Wednesday, 27 November 2013

07:48 – Well, this is ugly. Following news that Obamacare has forced something like 10 million people to lose their individual health insurance plans in 2013 comes news that Obamacare may force up to 150 million more to lose their company-sponsored group health insurance plans in 2014. Things are already looking bad for the Democrats in the 2014 mid-term elections, and are going to start looking a lot worse. Best case, the Republicans will take control of both houses of congress, repeal Obamacare, impeach and convict Obama for high treason, and send him, Reid, Pelosi, and the rest to Guantánamo Bay. That’s assuming the general public doesn’t catch, lynch, and hang them from lamp posts first.


14:22 – That’s interesting. Apparently, Amazon Prime 2-day shipping actually means two days, more or less. I ordered three items with Prime shipping at 1630 yesterday. Two of them arrived half an hour ago, 21 hours after I placed the order. The third item just shipped an hour ago and isn’t supposed to arrive until Monday, six calendar days after I placed the order.

Now that Amazon has added a watch list to Prime Video, it’s actually usable. I just checked, and we’ve watched a grand total of 86 minutes of Netflix streaming video in the last 16 days. Not that we’ll drop Netflix Instant any time soon. It has lots of stuff that Amazon Prime video doesn’t, and vice versa. At $8/month for Netflix streaming and $80/year for Amazon Prime, we’re not going to run out of things to watch. It’s no wonder that the broadcast and cable networks are quaking in their boots. Other than sports, there’s nothing keeping most people from dropping cable and OTA completely.

If I were a broadcast or cable network executive, what’d be keeping me awake nights is the fear that the sports organizations might abandon me and go direct to customers. If MLB, NFL, NBA, PGA, USTA, NASCAR, and the other sports organizations had any sense, they’d be selling direct to customers and cutting out the middleman. But if they’re going to do that successfully, they need to keep three essential principles in mind: no commercials, on-demand with no black-out, and all-you-can-eat. People don’t want to have the program interrupted by commercials. They want to watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it. And they want to pay by subscription rather than per view. The organizations that do all of those will make money hand over fist. Those that don’t will regret their decision.

If HBO, Showtime, AMC, and the other cable networks want to remain relevant a bit longer, they need to take the same approach. The sweet spot seems to be $7 or $8 per month for networks with a lot of original content and maybe $3 per month for those with less content. And, make no mistake, original content is key. You can use non-current movies and TV seasons to fill out your offerings, but it’s original content that draws viewers. And even doing that will keep these aggregators relevant for only the next few years. More and more, we’re seeing the actual content producers going directly to their customers, and that’s where the future lies.

27 thoughts on “Wednesday, 27 November 2013”

  1. I wonder if the Dems know that RETRIBUTION is coming? Will the Blue Dogs desert en mass? Will the lovely Kirsten Gillibrand be the Republican VP candidate in 2016? 🙂

  2. the general public doesn’t catch

    I first read that as “the general public doesn’t castrate”.

  3. Things are already looking bad for the Democrats in the 2014 mid-term elections, and are going to start looking a lot worse

    November 2014 is a long way off and Obummer has a big bag of tricks that he is getting ready to play. And, he plays hardball.

  4. I wish I could be so positive. To buy the votes of the ignorant voters, I bet there will be a big giveaway of Medicaid for everyone next year. Doesn’t matter that there is no money, the States are stuck covering the bill.

    My Wife (RN in OR) and Daughter (Certified Coder) work at the county hospital where all the no-pays and Medicaid (virtual no-pays) people are dumped. This hospital is preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. Many of the Doctors are looking into going into concierge medicine, but that could be outlawed by a simple signature by Kathleen “Sebaceous-cyst”.

    Saw a great bumper sticker yesterday. An Obama bumper sticker had a “Nope” bumper stick placed across it (a take-off on the “Hope” bumper sticker).

    So how is the Hoax and Chains working for you.

  5. I bet there will be a big giveaway of Medicaid for everyone next year

    Can’t do that here in The Great State of Texas. In fact, you have to have less than $3,000 in assets to get on Medicaid in Texas. Medicaid is only for the truly destitute here and is 40% used by little old ladies and little old men in nursing homes. The other 60% is poor children’s health and dental payments.

    Governor Perry chose not to accept the three year federal freebie in expanding Medicaid to 133% of the poverty level. We just cannot afford it here in Texas without expanding our state taxes. And even if we did expand the Medicaid program, good luck in finding doctors who will accept it.

