Apparently season five has been pushed to early 2012 (at the earliest) because AMC and Lionsgate are arguing with Weiner over cost-cutting measures. Specifically, they’re said to want each episode to be two minutes shorter (so they can run more ads) and they want to eliminate two regular cast members to save costs.
Sure, maybe this is Weiner leaking stuff to the press to get support for his side, but it doesn’t matter — if that’s what AMC wants, it’s bullshit. The show is a cash cow for them and has taken the network from nothing into a player.
I’m wondering if it would be worth it from a monetary perspective for Netflix to put up the money to back the show? I bet it would.
In reality, AMC and Lionsgate would never let that happen. But still. If they’re being cheap bastards, they don’t deserve it.
More on Amazon’s ballsy bet to go ahead without full label support.
WSJ’s Ethan Smith:
One major music company, Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment, expressed dismay at Amazon’s plans, echoing concerns of others in the industry. “We are disappointed that the locker service that Amazon is proposing is unlicensed by Sony Music,” a spokeswoman said Tuesday evening.
An Amazon spokesman didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Amazon executives have told several media companies that they are likely to seek licenses after this week’s expected announcement.
Looks like they’ll be asking for forgiveness rather than permission.
I love it. A scrappy move by a player far behind the dominating player (iTunes). And one that may force the labels to stop dragging their feet on issues like this.
Rumors had been circulating for a couple of weeks that Amazon would be announcing something soon — I just didn’t expect it to be this soon.
Amazingly, apparently they’re going ahead with this even though they don’t have the full support of the major labels. So is this technically illegal? I don’t know. But it’s very ballsy.
Next question: will this force Google and/or Apple to speed up their launches of similar services? Google was believed to be trying to unveil something at I/O in May. Apple was perhaps aiming for much later, the fall. Does that change now? The legal issue might decide that — though I’d be sort of surprised if Apple rushed anything. They like to take the “better” over “first” approach.
Speaking of that, my initial reaction of Amazon’s Cloud Drive and Cloud Player are mixed.
On one hand, the tech is awesome. Built on top of Amazon’s S3, the entire thing is very fast and smooth. I love buying something and putting it right in the locker. It’s a concept that makes a lot of sense.
On the other hand, the drive and player design are pretty awful. Can you imagine managing thousands of songs from here? I can’t imagine manage even hundreds. It looks sort of like something Microsoft would come up with.
Still, the technical execution and convenience may outweigh the bad — especially for Android users. For iOS users, we’re shit out of luck. That sucks, but I can wait.
If nothing else, this three-way rivalry is going to push things forward quickly. That’s good for all of us.
I got to play with a Playbook briefly a couple weeks ago. It looked pretty nice and seemed to run smoothly. But the RIM guy must have said “Flash” 200 times. I simply don’t care if it runs Flash or not.
Others might, but even then, it’s probably item 20 on the list of important things. If that’s going to be their main selling point, they’re in trouble. And when the Flash was shown in action, guess what, it looked jittery. No surprise there.
Speaking of important things on a tablet — number one: apps. Running Android apps might be a good idea — if they weren’t Android 2.3 apps which aren’t tailored for tablets in any way, shape, or form. Literally.
But the most important point is the ending of Krazit’s article.
Perhaps the old-school PC company, Microsoft, is finally ready to make an honest man or woman out of all the rumormongers predicting a Microsoft-RIM merger for years.
Phase one of Microsoft’s catch-up in mobile plan was Windows Phone. Phase two was the Nokia partnership. Phase three may well be an acquisition of RIM.
And Microsoft is actually in a position to do it (from a regulatory perspective) because Apple and Google are utterly dominating the space.
Sounds like some refreshing changes to simplify the bureaucracy at Google. At the same time, product/strategy largely sound like business as usual — at least so far (Page doesn’t officially take over until April 4).
Had a busy day — hadn’t had a chance to hop on Tumblr until now. See all these icons with Japanese flags overlaid on them in my stream. Immediately understand what’s going on. Look to the right side of the Dashboard. Donation took 3 seconds. Easiest thing in the world. Ingenious implementation.
Nonetheless, the word coming out of Hollywood is that buying films is in and renting is out.
This continues to show the Hollywood doesn’t really understand the issue. The core problem isn’t really that movies are too expensive to buy (though that is an issue), the main thing is that most movies simply aren’t worth owning at any cost.
For years, Hollywood brushed past this because it was relatively hard to rent movies. But now it’s easier than ever and people have stopped buying. No surprise there.
You’d think Hollywood would prefer the rental model because it’s relatively expensive. (Get a person to rent a movie a few times and you’re making more money than on a sale.) But same problem: people aren’t renting a few times because most movies aren’t worth re-watching.
So the solutions are: a) make better movies or b)embrace a Netflix-like subscription model. Under this, a user wouldn’t buy any one movie, but would pay a fee for access to all of them.
