Net Flixup

I first met Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings in 2001 at a Maxtor event where I was the dinner speaker. He explained then that the company had always intended to deliver movies over the Internet (hence the name Netflix) but was starting with DVDs because the network infrastructure simply wasn’t ready for digital delivery. They’d eventually drop the DVD deliveries, though I think his estimate of when that would happen was around 2007, not 2011 as the company announced this week. That wasn’t his only underestimation, of course. Hastings also underestimated consumer and Wall Street reaction to the boneheaded way Netflix handled a recent pricing change.

Day traders have to love this, but unless you have your […]

By |September 21st, 2011|2011|69 Comments

Charlie Ergen's War

A third of the readers of this column are not in the USA and I can’t claim anymore that America is on the cutting-edge of all things Internet so I’ll just fall back on the argument that this is happening here and could just as easily be happening in your country, too. Which brings us to today’s story of Charlie Ergen’s plan to dominate the distribution of TV content to America in an all-IP, post-broadcast, post-satellite future. John Malone and Reed Hastings beware!

Echostar owns Dish Network, America’s second-largest satellite TV provider. Charlie Ergen is Echostar’s iconoclastic founder, CEO, and largest shareholder. Just as John Malone does with DirecTV, Charlie runs Dish any old way he […]

By |May 23rd, 2011|2011|58 Comments

Netflix too big to fail?

The Intertubes are alight this week with old news — that Netflix is the largest user of U.S. Internet bandwidth. Most stories cite a Sandvine report I won’t link to because you’d have to subscribe and I like you too much for that. Better still, look at the very interesting graphic above, courtesy of Arbor Networks. This chart has been floating around the net for a couple of months and shows the result of an Arbor study of several U.S. ISPs illustrating how we Americans spend our Internet bandwidth. There are three lessons I think we can learn from this chart: 1) that BitTorrent is no longer (or perhaps never was) the threat were were […]

By |May 19th, 2011|2011|51 Comments

Hollywood's impending Internet revolution

New York Magazine wrote recently that YouTube was planning to throw large sums of money at celebrities who would then make short form (three minute) videos for the site. The numbers mentioned were staggering (up to $5 million per celebrity channel) but the business model is crazy. It’s the three minute thing that makes no sense. I’m sure if YouTube is planning something like this it is specifically for videos that are not three minutes long.
Youtube already owns the Internet market for three minute videos. While there are probably instances where YouTube might throw some significant money into getting the odd celebrity to do something in this space, it is traditional TV-length videos and movies where Youtube actually needs help.
Looking at total video […]

By |March 15th, 2011|2011|55 Comments

Cringely suffers from gray cell imbalance

skinnyjobs

What an irony if the “relatively simple and straightforward” treatment for Steve Jobs’ hormone imbalance revealed this week is for the lifelong vegetarian to eat meat. I have no way of knowing that’s his treatment, of course – the idea just sprang into my head.

But given the press and stock market reaction to details of Jobs’ health problems, I’d say he’ll make a cameo appearance at Macworld a few hours from now even if he has to send his good twin to do so.

I further predict that Apple will make a substantial product announcement or two. This won’t be the minimalist Macworld that people had feared. If Jobs won’t be doing […]