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

I thought it was a great blend of terms and explanations put together in a way that is short enough and easy enough to understand. Using a video to explain the problems going on provides a way to quickly get the knowledge out there for others to get as well.

Know other great examples explaining what is going on right now in the markets? Let me know in the comments.

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I want my embedded MTV

An early MTV station ID
Image via Wikipedia

MTV soft launched their MTV videos site making it an easy place to view and embed your favorite music videos. I have been waiting for a site like this to highlight music videos from yesteryear and also find a better way to embed the videos without the possibility of them being taken down.

The player is easy to use but the embed codes are a little hidden on the lower left of every video. Similar to the usability of the HULU player – which seems to be becoming the standard on the web (if you do not count youtube) – it provides simple navigation and a great full screen mode.

A great implementation for the music streaming sites out there would be to actually snag video from MTV and play it while listening to or Pandora or others.

Below is a recent MGMT video

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What if a big corporation designed the stop sign?

This is a perfect rendition of what can happen with committees, poor client direction, and an overall lack of leadership. I have been in fair share of meetings that make me want to shout “focus!”. Although hilarious it should inspire you to stay on target in your next “brainstorm” meeting. – Watch more free videos

My favorite part:
“We are targeting woman, but we are targeting men secondarily”


Web Dude vs. Sales Guy

The hilarious video embedded below has been making the rounds on the Internet and I thought I would share it with you all here. If you have ever had to call in to tech support you may find humor in this. From someone who has been on both ends of the phone…I hope you enjoy this hilarious video.

Originally from


My Thoughts on Roku

Disclaimer: I have an Apple TV.

I got into some discussions this week about the new Roku box from NetFlix. It is basically a $99 solution to watching NetFlix on your TV.

My counterpoint to those who are lined up to buy it is this; would you pay $130 for an upgrade that presented you with a similar device that could; play Youtube videos, stream video content from your computer to the TV, stream audio to your home stereo, store TV shows and movies, and allow you to watch HD previews, stream flickr photos from your own photos and friends?

Then why not buy an Apple TV? No monthly fee, tons of great rentals, lots of HD content, and a centralized streaming system for your audio and video content in your home.

There are tons of great hacks for Apple TV (read: will most likely void your warrant) and rumors and speculation that a keyboard and mouse will soon be coming out for browser and chat functionality built in.

I have never been much of a Mac fanboy but I must say that Apple TV is the Newton of my generation.