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24 сентября, 20:30

Dynamic Silicon Valley, by David Henderson

Over at our sister Liberty Fund site, Law and Liberty, John Tamny has a hard-hitting piece titled “True Overlords Don’t Work This Hard.” It’s a response to a pretty negative piece on Silicon Valley by Michael Anton published earlier this month at Law and Liberty. Anton’s piece is titled “The Frivolous Valley and Its Dreadful Conformity.” Anton is a lecturer in politics and research fellow at Hillsdale College. Tammy is director of the Center for Economic Freedom at FreedomWorks. Although I’m not a big fan of Tamny’s negative tone when discussing Anton, I am a total fan of both his positive tone in understanding the big picture and his evidence of the dynamism of Silicon Valley and, indeed, of free markets in general. I’ll highlight a few beautiful passages. Commenting on Facebook recently, The Guardian’s technology writer Victor Keegan noted that the social network is “Well on the way to becoming what economists call a ‘natural monopoly.’ . . . Users have invested so much social capital in putting up data about themselves it is not worth their changing sites . . . Its massive user base will help maintain its dominance.” Actually, Keegan’s comment isn’t very recent. It was back in 2007 that he put pen to paper about dominance in social networking. He was writing about MySpace. Anyone heard of it lately? Believe it or not, some have. Hard as it may be for readers to imagine, there’s still traffic on MySpace. It’s just not what it once was. While it surpassed Google in 2006 as the most visited website in the United States, it’s not even among the 1,000 most visited sites today. MySpace exists, but this former “monopoly” is no longer a player. Such is life in economic sectors largely untouched by the grasping hands of politicians. The team picture of top players is ever-changing. Think about that the next time someone tells you that Facebook now has a dominant position (true) that can’t be dislodged (false.) Netflix Contrary to the musings of a writer who, again, has not “worked in the Valley or in tech,” the on-the-ground reality of Silicon Valley is that long-term success there amounts to an endless fight against failure. Netflix may be worth over $150 billion today, but it’s only a thriving corporation insofar as it long ago recognized how tenuous its hold on the marketplace was. Having beaten Blockbuster with DVDs in the mail, its executives understood that consumers are a fickle lot. So Netflix innovated. It enabled streaming so that customers could watch movies right away (as opposed to two days later). Then, having witnessed up close the viewing habits of its customers, Netflix did the previously unheard of: It produced and released whole seasons of original shows all at once. To put it plainly, Netflix can claim a nosebleed market capitalization today simply because it never viewed itself as an overlord. Amazon Neither has Amazon. Though the Seattle Internet retail giant isn’t part of Silicon Valley geographically, it’s most certainly Silicon Valley in spirit. We shouldn’t ignore how very uncertain its long-term survival has been (long-term shareholders have suffered too many 20 percent corrections in its share price to count). Amazon prospers precisely because it doesn’t take its present status at all for granted. Even with a market cap that exceeds $800 billion, Amazon runs scared. Its every action is an indication of its internal knowledge that the commercial landscape is ever-changing. That’s why founder Jeff Bezos has spent billions on projects that never panned out. Along those lines, how many readers are reading this bit of commentary on an Amazon Fire smartphone? Probably not too many. Bezos succeeds precisely because he’s willing to experiment in myriad ways to meet the needs of his customer base. Notable about Bezos’s customer base is that it isn’t large. While Amazon is surely the biggest kid on the block in the Internet retail space, seemingly lost on Anton is how small the Internet retailer’s actual market share is. In fact it’s 4 percent—which explains why Amazon has begun expanding into bricks-and-mortar. Bezos gets what’s lost on the Antons of the world who seem convinced (as John Kenneth Galbraith once was about General Motors) that Amazon has wiped out the competition on the way to selling the whole market. Back to reality, Bezos currently competes for a dominant percentage of what’s less than 5 percent, and is in the process of dipping Amazon’s proverbial toe into what is a much bigger market. And if his self-acknowledged track record is at all predictive, Bezos’s foray into traditional retail will be littered with mistakes. Shades of John Kenneth Galbraith Anton writes that Valley companies no longer seek “to meet real needs, but to create and satisfy new wants.” And that’s a bad thing? Is he too young to remember when Americans decidedly were not demanding laptops, smartphones, Internet, WiFi, books/CDs/DVDs online, or rides on demand? Thank goodness Valley visionaries are anticipating our needs! Who among us could live without the products previously mentioned for even a day in modern times? As I wrote in my bio of John Kenneth Galbraith in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: Galbraith made his biggest splash with his 1958 book, The Affluent Society, in which he contrasted the affluence of the private sector with the squalor of the public sector. Many people liked that book because of their view that Galbraith, like Thorstein Veblen before him, attacked production that was geared to “conspicuous consumption.” But that is not what Galbraith did. In fact, Galbraith argued that “an admirable case can still be made” for satisfying even consumer wants that “have bizarre, frivolous, or even immoral origins.” His argument against satisfying all consumer demands is more subtle. “If the individual’s wants are to be urgent,” he wrote, “they must be original with himself. They cannot be urgent if they must be contrived for him. And above all, they must not be contrived by the process of production by which they are satisfied. … One cannot defend production as satisfying wants if that production creates the wants” (p. 124). Friedrich Hayek made the most fundamental criticism of Galbraith’s argument. Hayek conceded that most wants do not originate with the individual. Our innate wants, he wrote, “are probably confined to food, shelter, and sex.” All other wants we learn from what we see around us. Probably all our aesthetic feelings—our enjoyment of music and literature, for example—are learned. So, wrote Hayek, “to say that a desire is not important because it is not innate is to say that the whole cultural achievement of man is not important.” As you can see, Tamny makes the same critique of Anton that Hayek made of Galbraith. Tamny’s whole piece is well worth reading.   (0 COMMENTS)

