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DO YOU 'LIKE' THE SUN? The Content Casino vs. the Long Game

I've been at a marketing conference the last few days, and underneath all the sales funnels and ROIs and synergies and native advertising and value-add content, there was a lot of talk about storytelling... and how we've forgotten how to tell stories in our endless quest to create MOAR CONTENT.

There's no doubt that since the rise of the internet, much of the job of "marketing" seems to be to fill the internet with crap. Content, any content, as long as it appears regularly and is stuffed with the requisite amount of keywords, has come to dominate what many firms consider "marketing on the internet" for a decade now. But as anyone who's tried to find relevant content on the internet, or sifted through their spam email knows, we've developed very good filters for sorting through BS for actual valuable results. And when we start having problems curating all that noise, places like Google and now Facebook, do it for us, with (in Facebook's case, especially) dodgy algorithms that decide what we're actually interested in and what we should see.

The widespread hatred of what's happened with Facebook, in particular, is a constant gripe not just for users (I finally deleted my personal Facebook account, and kept only the fan page) but also marketers, who have developed huge followings that they now have to pay to reach. But as was pointed out by a speaker at the conference, this is all the fault of myself and my colleagues:

"We're the problem! We broke Facebook. They had to switch to promoted content because we were spamming people with garbage. 'Here's a picture of the sun! Do you YOU like the sun? 'Like' this picture of you like the sun!' WE ARE THE PROBLEM."

All that daily editorial calendar garbage we're spewing out to clutter up the web has given both us and everyone else who uses it information fatigue. Data overload. It's added to the noise in the world. It's made it harder to find valuable, relevant work.

With Google changing its algorithm to increase the ranking of content not just on clicks, but also by time spent on the page, there was a lot of chatter about what this new shift in the algorithm and the information overload was going to do to the types of work we produced to share in online spaces. Some brands and agencies already understand that if you concentrate on just putting out a few big pieces of entertainment, good stories, valuable information, you can cut through the noise, and they're putting out less junk. Others are still stuck spamming you value propositions and bullet pointed lists, hoping something will stick.

When I come home from the day job, I write novels. I talk to a lot of writers. And I couldn't help but notice how these two approaches - lots of content you hope will connect with someone, versus focusing on a few quality projects - mirrored the career strategies of many novelists. There are two schools of thought, generally: you write as much as possible, in as many genres as possible, writing three, maybe even four (or more! Many romance authors write more, and self-published authors often write a dozen or more novella length pieces a year to make a living wage), and hope one of them hits it big (the casino approach). Or, you write your book a year or every three years and you slowly build up a small but passionate audience over time, hoping that by investing in just one piece at a time, that in twenty years or so you'll have enough money through writing to live on.

The reality is that for many authors, the casino approach is simply the only way to make a living. They can't afford to wait to "maybe make a living writing novels" in twenty years. This is often how I see myself in my role at my day job. Shareholders aren't here for a ten-year return. They get quarterly reports. They must, at all costs (even and especially jobs) see growth, a return on their investment, from year to year. That means everyone must produce work, lots of work, to justify their existence, hoping that some of it, any of it, will hit. Most corporations are like this, investing heavily in busy work, in everyone working hard, without sitting down to strategize or prioritize. But the checks come on time (which is far better than I can say for publishing!).

The longer game, the exhausting game, and the game that has less of a likelihood for regular checks, is the long game of relying on building a career on fewer pieces. You may be able to invest more time, energy, and thought into them, but the reality here is that there's less chance of writing something that will connect with readers at the right time, in the right place. If publishing is a gamble, then the more pieces you write, the more tickets you've bought, the better chances you'll have, right?

In truth, I see merit in both of these approaches. Spam works. I see it work everyday. So long as spam works, we are still going to see a lot of spam. Junk posts also work. Some people really like the sun, and they will be happy to like your post all fricking day long. But investing in the longer game, the big tentpole pieces, the novel that took five years or seven years to write, can be just as good an investment.

