Sunday, February 12, 2012

Superbowl streamed -- pirates do IPTV better than NBC

When I reported that the Superbowl would be streamed this year, I saw it as a milestone on the road to IPTV.

I was one of the 2,105,441 people who watched the stream on NBC.COM. I tuned in out of curiosity, but after watching for a few minutes and taking a few screen shots, I turned my computer off and watched the game on TV. (NBC reports that the average veiwer remained online for 39 minutes).

I was not impressed. The action was in a small window surrounded by ads and statistics on a black background. The viewer could switch camera angles by clicking on the insert window on the upper right.

IPTV done poorly -- by NBC
It was too busy and too small for my taste. There were also seemingly constant commercials and other distractions. I did not tune in at the very start, but by the third quarter, the Internet stream was a quarter behind the TV broadcast.

On the other hand, spokesmen for NBC and the NFL were pleased.

Kevin Monaghan, SVP, Business Development & Managing Director Digital Media, NBC Sports Group was pleased by the "record traffic that grew throughout the event." He was also happy with "record high engagement numbers" referring to nearly two million camera angle switches.

Hans Schroeder, NFL, SVP, Media Strategy and Development called the live stream "a tremendous success."

They might have been pleased, but I expected more because I have seen better live streaming of a sporting event. The basketball game shown below filled the laptop screen and was identical to and only four secnds behind the TV broadcast shown behind it.

IPTV done better -- by pirates
One small hitch -- the basketball game was pirated.   NBC and the NFL should check out the music industry experience with pirates. A good way to stop pirates is to offer people convenient, high quality content at a reasonable price.

Perhaps TV executives should think of pirates as market research consultants who are showing them what the public wants.  NBC needs to learn from the pirates that the distinction between "TV" and "the Internet" is broken -- it's all bits.

Monday, February 06, 2012

IT items on the Beloit College mindset list for the class of 2015

Beloit College publishes an annual list of characteristics of their incoming freshman class.  This helps them be sensitive to what their new students do and do not assume.  
Several of the items each year are related to the applications and implications of the Internet and information technology.  Here are the IT-related items for the class of 2015:
  • There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.
  • They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
  • As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
  • Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.
  • Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
  • Video games have always had ratings.
  • Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!
  • Music has always been available via free downloads.
  • Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.
  • Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.
  • Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.
  • They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.
  • They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.
  • “PC” has come to mean Personal Computer, not Political Correctness.
  • The New York Times and the Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.
These are just the items relating to IT for this year.  There is a lot more from the Beloit list and other schools at the Mindset List web site.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Webcam monologues from Amanda Congdon to Felicia Day

New media lead to new art forms, and the Webcam monologue is well suited to the mobile Internet.

The first memorable Webcam monologue I recall seeing was Amanda Congdon's dramatic piece on Hurricane Katrina, in which she intersperses still images and moves the camera a few times:

YouTube is filled with Webcam rants and rambling, but Congdon's monologue was original and moving art.

Here's another example. I just stumbled upon a Web series called The Guild, and saw this clip of Felicia Day talking to a Webcam.

The clip is taken out of context, but she's a funny lady and a master of the Webcam monologue. She's expressive, over-the-top and at the same time, subtle.

These are are well above your typical YouTube videos and I can imagine many others. Have you seen any noteworthy Webcam monologues?


The Felicia Day clip shown above was flagged as possibly infringing on copyright by Google. Rather than take it down, they added ads. Did you see an ad with this post? If so, what was it for? Do you think my including the clip was fair use? Why did I do it? Did I harm Felicia Day? Did I use a substantial portion of the original video?

I wonder if Google or the copyright holder gets the revenue from the ad or they split it. Was the suspected infringement discovered by a Google algorithm or one run by the copyright holder? If Google discovered it, did they ask the copyright holder whether they wanted to take it down or place ads on it?