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24 сентября, 00:00

Average Briton spends 26 days a year watching on-demand TV

Adults spend eight times longer watching Netflix and iPlayer than exercising, survey revealsUK adults spend an average of 12 hours a week watching on-demand TV, around eight times longer than they spend exercising, a survey has found. The survey also found that the average adult spend 17 hours using a smartphone or tablet and 12 hours using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Continue reading...

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21 сентября, 08:00

Maniac review – Jonah Hill and Emma Stone hit career highs in NYC dystopia

Cary Fukunaga brings the bleakness of True Detective to Netflix’s zany yet emotionally raw sci-fi extravaganzaEven for a service that has produced one comedy show about a woman emerging from a 15-year imprisonment in a bunker and another about ethics, philosophy and the inadequacy of frozen yoghurt set in a non-denominational heaven, Netflix’s latest bet is a brave one.Maniac, whose 10 episodes dropped on Friday, is loosely based on a Norwegian television series. It is written by Patrick Somerville and directed by Cary Fukunaga, the latter – who has just been confirmed as the new Bond director – bringing all the command and sensitivity of his revered first season of True Detective. Maniac’s world is a near-future New York in which a Statue of Extra Liberty dominates the skyline, rents are 87% of annual incomes (make that very-near-future New York) and people supplement their earnings by becoming pretend husbands to widows, friend proxies for the extra-busy and guinea pigs for big drug companies with even bigger ambitions. But it feels as close and intimate as Fukunaga’s heat-soaked pocket of contemporary Louisiana. Continue reading...

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20 сентября, 15:25

The BBC’s Bodyguard is becoming a ‘Netflix Original’. So who gets the credit? | Sarah Hughes

The streaming giant is so dominant, it can blur the line between shows it creates and shows it acquiresIt’s the biggest ratings hit of this year so the news that Netflix has snapped up the international rights to Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard should come as no surprise. Few dramas are as perfect for binge-watching as Mercurio’s edge-of-the-seat political thriller with its “wait did that really just happen?” plot twists. Netflix has always been particularly astute at nabbing headline-grabbing UK shows, with Peaky Blinders, The End of the F**king World and Happy Valley among the dramas to have found a second home and legions of new fans at home and around the world. Related: The Guardian view on Bodyguard: to keep making brilliant shows, the BBC needs resources | Editorial Continue reading...