What I suspect most writers, and marketers, will end up doing in future is a mix of both of these approaches. We'll always have a lot of junk. People like candy. But in talking about how he schedules content on his blog, one of the speakers this weekend pointed out that some candy on Monday, candy and spinach on Tuesday, a big thinky roast piece on Wednesday, candy and spinach on Thursday, and candy on Friday isn't a bad way to schedule content (I think that's a little too much candy for me, personally, but you get the idea). You give folks some happy junk AND a nice chewy piece that makes them think, and then you're not just adding to the junk on the internet, you're providing some value and variety.

This is how I look at using online self-publishing platforms versus traditional publishing sometimes, too. Self-publishing or digital-only is ideal for small fun pieces in universes like the one in my God's War books that are fun slash-and-hack post-apocalypse stories with bad ass heroines and bug tech. Traditional houses can get the newer, chewier, more complicated stuff that gets people excited on a different level, like The Mirror Empire novels. And having a diversity of work also means that I lessen reader burnout. It's not just all the same tired thing.

I'm a marketing nerd, fully aware of its dangers and its potential for inciting positive change. And I admit I look forward to the end of the internet garbage era of marketing, or at least a reining in, a tactical deployment of candy vs. roast, instead of an endless sea of endless suns.

About Kameron Hurley
Kameron Hurley is the author of The Mirror Empire, as well as the award-winning God's War Trilogy, comprising the books God's War, Infidel, and Rapture. She has won the Hugo Award, Kitschy Award, and Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer. Hurley has also been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nebula Award, the Locus Award, BFS Award, and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Her short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Year's Best SF, EscapePod, The Lowest Heaven, and the upcoming Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women.

39 Comments

1:

Maybe it's not what the speaker meant, but I literally 'like' pictures of the Sun on Facebook from time to time, because I'm a solar physicist and follow a lot of NASA and solar physics pages. At least one of my non-scientific friends seems to enjoy seeing them, so I'm doing a little bit for scientific outreach that way. Also, they're pretty!

On the other hand, my G+ stream seems to be full of 'Indie' authors earnestly trying to sell each other SEO advice and editing services, and that does start to feel like noise after a while.

2:

In this instance, what most marketers are putting onto their FB pages are images like this, tho:

http://www.webweaver.nu/clipart/sun.shtml

Free clipart rulez!

3:

I don't want to poke a sore subject, Kameron,but the "Casino" approach also seems to have extended to some publishers as well. Your former publisher, Night Shade, clearly went for that model before it went belly up, trying a bunch of new authors, hoping one of them would hit it big.

None of them, unfortunately, hit it big enough, in the time frame they needed. Some of those authors (like you!) have turned out to be pretty damn good authors whose work I read and enjoy. But hit the casino? Unfortunately, no.

4:

In the large, all major publishers traditionally played the casino model: take on 20 new authors, publish them, maybe one will go bestseller, half will make a loss, the others will make a small profit. The 19 who don't go bestseller net out at break-even; the real profit comes from the sole breakout story. But if you don't take on 20 authors, you're not going to get your 1 runaway success.

5:

They had far more problems than just buying a lot of debut books. heh.

6:

And I hear publishers often talking about how they take on so-so work from major celebrities for big bucks and then it's those proceeds that will fund the more interesting work from new writers.

But in this instance I'm thinking about this from a writer's perspective as opposed to a publisher's, tho some of same still applies: if your candy pays well, it can supplement your work on a more complex piece.

7:

I am thinking of r/K-selection, which is one of those partially outmoded ideas about reproductive stratagy. Do you dump a large number of offspring into the world, with no support, or do you invest heavily in a few?

It's the same thinking, and it's not as good a bit of theory as people thought, but the choice is still apparent.

Some marketing company might end up employing an ecologist to try to model what they are trying to do. It's a bit like a stockbroker operation employing "quants".

8:

Oh, I see. I agree, that's pointless. The kind I like are more like this:

http://solarmonitor.org/full_disk.php?date=20140911&type=saia_00193&indexnum=1

9:

Yup, my thought as well. Thing is, though, it's a dynamic fitness seascape, not a fitness landscape, and both r- and K- are used in some type of minimax formula that their quants work out, but they tilt towards K-. (This changes because your choice of strategy feeds back upon the result).

