“In America HBO is a premium network, meaning people must pay an additional $15 a month or so to subscribe to it on top of whatever they pay for a hundred-odd “basic” cable channels. That means it need carry no advertising, and can instead carry levels of sex, violence and bad language at which advertisers would blanch. No advertising also means the company focuses on pleasing subscribers rather than amassing huge audiences. “If you’re not paying for television, you’re not the customer,” says Jeff Bewkes, head of Time Warner. “You’re the product.”—
Three things here. First,in an age when we sit here and decry Facebook and others for selling us to advertisers, it’s important to note that that is exactly what other television stations do and HBO does not. Granted, they know way less about us, but the principle still holds true.
Second, by not being beholden to advertisers, HBO can make a better product. HBO’s series are awesome, and they have made television as a whole awesome. Competition for great shows has intensified. The former president of HBO went to Starz and has starting commissioning programming to compete. AMC has stepped up its game directly because of HBO and has given us Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.
Finally, the bundling we hate so much is equally responsible for that great content. This article notes “Even by television’s standards HBO offers unusual creative freedom. Alan Ball, who won an Oscar for writing “American Beauty” before joining HBO to create “Six Feet Under”, contrasts HBO with the “gulag” of broadcast television.” It goes on, “HBO is also more likely than other networks to give programmes a chance to build audiences. It often ostentatiously orders a second season of a show the same day the first episode of the first season is broadcast. Series launched with a lot of publicity but that never find a large audience, such as “In Treatment” or “Treme”, a show about New Orleans, are kept alive for longer than you would expect.”
It is precisely because all of their series are bundled that they can do this. if they offered them a la carte, every series would have to make its own money. Lesser, riskier dramas not only wouldn’t survive, they may well never get made in the first place. Unlike other stations, HBO bears all the production costs of its shows itself. It faces far more risk. The bundling offsets that risk and allows them to make these awesome shows.
“I was a member of the the cross country team in my freshmen year and at the end of the spring I was in by far the best shape of my life. I quit the team after my freshman year to concentrate on my smoking and sitting around watching TV.”—"The marathon can humble you." ~ Bill Rodgers | MetaFilter
“At mile 20, I turned into a powerwalker. You know why powerwalking races are so long? Because you can do that gimpy shuffle walk a long time. I don’t know what it is about that gait, but you are just sort of tossing limbs and joints around without using your muscles. I felt that I could do that until the finish. 6 miles of herky-jerky painful shuffle walk.”—"The marathon can humble you." ~ Bill Rodgers | MetaFilter
“”I mean, it was only two weeks ago when almost every white person I knew was tweeting about stopping a brutal African warlord from killing more innocent children. And they even took thirty minutes out of their busy schedules to watch a movie about dude. They bought t-shirts. Some bracelets. Even tweeted at Rihanna to take a stance. But, a 17 year old American kid is followed and then ultimately killed by a neighborhood vigilante who happens to be carrying a semi-automatic weapon and my white friends are quiet. Eerily quiet. Not even a trending topic for the young man.”—
Teenage Black americans don’t make good postcards / it was never about justice.
“In his first assignment, another writer I know had to produce a book on Japanese cuisine based on two interviews with a chef who spoke no English. “That,” he said, “was the moment that I realized cookbooks were not authoritative.”—I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter - NYTimes.com
These bets are pushing up oil prices because Wall Street firms and other big financial players now dominate oil trading.
Financial speculators historically accounted for about 30 percent of oil contracts, producers and end users for about 70 percent. But today speculators account for 64 percent of all contracts.
Bart Chilton, a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission — the federal agency that regulates trading in oil futures, among other commodities — warns that too few financial players control too much of the oil market. This allows them to push oil prices higher and higher — not only on the basis of their expectations about the future but also expectations about how high other speculators will drive the price.
“Because a line has been crossed, technology/software/code is in and of the world and there’s no getting out of it. Some architects can look at a building and tell you which version of Autodesk was used to create it. The world is defined by our visualisations of it.”—#sxaesthetic (via inky)
“The “culture” of Goldman Sachs was, is and always will be about making money, often at the expense of a client. Do you even know where the term “wirehouse” originally came from? Let me help you out with that. In the 1920’s, there was no CNBC or internet - there was only news delivered by wire and cable, stock market news and prices included. The “wirehouse” firms like Goldman would transmit stock and bond prices to their far-flung offices around the country from Wall Street where the action was taking place. it is a peculiar and yet telling fact of history that during the Crash of 1929, not a single major Wall Street brokerage firm went under. Wanna know why? Because when the sell-off began, they dumped all their holdings prior to wiring the news out to the rest of the investing public and their clientele across the country. Sound familiar, motherfucker? THAT is your firm’s culture, going back a hundred and fifty years.”—How to Quit a Job Without Publishing an Op-Ed | The Reformed Broker (via pegobry)
“To me it seems like there is a kind of a strange denial in a lot of our culture, about just how important science and technology have been this century,” says Stephenson. “There’s just an unwillingness to come to grips with it at all. I don’t deprecate people who feel that way, but I do think that at the end of a century like this one it’s not the end of the world if you toss an equation into a work of art.”—Has Neal Stephenson become too accessible? - Salon.com
“When I tell people about my time at Apple, the people I usually mention as heroes aren’t the executives people have heard of, they’re people like Ray Chiang, the OS engineer who could debug a kernel panic by merely stating at a series of anonymous hexadecimal addresses, or Brenda Ciccerone, an Apple veteran who miraculously pulled OS X updates together when things looked hopeless by triaging bugs ruthlessly and standing up to anyone who pushed back on her decisions to deny code submissions she deemed too risky. Apple is where I really learned how to ship software, and in my opinion they’re better at it than anyone because they have a perfect balance between idealism and realism, design and engineering.”—Pixel Union | Premium Themes
“Invisible Children’s campaign is a symptom, not a cause. It is an excuse that the US government has gladly adopted in order to help justify the expansion of their military presence in central Africa. Invisible Children are “useful idiots”, being used by those in the US government who seek to militarise Africa, to send more and more weapons and military aid, and to bolster the power of states who are US allies. The hunt for Joseph Kony is the perfect excuse for this strategy - how often does the US government find millions of young Americans pleading that they intervene militarily in a place rich in oil and other resources? The US government would be pursuing this militarisation with or without Invisible Children - Kony 2012 just makes it a little easier. Therefore, it is the militarisation we need to worry about, not Invisible Children.”—Dangerous ignorance: The hysteria of Kony 2012 - Opinion - Al Jazeera English (via ronmarks)