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Piracy: are we being conned?

Posted on March 22nd, 2011 at 16:43 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property

[Quote]:

This month, a new lobbying group, the Australian Content Industry Group (ACIG), released new statistics to The Age, which claimed piracy was costing Australian content industries $900 million a year and 8000 jobs.

The report claims 4.7 million Australian internet users engaged in illegal downloading and this was set to increase to 8 million by 2016. By that time, the claimed losses to piracy would jump to $5.2 billion a year and 40,000 jobs.

But the report, which is just 12 pages long, is fundamentally flawed. It takes a model provided by an earlier European piracy study (which itself has been thoroughly debunked) and attempts to shoe-horn in extrapolated Australian figures that are at best highly questionable and at worst just made up.

What’s more, the report attempts to provide a five-year forecast based on a single year of data and also attempts to calculate lost Commonwealth tax revenue. It suggests there is a direct correlation between internet traffic growth and lost jobs in the content industry – but includes no new research into jobs in the entertainment industry to back this up.

“The main objective is to lobby politicians with this and to scare the public into compliance,” IBRS analyst Guy Cranswick said.


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AZ Senate President Russell Pearce

Posted on March 22nd, 2011 at 16:41 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Somebody should tell him about the 14th amendment.


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  1. I thought that my passport was as a US citizen not as a citizen of Arizona, or Illinois, or New York. Being a citizen of a state is very similar to the Soviet Union where each of the “Republics” issued their own internal passport and you needed special authority to travel to other “Republics”. Does this mean that Russell Pearce of AZ is a Socialist?

Libya: US fighter jet crash lands in field near Benghazi

Posted on March 22nd, 2011 at 16:22 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

The two crew members on the F-15E fighter jet both ejected, suffering minor injuries.

One was quickly picked up by a US military helicopter. The other is said to be "safe" after being rescued by Libyan rebels.

Libya. The Movie, Coming next fall. Staring Nicolas Cage.


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A Rule of Thumb: Pricing Should Be Simple

Posted on March 22nd, 2011 at 6:38 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Not paying is always simple.


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  1. I’m willing to pay for the NYT, but the pricing they set up makes me grumpy and I’m actually hesitating about signing up, even though I can afford it.

    There’s one part that really makes no sense: The people who have an iPad and are willing to pay $260/year to read the Times on it (with the dedicated app) are guaranteed to also have a smartphone. Are they indifferent that they cannot also use the app for their phone? Are they willing to pay an extra $195/yr for that convenience? No, if you want native iPad access, you get screwed.

  2. The NYT revenue model is the same as the yellow pages – they prefer to dump a bulk load of printed advertising on your doorstep, and anything that stands between them and doing that is a problem.

  3. Well, the one thing they probably want least of all is to lose print subscribers to cheaper digital subscriptions. That’s understandable. Even if you understand what your long term future is, you have to survive long enough to get there.

  4. While reading Gassee’s simplified pricing proposal, I realized the Times may have intentionally set up the pricing confusion.

    If they only offered $195/yr, people would belly-ache that it’s too high. Now they’re complaining that the scheme is too complex and that the iPad owners get screwed. The easy response (for those who read a lot of the NYT and care about it) is to just sign up for the basic level and live with smartphone and web access.

    You’ve probably read about people’s inclination to pick the middle product in a 3-tier pricing scheme? Or the second-cheapest wine off the menu? Did you read about the Economist’s pricing scheme in Predictably Irrational?

    The $20 and $35 levels are mostly there to offset your initial gut response that $15 is too much.

    Unfortunately I’m not sure they’re succeeding in getting me to accept the $15 charge.

  5. P.S.: That catchy line of “not paying is always simple” is actually not correct when you start to hit the paywall limits and have to jump through hoops like deleting cookies to keep reading the paper. For avid NYT readers, the $15 subscription will be the simple choice.

  6. No, “not paying” will still be simpler. Here are the choices when hitting a paywall:

    1) stop reading and move on to another website.
    2) muck about with cookies as you say
    4) muck about with a payment system and fork over $15.

    The simplest option is 1) and that one qualifies as “not paying”. Not just not paying any money, but also not paying any attention, time, etc.

  7. No, I specifically qualified it “for avid NYT readers”. They are not likely to move on to another site because they like the paper, they want to read specific columnists, etc.

    Naturally and obviously this scheme is targeted at those who care whih paper they get. People who don’t care will walk away even if they charge $1. Valid questions, I think, are how many people care *enough* to pay this much, and how much casual traffic they will lose because bloggers and tweeters start linking elsewhere and they lose the ppl who would’ve clicked those links.

  8. It’s not just cookies you have to fiddle with. Some websites also track IP address, and you have to reset your modem too. That is really annoying.

  9. I’ll continue to read every month until I hit their pay wall and I’ll then decide how much I’ll miss it. Ambitious pricing to say the least.

  10. I agree it is not worth paying anything, except a bit of attention, to occasionally read NYT.
    This is basically going to get an elite-only audience. For the same reason some hotels/restaurants/handbag companies charge seriously high prices. If you care about price you can’t afford it or are frugal (either way they don’t want your kind of person).

  11. [Quote]:

    Does The Times really think the mass audience is going to decide their $455/year is better spent on The Times rather than getting 20+ free articles/month from The Times plus The Wall Street Journal ($207/year) plus The Economist ($110/year) plus say The Daily ($39/year) for good measure, and still having ~$100 left over each year?

  12. OK, let’s try this by analogy since you’re ignoring my direct argument.

    For the price of a Mac, I can buy two Windows laptops. Both can run Firefox and Microsoft Office, so they’re pretty much the same thing. So Apple won’t sell any Macs and the pricing is crazy, right?

  13. If office and Firefox were the sole reason for picking a computer platform, yes, Apple won’t sell any Macs and the pricing is crazy.

  14. Right. And headlines may be a commodity, but there’s a lot in the NYT that some people care about that’s not in other papers. Suggesting that the WSJ and Economist are a simple substitute for the NYT ignores a lot of people’s news consumption habits and preferences.

    The paywall isn’t targeted at people who think news is a commodity they can get anywhere.

  15. True – so the real question becomes: are there enough people that think the NYT is different engouh, or rather, are there enough people that the paywall IS targeted at that will pay?

    For Apple and Macs, the answer is clearly a big YES. For the NYT, probably not.