Take Hollywood and TV. Hollywood is scare shitless of losing money, because they put in a huge investment and their seascape is shaped by these big tentpole blockbusters they put out to pay for the little movies (that usually don't get made anyway). Therefore, in a vicious gambler's cycle, if the blockbuster fails, they don't stop making blockbusters, they cut back on the sideshows. They also play with things that have a built-in audience (comic books). This is oversimplified, but you get the idea. TV, on the other hand, can afford to eff up. But! A successful series can take years to develop (K-). And the producers can shift product from an r- to a K- (or back) depending upon fan behavior. (Think spin offs, rip offs, etc).

But in general, the casino approach is preferred, and that applies to all the "content generating" stuff: writing, art, movies, music. etc.

(Art is a little different and not as merit-driven in that the high end is really hust branding and commodification, and therefore subject to stock manipulation, insider trading, etc.).

10:

I'm in content/outreach marketing, myself. We've adopted a mixed reproductive strategy over the last eighteen months, with short, rapidfire articles and monthly landmark pieces.

To some extent, the crap content is the price of doing business in the content marketing landscape - though I'm saved from becoming a Listicle Cat Giffer by the niche we target, as they just wouldn't have it. (I'll not link to any of it here, but I'm happy to go into detail in general terms if asked.)

But if you take the content marketing credo at face value, the long game strategy of producing landmark, thoroughly-researched pieces is what we're supposed to be aiming for. And it works, in the long term, by positioning your pieces as feedstock for folks pursuing the casino strategy or who want to produce data-driven work in your niche, but don't have the analytical chops.

The casino model gets you a seat at the table, but landmark stuff prints your brand on the back of the cards. Crap analogy, but I hope the point survives.

11:

But how much of "Hollywood" is the cinema? I can think of several elements that affect the whole film-making business, and some may already be on the way out.

Direct to Video: This may be on the way out. And it may be partly a UK-viewpoint. But cinema release has an audience bottleneck, in time and seats available. A DVD can easily cost less than a cinema ticket (and associated costs).

Netflix: I use the brand as a label for the whole video-over-the-internet business. It may be replaceing Direct to Video.

TV Movie: And this has the downside of entangling you with the TV networks.

An angle which may be skewing my viewpoint is that non-US film-making may be close to this market than the full Hollywood range. There are big films made in Britain, but the blockbusters seem to be American money using British resources.

But I have also seen British TV money going into very film-like stuff that gets a cinema release. And the structure of British TV may have an effect: in the USA a successful show runs for several 26-episode seasons, while a British show may start out with a half-dozen episodes, and a full season is 13 episodes.

Yes, that 26-episode season is a big gamble, and we don't see so much of the shows which only make 13 episodes. There may be more selection at the draft stage, effectively a K-bias, than in British TV. But I am also being biased by the selection process. It's the best stuff which gets through to British TVs from the USA.

And is a short season really half the price of a long one? The set-up cost doesn't shrink.

What does happen is that, just as US money makes films in Britain, British money is making TV series in Europe. Robin Hood started out in Hollywood. Then it was British TV. The last TV series was filmed in Hungary.

12:

My understanding is that the big game changer for Hollywood were DVDs, themselves now going the way of VHS I suppose what with streaming and mobiles, and then whatever is in the pipe as these all head towards Mr. Sterling's Dead Media territory. Hollywood is also making most of their monies in the international market, which jibes well with what you describe.

13:

"But how much of "Hollywood" is the cinema?"

In terms of 2012 box office receipts, 63% and falling:

http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2013/apr/02/hollywood-hold-global-box-office

14:

The monarchs of the mixed reproductive strategy have to be Buzzfeed and Vice. Buzzfeed is a byword for Listicle Cat Giffing, but they've done a surprising amount of very good journalism, and Vice is covering entire wars no-one else seems to be, but is famous for "drugs, celebrities, nudity" type stories.

The point? Well, when people mention "successful Internet media outlets," the list tends to start "Buzzfeed, Vice..."

15:

Marketing. I've just written an essay about that and have the sinking feeling that it might be the first of a short series. (Heavy sigh...)

