Tag Archives: New York Times

Media Companies (and Execs) in the Driver’s Seat for a Prosperous New Year

Media Companies (and Executives) on the Hot Seat in 2015 – NYTimes.com.

I respectfully disagree with the NYT article.   Media content providers, especially those who are trying to adapt to this brave new world, have significant opportunities moving into this new year.

Media needs a large cash infusion to their R&D to experiment with:

  1. Delivery paradigms.  Significant diversification in delivery mediums are still in their infancy.  Motion picture brands are, by and large, using media distribution brokers who bundle a large diversification of brand assets collectively to provide great depth of media choices.   Media brands/networks are distributed through a grouping of ‘channels’  delivered through the intermediary, e.g.  cable company.  Media content creators are competing with a crowded group of similar and dissimilar brands all within the same portal used by media bundled providers.   There are quite a few opportunities for delivery in lieu of the older paradigm, such as a distribution of brands around a genre would make it easier for the consumer to find and enjoy their media content.  For example, comedy.com, a portal for all media brands comedy, could be a great partnership across media companies.   This collective portal, an alignment of brands within the same genre,  living across media companies, may not only provide an easier, entertaining, and more enjoyable experience, it helps to innovate all those within this media partnership.   In addition to motion pictures, other formats such as text, photos and graphics, may be delivered through the same medium.  Several companies are already broaching this space such as Amazon, Google,  Microsoft Video, Netflix,Yahoo!, and AOL.  If media content creators don’t experiment with creative distribution initiatives, they may find themselves bargaining with 3rd party distribution for the cost of IP digital distribution.
  2. Creative reuse of existing assets.  This is one of my favorite opportunities media content creators can do.  Many brands are already capitalizing on the reuse of assets, which then spawn to be assets on their own.  Everything from one off episodes, or Webisodes, cast interviews, outtakes, interaction with live audiences through tweets (cast, director narration, and Q&A), mobile text contests,  mobile app for streaming, apps for audience real-time interaction, e.g. games, and actors retweeting fan favorite clip links .  Another one of my favorites are user created ‘favorite’ clips.  The media creator may limit the enthusiast / fan of the content to create e.g. 60 second clips to share on social networks.  The distributor needs to allow in and out points, and then the consumer can share through an email or social media.   These extra assets have great potential, but brands attempting  to socialize these   assets may have difficulty exposing them to viewership.  An integrated video  and dynamic , interactive media content may surface through clickable images, either through object recognition, or a simple image overlay, like a network ‘bug’.  Users may click through to the content, and instantly get a media teaser that will keep hold of the consumer, and manage the media experience.   The click through interactive experience is a whole world unto itself, which requires leaps and bounds of consumer experience usability studies, backed by wireframe prototypes.  The reuse of assets suffers from delivery paradigms, which fail due to a consumer content delivery void.
  3. New content driven by the consumer appetite for your brand will grow your revenue and audience affinity. This is an area which some organizations go ‘all in’, or have smaller budgets.  It seems that these new productions are hit or miss.  A single pilot should be exposed to several test markets, and if there is positive feedback, the brand or distributor could order more episodes.  On a tangent, there is opportunity for media production companies to go to colleges, and universities, provide budgets to, e.g. film classes to produce a trailer, or short . The best clips may turn into pilots for a show, which may be a one off distributed by web only, broadcasted, or both.

The lack of exposure to the brand, or network, is a huge issue which is deepened by leveraging the bundled content distributor as your primary source of distribution.   How to draw consumers to a brand in a saturated world of content is a daunting task.

Are media content creators looking to make large investments to innovate, or are they looking to stabilize their reduction of profit from falling ad sales, with methods such as stagnant or reduction in headcount, and slowing the breaks on CapEx.  It seems like even a temporary retreat to see who is the new trailblazer, and follow that model can be a costly mistake for the brand running into obscurity.  Companies are already following some of the leaders in the marketplace today, but their success is not guarantee for tomorrow’s performance.

Bundled content providers may also take a page from the proposed model where we have STB customized portals, e.g. based on user’s previously viewed content,  a jump page for your viewing experience.  A new STB may incorporate a Wii type sensor, and a new remote,  interacting with the sensor to provide a more fluid experience.  A lot of opportunities,  for talented people, as well as the investors who believe in them.