But that’s simply not nearly as money-making as DVD sales once were for Hollywood. They got drunk on those and want more. But the model was fucked to begin with and propped up by lack of supply. Now Hollywood is doing stupid things to try and artificially bring back supply constraints.
I’ve noticed a few other films getting the same $14.99 to $12.99 cut on release. I also see iTunes is doing a one-day sale of Tron Legacy for $9.99 when it hits next month.
$9.99 seems like a pretty killer price point for movies distributed this way. But the studios have to stop the SD/HD nonsense. Just sell one version (that perhaps can downgrade for portable usage) at $9.99.
So much for the easy, streamlined Windows Phone update process. The first update roll-out was a disaster. The second one is more like a riddle. One that required this post.
Much like when you buy a PC online, you’ll be able to see when the update is being tested and packaged, when it’s about to ship, and when it’s “left the warehouse.” We’ll update the site once a week with the latest status changes.
That’s exactly what I want my phone updates to be like: buying a PC online.
The fact that this chart is needed — and has three stages — is ridiculous.
I particularly love “Stage 3: Delivering update” (a title only Microsoft could come up with). Here’s the message customers get about this stage:
Microsoft has started to send out the update. Because updates are typically delivered to customers in batches, it might take several weeks before you receive notice that an update is available for you.
So the final stage — the one beyond both “testing” and “scheduling” and the one they compare to “left the warehouse” might take “several weeks”.
Maybe “final” refers to the fact that it will be the last time the customer ever buys a Windows Phone.
Well that was fun while it lasted. But a war is coming. I suspect we’ll see a lot more of this.
If Showtime and HBO offered their own Netflix-like services on boxes like Roku and Apple TV, I would definitely pay another $5 to $10 a month for each. (For both their original content and their film collections.) All in the name of killing cable, naturally.
13 years ago, this was a solid spoof. Today, it just reads like a regular headline.
Best line (note the “interim CEO”):
"If this patent holds up in federal court, Apple will have no choice but to convert to analog," said Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs, "and I have serious doubts whether this company would be able to remain competitive selling pedal-operated computers running software off vinyl LPs."
And the end:
"Think of this as a partnership," Gates said. "Like the ones and zeroes of the binary code itself, we must all work together to make the promise of the computer revolution a reality. As the world’s richest, most powerful software company, Microsoft is number one. And you, the millions of consumers who use our products, are the zeroes."
Sometimes I think about how lucky I am to make a great living doing what I do. Then I read some of the email that comes in to our tips account or some of the comments on our posts. I quickly remember: luck has absolutely nothing to do with it.
T-Mobile USA remains an independent company. The acquisition is expected to be completed in approximately 12 months. We do not offer the iPhone. We offer cutting edge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and coming soon our new Sidekick 4G.
One point: because of the 3G differences, even if AT&T and Apple allowed for the iPhone to be opened up to run on T-Mobile’s network, it would only be at EDGE speeds.
Peter Kafka’s interview with Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos is a great example of why I love Netflix. It’s very clear that this guy totally gets it. He’s not bullshitting, he’s just laying it out as is.
Will this maneuver work? Maybe, or maybe not. But it’s a brilliant bet. They’re betting on good content from establish content makers. And if it does pay off, the ramifications could be huge. It could change everything.
I mean, what else was anyone expecting them to say? “Run for the fucking hills! Ahhhhhhhhhh!”?
The problem with most iPad covers is that they’re awful. And that included Apple’s previous attempt at one. The new “Smart Cover” is great because it was designed to work in a symbiotic manner with the iPad 2.
I wonder if/when any other case makers will make use of the magnets in a similar way…
Did you give Square a heads-up that you were going to do what you did?
Verifone CEO Doug Bergeron:
I don’t know who our PR folks talked to or didn’t.
Verifone was trying to destroy Square’s business and they may or may not have given them the heads up beforehand. And if they did, it was not Bergeron or any executive at Verifone, it was their PR team.
"As demand ebbs" — was there ever demand? I’ve never seen being used one in public by someone who is not a Microsoft employee.
Update: Someone just reminded me of this. As I wrote two and a half years ago:
Microsoft should scrap Windows Mobile and build a single (like the iPhone) mobile computing device with a completely new mobile OS. Sure, it’s easy for me to say that, but if it wants to fight a meaningful battle against its rivals, that is the fight. Not the goddamn Zune.
John Gruber is happy that Apple is allowing a wider variety of sites in to do early reviews of their products. As one such reviewer, obviously I’m biased. But even if I weren’t included, I would totally agree.
I used to read the reviews from the old guard (WSJ, NYT, and USA Today), and found them fine and informational, but they often missed the edge and perspective found on my favorite sites that cover this stuff day in and day out.
I think this is Apple recognizing that some of the newer sites now have more influence than the old guard when it comes to new technology.