    BTW, I recently read that 70% of ER visits in Texas do not pay a penny. There is something really wrong in that.

  6. If I were a broadcast or cable network executive, what’d be keeping me awake nights is the fear that the sports organizations might abandon me and go direct to customers.

    One of the things stopping them is the setup to build a broadcast team with cameras, playbacks, announcers, color people, etc, etc, etc. Not trivial to do. Probably 20 ? to 100 ? people per game (serious SWAG on my part).

    Not that they will not do it someday, sometime. And there will be commercials. Read up on Jerry Jones and how he started auctioning the NFL games to TV when CBS stiffed them one season. Jerry Jones does not miss on any money making opportunity connected with the Arlington Cowboys or Jerry’s World.

  7. Bob’s best-case-scenario for next year with the Repubs, i.e. the Stupid Half of the War Party, will happen about when elephants fly and pigs learn to whistle. The Fix is in; destruction of the country. Will people rush out to hang the perps? Nope. They’ll wait until they’re really hurting and desperate and then they’ll rush out to hang and shoot each other.

    As for tee-vee; I’d pay a reasonable subscription fee for the service that Bob describes and nothing less, mainly for NFL and MLB, maybe.

    Got all the stuff prepared for cooking tomorrow and all that’s left to do is in the morning fire up the turkey, which will have been brining overnight, and then click on the slow cookers, boil the spuds, and we’re good to go.

    Forties here today with residual rain; more sputtering rain and snow showers tonight and tomorrow and then turning sharply colder, they say, into the weekend, when Mrs. OFD flies off again for two weeks. Then she’ll have a whole three-and-a-half weeks off in December through Xmas and New Year’s. With two of us here we can get a helluva lot more done on the house, and I hope to be back working by then anyway.

  8. Bob’s best-case-scenario for next year with the Repubs, i.e. the Stupid Half of the War Party, will happen about when elephants fly and pigs learn to whistle

    Sadly, I think think you are correct. The folks (Bill O’Reilley’s term) just do not care about DC. So both partys are partying in DC and pitching pennies to see who gets to deliver the next bad news. The other party then asks their donors for more money. Don’t let a good crisis go to waste!

    Then she’ll have a whole three-and-a-half weeks off in December through Xmas and New Year’s.

    Woohoo!

    I hope to be back working by then anyway

    I hope so also!

    We are going to bounce off 32 F tonight. I have yet to wrap the new water well’s pipe so I am hoping for a soft bounce. Or I may get my lazy butt out there in a minute or two and wrap that pipe. We are actually back up to 50 F today and then to 68 F on Saturday.

  9. Obamacare may force up to 150 million more to lose their company-sponsored group health insurance plans in 2014.

    No no no, you just don’t understand. Obama, Peace Be On Him, and his benevolent plan will not force any such thing. It’s the greedy, evil insurance companies and greedy, capitalistic employers. Bottom line if all employees are not offered good insurance with the employer covering at least 90% of the cost, it is because of evil capitalism. I’m sure we know how Obama, PBOH, intends to end that evil.

  10. Can’t do that here in The Great State of Texas. In fact, you have to have less than $3,000 in assets to get on Medicaid in Texas.

    That is really true in most States, but the States and the Feds have their ways to make you destitute real quick.

    The other dirty little secret in Obama Care and the 10s of thousands of pages of “regulations” outside of the “law” is that the Government has complete access and “right” to all of your bank accounts and retirement funds (you didn’t earn that). Yes, I believe in some of the conspiracy theories and have been doing my best to be sure that I am protecting my assets because the Government will take whatever it can get its hands on.

    I appreciate that many Texans feel that they have it over on the Feds. But my caution is watch for the flanking maneuver.

  11. But my caution is watch for the flanking maneuver

    And here it is:
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/27/epa-preparing-to-unleash-a-deluge-of-new-regulations/

    “However, the agency isn’t just working on limiting emissions from coal plants. The EPA is also working on a rule that would expand the definition of “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act to include water on private property.”

    I am wondering if I need to drain my two 1 acre ponds and install pumps to keep them dry. However, around here the EPA man better bring an MRAP full of brown shirts.

  12. As to your comment on sports leagues cutting out the middle and selling direct, ….bingo! The Motorcycle Gran Prix is doing this now, motogp.com will get you to their web site. A video pass by race or season is available and it is just as you describe. No commercials and there for you when you want.

    regards

  13. Suppose the Democrats get utterly trashed in the 2014 elections. So what? It just means that the Republicans will get those seats. So instead of big government through Obamacare we will get big government through a new war somewhere.