A Successful On-line News Media Business Model

When I went to click on a Wall Street Journal tweet, the URL brought me to a registration page, just to read the article.  This is an inhibitor to reading any of their articles, especially on a mobile device.  I just looked for another tweet from another periodical without a registration process, and read a similar article, typically, with the same headline.  The New York Times, so far, in my opinion, has amazing business model backed by great, unique and insightful content. Simply, the New York Times Business Model for Subscriptions: The first 10 articles are free to view per month, and after that, a starter rate of . 99 cents.  After reading a few articles, and citing them, I was hitting my monthly limit in no time.  I took out the credit card and paid, after a few frustrating, “You’ve reached your limit”, page.  No brainer, and believe I am most likely to continue, at the normal rate, when the starter rate expires.  The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal want you to register BEFORE reading their articles, not even a preview.  The New York Times briefly experimented with showing the first paragraph of the article, then you must register.  Long story, short,  If the content is unique and insightful, you will be back for more, and more. I did a similar post on this subject when I contrasted the NYT verses the Financial Times. I am interested to review market news segmentations, e.g.  financial verses a general news periodical.  In this case, the Wall Street Journal tweet was a general news article, which I easily found another, similar article. Maybe the business model for financial periodicals have an alternate strategy?  I am not  buying it, in the literal or physical sense.  The New York Times Business Model just makes cents!

Best Password Encryption, Tight As a Singularity

So I was perusing this article in the New York Times, How to Devise Passwords That Drive Hackers Away, and saw this picture, sorry NYT, I paid my subscription, so if you want, I will yank out the picture, let me know, else I will consider public domain.  See the below image.  That’s when I said, wow, neat idea. It’s like those Hershey’s Reese’s pieces commercials, peanut butter and chocolate, well, look at the below image, now if the user can use a Hasbro® Rubik’s Cube type device, that fits on your key chain, like an RSA key, and turns the 6 sides of the cube to the right combination.  The Cube can be the size that fits in the palm of your hand.  You set the key with all different colors, and letter combinations, then place it in a small docking station, which attaches to the computer via a USB slot.  Even add a sensor in the middle of the cube center square  which reads your finger print, and poof.  It gets stolen, no problem, don’t have your finger print, and the letter combinations on the colors help you remember the order.  So how strong is a 6 sided cube with 9 inner squares, an alphanumeric character overlay, and optionally a finger print reader?  You can also make it an application using 3 dimensional software to manipulate the object, hey, throw in Google Glasses, you can manipulate that object in virtual space.  Easy implementation, is the 3 dimensional graphics generator and optionally use the finger print reader already on your computer, if you feel it is reliable.  I liked the portability of the physical object, such as a physical, compact cube that fits in your hand and a docking station.  To knock it out of the park, put in SD memory into the card, and then you can use it to transport information.  The bits of information are only stored on a particular point within a cube, once the pattern is locked, so it would be necessary to have the combination to access the information.  Secure, on the go, information, and probably cheap to manufacturer.  You of course, can expand the number of cubes on each side, color variations.  Of course, depending on the set of alphanumeric characters you allow increases the encryption protection. Also, for ease, of use, you may align up corners, and only remember 24 characters, six (sides) times four (corners).

A simple 9 squared cube,
One bit associated with each combination (1/0)
1st bit) 6 sides times 9 squares = 54 total squares,
2nd bit) 54 total squares (Red,Yellow,Green,Blue) times 4 colors = 216
3rd bit) 216 times 128 (e.g.7F) ASCII Hex combinations = 27,648 potential combinations

Equals three bit combinations, which can then be applied with software to cycle the bits, increase the number of bits.  A utility like this can be easily manufactured, implemented and integrated with any applications (e.g. email) with a flexible Security API

As compared to today’s Advanced Encryption Standards,
256 bits times 14 cycles using the latest encryption (ASE) = 3,584 bits

Rubik's Cube
Encryption Key with USB and Optional Finger Reader

Winning Business Model for On Line Periodicals: FT verse NYT

I’ve noticed that both the Financial Times and the New York Times seems to have articles I want to read, but the Financial Times, on clicking the title link in Twitter makes me take the time to register or become a subscriber, which discourages me to open the article even though it has an eye catching title.  On the other hand we have the New York Times, which also has eye catching titles, but allows me to read 10 articles a month without registering or subscribing.  The content was so good I became fustrated every time I reached my limit and eventually, since I quote them so much in my own blog posts (or students for school), they get me thinking about opportunities, I finally payed the initial .99 cents and also will probably renew for the $35 USD. It’s a good business model for online periodicals. The New York Times experimented with showing the first paragraph of the article as a preview to help move forward the consumer with the subscription purchase; however, that was not enough to entice me to purchase, AND only annoyed me further which caused me to want to go somewhere else for my news, a detraction to the content no matter what the preview said.  If the preview was very good, it almost enticed me, but it was  a detractor in a quantifiable way, outweighing the + & – of the psychological effect .