I'm one of those who chose to follow Path 2: few but focused. Cash flow is the scariest part, especially when your sweetie is also freelancing. I don't regret the choice. I do regret not winning the lottery or having a trust fund :) But it was the only path for me. And now I've found a publisher with the same philosophy and my prospects look a bit brighter.

Also, I think teh internets are paying attention to chewier, more thoughtful pieces. Certainly, the best reviews I've had are online rather than in print. My hope is that we've been through the worst. I just wouldn't, y'know, bet on it.

16:

This. Yes. I wish I could move a lot of big corps to rely on being the thought leader, the "big rock" content producers, instead of just feeding off it.

17:

Spam. Google.

Their search algorithm seems to be going along with the folks that the guy who yelled, "WE ARE THE PROBLEM" is yelling about.

It doesn't help that, as far as I can tell, Americans have got to have the smallest vocabulary, and are willing to say *anything* to get you to look at whatever they're selling. Google, particularly, gives *way* more noise than signal in searches.

Example 1: search for almost anything on google, and you'll find a paid ad, on the side, from Target, suggesting they have what you want (esp. when they don't. Try looking for green wool fabric by the yard.)

Example 2: I was looking for men's high boots, with -women -womens (plural seems to be igrnored unless specified), etc, etc, etc. A sponsored ad, on the side, showed "women's

Example 3: I've been looking for a smoking jacket. Did you know that they were also called cardigans, women's loungerie, sports jackets, tuxedos, and on, and on? (Hint: no, they're not.)

Example 4: I look for servers, or hard drives, and the garbage they offer that has nothing to do with computer hardware, esp. as sponsored ads....

Then there's the interesting one that I can give a search term, and on the web get many, many hits, often for sale, while if I try google shopping, it tells me it has no hits. I didn't know google shopping was paid only (or is it?)

mark

18:

I ignore the adverts. Too many are inept search engines. They get your search strong, can't find it, and pop up a link to the page that failed with their own set of adverts.

And I see plenty of business directories filled with search strings and defunct businesses, all with adverts added to pay for them.

19:

Google may have put a little too much intelligence into its search algorithm for people who know exactly what they're looking for and merely want to know where to get it; they do an almighty amount of including synonyms etc. There are workarounds (put words to be taken literally in quotes, for instance), but for me needing "I mean it" markers is not a sign of unambiguous engineering success.

20:

> the novel that took five years or seven years
> to write, can be just as good an investment.

Can it? If it takes you five years two write a novel, it doesn't mean you're a better writer. It just means you're a slow writer.

After I drop my quatloos in the slot, it's still just a 3 to 5 hour entertainment package at my end.

21:

The hardest part, it seems, is arguing the ROI of long-term content strategy. The idea that your content should be big and useful is a hard sell.

Blogspam appears to have immediate payoffs - look at those spiky graphs! Just look at them! - but its utility is far lower for branding and conversions, in most areas. Widen the picture to more meaningful metrics and you see that these are pretty much useless eyeballs. 99.9% will show up, eat the candy, and leave.

Being the big rock (I love that, btw) is more expensive, more time consuming, and lower velocity. From a branding perspective, though, it's the way to go.

You earn a name for doing what only you can do. My outfit is sitting on years of jobs data in a really competitive sector, so we can analyze that and tell you things no one else can. We're also prominent enough that interesting companies answer our email, so I can line up interesting interviews (this is new, but I've neat stuff in the pipe from SpaceX, JPL, and possibly a certain killer robot company) to shed light on very specific pain points my readers talk about in their communities.

(Lurk, listen, offer preemptive customer service.)

Could I slap together a container around the latest creepy robot video, call it news, and spam the shit out of it? Sure. When I was young and hungry, I did a ton of it! But what's the value in that? How is that unique or interesting or useful?

Beyond offering very specific, researched pieces, being the big rock gives us a way of outflanking cynicism. We the Internet can smell a rat - but if a trusted media outlet uses my outfit's data to tell a story, or your college career counselor says, hey, I read this on $nameOfJFsEmployer, it applies to your problem in your sector... I'm not doing any selling. I'm being useful.

Turns out, being useful is really good for business. Who knew?

22:

> But cinema release has an audience
> bottleneck, in time and seats available.

And like bookstores, that bottleneck is getting tighter.

The local metro area, say a 35 mile radius, has gone from maybe ten theaters to only two; both located at malls, and mostly used by parents to dump off unruly children while shopping.

For an adult, that's hardly a desirable "night at the theater" experience.

23:

I am wondering a little about the timescale on this.

Three large towns within about equal reach, and all have seen changes in the cinema business.

Town A: Small cinema in traditional building, sub-divided into multi-screen, some of them quite small. A new purpose-built cinema arrived from a national chain, and the small cinema closed.

Town B: Several cinemas closed in the Eighties. One became a multi-screen and was left as the only one in town. Replaced by a new multi-screen under more-local ownership.

Town C: Similar pattern to town B, old cinema buildings closing and eventually a modern multi-screen. There was a relatively brief use of a building on an trading-warehouse estate. My recollection is hazy, but I think it was the chain that was building the multi-screen.

Of the three, the Town B modern multi-screen is the most recent. I have never been there, and for sundry reasons it is the least likely I shall use. For one thing, the last trains run to the town, not from it.

On reflection, I think the total seat numbers have increased in this century, after a major fall in the Seventies and Eighties, but not hugely.

Back in the eighties, when I first went to SF conventions, it was quite common for there to be good movies at the convention, the sort well-regarded by critics, which were never in cinemas in my area. The video market used VHS, which has a high per copy cost, and I rarely bought films on new video. Video rental was the big player. Village shops would have a small rental rack.

DVD has much lower per copy costs, compared to tape, and much higher quality. It was Lord of the Rings which sold me on that format. The price difference between purchase and rental has shrunk, and the rental business seems to have collapsed in the last your or two.

When I came to this medium-large village, there were two stores with video rental. There's none now, and rural internet is still marginal for streaming services. The virtual world sometimes feels very unevenly distributed.

24:

The world will move to 4K, but there are not going to be any new versions of BluRay for that format. Physical discs have reached the end of the line. The only possibility *might* be Flash ROM, but I doubt it. Stream it or miss it...

25:

Antonia makes a vulgar response.

26:

Paws reads #23, more or less echoes it (well except that it was 4 towns rather than 3 and the "last train" goes the correct way for me), reads #24, and then mirrors #25.

27:

The ones I hate are the supposedly "intellectual" ones where they ask whether YOU! can get the correct answer to 1+1=? By retards, for retards.

28:

My response is... PirateBay!

29:

rural internet is still marginal for streaming services

It's only vaguely better for downloading. Point taken?

30:

The point taken is that content providers nor the govt nor the telecom companies care about their rural audience.

31:

4K, by its very nature, is going to require big-ass downloads/high bandwidth streaming; it's still the same frame rate, but each frame has roughly four times the pixel count as a 1080p HDTV frame, which in turn is a whole lot higher than the 576p DVD frames many of us are still used to.

A Blu-Ray disk has to hold about 36Gb of data for a 2 hour movie; a hypothetical 4K disk would need to store on the order of 100-150Gb. If you have a 100mbps fibre broadband connection (like me), that's still a wallop of data: it'll haul in on the order of 10Mb/sec, at which rate an uncompressed 4K movie would take around 4 hours to download (using all your bandwidth). Even with the 5:1 compression typically obtained converting a DVD to MP4/H.264 (ahem), you're looking at an hour per downloaded movie.

Meanwhile, low-end ISPs with data caps typically only bundle 20-50Gb of data/month with their entry level subscriptions (at prices in the range £8-20/month). If you want more, you can end up paying up to £1/Gb. Bear this in mind ...

Now, it's worth noting that Sandisk just launched a 512Gb SD card (for high-end video work) for US $800. And their 256Gb SD cards go for around $250. It ought to be possible to cram a 4K movie into a 128Gb SD card without too much lossy compression, and those things sell for US $85-120 depending on quality. Assuming we've just seen the ceiling on FLASH storage prices crack (and demand is indeed rocketing sufficiently to cover the cost of new production facilities) we could see the cost of solid state media for 4K movies drop to around US $20 within another 2-3 years.