    Meanwhile, they won’t repeal Obamacare – too many people have their snout in that trough. Instead, they’ll patch it. At a guess, they’ll allow you to buy whatever health insurance you damn well please, but only after paying the Obamacare penalty. That way, the money keeps flowing, and you can pay extra to get back to where you used to be.

    The gift of government: the worst of both worlds.

  14. “Three men have been charged over the haul, which police say included 328 weapons and 4.2 tonnes of ammunition.”

    Must be about as much as everyone on this board has lost in the lake, Brazos, around Pittsburgh, etc.

    Eh? That’s only about 110 weapons and 1.4 tons of ammunition each. I used to know several people who owned at least that much each, although that’s 30 and 40 years ago. I suspect most of them have lost it in rivers and lakes by now, though.

  15. Being an inoffensive, peace-loving guy I wouldn’t feel the need for more than 2-3 pistols, two shotguns and two rifles, and 10,000 rounds for each. I have a higher opinion of the basic goodness of human nature than OFD and so think my proposed stash would be enough.

  16. Best case, the Republicans will take control of both houses of congress, repeal Obamacare, impeach and convict Obama for high treason, and send him, Reid, Pelosi, and the rest to Guantánamo Bay

    So does this mean that you are planning on voting in 2014?

    Suppose the Democrats get utterly trashed in the 2014 elections. So what? It just means that the Republicans will get those seats. So instead of big government through Obamacare we will get big government through a new war somewhere.

    Hey, the repubs have got their snout in the trough. Remember who got us the drug portion of Medicare which is bankrupting Medicare very quickly.

    BTW, the Democrats started all the wars in the 1900s. The Repubs got to the party late and started the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Dems are all anti-war until they get in power and then go bomb the Balkans.

  17. There seems to be about 100X more FMJ ammo than JHP. And about half the price. Is FMJ just as good for long term storage and usage in a crisis?

  18. One of the things stopping them is the setup to build a broadcast team with cameras, playbacks, announcers, color people, etc, etc, etc. Not trivial to do. Probably 20 ? to 100 ? people per game (serious SWAG on my part).

    What is the minimum possible? A lot less than you imagine. When I first started in TV, back in the black & white days, we did Indiana U. and Purdue U. basketball games with 8 technical and production crew on location, using 2 cameras and an additional 2 on-air talent—play-by-play man and another for color commentary. That’s it. When the National Clay Court Tennis Championsips were in Indianapolis, we used a smaller crew than that and only 1 on-air talent.

    The only thing that has changed since then is the addition of Chiron overlays (score, titles, player info, etc.) and replays. So add 2 more people (in the day, we did those back at the station, however for network feeds of more than one station or stream, that would need to be at the point of origination these days).

    Network overkill comes from union contract rules, which provide for things like operator relief every couple of hours, and jurisdictional prohibitions so crossing lines for setup and tear-down requires more people. In our situation, with limited crew, everybody pitched in by helping carry all equipment into the sports arena at once, then each group set up and connected their own equipment. Now there are ‘roadie’ types who do all the lugging, which adds personnel. Whatever they do it with now, could be cut in half, if necessary.

    That does not include the organizational people back at the office, but only a couple of them are necessary. Our sales staff just added selling the sports programs into the mix of selling the rest of the station. Selling things like NCAA coverage does not require a fulltime sales staff, but that is usually how it is done today, because stations no longer produce sports broadcasts, so there is no other work for those sales people to do, once they fill all the commercial availabilities with sponsors.

    Twelve to fifteen people would be plenty more than enough to handle ordinary games, with only a very few working fulltime—the rest could be pickups working only on the games, which are usually 3 day affairs: one day for setup; second day program shoot; third day tear-down and return, although some crews prefer to tear-down right after the broadcast—that is usually governed by how quickly they need to arrive at the next game destination.

    One thing is pretty obvious in modern life: the people who reach or touch the most others, are paid the biggest salaries (controlled and purposeful shortages of doctors and lawyers accounting for their too-large salaries). Before radio and television, playing baseball was more a hobby and not a profession for any player, because revenue was limited to gate receipts of modestly-attended games played mostly in daylight hours because there was no stadium lighting. Radio brought in larger audiences and made baseball at least a summer profession for many. Television expanded salaries to the outrageous region, as crazed rich people bought teams and then contracted for fabulous salaries with players, based on imagined huge future revenue increases that are just not happening nowadays, as audience numbers for sporting events decline along with general television viewing figures.