Thanks for sparking the idea Newsweek with your announcement, Newsweek Will End Print Magazine in 2013.  It has been floating around in for a while in my head, but thought it was fairly straight forward.  I was wondering why very periodical didn’t adopt the NYT #subscription   #business  model of how to charge for #periodicals .  Then I thought, maybe it’s just different cultures, different people, different mind sets on acquisition of news / media, which could still be true.  The Financial Times headquarters is in #London , #UK, but these periodicals both have diverse cultures where their headquarters are ‘posted’, so no that can’t be it.  Is it the target market?  No, not really both audiences seem very busy, time is money, so that can’t be it.  Maybe  the spark flashed, the New York Times #nytimes  just has a better approach to getting subscribers than the #financialtimes , so here’s the post I whipped up.

Higher Education Falters: College and University Structure Radically Altered

I was reading an article from the New York Times this morning, thinking about a news piece I heard on the radio regarding Education innovation, in combination with dropping my little brother off at his college campus dorm the other night, and instantly a quote from Moneyball appeared in my mind regarding the way Universities are implemented:

“This is threatening, not just a way of doing business, but its … in their minds it’s threatening the game … really what it’s threatening is their livelihood. It’s threatening their jobs. It’s threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it’s a government or a way of doing business or whatever it is … the people who are holding the reins … who have their hands on the switch, they go bat-shit crazy. I mean, anybody who’s not tearing their team down right now, using your model, they’re dinosaurs…

I am not privy to the exact implementation of the Cornell-Google model, but that last line from the quote is so true, and it applies to all business colleges and universities across the globe.

The article in the New York Times, When Job-Creation Engines Stop at Just One, had me take pause, and painted a gloomy picture in my mind about the job markets if your looking for a job.  A decade ago, a Bachelors or Masters degree were prerequisites to filtering out candidates for jobs, and now the role specifications are referencing specific skills with experience, a lot of contract work, as the New York Times article describes, and has a solid rationale.  For the innovation, I found an article regarding the Cornell-Google implementation and at first thinking a) this implementation is years away and b) I think it’s genius.  I must admit, I am not privy to the exact administration of their education implementation model, but wow, anyone not tearing down their colleges and universities to follow a similar model will be an artifact of higher education, and their national economies will suffer as a result.  Another article I read, again, The New York Times, Japan’s New Tech Generation, shows how people are taking it upon themselves, in it’s infancy, yes, however, they are meeting up to collaborate.  There is a huge chasm in education which has not adapted to our economies.  It is probably because our economies are evolving so fast, the education system has not had a chance to catch up.

Let’s paint a picture of the new university, where we have “transformation centers”, where we take a person like Mike Farmer from KANSAS CITY, Kan. in his single apartment room, a shared dorm room, or in his case, shared office space, in his third start-up, he is one employee, himself, and utilizes seven contractors who are also juggling multiple projects.  Now envision, college with a board of skill sets, which are required for real-time business projects, and you have professors guiding the resources to complete their assignments, then you have the visionaries which are driving and collaborating on projects leveraging national industry professionals discussing today’s challenges, and these juniors and seniors form teams from the pools of skill set resources, the freshman, and sophomores.  Skills ranging from technology to usability and design, marketing, arts and sciences, with the applications all practical and implementing them in real-time.  Perhaps alumni are the industry professionals, which speak at these sessions, and collaborate on projects in between their own projects, forming mentor relationships with the juniors and seniors.  Finally, transitioning from the colleges and universities, venture capitalists, and other financiers may choose to fund, or even acquire these small teams, which already have sustainable business models, proven ROI, or the business models show potential, sustainable models.  Those who already have had classes have participated in business implementations, have a portfolio of work for employers, and potentially networked with professionals within various fields, and have recommendations on their work.  Those graduates may even stay on their projects full time, which transition to full time opportunities.  Another possibility are the colleges and universities stay as incubators, the graduates remain on campus after graduation, just like we see in outsourcing / off-shore models, teach classes, and become members of new teams, as needed.  What were once ‘internships’ coveted by the few, are a necessity to become part of the college way of life.  Those without projects, curriculum is completely transformed based on statistical data derived from job wanted advertisements, e.g. skills in high demand. Alumni, in between projects, and lacking innovation, sign up for ADHOC think tanks, and attempt to transform them into working resources.