Summary of “Streaming TV is about to get very expensive”

The most watched show on US Netflix, by a huge margin, is the US version of The Office.
Even though the platform pumps out an absurd amount of original programming – 1,500 hours last year – it turns out that everyone just wants to watch a decade-old sitcom.
Things are just about manageable – if you have a TV licence, a Netflix subscription, an Amazon subscription and a Now TV subscription, you are pretty much covered – but things are about to take a turn for the worse.
The former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg is about to launch a platform called Quibi, releasing “Snackable” content from Steven Spielberg and others that is designed to be watched on your phone.
Watching television is about to get very, very expensive.
There’s a huge difference between not being able to watch everything because there’s too much choice and not being able to watch everything because you don’t have enough money.
Netflix didn’t become a monster because people wanted to watch a specific show; it became a monster because people wanted to watch everything.
When its streaming platform launched, people were spending more than £15 just to watch a single season of a show on DVD. So to be able to watch every season of a show – and every season of hundreds of others of shows – for a fiver a month was revolutionary.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Study of More Than 250 Platforms Reveals Why Most Fail”

In our newly-published book, we divide all platforms into two types: Innovation platforms enable third-party firms to add complementary products and services to a core product or technology.
The problem is that platforms fail at an alarming rate.
To understand why and how platforms fail, we tried to identify as many failed American platforms as possible over the last twenty years that competed with the 43 successful platforms.
Firms may have to throw commonsense pricing out the window when two or more platforms are racing to create a network effect.
Platforms also require two or more parties, who may or may not know each other, to connect.
A common misconception about platforms is that once the market tips in your favor, you will be the long-run winner.
Despite the huge upside opportunities that platforms offered, pursuing a platform strategy does not necessarily improve the odds of success as a business.
While Uber is still struggling to make the economics work, Google, Facebook, eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent, and many other platforms started by aggressively subsidizing at least one side of the market and made the transition to high profits.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations”

Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
While there are hopes to have platform barriers installed in all 243 of Tokyo’s train stations by 2032, rail operators in the interim have come up alternative approaches.
A blue-light panel in a Japanese train station, designed to calm agitated passengers.
The idea has been picked up in the U.K.: Several stations in England now emulate the Japanese approach, with blue LED light panels on station platforms.
The departing train buzzer was punctuated by sharp blasts of station attendants’ whistles, as harried salarymen raced down stairs and across platforms to beat the train’s closing doors.
Most stations have their own melodies, forming de facto theme songs that become part of a station’s identity.
Train stations are particularly sensitive in that regard, since large congregations of young people pass through stations at all hours of the day.
To address the Japanese fear of loitering and vandalism by young riders, some train stations deploy ultrasonic deterrents-small, unobtrusive devices that emit a high-frequency tone.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The reason so many unprofitable companies are going public”

Now, a lot of the unprofitable IPOs are biotech companies.
Pinterest is a platform for cataloguing and sharing ideas and interest, AirBnB is a platform for providing rentals, Uber and Lyft are platforms for ride-hailing, and so on.
What’s going on in the tech world right now is a kind of land rush in platform markets.
If a platform has one giant network, then network effects can be a lot stronger than platforms that are comprised of a lot of local clusters.
Once a platform has connected a buyer and seller, there’s also the question of whether the two need to stay on the platform to maintain the relationship.
If we started using old-school interpretations of antitrust law, forced companies like Uber to follow labor law, or treated Facebook like a public utility, these companies wouldn’t go away.
Historically a way to provide companies with fresh capital, IPOs are now used to cash out the pre-existing owners and investors: they turn that conceptual $100 billion into liquid cash the original owners can hold onto whether the company succeeds or not.
Combine that with the increasing use of tricks to make sure that founders maintain absolute control over their companies even after going public and what you have is a situation where tech entrepreneurs get to have their cake and eat it too.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Instagram Memers Are Unionizing”

