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Unbundling in the Air?


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125 replies to this topic

#41 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 05:16 PM

Define fundamental, as in your assertion that the TV industry is fundamentally the same as all other industries, because I don't see more than two folks agreeing with you on that.
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#42 OFFLINE   Satelliteracer

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 05:36 PM

I'm sorry we don't agree, it is absolutely fundamentally different on many levels. I've done many things in life prior to television, some of which involved the product development life cycle and I have yet to find anything close to how this business works. It is completely unique is so many ways, especially on the cost side. If you software product is a hit, does it suddenly cost more to make? If a series is a hit, guess what...it costs a LOT more to make because the actors want more money, the producer, director, etc, etc. Just one example, but there are many that are quirky like that.
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#43 OFFLINE   pdxBeav

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:53 PM

Sorry, just not true. It's a very naive perspective on what it takes to make stuff. Just putting "gear" and "silicon chip" in the same sentence shows this.

In my ~30 years in software engineering nearly all of the products I worked on were not very successful for a variety of reasons. (No, that wasn't unique to me :lol:.) I spent the last 10 years working on one that is very successful. In those ~30 years I watched as many billions of dollars worth of investment in the computer hardware/software industry went up in smoke as product after product died. It's the norm.

It's just total BS that entertainment is fundamentally different.


I got a chuckle out of the previous comment too. I work on "silicon chips" and have been on many projects that didn't pan out. The successful projects fund the not-so-successful ones. Sort of like TV shows. ;)

#44 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:44 PM

I got a chuckle out of the previous comment too. I work on "silicon chips" and have been on many projects that didn't pan out. The successful projects fund the not-so-successful ones. Sort of like TV shows. ;)


Heh. But unlike TV shows, a successful run of xyc chips has a profitability curve very unlike a successful show. And chips don't cost more to make in large long runs; they're less. Unlike a hit on TV.
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#45 OFFLINE   Satelliteracer

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:22 PM

As the article stated, 70% of the scripted shows never even make the air. Then a good chunk that do, get cancelled early. Sunk costs....done. In the industries I've been in prior, no way did we have 70% plus failed product launches. Not anywhere close. It's a totally different industry.
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#46 OFFLINE   pdxBeav

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:48 PM

Sounds similar to the venture capital industry.

http://www.bizjourna...d.html?page=all

#47 OFFLINE   FLWingNut

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:40 PM

Part of what has really hurt the entertainment industry is treating it like any other business. Packaging TV, radio, music, movies and other arts like "widgets" is killing it. They're called "the arts" for a reason.

#48 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:49 PM

I'm sorry we don't agree, it is absolutely fundamentally different on many levels. I've done many things in life prior to television, some of which involved the product development life cycle and I have yet to find anything close to how this business works. It is completely unique is so many ways, especially on the cost side. If you software product is a hit, does it suddenly cost more to make? If a series is a hit, guess what...it costs a LOT more to make because the actors want more money, the producer, director, etc, etc. Just one example, but there are many that are quirky like that.


Actually, yes, a hit software product does suddenly cost a lot more. Many more technical support people. An intensive demand for more features and higher quality.

As a Directv employee you should know that. I'd call the DVRs successful. I'd say there is a big demand for features. I'd say there is actually a massive demand for higher quality.

Of course other forces allow Directv to be successful with DVRs even when the software is not so great. Microsoft knows all about that as well. In enterprise software this certainly happens as well but generally there is a whole lot more pressure - like actually losing significant business if problems aren't fixed.

Lots of people can work as programmers. Not so many are good at it. Even fewer know how to make a robust product and keep it that way. They too cost more. Everybody in the food chain of the software industry expects better pay at a successful software company.

As the article stated, 70% of the scripted shows never even make the air. Then a good chunk that do, get cancelled early. Sunk costs....done. In the industries I've been in prior, no way did we have 70% plus failed product launches. Not anywhere close. It's a totally different industry.


