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Unbundling’s downside: the air travel analogy

So here’s an analogy you don’t hear every day: airline fees and multichannel video. But there may be a disturbing symmetry brewing, thinks the New York Times writer Neil Irwin. He points to the airline industry’s embrace of bric-a-brac fees for piecemeal services like beverages, meals and baggage handling, and says pay TV could be headed to a similar place if providers unbundle catch-all video packages.

Turntables rejoice: Renewed mojo for vinyl records

That turntable collecting dust in your basement may be due for a second life. In a rare example of an analog resurgence, sales of vinyl records are rising so fast that manufacturers can't keep up with the demand. The 7 million flat, round, black, glistening LPs purchased through early December, 2014 represent a 50 percent rise from a year earlier, as indie rock fans in particular embrace the needle. But the resurgence, alas, may be limited. "The  record-making business is stirring to life—but it’s still on its last legs," writes the Wall Street Journal's Neil Shah. 

The care and vining of television in the new era

While the traditional television crowd wasn't looking, an entirely new content explosion was rising up on YouTube. Here, New Yorker contributor Tad Friend pens a gotta-read piece here about Big Media's attempt to catch up with and/or co-opt the new original online video movement -- and why the next big thing in TV might last only six seconds. One irresistable line: "The digital realm is no country for old men; younger, fleeter forms and stars are emerging faster and faster, and you almost can’t trust anyone over thirteen to understand them."

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Monday, January, 12 2015

Question for our time: Are DVRs still cool?

By: Stewart Schley Monday, January, 12 2015

In the museum of Stuff Your Dad Used to Have, alongside the Chevrolet Cobalt and the Modest Mouse t-shirt, here’s another item to add: the DVR.

 

The machine that ate television may be starting to show its age, according to some interesting analytics shared recently by CBS research guru David Poltrack.

 

Although digital video recording devices have made an impressive climb into the U.S. consumer mainstream – close to half of U.S. households now have one or more sitting on or near the TV set – there are signs they’re starting to lose traction with younger viewers.

 

Poltrack shared data points at the December UBS Global Media and Communications conference that suggest network-rendered time-shifting alternatives may be taking some of the steam from DVR usage among youngsters. The Nielsen-derived data shows the share of prime time ratings attributable to DVR playback is flat in 18-49 HHs over the past two TV seasons, but rising among older viewers. Here are the numbers:

 

 

These are subtle indicators, to be sure. But the directions are interesting. Note the turnabout from the 2012-2013 season, when younger viewers watched a greater share of DVR-retrieved content than older viewers (4.9 percent versus 4.8 percent).

 

 “It is the older, later adopters that are increasing their time-shifted viewing, not the younger viewers that originally fueled the growth of this form of viewing, many of whom have moved…

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