In re: Wall Street Journal sinking to new lows?

The measure that really matters is the market’s, and on that score Mr. Hinton was at the helm when we again became America’s largest daily.

via Review & Outlook: News and Its Critics – WSJ.com.

To be fair the Wall Street Journal is a good publication excluding aside some of their crazy opinion pieces that pop up from time to time (more frequently in post Muroch version, but still I enjoy the paper and agree their weekend edition has improved under New Corp stewardship).  That said todays opinion piece defending News Corp and the WSJ is quite possibly the craziest opinion piece yet and really quiet astonishing.  Aside from the above quote, which sounds more like a defense of reporting like Fox News or a tabloid (ratings first, integrity? eh..)  Several other papers and blogs have responded to the WSJ’s opinion piece that among other things says “Phone hacking is illegal, and it is up to British authorities to enforce their laws. If Scotland Yard failed to do so adequately when the hacking was first uncovered several years ago, then that is more troubling than the hacking itself.” which is just weird to think, let alone publish it in their paper.

For more see a post by Richard Adams over at the Guardian’s Blog and a good piece in the Economist that points out some of the good parts of Murdoch’s news gathering including his investments and continued spending on quality publications like the Times of London and the WSJ.

In re: Netflix price rise should be no surprise

If your a Netflix subscriber (and I am currently not, but I do join on and off when I get in the mood to watch some movies) you have no doubt heard about the change in pricing coming up this fall making streaming and disc mailing two seperate prices and that being a pretty steep increase if you choose to stick with both (had you been only interested in one or the other not so bad for you).  While quick increases might not be good, they also make some sense as getting known for pricing creep a couple bucks now and a couple bucks later adds a lot of uncertainty and Netflix has had fairly long periods of time on the pricing planes although they have changed several times in the past.  The backlash at least in cyberspace has been enormous and somewhat surprising, but I have found it interesting that some of the backlash is pretty unrealistic, demanding in their “Dear Netflix” tweets that the price shouldn’t go up and oh get more streaming content.  The reality of the situation is Netflix was able to grow streaming on the cheap as content providers had yet to learn the income that could be earned from it and two because they needed to grow to a certain size to get their streaming tech put into every blu-ray, connected tv, video game system, etc and one way to do that was keep it cheap/give it to everyone with Netflix.  So fast forward a few years, add in some new content deals that have cost a lot more to Netflix and add that customers don’t seem happy w/ only obscure content and demand more high value content and price increases were inevitable.

But don’t worry Netflix folks there is competition out there to keep a check on Netflix despite every mail order disk besides the red envelope failing,  folks like myself who would be prime users can get away from it.  I am pretty stocked up on movies on our DVR right now w/ Directv (during the first three month promo we had every channel it seemed and that meant a lot of movies) couple that with the HBO Go service that streams every episode of HBO shows ever (yeah, ever, pretty neat) and you can see that Netflix doesn’t have any time at my place.  Add in some things like Hulu, YouTube getting into premium content, along with RedBox, on demand content via cable/sattelite and any number of online video services, Amazon (their prime subscription gives quasi Netflix content) and iTunes.  So basically yeah price increases suck, but this has to happen if online content is going to become their primary business, which there is no doubt is where they are going as mailing DVDs is not the future.

 

In re: LeBronomics

While many if us in Ohio are still getting over Lebrons departure to Miami we gotta start looking to the future and move on.  So despite that one quick post on Lebron, well not really him, but rather the economics of Lebron.  But before that I will mention that I don’t mind him leaving if that’s what he wanted – but wished he could have done it differently. He could have hurt us less.  but oh well.

Anyway that’s not the point. I think I’ve mentioned but may not have that I love Plant Money an NPR podcast. They had a real interesting show on the economics of Lebron, including the conclusion that Lebron should not have gone to Miami (gasp).  Why?  Well Miami isn’t exactly a big city (compared to NY or Chicago) and to maximize happiness he should have gone to New York, in fact since they were so bad that he wouldn’t have to win for a while to make them happy – just being there would bring a lot of happiness for a large number of people.  Additionally putting all those stars together reduces the supply of stars and how much happiness they can provide (there is a limited amount of how much happiness the Heat can provide, presumably getting Wade and Bosh provides almost as much happiness as adding Lebron.

Anyway, check it out, a lot more interesting things about it (including the enjoyment rooting against someone may bring), check out some of their other pod casts (especially all the great episodes on Haiti – maybe you should check those out first actually.)

