We’ve spent the past four months talking to video makers with passionate followings, and found that their fans are getting short shrift. Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo have opened the door for this new kind of entertainer: independent, direct, quirky, and deeply connected to their audience in a way the economics and technology of TV would never allow. These inspiring creators have attracted millions of die-hard fans who are watching their favorite entertainers in noisy, viral-video-centric places that don’t give them the experience they deserve.
Animator-storytellers like Jonti Picking (aka Weebl), up-and-coming writer-comedians like Amy Rubin, and new series like Rob Hugel’s I Hate Being Single and their fans deserve a better platform for their biggest fans.
We want to build a home for video worth coming back to, worth having pushed directly to your phone/tablet the second it comes out, worth getting direct access to the maker of, and even worth supporting financially.
Our first steps in a very new direction, which I hope you’ll check out.
“The New York Stock Exchange is at this point essentially a heavily guarded television studio and occasional film set, which I guess is an appropriate enough symbol of American capitalism in late 2013.”—How I botched it on CNBC - Alex Pareene
“Heiferman also feels charging has simplified everything the company does. “There’s so much good potential that can come out of just charging people for your good product,” he says. “And it’s a virus. It’s a disease. It’s contagious. It becomes person to person. It takes over. It’s a simplicity of organization. The most important thing is it lets you sleep well at night when you get to say that everything you do is for the benefit of the people, for the user. If you get to say that everything you do, every decision, and every operational thing you do is serving them, there’s a simplicity – and it’s just good for your conscience.”—Scott Heiferman looks back at Meetup’s bet-the-company moment
“As software eats the world, every sort of engineering (and indeed, every sort of profession organized along lines suggested by the physical sciences, including fields like medicine) is becoming effectively a branch of computer science”—Entrepreneurs are the New Labor: Part II - Forbes
It’s been a hectic four months, and I’m so [nervously] excited that the project/company/app, Telecast, I’ve been building with the help of the fantastic team here at betaworks is finally ready for the world.
Telecast is about making Internet video watching feel as simple as turning on the TV, no matter where you are: each day, we drop fifteen minutes of carefully-chosen, personally tailored video in your lap (or iPad, as it were).
“The assumption driving these kinds of design speculations is that if you embed the interface–the control surface for a technology–into our own bodily envelope, that interface will “disappear”: the technology will cease to be a separate “thing” and simply become part of that envelope. The trouble is that unlike technology, your body isn’t something you “interface” with in the first place. You’re not a little homunculus “in” your body, “driving” it around, looking out Terminator-style “through” your eyes. Your body isn’t a tool for delivering your experience: it is your experience. Merging the body with a technological control surface doesn’t magically transform the act of manipulating that surface into bodily experience. I’m not a cyborg (yet) so I can’t be sure, but I suspect the effect is more the opposite: alienating you from the direct bodily experiences you already have by turning them into technological interfaces to be manipulated.”—Your Body Does Not Want to Be an Interface | MIT Technology Review
“The single most overwhelming piece of technology for the television business was the remote control. When they didn’t have to get their ass off the couch and go change the channel, it really changed the amount of control that broadcasters had … and every single step gives [the media business] less control.”—Peter Chernin
“Even so, Netflix can’t match the quality that can be delivered via coax — not over IP — and Time Warner Cable and other incumbent providers have little incentive to enable it to do so. By installing Open Connect boxes free of charge and peering with Netflix, cable companies would basically be giving it the tools to also offer comparable picture quality. But why would they?”—
This article on Netflix/Time Warner’s current dispute shows a disappointing lack of understanding of how the Internet is stitched together. In a story where the heart of the matter comes down to the hard tech, I wish the author had spent a few minutes talking to an engineer before misleadingly mashing terms together.
Cable companies likely already peer with Netflix. Open Connect is not peering, it’s a caching appliance that would live inside ISPs’ networks.
"Coax" and IP are two different network layers. They are not an either/or choice and they don’t have a hell of a lot to do with the quality of content that can be delivered. (FWIW, content will be delivered via IP regardless of the physical layer, because the I stands for Internet.)
That said, Open Connect is a super interesting move by Netflix, and something I’d love to see some deeper reporting on.
Starting 2013 off with a bang, I’m happy to announce I’ve just started a new gig: Hacker-in-Residence at betaworks. With the help of the spectacular team here and a band of fellow hackers, I’m going to spend the next few months building and launching a product from whole cloth. I haven’t done this before; it’s damn exciting.
I was so lucky to have been on the early team at Tumblr, and here at betaworks I intend to keep to the same passions that brought me there. I love building technology for creative people, particularly the ever-growing number of makers, creators, collectors, critics, and fans that have found their audience for the first time on the web.
I’m not ready to say what I’m working on just yet. But now that I’m back in New York and the game after eight (fantastic, must-repeat) months, you ought to say hello.