Memers aren’t direct employees of these tech platforms, nor are they independent contractors for them.
In 2016, more than 100 top Facebook pages reaching more than 10 million users collectively banded together to form the Meme Alliance, which argued for more transparent enforcement of the platform’s community standards.
Facebook did end up revamping its moderation policies, though it did not directly acknowledge the Meme Alliance.
While previous efforts by small groups of creators may have stalled, William Fitzgerald, a volunteer with the Tech Workers Coalition, a worker-led organizing group for the tech industry, told me that the IG Meme Union is forming at an optimal time.
Tech giants such as Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon have come under fire recently for exploitative labor practices, and the public is becoming aware of just how much power these companies exert over our lives and economy.
People are “Seeing that across the tech sector you have this handful of really big tech companies with control over the livelihoods of so many creators,” Fitzgerald said.
“There are so few platforms with so much power and no accountability or rules.”
“Memers need to be respected for the power they have as creators.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “The golden age of YouTube is over”

Danny, like many other creators, is proclaiming the death of YouTube – or, at least, the YouTube that they grew up with.
The golden age of YouTube – the YouTube of a million different creators all making enough money to support themselves by creating videos about doing what they love – is over.
In 2011, YouTube invested $100 million into more than 50 “Premium” channels from celebrities and news organizations, betting that adding Hollywood talent and authoritative news sources to the platform would drive up advertising revenue and expand YouTube to an even wider audience.
The attention Kjellberg brought to YouTube kickstarted the first “Adpocalypse,” a term popularized within the creator community that refers to YouTube aggressively demonetizing videos that might be problematic, in an effort to prevent companies from halting their ad spending.
David Dobrik, Liza Koshy, Lele Pons, Danny Gonzalez, and, of course, Jake and Logan Paul became instant successes on YouTube – even though many of them had started YouTube channels years before their success on Vine.
The Viners quickly amassed tens of millions of subscribers, and they were touted by YouTube as the new faces of the platform in the company’s annual YouTube Rewind video, which is essentially a highlight reel for advertisers.
“We’re talking about the biggest creator on YouTube posting a video that had over 6 million views, was trending on YouTube, that no doubt had to be flagged by tons of people,” DeFranco said.
“The only reason it was taken down is Logan or his team took it down, and YouTube didn’t do a damn thing. Part of the Logan Paul problem is that YouTube is either complicit or ignorant.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Spotify’s $230 Million Gimlet Deal Means for Podcasting”

The podcast world was hit by an earthquake late last week when news broke that Spotify, the Swedish music-streaming giant responsible for those Discover Weekly playlists you love, was “In advanced talks” to acquire Gimlet Media, the buzzy podcast publisher behind beloved shows like Reply All, Startup, and Homecoming.
Those talks concluded in a deal that was announced Wednesday morning, which also included news that Spotify was buying Anchor, a technology platform that seeks to help more people create and monetize podcasts.
Together, these twin acquisitions are a bold statement for the podcast industry: Spotify wants to make podcasting a considerable pillar of its platform, and it’s not messing around to do so.
It’s worth noting that Spotify’s head-first dive into podcasting doesn’t come out of nowhere.
Podcasting, in theory, offers Spotify a new growth channel that’s still relatively untouched pasture.
In Gimlet, Spotify now has a podcast factory line that has a track record of hits, has attracted the eye of Hollywood with its own takes on podcast-to-adaptation pipeline, and has developed a brand that consistently draws press coverage.
There is also strong opposition to what Spotify represents, which is a future where podcasting is much less open and democratic than it originally was.
Born out of the same open publishing technology as blogs, podcasting was once a quirky backwater pond of digital curiosity – equally inhabitable by highly produced public-radio programming, personality-driven talk radio-style shows, and shaggy conversational podcasts started by anybody with a microphone, all working the same odds of finding an audience over a decentralized ecosystem.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Cold Discovery”