That's still too expensive to sell for a price competitive with a digital download over an all-you-can-eat ISP, but it is close to competing with the metered/capped/low-end ISP services. And it's certainly work for a rental model. SDXC cards are more robust and more compact than spinning media; so I can conceive of a revival of the rent-movies-by-mail business in the next few years, with orders placed online and a deposit charged in event that the media isn't returned on schedule.

Eventually (5-10 years?) rural broadband in the UK will catch up, and then the dead cat bounce of the physical movie rental business will be over for good. But in the meantime ...

32:

I think they're calling it Fiber-to-the-curb and it's close to appearing here. BT are installing the extra junction boxes to accommodate the hardware that will sit between the high-capacity optical fibre the the last length of the customer's copper line, instead of running copper from the exchange.

That copper is the bottleneck, and losing half or more of it does good things to the signal/noise ratio and means more speed.

I know what changing ISPs did to the speeds I was getting, and it was the same bit of copper. I'm not paying any more but my old ISP is offering a video-over-the-internet TV channel. If you get your internet from BT Retail you get several sports channels.

Sports channels? I remember what happened to OnDigital. And I am not very much interested in sport anyway.

Do I need FTC? If the ISP network doesn't overload, I am not sure I need to rush. My high-traffic use is more affected by the lag on the trans-Atlantic crossing. Ping times of between 150ms and 200ms for US-based services for two decades.

And finally the people I want to connect to are trying to make theings better for the world outside the USA. They are working on something called a Content Distribution Network, which seems to be a system of cache servers that don't have to be outside the USA.

I'll believe that when I see it, but even Fort Meade would be an improvement, it'll be a lower ping time that Dallas or Phoenix.


33:

There's an interesting analysis of the 'long game' versus the other strategy in the financial markets: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/historicpubs/speeches/2010/speech445.pdf
Haldane argues that there may be two equilibria, one in which patient investing is dominant, and one in which momentum-trading is dominan, and whichever is in the majority forms a self-reinforcing system

34:

Real uncompressed 4k is approximately 4000 x 2000 x 3 x 60 = 1.44GB/s = approx 10Gb/s

What will happen is that vendors will compress it to the point where the quality is not much better than standard HD

35:


Hum maybe, but, once upon a time and long ago I used to be an A.V.Technician...way back in the 1970s I...err that I deserves a " I " since it was my Boss at that time who decided that ' We ' needed a video recording facility that didn't depend upon expensive Technical Support and which would also look Elegant tm to our Industrial and Commercial Consultancy Clients..Who were paying 'US ' and thus indirectly ME...non quotation marks there since it did involve Overtime YA! Tm...And they would be bound to be offended by the High Tech Industrial and Commercial Sony U-Matic alternative.

SO....’WE ' bought the first Video Cassette Recorders to be readily available and usable by non - tech persons, and despite my Best Efforts ...Locking ‘MY; wonderful New Toy in ‘My ' cupboard of Safety didn’t work since my Boss had the spare KEY to my secure store when I was sent off on Assignment ... I'd comfort myself on returning from the most recent Assignment that Things Couldn’t get much worse in Industry and Commerce, but, Guess Wot? ..When I returned my new Toy would have ceased to function after the Boss had borrowed it whilst I was away. Not to worry though... 'WE ' would just buy the next one up....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Cassette_Recording

until eventually 'WE ' bought the Sony U-Matic VCR system which was no-where near as elegant as the Philips System but didn’t use a really weird tape path system so as to produce that ever so Piano Keyed elegant profile ..And also to completely Freck Up the entire inside of the Machine when non Tech persons did pause the poor thing a bit clumsily. When my first VCR was collected by the Vendors in Their Van the van turned out to be Packed with failed VCRs and the Van driver said, "Thats Nothing! You should see the workshop!HUGE PILE OF THESE THINGS EVERYWHERE!! "

SO! After my retirement... my Early Retiremnt...I was obliged to, to...how can I Say It? BUY!!!! New A.v. Tech of the Shinny Kind...Oh the Pain!