“Radio, in its ideal, provided both an outlet for musical discovery and a place for a geographically based community to gather. Talk radio, whether about politics or sports, provides the latter, but as musical communities become more fragmented, is there a place for the more casual listener—the person who might want to hear the occasional new track sprinkled into their favorites and visit a station’s van at a show, but who doesn’t neccessarily have time to dig through websites and “related” links on YouTube—to discover music as well? Has the viral world replaced radio, and does that mean that a song needs a hook that isn’t just its chorus, like the goofy pony dance PSY performs in the “Gangnam Style” video?”—Maura Johnston, in the first issue of her fantastic new micromagazine.
I love video art. Being moving images, the sensory experience we are as, or more, accustomed to as talking with other humans, video art seems to have remarkably fast access to our thoughts. Though many people feel uncomfortable commenting on a painting by an artist they don’t know, I’ve never seen anyone very reticent after watching an unkown video work.
Perversely, though, video works are some of the most inaccessible in contemporary art. Not that they are difficult to comprehend—mostly, it’s just hard to find an actual copy of the damn things. Galleries wouldn’t dream of streaming video works online and they largely outsource draconion control of video files and their performance rights. Public access consists of lending physical media to established institutions for soometimes-significant fees.
This state of affairs is strange and disappointing for artworks that exist as digital video files, a medium the Internet has proven very capable of spreading widely, rapidly. And video art should be spread widely, rapidly!
There are artists who buck the trend, and one whose work I love is Francis Alÿs. He not only streams all his work, but releases it under a very liberal Creative Commons license. Spend a few minutes watching his REEL - UNREEL, in which a pair of kids playfully unfurl and reroll film through the streets of Kabul: I bet you, like me, didn’t know what the streets of Kabul looked like.
Yesterday I wanted to introduce a friend to Network, the 1976 classic film satire of American TV, which was prescient enough to just barely look like satire today. I told him the main character was Faye Dunaway as a maniacal programming exec and he was sufficiently convinced.
Netflix doesn’t stream Network. (I’d have thought Epix owned it via MGM, but apparently whichever co-holding quasi-company that controls Northeast-American-medium-sized-screen-Saturday-night-streaming rights to it isn’t getting along with Netflix at the moment, so…) Off to the iTunes store.
And they had it, along with a piece of pricing genius that gets me every time:
Why so genius? Those four little gray buttons set off this series of thoughts:
Okay, $2.99 for a rental. A little steep, but sounds like old VHS rental pricing, fair enough.
But I really do love Network, enough to make an elaborate argument for its place in film and cultural and maybe even American history! I should just buy it. $9.99 is only a few bucks more.
But if I’m going to own it, why wouldn’t I want it in HD? $14.99 is only a few bucks more.
I only wish I were salesman enough to turn a somewhat reluctant $2.99 purchase into a $14.99 one. And considering the chances of my watching the movie again in the next decade are essentially nil, Apple just sold me the same product at 5x its original price. Hats off!
“In November 1974 the Artforum editors had a famous falling-out when several staff members objected to an advertisement in which the svelte feminist artist Lynda Benglis posed naked with a giant dildo in response to an image published in the previous issue—a self-portrait by Robert Morris, bare-chested in a Nazi helmet and chains. Those editors left in protest to set up an academic journal (without illustrations) with the revolutionary moniker October.”—
“Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay. In the modern state there are very few sites where this is possible. The only others that come readily to my mind require belief in an omnipotent creator as a condition for membership. It would seem the most obvious thing in the world to say that the reason why the market is not an efficient solution to libraries is because the market has no use for a library. But it seems we need, right now, to keep re-stating the obvious. There aren’t many institutions left that fit so precisely Keynes’ definition of things that no one else but the state is willing to take on. Nor can the experience of library life be recreated online. It’s not just a matter of free books. A library is a different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind), which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.”—Zadie Smith, in the New York Review of Books. (via thebronzemedal)
I apologize that you had a poor experience with this product. I have reached out to the manufacturer for more information and below is their response to you:
Ancient Stone 790A-2 is a taupe with violet undertones and in some light sources or next to objects that are yellow-neutral (such as a yellow-neutral couch) it may appear as if it has a purplish appearance. Taupe is a mixture of gray and beige, however taupes range from warm taupes (with yellow, orange or warm red undertones) to cooler taupes (with blue, violet or green undertones). Since taupes may be more complex than other colors, different lighting conditions may further change the way they appear. We are sorry you were dissatisfied with the color of this paint tester and would like to help you select a color more to your liking. The Home Depot Paint Associates are available to assist you in store if that is most convenient and you would like to view the chips as they are identified.
The Behr Paint Team
”—No negative review of a color on The Home Depot’s site goes unnoticed!
“I’d been living in lovely, provincial San Francisco and had moved to Berlin because I’d felt I was missing out on something exciting, and now I was on the brink of leaving lively, provisional Berlin because I was afraid I was missing out on something serious.”—Gideon Lewis-Kraus, A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful