Netflix: Streaming Beats Discs, But Loses to Downtime

Netflix is now a digital video streaming company first that happens to also offer DVDs by mail, observes Forrester’s James McQuivey at Paid Content (via RWW). Netflix is starting to deliver more content by streaming than my mail.

That’s mostly good news, although it does rely on Netflix being able to stream. It was down a few minutes ago (but is back up right now). Netflix does downtime less gracefully than a certain whale-watching site I could mention: it blamed my computers, got stuck on at the license stage. It didn’t own up to having problems, and it didn’t show me a cute animal. Then again, Twitter has had more practice with downtime than has Netflix.

That suggests a couple of games. The first is to come up with a mascot for Netflix downtime. I suggest the Netflix narwhal, but will leave the artwork/implementation to others. Then there’s the Netflix version of rock-paper-scissors. Downtime beats streaming, which beats discs, which beat downtime. I hope that streaming wins…

Funnels, Donations, NPR, and Apple

National Public Radio offers its radio shows at no charge, and hopes that enough listeners will donate enough money to make it viable. More broadly, NPR offers its content for free, on a variety of platforms including radio, the web, and iPad apps. There is the potential for more platforms to mean more consumers and hence more donations.

NPR has much in common with for-profit freemium services (such as WordPress.com). It can therefore use some of the same analytical tools, such as funnel analysis.

We can think of a funnel with NPR listeners toward the top. Fans of NPR, or of a particular show, are at a lower and narrower part of the funnel. Some of those fans donate; we might think of donations as money emerging from the bottom of the funnel.

What effect will iPad and iPhone apps have on NPR’s funnel? That’s what this 3-minute video is about. If it makes you want to donate to NPR, that’s good. The Changing Way Multimedia Studio is not currently seeking donations, despite this production’s use of crayon and handheld camera. The producer, however, is seeking work in the DC area.

The video illustrates, using the funnel model, an argument I made yesterday: that NPR was rather hasty in getting on the iPad bandwagon. I was prompted to make the video an following an exchange with Beth Kanter. We seem to agree that someone should write a post living up to the title: Apple or Android? Which One is More Nonprofit Friendly?. Neither of us has done it yet.

I’d be interested to see comments (or external posts) on the comparison of Apple and Android for nonprofits, on the use of the funnel model by nonprofits, on Apple’s policy toward nonprofits, or anything else arising from this post/video. Over to you…

Long Self-Portrait as About Video

The folks at PhotoJojo coined the phrase long portrait, Mashable Stan hailed the long portrait as a use for Flickr video, and Heather Rasley commented about the long self-portrait.

That got me thinking about an About video, in lieu of, or as part of, a blog’s About page. So I made such a video. There’s about a minute of About video.

Battered Box

As I suspected, I’ve started to actually use the video feature of the digital camera since Flickr started allowing short video clips, as well as photos. Here’s a fascinating clip of me approaching a box that recently arrived rather worse for wear. It was shipped by Electronica Direct via the US Postal Service.

Did the contents survive the journey? What were they anyway? All will be revealed right here at this blog in a day or two.

Video From Flickr to WordPress.com

For those of us who blog at WordPress.com, there’s already a shortcode making it easy to embed video from Flickr in a post. I’ll illustrate/test it with this clip, which looks to me like something from William Gibson.

I found the shortcode on the support forum, thanks to quxx/kellan. Like other WordPress.com shortcodes, it should be placed within square brackets. Then it’s just “flickr video=uri”. Note, by the way, that attribution for the video clip is built in to the clip itself.

Backlash Against Flickr Video

A day after Flickr added video, there’s a NO VIDEO ON FLICKR!!! group with more than 7,000 members. I won’t be joining the group. That’s not just because its name is in all caps and I don’t like shouting. It’s because what Flickr is doing with video makes as much sense to me today as it did when I posted about it yesterday.

Stephen at WebWare points out that you can set up your Flickr account so that videos don’t autoplay. Brad at Download Squad has a well-worded remark on the NVOF!!! group.