Lebronomics here and see planet moneys front page here

In re: Hello This American Life.app

Just saw on Ars Technica that This American Life has come out with an iPhone app.  I for one being a huge fan couldn’t be happier – why you ask?  Well the current podcasts are great, but often times when driving on a road trip I’d love to catch up on some older episodes, can’t do that (without buying them that is) without Flash – that pesky Adobe platform Apple seems to hate (apprently some of it is with good reason).  Anyway this app is a way around that, essentially giving you access to the complete streaming library.  Of course that means you need internet, don’t yet know how well it works over Edge (I’ve had good luck streaming podcasts while hitting the Edge pocket between Columbus and Cleveland on I-71 so heres hoping this does as well).  Either way, gonna go buy this now for $2.99 and I’ll let you know if its not all its cracked up to be.  (Oh and this is just ONE MORE example of why background audio apps at least would be a welcome addition to iPhone/iPad world).

“The most obvious appeal of the app is exactly what we just mentioned: you can access any episode, all the way back to 1995, for free at any time. That is, assuming you have some sort of wireless connection; you can stream the shows over 3G or WiFi all you want, but you cant download them for offline use like, say, when youre about to board a plane or go underground in the subway unless you buy the individual shows from iTunes.”

via Ars Technica: This American Life iPhone app gives fans unlimited content.

Update: So far loving the app, well designed, remembers where you left off when you restart, easy to search for shows, contributors, scroll by year etc.  Very nice (remember I am a TAL addict so take with grain of salt).

In re: So long… Lou Dobbs to Quit CNN (finally)

Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN anchor whose anti-immigration views have made him a TV lightning rod, said Wednesday that he is leaving the cable news channel effective immediately.

via Update: Lou Dobbs to Quit CNN – Media Decoder Blog – NYTimes.com.

 

I’ve got to admit I’ve given up on almost any TV news, probably the best reporting on the air depending on what your looking for is PBS, the BBC or the Daily Show.  Anyway, CNN has long been in decline and I’ve long since given up on it, for a while their international channel wasn’t bad, but then it got filled with most of the same crap in America.  I can’t really judge it anymore because it has been so long since I’ve seen CNN aside from those airport TVs, but Lou Dobbs was definitely a low point for the channel as his show morphed into his platform to spout his idiotic ideas (CNN should have stuck to a pure news format and at least had their credibility, but alas I am guessing that doesn’t sell advertising).

In re: Champions league on FSC

While I might not be a huge fan of Fox News (or fan at all),  I think I going to be happy with the move of Champions League Football from ESPN to Fox Soccer Channel this year.  ESPN never made the tournament a priority, didn’t work to get an HD feed even when showing it on an HD channel (I realize there may have been tech issues here, but I know most Champions League had HD cameras on site and I realize to start FSC won’t have HD either being a SD channel).  The other thing was they didn’t show two games live at the same time, possibly due to carriage restrictions on ESPN classic (the WORST CHANNEL EVER I MIGHT ADD, way to buy an interesting channel and butcher it by putting on poker reruns, what a waste).  Anyway, the ESPN Classic games were always on tape delay and looked like they were being produced by a high school tv studio (its crazy, somehow that channel makes everything ‘classic’ looking i.e. dark and crappy).

Somehow ESPN lost out on the bidding to Fox who might not have the big-time ESPN channel for the final, but they do have FX which supposedly has a lot of subscribers and is in HD where they plan to put the final.  What else do they have?  Well tomorrow they are putting the Arsenal v. Celtic game (Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal… sorry) on the regular FSN channels that lots of people get (basic cable for a lot), while showing another live game on FSC, wow two LIVE games (actually more, I think Fox Sports Espanol has another and then Setanta has another etc.), but anyway what a concept!  Additionally FSC is supposedly going HD in January which will be great as they will then start carrying around 2 HD Premier League games a week.

But on an interesting side note ESPN has grabbed some Premier league time slots that Fox had subleased to Setanta (who ain’t doing so hot these days, still better then their UK bankrupt sister company).  I think ESPN is testing the waters to make a run at next years up for grabs premiership in the US (ESPN UK has picked up the package Setanta UK had and supposedly did a good job with their first game).  The thing I dread is ESPN putting scores all over the place and ending my days of watching a game when I wanted without it being spoiled.  That said, Setanta is clearly suffering and I wouldn’t mind having some more options for more games, but losing a dedicated channel like Setanta which seemed to be gaining traction until this year will be sad).

Oh well, enough on this.  Here’s hoping the 6-1 over Everton wasn’t a one-off and here’s to posting a bit more often…

In re: Guitar Hero culture

While lying in bed sick over the weekend I caught up on some Real Time with Bill Maher (via the podcast as I don’t have HBO) the show translates quiet well to an only audio experience and I applaud HBO for putting out the full show as a podcast.  Anyway in his closing bit, ‘new rules’ while making fun of a stampede on Americans Next Top Model (and equating it back to AIG somehow) he did point out what I thought was an interesting comment on our “Guitar Hero culture,  where everyone wants to be a rock star, but nobody wants to learn the chords.” Seems to be right on a number of levels in my mind, no offense to all the fans of the video game series (which to its credit seems a lot more active then a lot of other video games) but there is something interesting about pretending to play music rather than doing it (I guess you could say the same thing about a lot of video games)