Lots of software startups fail - most in fact. We can go round-n-round forever on this. Those in the TV industry believe it is a totally different. They have to in order to continue to justify the price of the product. I don't believe it.

#49 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 03:10 PM

Lots of software startups fail - most in fact. We can go round-n-round forever on this. Those in the TV industry believe it is a totally different. They have to in order to continue to justify the price of the product. I don't believe it.


Can we keep in the same set of comparisons. I don't want to get back into this conversation with you but how are you comparing a software startup with a development of a TV show? A software startup company would be like a new TV production company, not like one of their products.

When you try to make comparisons, at least keep them at the same level.
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#50 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:00 PM

Notice he's left my chip statements alone, possibly because they are indisputably different.

Analogies suck at some point, regardless. They often start off completely true, but quickly devolve into rubbish.
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#51 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:13 PM

Notice he's left my chip statements alone, possibly because they are indisputably different.

Analogies suck at some point, regardless. They often start off completely true, but quickly devolve into rubbish.


They don't have to go off the rails before they leave the station. And pieces of different systems can be compared to desperate pieces of other systems as long as you don't fall into the trap if trying to make the entire systems match.
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#52 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:11 PM

They don't have to go off the rails before they leave the station. And pieces of different systems can be compared to desperate pieces of other systems as long as you don't fall into the trap if trying to make the entire systems match.


No, they don't have to. But too many people think that just because one or two parts of an analogy are correct, the rest are.

Desperate people seeking disperate pieces?
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#53 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:18 PM

Actually, yes, a hit software product does suddenly cost a lot more. Many more technical support people. An intensive demand for more features and higher quality....Lots of software startups fail - most in fact. We can go round-n-round forever on this. Those in the TV industry believe it is a totally different. They have to in order to continue to justify the price of the product. I don't believe it.


Yes, well....keeping a TV series successful IS like producing a new hit software product...every week! :)

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#54 OFFLINE   pdxBeav

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:42 PM

Yes, well....keeping a TV series successful IS like producing a new hit software product...every week! :)


!rolling

#55 OFFLINE   Satelliteracer

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:17 PM

Actually, yes, a hit software product does suddenly cost a lot more. Many more technical support people. An intensive demand for more features and higher quality.

As a Directv employee you should know that. I'd call the DVRs successful. I'd say there is a big demand for features. I'd say there is actually a massive demand for higher quality.

Of course other forces allow Directv to be successful with DVRs even when the software is not so great. Microsoft knows all about that as well. In enterprise software this certainly happens as well but generally there is a whole lot more pressure - like actually losing significant business if problems aren't fixed.

Lots of people can work as programmers. Not so many are good at it. Even fewer know how to make a robust product and keep it that way. They too cost more. Everybody in the food chain of the software industry expects better pay at a successful software company.

Lots of software startups fail - most in fact. We can go round-n-round forever on this. Those in the TV industry believe it is a totally different. They have to in order to continue to justify the price of the product. I don't believe it.


The support costs for the DVR (your example) are part of doing business but have nothing to do with the cost of producing that DVR. Apples to oranges. A successful series means the cost of producing THE SERIES got a lot more expensive. That was my example. If we want to go down that path, the successful series not only costs more to produce, but much more is paid in other areas to make sure the investment pays off...more marketing, for example.

And yes, labor costs more in any segment the better someone is, but not sure how many programmers out there are making a million a week which is what a successful season can lead to. Or a sports fee where the salary cap can literally double in a 5 year span and drive costs as a result.

I'm sorry, I don't see any parallels. There are disrupters in every business segment. If it was as easy as you state, there would be someone out there doing it and making a lot of money at it. The cost structure is totally different from every other business. You kill the revenues, you kill most of the content because the content is people driven, unlike most other industries that are goods driven. Even service industries, where salaries and other costs increase...they do not do so at a level like sports or entertainment which drive the expense side so fiercely.
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#56 OFFLINE   pdxBeav

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:42 PM

Lots of software startups fail - most in fact. We can go round-n-round forever on this. Those in the TV industry believe it is a totally different. They have to in order to continue to justify the price of the product. I don't believe it.


