Thursday, December 4, 2008

Economic Turmoil As These Doors Close, Which Ones Will Open?

I consider myself a very optimistic person. As I watch our economy deal with a recession, it comes with many costs. And unfortunately the list of layoffs keeps getting longer:
AT&T - 12,000 workers
Motorola - 3000
Viacom - 850
Adobe - 600
NBC - 500
Comcast - 300
Ticketmaster - 300

And more announcements will come very shortly.

It has already affected consumer spending and retail is facing it head on. Bankruptcy is touching Linen and Things, Circuit City, Bally's, and perhaps soon one or more auto manufacturers.

I am empathetic to those affected by this retrenchment. Change does not always mean growth; sometimes it requires a step backwards before driving ahead. But I remain optimistic, even as this list is sure to expand, that the economy, and us as individuals, will be stronger and healthier in the long run. I remain optimistic that even as one door closes, another opens.

Cable - If You Can't Join Em, Beat Em!

Two interesting articles in today's New York Times. On one page an article headed, Who Needs a TV? I’m Watching on a Laptop, and on the next page, another article, YouTube and Hulu Visit the Living Room. The first highlights the fact that with video at you fingertips on the PC, you get what you want, when you want it, where you want it, and with limited commercial interruptions. The main limitations remain sports and newer movies today, but that is a short term problem that will be solved.

The second article should scare cable operators and linear networks even more. What is interesting about the article is not either Hulu or You Tube; rather, the device to connect these services to HD TV sets. "The Neuros Link is a device that connects to a television via an HDMI cable and can stream Web video to any HD display. The device requires a broadband connection and little else: there is no subscription fee, because the device brings in free content from the Internet." Now you have your streaming content and see it on a big screen Hi Def TV set.

So what saves the operator - making the set top box more ergonomic and flexible than it is today. Add a web connection, add interfaces to the Wii and PS3 for direct downloading, add Tivo, and move its functionality to a remote control that is easier to use and simpler to work. Save networks by enabling interactive advertising across all video so that it recognizes brands and connects to relevant content.It is time to think "outside the box"!