Category Archives: Video

Daring Fireball: Amazon Prime Video Arrives on Apple TV

I hope the good story explains why the app is so crappy. Yes – it works and all, I can stream movies and shows on it but for sure this thing is NOT optimized for the Apple TV and looks like it was made for a smart TV platform and then ported over.

Given the amount of time we have waited for this thing – one would have hoped it would have looked or felt like it was made for the Apple TV.

No such chance.

Daring Fireball: Amazon Prime Video Arrives on Apple TV

All the experts…

I was listening to a podcast the other day and basically heard Barry Ritholtz come to the conclusion during the interview with the Prof that Apple should buy Netflix.

What I find fascinating is how quickly armchair quarterbacks can make an off the cuff declaration that turns into a business meme.

Days after that podcast Barry writes this :: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-11-07/why-apple-should-buy-netflix

Of course people will read Bloomberg and quickly think this should happen but my take is that it shouldn’t happen and it won’t. For many reasons.

First reason is I don’t think Reed wants to be bought. People will counter that with everyone has a price but I generally think Reed has been bought before, has purposefully worked to build a big company he loves to run and has a vision for Netflix that doesn’t include an acquisition.

That point aside it would appear that folks like Barry and others who say Apple should buy Netflix don’t actually get OTT businesses at all. For a company to be successful in OTT they need three things – the ability to stream content, they need the content to stream and they need distribution or devices to consume the streams. Apple already has 2 out of the 3 and most companies have to pay for all 3. They have to build streaming, they have to buy content and they have to buy distribution – in other words they have to spend a shit ton of money on adverstising. This is why OTT businesses are a funding game these days. I always proffer the biggest winners here are Google, Facebook, OVPs and the content guys – not the OTT companies.

Since Apple has 2 out of the 3 then all Apple has to do is buy or make content. Those not in the know don’t realize that before Netflix was an aggregator of content and didn’t produce much of their own content but now Netflix is not only buying content but it is is making content. However making content is not magic and esentially means Netflix operates like any other studio which means it has all the issues like any other studio and with each passing day Netflix has to be a studio and be a aggregator which is not easy.

Plus it is very expensive.

Which means Apple can do exactly what they are now doing. Use their tech and their massive distrubtion – iTunes, iOS, MacOS, Apple TV and whateve else they are creating to highlight content that they will make much in the same way Netflix is doing. This means buying Netflix would be waste of capital. Apple could actually use their cash to outspend Netflix on similiarly great content – like what they have just announced here, http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/apple-jennifer-aniston-reese-witherspoon-morning-shows-amazing-stories-1202610068/

Keep in mind that almost all celebrities in the world use Apple phones. Which means that Apple has a direct relationship with the people that star in and produce content already. Not difficult at all for Apple to get exclusive content for their ecosystem.

John says much the same thing here :: https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/11/08/apple-netflix-ritholtz

Also the latest Daily Update from Ben Thompson corrects his earlier mistake where he discusses that Apple should buy Netflix. https://stratechery.com

 

DRM is a pain but needed

Coming from the OTT world I can lament the use of DRM like everyone else but I can also tell you that without out – people will steal every bit of video they can. What else can one do about it then to try and protect it. Without DRM built into browsers the video companies with either push a plugin at you or use some other non-stamdard methods which just makes life harder on everyone.

I am with Gruber on this one – EFF is being kind of silly :: https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/09/18/eff-w3c-drm

The weak link in OTT

Having been involved in OTT for many a year it was always obvious to anyone working in the industry that the whole DRM system is mostly a waste of time and money. This is the system that the movie industry forces on the OTT industry through lobbying that has driven up the cost of everything.

The idea being that if you pay for DRM that at least if anything happens, meaning someone steals a stream, you can say you are covered by so and so’s DRM. Essentially DRM is like insurance.

However, if you have ever worked in the OTT industry, the general security around how movies are sent around would floor you. Companies mail hard drives around, ship DVD’s, put movies on Google drive and all sorts of file transfer methods that are semi secure or not even remotely secure.

But since all these systems are run by people, usually any sort of leakage starts from the inside and involves people paying for access. Or, there is just a lack of security and any system that is based on people will usually have a flaw or someone makes a simple mistake which will allow a sophisticated tech person a chance to steal stuff.

https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/04/29/orange-is-the-new-black

In this specific case it sounds like the hacker got into the post production studio’s system and was able to take the episodes. These episodes probably were not even completed or ready to be streamed. Around the emerging markets there is quite a racket for copying the movies and selling them to pirates while they are being transferred around, supposedly in safe hands, but in places like India it is quite common for the film canisters to be dropped off at the pirates on the way to the cinemas.

I am sure Netflix is pissed and will be interesting to see if they figure this one out. As more and more media moves to online only – my guess is this type of situation will happen again. It also brings to light the issue in companies like Netflix realising all episodes at once since in order to do this all the shows have to be ready to go. This means all the shows are sitting there if someone gains acccess where in a normal TV show- they are being made as you watch or getting finished as you watch.