Thursday, 12 December 2013

08:23 – Netflix Instant is obviously under pressure from Amazon and other video streaming vendors. Netflix is having to pay much more for the rights to stream programming, and it’s really starting to show in their selection of new titles. For the last few months, I’ve noticed that their new material is heavily skewed towards material from Korea and other Pacific Rim countries. For at least the last three months, their “Recently added in TV Shows” category has been more than half Korean and other dubbed material. I’m sure they get this stuff for almost nothing, and I’m equally sure that almost none of their subscribers have any interest at all in watching it. It’s simply a cheap and cheesy way of padding their catalog. Even so, at eight bucks a month Netflix streaming continues to offer incredible bang for the buck.

I’m not sure what’s going on with kit sales to foreign customers. Over the past year our sales have been steadily about 95% domestic, with nearly all of the remainder going to Canadian customers. Lately, 15% to 20% of sales have been to customers outside the US, with Canadians, Australians, and Brits about evenly split.

I read an interesting report yesterday about generosity by nation. The generosity in question was not foreign aid, but individual generosity, measured not only in monetary contributions but in willingness to help others, contribute time and work, and so on. The PDF included a table of the top 10 over the past five years. Positions 1 through 6 were held by the US, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, and the UK. It’s probably not a coincidence that all of these are English-speaking countries.

09:46 – Congratulations to John Farrell Kuhns, whose Heirloom Chemistry Set Kickstarter project has nearly reached four times its original $30,000 goal. That’s with only a month gone and two weeks remaining.

Several people have asked me why I’m supporting and promoting a competitor’s project. The short answer is that I don’t really consider John to be a competitor. We focus on different markets. But even if John were our competitor, I’d still support his project because I think it’s important that kids have as many good options as possible for getting involved with hands-on science.