Of course, anyone can filter out videos from their search results just by clicking on the advanced search options. It would be nice if the feature were more prominently placed, but why ask Flickr to modify its search bar when you could just try to incite a riot?

Brad and Stephen’s comments together made me wonder if it’s possible to set up your Flickr account so that you don’t see video in search results. It doesn’t seem to be possible right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that option appearing soon.

Video on Flickr

The advent of video on Flickr has been long. It’s hard to see how the birth could have been anything but an anticlimax (unless it happened in a stable with a star overhead, three righteous dudes bringing schwag, etc.).

The gospel according to Michael (Arrington) describes Flickr video as a unique experience. I’d describe it as… neat. That’s based only on the first video on the Flickr blog, on Mike’s post, and on the comments thereon.

There are limits on video clips. You have to have a Pro account, and you can’t upload videos longer than 90 seconds. Neither of these limits bothers me. I consider my Flickr Pro account $25/year well spent, even though it’s one of the very few web services for which I pay anything at all.

The 90 second limit reinforces Flickr as the site for stuff you took with your digital camera. Most such cameras can capture short video clips. I rarely use that feature of my camera, but Flickr Video might change that.

Yes, Flickr Video might have allowed long clips, and might have been free. But there would still have been an “is that all there is?” response, partly because of YouTube, partly because of the above-mentioned wait for Flickr Video.

By the way, I saw Mike’s post on Techmeme before it appears in my feed reader. That’s more of a positive comment on Techmeme than it is a negative comment on Google Reader.

The Hulu Chronicles

Online TV site Hulu will go live today. Most of what I’ve read about the launch is positive, although Mike at TechCrunch warned of excessive Hulu mania, and Om had to correct his implication that Hulu is Ready For The World (it’s ready for exactly one of the world’s many countries).

My favorite overview is Daniel Langendorf’s account of The Good, The Bad, The Achilles Heel. The good includes range of content. The bad includes the absence of content from ABC and from CBS (although Mashable Paul considers these networks likely to submit to Hulu partnerships of their own in short order).

The Achilles heel that Daniel describes is my own least favorite feature of Hulu. It’s that the content is patchy and unpredictable. For example, as soon as I signed up for the Hulu beta, I watched an episode of The Simpsons. I then used a handy feature of the Hulu player to make a clip from the show, in order to post the clip to a blog.

The clip is no longer available, because that episode is no longer available at Hulu. So I won’t be making and posting any more “hey, check this out” type clips.

Having said that, I think that Hulu will do well. The player is easy to use, and the ads don’t get in the way nearly as much as I feared they would. I watched and enjoyed all nine episodes of the Terminator show on Hulu (and will be posting my thoughts soon).

Blu-Ray Reminds Me of APS

Remember Advanced Photo System (APS)? Not many people do. It was introduced in 1996 by Kodak, Fujifilm, Minolta, Nikon, Canon and others.

I think of it as an attempt to squeeze in one more generation of analog photography products (cameras and film) before digital took over. The attempt was made about a dozen years ago by an impressive roster of photo industry players, including Kodak, Fuji, Nikon, and Canon. It hardly took off, then it crashed when digital arrived.

Blu-Ray seems similar: it’s an attempt to squeeze in one more generation of disk-based video products before downloading and streaming take over. But downloading and streaming are already here.

I think that the victory of Blu-Ray over HD DVD will be more expensive than significant. I’m far from alone in this, although a search yields only one other person using the APS analogy.

Why DataPortability: Video Explains

The term DataPortability refers to something important, but doesn’t refer to it very well. A new video does a good job of explaining the problem that the DataPortability Workgroup (DPW) exists to address.

The video is by Michael Pick of Smashcut Media. I found it via Read-Write Web. There are some interesting comments arising from Marshall Kirkpatrick’s post there: I now have more idea about what it means to join the DPW.

I think that the video is better as a statement of the problem being addressed than as a description of DataPortability. That’s less of a criticism of the video than a request for a sequel.