The highlighted text is the most accurate statement in this entire thread. And not only that, but they have to perpetuate this belief in order to keep everyone in line. ;)

#57 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:45 PM

Notice he's left my chip statements alone, possibly because they are indisputably different.


I didn't respond because it wasn't worth a response.

Yes, well....keeping a TV series successful IS like producing a new hit software product...every week! :)


No, it's not.

Keeping a TV series successful is like producing new software releases on a regular basis. Several minor releases and one major release a year isn't unusual in software. Minor are similar in scale to a 1 hour episode. Major are a lot bigger.

The kind of software I'm talking about is well over 10 million lines of code. Not tinker toys.

Your "every week" reference is misleading. Nowhere close to 52 episodes a year. Try 10-12.

The support costs for the DVR (your example) are part of doing business but have nothing to do with the cost of producing that DVR. Apples to oranges. A successful series means the cost of producing THE SERIES got a lot more expensive. That was my example. If we want to go down that path, the successful series not only costs more to produce, but much more is paid in other areas to make sure the investment pays off...more marketing, for example.


Support was only part of what I said.

The large successful product I was involved with was <50 people in a dump building with inadequate infrastructure when I started a dozen or so years ago. Now it's several hundred people in a large new building with massive lab equipment just at the development center; not counting a lot more worldwide (which includes sales, support, marketing, etc). I'd guess the annual cost is probably around 50X larger now.

Too bad details are confidential in all these examples because then we could prove that the investment lifecycle of a software product is in fact similar to the investment lifecycle of entertainment.

Those that support the entertainment model theory are sounding a lot like Wall Street. We're special... don't touch us.

I'd also point out that I lived the software product lifecycle for 30+ years. How many of you actually work at places that create content?

#58 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:07 PM

Heh. But unlike TV shows, a successful run of xyc chips has a profitability curve very unlike a successful show. And chips don't cost more to make in large long runs; they're less. Unlike a hit on TV.


Since you wanted a response...

The thing you are missing here is you think about it in terms of a single chip (model). Which in this comparison is similar to a single episode. Just like a chip model the episode gets used over and over again and the older it gets the cheaper it becomes. Manufacturing = distribution.

Is a new company started for every new model of chip? No. The same companies create new chip models continually. Just like episodes. Similar to software.

Do chip (/software) companies fail? Yep. Do people leave chip (/software) companies to start new companies? Yep. Maybe not as often as in the entertainment industry - because there is a bigger barrier to entry.

To those that think its hard to get funding for an entertainment project... it's just as hard to get venture capital for a tech company. Been there and done that too.

#59 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:37 PM

Do chip (/software) companies fail? Yep. Do people leave chip (/software) companies to start new companies? Yep. Maybe not as often as in the entertainment industry - because there is a bigger barrier to entry.

To those that think its hard to get funding for an entertainment project... it's just as hard to get venture capital for a tech company. Been there and done that too.


You still don't have the software/chip company thing aligned properly to the TV series thing.

Yes, a new episode is more like a new version but not quite. I don't know many designs that are updated every week, plus there is no reuse other than the characters and the theme song. The rest is a brand new product every week.

But, why do you continue to compare a startup company to a new TV series? It is more akin to an existing company starting a new product.

Failure rates are far lower in that case for software/chip design than they are for new TV shows. Far lower. Any company in design that fails as many times a pilots are rejected would be out of business. Don't try to sell us otherwise.
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#60 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 08:22 PM

This thread has morphed to prove my point: analogies are a waste of time and effort as they invariably fail, and the "discussion" turns to the inaccuracies contained therein, not to the meat of the matter.
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