True I'm not a 'First Adopter ' these days, but even so I do have a Pioneer 608 D Plasma Panel on the wall and - 5 years down the line - I am weighing up the Next Generation, which probably will be something like ..


http://www.techradar.com/news/television/panasonic-shows-off-its-85-inch-premium-x492-4k-tv-1263888#null


Fed by? Ah that a problem even given up-scaling image enhancing pixel by pixel latest generation image enhancing technology. Mind you I'm not as despondent as others here before to...


http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/4k-blu-ray-discs-arriving-in-2015-to-fight-streaming-media/

And there’s already a...less than legitimate? ... Trial 4K move 4k torrent stream.

On the Very Large TV Wall Screen bought when Public Funds did not permit, and anyway it wasnt First Generation, First Adopter Stuff.SO THERE!!

Well... It will rain up rather than down before I take my decrepit spine along to a public cinema there to sit in a very uncomfortable seat before someone who has decided that Bathing is a Very Bad Thing.

36:

You might be interested in reading Arthur de Vany's Hollywood Economics.

http://www.powells.com/biblio/9780415312615

Section Four is where de Vany lays out the stable Paritean hypothesis (the fat-tail distribution people like Nicholas Nassim Taleb seems to favor over the Gaussian).

Or, if you prefer the Levy distribution (ring a bell? Levy flights, or levy walks, named by Mandelbrot because the distribution of large and small steps (risks) is a Levy distribution, were in the news last year. Something about predator search patterns).

De Vany: (snip)"The laws of the box office are those of a winner-takes-all contest. The laws are driven by a non-linear information dynamic that takes movies that are close to one another and propels them apart at exponential speed. Under the influence of these recursive and non-linear processes, movie revenues can “go anywhere”. They may even be chaotic. The extreme skew of the revenue distribution, the influence of extreme events, and the unstable and non-finite moments provide a rigorous basis for the "nobody knows" principle. I show that the stable Paretian model captures with high fidelity all the essential features of the statistics of the business." (unsnip)

If de Vany is correct, your patient vs. impatient trading equilibria model probably doesn't quite fit well.

37:

You're sort of hinting at the real limit to all this: room-sizes and human eyes.

Can we see the detail in these higher resolution images?

There's some complexity to the question in things such as the colour gamut of the system, but the sort of ordinary TV screen today would have been impressively huge in the days of the CRT screen. And the bigger the screen, the further away it needs to be. Cinema screens are big, and much further away from our eyes than the far end of our living room.

So can you make the pixels half the size on your display, and still get a decent yield from the manufacturing process? It's tricky. Can you double the size of the display? And where then do you put it in a typical living room?

This is the same sort of problem as the "retinal" display. Once the eye can't resolve individual pixels (or colour triplets) is there any more gosh-wow to sell.

With my eyes, I wonder if I am getting anything from Blu-Ray anyway. I could see the improvement DVD brought, even on an analogue TV. I could see what a 16:9 screen brought to my living room.

It's been a really huge change in the last 15 years, and I think we're hitting that plateau at the top of the curve.

It won't be pixels that attract the consumer's money, but what?

Maybe the money will be in internet bandwidth, and I'm not sure how much of that will come directly from the consumer. Some of the well-known ISPs in Britain seem to be running on razor-thin bandwidth margins, if the peak-time numbers I have seen are reliable.

Screen pixels or bandwidth, do the adverts tell us anything useful? And what will make us buy?

(Incidentally, the quality of the content is going to be very important. Lovejoy reruns are good TV, but they hardly sell pixel counts.)

38:

I think I agree; I've settled out at a DVD player and a 32" 16x9 set because I can't see the pixels or noticable rasterization at my usual 9 feet viewing distance.

There is no chance of getting me to watch Bartenders or Horrornation Street (even if you offered to pay me to do so, well I'd be looking for £200 per hour with a 4 hour minimum charge per episode). I rarely watch re-runs of "detection driven" cop shows because I usually remember "who dunnit and how" in the first 10 minutes although I do rewatch technology driven shows like Bones and CSI.

39:

Thanks, that looks interesting...

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This page contains a single entry by Kameron Hurley published on September 11, 2014 11:57 AM.

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