    Bill Gates typifies this ‘touching people’ analysis; is there anybody in the civilized, developed modern world that is not using a Bill Gates product? Warren Buffet has just had a super-damned lucky life, IMO. Although if you are insured by GEICO, eat at Dairy Queen or consume Mars candy bars or Heinz soups, wear Fruit of the Loom underpants, or buy Acme Bricks (my favorite of his companies because of the Acme name), then you’ve been touched by Buffet.

    So, although sports TV production may be bloated now by the money that has been attached to the games during the last several decades, it definitely does not have to be that way. A small economical crew with many paid only 3 days per game, is plenty for sports productions.

    Super Bowl is extravagance to the extreme, and after seeing the latest Hunger Games movie a couple days ago while visiting my son, it is positively scary that it and shows like American Idol have such a following. IMO, there is a fine line betwen those shows and crossing the line to revering Roman Gladiator death games on TV, as Hunger Games imagines.

  19. is there anybody in the civilized, developed modern world that is not using a Bill Gates product?

    I’m not. Haven’t for many years.

  20. Me, neither, at least away from the client site. My clients all use Windows on the desktop and often as servers, and perforce I do as well, but it’s their machines and their site, so it’s not my problem. (Except as a taxpayer. As a taxpayer, I wonder if it’s fiduciary malfeasance to spend thousands of dollars for the OS of each server when free OSs are available.)

    That said, I will probably be getting a Windows laptop or tablet as soon as I can scrape up the spare cash and no one in my family has a crisis and my wife doesn’t spend it. (In other words, 2020 or so.) I really like voice dictation software for writing fiction, and the best one I’ve found runs only on Windows.

  21. For certain things, I cannot avoid Windows. My university uses SAP, and SAP apparently only runs under Windows; I have a partition with the school’s Windows installation, and boot to it when I need SAP. Companies I consult for always have Windows networks. Hence, I have a Windows VM running under Linux, that I use when I have to do something on their networks.

    Chuck’s good comments about Linux Mint led me to give it another try, but it looks like I’ll be sticking to Ubuntu. I use TrueCrypt, but Mint includes an alternative that breaks my particular setup. I could get it to work, but there are other problems: The laptop switches for brightness, for turning the wireless networking on/off, etc – none of these are recognized under Mint. Otherwise it looks really nice, and I could be happy with it – but the switch problem is a killer.

    Strangely, some update in the last few months has killed my headphone audio on the laptop under Ubuntu. It also didn’t work under Mint. I yet haven’t found any useful information on the Internet. I would have thought that the headphone jack would just be physically connected to the sound output, but apparently it’s software controlled. Works just fine under Windows, so it’s not a hardware problem.

  22. Audio on Linux is problematic at best. It has to do with the fact several different systems run at the same time. It is a real headbanger for pro audio. Some programs use Pulse and others ALSA. On my various installs, Pulse sometimes mutes ALSA and vice-versa when some program is feeding audio.

    Try googling things like ‘making Pulse and ALSA work together’ or some such variant. You will probably run across references to Rivendell, the Linux FOSS radio automation program. It is a good source for reference, but they are always going to be referring to high-end pro audio cards. They are not much help for onboard audio, but may give some clues in any event.

    Meanwhile, I am having extreme audio problems with my Galaxy S3 regarding sound. Possibly a hardware issue, I don’t know, but when plugging things into the earphone jack, it frequently does not shut off the phone’s speaker, and does not feed audio to the earphone jack. The jack seems very touchy; just twisting a successfully working plug can yield the message ‘earphones disconnected’. It worked like a champ until a couple months ago, when lots of things went awry after Sprint forced a ground zero reboot remotely for a minor problem. I lost all my contacts in that episode, and did not have them properly backed up—even though I had followed their instructions for backing up. Their reboot had lots of failure messages, which passed after mere seconds, and there seems to be no log of those.

    Anyway, from my reading, the phone companies modify the Android OS, and frequently screw things up. I cannot really root the thing, because I am on an employee’s plan and rooting would get him in trouble. But from googling, that seems to be the solution. Local download and listening to voice-mail has also stopped working, so I have to call in to listen to messages, and the notification that I have messages stopped working. Sprint has no idea how to fix that, except another remote reboot. No, thanks!

  23. I have a Verizon Bionic that will not back itself up to Verizon anymore. I figured out that it is trying to backup the pictures and that exceeds my backup storage at Verizon (maybe 100 MB ???) so it just totally fails to back anything up. I can add more backup storage for $5 per month though …

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