Design your community, not just your product
I thought this article by Andrew Chen was spot on .
"For social apps, what you design directly is only half the user experience. The people are just as important! So if you build a really great linksharing site that’s extremely polished and full-featured, but the community consists of Nazis, it won’t work for people."
Product is vital, of course. But in a sense it’s almost table stakes. For products that are not simple utilities, you should spend as much time planning and working on building a community as you spend planning and building your product.
Future of Web TV
I answered a question on Quora the other day — what is the future of web tv?
Here’s what I said… what do you think? What other trends will we see or do you disagree with my points?
The future of web TV is the same as the future of TV — both will converge and will be marked by the following high level trends. This is only my opinion, of course.
1. "Websites" will be the new networks/ channels. Whether it’s ABC.com,YouTube.com, or Netflix.com, what we think of as websites will be more like networks or channels, complete with a robust inventory of on-demand content. This trend is well under way and companies like Netflix officially cite the web services of networks like HBO as their biggest potential competitors (http://ir.netflix.com/secfiling…. — search “hbo” since I can’t deep link). In fact, Netflix is following the historical path of HBO in some respects— starting by licensing movies then developing original series like Lilyhammer and (the forthcoming) House of Cards staring Kevin Spacey.
2. Proliferation of niche content and sites. As production and distribution costs decline the number of “channels” and amount of content will continue to increase. This is continuing the historical trend we’ve seen over the past several decades (see the chart below from a Credit Suisse report titled Convergence 2011). The web will dramatically increase this trend as distribution costs decline nearly zero. And while production is not free, if you’ve ever been to Hollywood there are plenty of under-employed actors, directors, and writers eager for the next gig…
2a. Part of this content proliferation will be driven by the availability of international content marketed and targeted toward ex-pat audiences. Take the run-away success of Nigerian film distributor, iRokotv.com http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/0…
3. Premium content will still be paid. The web will not make all video entertainment free. Whether it’s bundled as part of a bigger subscription or available a la carte, some movies and TV will still be paid. That includes paying for subscriptions to servies that bundle content (like traditional cable TV packages).
While some “web should be free” enthusiasts may disagree, I believe Web-TV will follow a variation of of the industry’s traditional “content windowing” model — that is the method of making content available through different channels at different times and prices. For example, a traditional Hollywood movie may be distributed first to theaters, then to pay-per-view, then to DVD, then to premium channels, then to network TV (a simplification, but you get the point). In web-TV the model may look like this: first distribute to theaters, then to download-to-buy, then to digital rental servies, then to digital subscription servies, then ad-supported. And of course, producers/ distributors can choose to skip any step.
Why consumers aren’t adopting TV-E Apps
Just answered this on Quora.
Primary issue: It’s confusing for the user to “authenticate” when they log into TV-Everywhere apps. Authentication is required to prove that the user subscribes to the particular channel via traditional cable/ satellite, but in order to do this the user needs their Comcast, Dish, etc. username and password. The vast majority of people don’t know and will not spend time trying to find this information.
Secondary issue: The consumer value of the TV-Everywhere app can be vague at best. As mentioned, in order to access a TV-E app the user must already have access to that channel on traditional cable/ satellite. So why would a user watch on their iPad or mobile phone when they can watch on the big TV in the living room? Of course there are use cases (traveling, missed an episode, etc.) but they’re not necessarily huge value propositions that have mass appeal. Perhaps that’s why ESPN (for example) has gone out of their way to explain why users should try their TV-E app. http://allthingsd.com/20120721/espn-explains-how-to-watch-espn-on-the-web-if-youre-paying-for-cable/
Here’s a draft of our overview video for boomtrain. Let me know your thoughts!