Books increasingly don’t have covers: The rapid rise of tablets and e-readers has led to more books being read on screens, which de-emphasize the cover as both a visual identifier and a physical delimiter.
Now, on screens, covers persist as vestigial rectangular images, superfluously ornamenting search results or PDFs. Does that shift in emphasis mean readers engage more directly with texts themselves, rather than judging books by their covers as the cliché warns? Fifty Shades of Grey and self-help books boomed in popularity on post-cover devices.
While the design of libraries and bookstores prioritizes the coherent visual display of book covers and spines so that people can navigate collections and find the singular physical objects the covers signify, the endlessly rewritable surface of the screen dispenses with that arrangement.
Covers aren’t essential for discovering content on platforms.
If covers can be construed as misleading or superficial wrappers, platform algorithms are hardly more honest.
These dynamics highlight how, on platforms like Spotify and Netflix, specific artists and their works are not the objects offered to the users for consumption – a focus that covers supported.
A book’s cover belonged traditionally not to the book itself but rather to the retail or public environment in which a book is deployed and displayed, in which it claims its place among other books, and in relation to the public eye and mind of the citizen-reader.
While a book cover wrapped an individual work – an independently defined, freestanding unit of content – a platform interface wraps the entire collection of works that users can access through it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Chinese Farmer Who Live-Streamed Her Life and Made a Fortune”

Then she started presenting her life on the social-media platform Kuaishou.
A few years after this humble start, Liu Mama has fourteen million followers on the Kuaishou platform and reportedly earns a million yuan per month through her Kuaishou account.
The broadcast jockeys on Kuaishou are mostly poor, uneducated, and live in rural areas.
Eighty-eight per cent of Kuaishou users have not attended university, seventy per cent earn less than three thousand yuan per month, and a majority live in the nation’s smaller, less economically-developed cities.
Kuaishou has effectively rendered the life of the otherwise overlooked Average Zhou not only visible but potentially profitable, providing an alternative source of income to the population that is most vulnerable to being left behind in China’s technological rise.
The Kuaishou platform is relatively free of promoted content and celebrity influencers, which leaves its jockeys room to create content that reflects their own life styles, warts and all.
The chaotic and freewheeling Kuaishou platform lives inside the Chinese online ecosystem, within the Great Firewall.
A few months agos, Kuaishou introduced a new section called the Kuaishou Positive Spirit, which boosts the accounts of streamers who demonstrate the “Everyday citizen’s Chinese dream.” In the Kuaishou Positive Spirit feed, you will find a master painter inking a delicate bird on a work of calligraphy, a policeman helping a mother and her newborn cross the road, and a panda nuzzling its baby cub.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Problem with Facebook and Virtual Reality – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

No one plans to visit Facebook: who among us has “Facebook Time” set on our calendar? And yet the vast majority of people who are able – over 2 billion worldwide – visit Facebook every single day, for minutes at a time.
More striking is Zuckerberg’s evaluation that Facebook was now in a position to focus elsewhere: after the revelations of state-sponsored interference and legitimate questions about Facebook’s impact on society broadly it seems rather misguided.
The problem for Facebook is that the fundamental nature of the company – not to mention Zuckerberg’s platform ambitions – rely on serving as many customers as possible.
What is inevitable though – what was always inevitable, from the day Facebook bought Oculus – is that this will be one acquisition Facebook made that was a mistake.
If Facebook wanted a presence in virtual reality the best possible route was the same it took in mobile: to be an app-exposed service, available on all devices, funded by advertising.
Make no mistake, Zuckerberg gave an impressive demo of what can happen when Facebook controls your eyes in virtual reality; what concerns me is the real world results of Facebook controlling everyone’s attention with the sole goal of telling each of us what we want to hear.
Again Facebook aside, virtual reality is more compelling than you might think.
To that end, you can be sure that any Facebook executive would be happy to explain why virtual reality and Oculus is a step in that direction.

The orginal article.