Jenkins: Al Gore Is Good at Rent-Seeking (and Microsoft Isn't) - WSJ.com
: " . . . His Current TV, in the process of being sold to Al-Jazeera, attracted a minuscule audience in its seven-year existence. It averaged just 42,000 viewers per evening last year. Yet the payday coming to Mr. Gore will be somewhat greater than zero—$70 million to $100 million, depending on which estimate you prefer. We never subscribed to the theory regarding success in life that "It's not what you know but who you know." We may have to rethink. . . . What Current had going for it was Mr. Gore, who would drop in on media moguls and explain why it was in their political interest to put Current on their networks and dun subscribers five or 10 cents a month for a channel they never watch. Saying no just wasn't worth it to companies that must run a daily gauntlet of Democratic regulators in Washington. . . . So the industry became habituated to transferring $100 million a year in what might otherwise be its own profits to owners of a cable channel nobody watched. These carriage agreements were Current TV's sole valuable assets. And the fact that nobody watched was probably not unrelated. If you're not pleasing the viewer, you're pleasing somebody else
—usually in a way that makes for dreary programming. . . . But all gravy trains must come to an end: In a world of Netflix and cord-cutting, an extra nickel or dime is no longer so easily slipped past cable subscribers
. Time Warner Cable was the first to bid good riddance, dropping the channel from its lineup the moment the sale was announced. Mr. Gore is clearly getting out just in time, though not before extracting one last political rent in return for using his famous name to help Al-Jazeera expand in a skeptical U.S. media marketplace. . . . "
Why Intel's New IPTV Service Will Do What Google, Apple, and Microsoft Can't - Forbes
: ". . . This set-top box, said by industry insiders to be available to a limited beta of customers in March, will offer cable channels delivered “over the top” to televisions anywhere there is an Internet connection regardless of provider. (Microsoft Mediaroom, for example, requires AT&T’s service, and Xbox has limited offerings for Comcast and FiOS customers). For the first time, consumers will be able to subscribe to content per channel, unlike bundled cable services, and you may also be able to subscribe per show as well. Intel’s set-top box will also have access to Intel’s already existing app marketplace for apps, casual games, and video on demand. Leveraging the speed of current broadband, and the vast shared resources of the cloud, Intel plans to give customers the ability to use “Cloud DVR”, a feature intended to allow users to watch any past TV show at any time, without the need to record it ahead of time, pause live tv, and rewind shows in progress. . . "
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