Monday, November 07, 2011

Subscription Services' Achilles Heel -- CONTENT! It's Still King Baby!

I love the promise of online music and video subscription services -- "all-you-can-eat" for a monthly recurring rate. Access to millions of music tracks -- thousands of motion picture and TV shows. I myself subscribe to Rhapsody, Pandora and Netflix (and have for years).

But, as great as these services are (and they are, for the most part), they also constantly remind me that content is -- and always will be -- king. And, if the content (album, movie) you want ain't there, then you are dissatisfied with the whole service. I feel that much of the time with Netflix (I mean, how many Scooby Doo cartoons can you watch?).

And, I am now reminded by it with Rhapsody. Case in point -- as a long-time Coldplay fan (yes, I freely and proudly admit it!), I couldn't wait for its new 3-year-in-the-making album, Mylo Xyloto, to come out two weeks ago. Normally, I would simply wait for "new music Tuesday" to hit Rhapsody and stream it over-and-over on-demand. But, this time I noticed that iTunes had it the day before -- so I bought it. Even so, I wanted to check it out on Rhapsody beginning on Tuesday and -- voila -- it was'nt there (as in "NOT"). How could this be, I thought? The biggest music release of the year, and not on Rhapsody? That is a blaring and embarrassing gap.

But, here we are two weeks later -- and still no Mylo Xyloto! What gives?

So, even I -- a long-time passionate Rhapsody fan -- am frustrated with the service. Very irritated really -- not just for this specific glaring hole in its content, but also for what it represents.

Now, I know that this gap is likely a direct result of business shenanigans by the music label and/or the band itself. But, that doesn't matter to the customer. At the end of the day, it is the subscription services' responsibility to plug those holes.

In this case, Rhapsody didn't. And, here I am writing about it. Bottom line -- if I am frustrated, thousands (and in this case, likely tens of thousands) of customers are frustrated. And, that ain't good for the service.

In this case, score iTunes "1" -- Rhapsody "0."

(Separately, was Coldplay's new album worth the wait? Check out my track-by-track review by clicking on this link.)

Hosting Company PEER 1 Launches Cloud Service -- Partners with Sorenson Media

Can anyone doubt that the world of enterprise services -- including video workflows/transcoding -- are moving to the Cloud and away from legacy providers?

Global hosting provider PEER 1 is the latest data point in this regard, as it goes "all in" as of today -- launching its own cloud-based IaaS/PaaS service called "Zunicore." And, I am pleased to report that PEER 1 chose to partner with Sorenson Media to provide value-added video workflow and transcoding solutions in this increasingly multi-screen world. Click here to read PEER 1's just-issued press release -- which prominently features us (and our star Director of Business Development, Doug Cebik). And, here is Gigaom's "take" on the announcement.

PEER 1 hopes to differentiate its service from others in two primary ways -- by offering (1) "resource pools" rather than virtual machines; and (2) auto-scaling. And, the company chose Sorenson Media not only because of the power of our brand, but also because we are the first and still-only enterprise-grade cloud-based transcoding company (servicing multi-billion dollar customers like Shutterfly and Technicolor).

We are pleased to count PEER 1 as our new enterprise partner.