First the packaging – We’ve entirely revamped our website. “What’s with the dark background” some of you would ask. Well, our website was about video content, so it made sense to create an immersive look-and-feel. Today, we’re more focused on features, and ease of use. We’re about utility. So it made sense to redesign the site to articulate what Vuze does, with a more “utilitarian” look, and a lot of real estate dedicated to features. And yes, it’s on a white theme.
Speaking of utility and features, we are also releasing Vuze 4.4, with a lot of cool stuff in store, such as a major update of our video player: It’s fast, it supports gorgeous 1080p, and it has subtitles and languages built-in. We’re also upgrading our device playback engine, with faster transcoding and new native support for iPad and connected TVs such as Samsung.
Also, we’re launching a version of Vuze with premium features. Vuze Plus is a new offering that we’re super excited about. We see it as a great way to finance all the innovation that goes into Vuze, and allow the main product to remain free. Some call it a freemium model, I call it a win-win for users. All Vuze users will benefit from us having more resources to innovate with the product they love, and Vuze Plus users will enjoy top-notch features (DVD burning, better search, torrent virus scanning) neatly integrated into Vuze.
Overall, today’s release is a small “avant-gout” of big things to come later in 2010. We’re working on a new project. It’s about digital media, it’s about your television, it’s not related to bittorrent. In fact, in many ways, it’s not related to your computer. Quite simply, its about doing more with your digital entertainment. We can’t say much about it just yet, but we think you’ll love it.
In the meantime, enjoy the new site, Vuze 4.4, and Vuze Plus, and as always, let us know what you think.
We’ve been making the case for years now that Vuze users are avid entertainment fans and early adopters of hot new technologies. Recently, we decided to prove it, once and for all. We set out to gather some data comparing you to the average Internet user.
Let me introduce you to yourselves.
In short, you’re:
- Heavy movie fans
- Avid online video buffs (at the expense of “live” TV)
- Trailblazing tech consumers
- Ultra connected online influencers
- Uniquely attracted to science fiction and animation content.
When it comes to entertainment and tech consumption, there’s no doubt that you’re the fairest of them all. In fact, you may just be Hollywood’s best customers.
As valued customers, you’ve made it clear on how you want your online entertainment catered to your needs:
- Screen shifting: More flexibility to watch your content on any screen you want (PC, Mobile, TV)
- Time Shifting: More ability to download and watch your content whenever you desire
- Higher resolution: More HD, and less grainy, stuttering, pixelated videos
- Content: More science fiction and animation.
Your feedback has empowered us to speak on your behalf. Stay tuned…
For more detail on our findings, download the full summary.
“I’m a guy who doesn’t see anything good having come from the Internet. Period.”
– Michael Lynton, CEO Sony Pictures Entertainment
Over the weekend, I caught up on the news and came across this quote from the CEO of Sony Pictures. It reminded me of an old quote from a Hollywood leader in a bygone era:
“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”
- Harry Warner, President of Warner Brothers (1927)
After getting over my initial disbelief and amusement, I came to realize that it’s tempting to be pessimistic about this new medium. Media’s early forays onto the Internet showed great promise on the dream of delivering content to consumers anytime and anywhere. To date, however, we’ve only delivered on part of the promise. We’ve built the technologies for distributing media over the Internet, but the industry has only begun to solve the business model side of how we productively monetize this distribution.
As a result, Sony and others find themselves navigating through a formidable set of challenges:
- The Internet has enabled widespread piracy
- The economics of video on demand haven’t emerged (yet) as a viable replacement for the industry’s DVD business
- The music industry’s business model has been disrupted by the “unbundling” of songs (good for users, challenging for the industry)
- Segments of the younger generation are watching less and less TV, and spending more and more time online and playing video games.
Like every other distribution platform before it (radio, TV, VHS, e-commerce), online media distribution is being adopted by users much faster than by content owners and advertisers, thereby leading to a short-term net destruction in value.
So, if you’re a studio executive, how do you begin to navigate these turbulent waters? One thing is for sure — ignoring the sea change going on around us is not an option. Cowering in fear at the thought of translating “analog dollars into digital dimes” will have only one effect — converting these dimes into pennies. Rather, we believe content owners ought to adopt the burning platform paradigm. Recognize that content distribution will be heavily disrupted anyway, and that the worst strategy is to move too slowly. Instead, experiment like your business is at stake:
- Understand the need to re-think and evolve Hollywood’s traditional licensing windows (ad-supported versus purchase or rental)
- Understand the user experience that end consumers desire (HD versus SD, streaming versus download, PC viewing versus devices)
- Evaluate the real trade-offs that DRM introduces
- Understand WHY people are free-riding content today, since these same people also spend more money than the average Internet users on non-digital platforms (more on this later).
Technological disruption can be brutal and uncomfortable for a CEO in the media industry navigating turbulent waters. However, nothing good can emerge from a focus on short-term pain rather than long-term gain. The key is to focus on what’s important to the end consumer, and what this consumer would be willing to pay for what’s important to them.
Consumers are changing. Let’s change with them, and identify business models that embrace this change.
None of us want to end up with a quote like this to our name:
“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it to be an impossibility…a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.”
- Lee DeForest, a pioneer in the development of radio (1926)
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