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19 сентября, 19:40

The Guardian view on Bodyguard: to keep making brilliant shows, the BBC needs resources | Editorial

It may be a golden age for TV, with masterpieces from Netflix and Amazon. But the BBC is still a vital part of the UK’s cultureIt is a remarkable time for television. Between the TV channels, their on-demand services, the leviathans that are Netflix and Amazon, there has probably never been a more bewilderingly vast selection of quality drama to choose from. There’s almost too much to see: some viewers feel they can hardly keep up with the masterpieces that have seemed to come thick and fast, from Mad Men to The Wire and Succession to The Crown. This autumn the BBC is keeping its end up, too, with the Danny Boyle-directed Trust, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Killing Eve and, of course, Bodyguard, by Jed Mercurio, the screenwriter behind the addictive police procedural Line of Duty.Bodyguard, the sixth and last episode of which is broadcast this Sunday on BBC1, has been a phenomenon: appointment television when conventional wisdom decrees that viewers gather round the telly only for sport and The Great British Bake Off. Viewers who failed to clear their diary for episode four of Bodyguard, intending to catch up via iPlayer later, were duly punished. Spoiler alert: Mercurio defied the convention that some characters are too important to kill. Viewers learned from their mistake, and over a million more tuned in live for the following episode. In fact, the whole notion of the spoiler has been ramped up to a new level by Bodyguard. To avoid hearing about Mercurio’s devilish plot twists, viewers will have had to resort to elaborate contrivances – avoiding all social media, naturally, but also the coverline of last week’s Radio Times, which trumpeted the storyline from newsstands across the country. Continue reading...

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18 сентября, 20:10

Netflix picks up BBC's Bodyguard – and ITV cashes in

The commercial broadcaster whose production firm made the hit show sells rights outside UKNetflix has bought the rights to show the hit BBC drama Bodyguard outside the UK. The Keeley Hawes and Richard Madden thriller is due to be available around the world next month in a boost for the British television industry. Related: The bodyguard should be a woman: what TV dramas get wrong Continue reading...

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18 сентября, 19:58

Sorry, Netflix: we don't need another freak show

Afflicted has enraged its participants, but it wouldn’t be the first TV show to use people with disabilities as entertainment fodderAn open letter to Netflix was published on Tuesday criticising its recent docu-series, Afflicted, which chronicles the lives of seven people with chronic illnesses. The letter highlighted what it called the show’s “stigmatising portrayal of disability” and was signed by a Nobel laureate as well as film-makers, writers and activists including Monica Lewinsky and Lena Dunham.Billed as portraying “baffling symptoms and controversial diagnoses”, the show follows patients as they search for treatments and some relief. But it was alleged in an article in the LA Times that producers used “unethical practices”, editing footage to suggest participants’ medical conditions were psychosomatic disorders, using few expert doctors and focusing on sceptical medics who cast doubt on whether the individuals were ill at all (that science doesn’t understand many health conditions doesn’t make their symptoms less real). Continue reading...

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18 сентября, 09:01

From red-carpet statements to Emmy 2018 winners – in pictures

A marriage proposal, glittering gowns and a whole lot of awards. The best images from the annual ceremony celebrating US televisionEmmy winners 2018: the full list Continue reading...

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18 сентября, 06:43

Emmys 2018: Game of Thrones makes triumphant return on TV's biggest night

Netflix and HBO wound up dead-locked with 23 wins each, while The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and The Assassination of Gianni Versace emerged victoriousEmmy winners 2018: the full listAfter its absence from last year’s ceremony, Game of Thrones returned to the 70th annual primetime Emmys to take home the night’s biggest award: outstanding drama series. HBO’s sprawling fantasia, whose upcoming eighth season will be its last, won six other awards for its makeup, costumes, music composition and stunt coordination. Related: Emmys 2018: Game of Thrones and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel win big – live Continue reading...

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17 сентября, 00:00

Tony Hall: regulate video streaming services or risk 'killing off' UK content

BBC’s director general seeks action to control firms such us Netflix and Amazon The BBC’s director general, Tony Hall, will call this week for video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon to be regulated to the same extent as the UK’s traditional broadcasters – or else risk killing off distinctive British content.He will also raise the prospect of moving more BBC staff out of London, while making a pitch for the BBC to find a way to “spend more on the highest-quality content” – a move which could require either more funding for the corporation or cuts elsewhere in its output. Continue reading...

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16 сентября, 15:44

UK Netflix rival moves step closer as BBC and Discovery eye UKTV breakup

Splitting channels between them would have ramifications for Britain’s TV industryThe BBC and the US pay-TV giant Discovery are understood to be in the final stages of agreeing a £1bn breakup of the Gold and Dave broadcaster, UKTV, in a deal that will accelerate plans to build a British streaming rival to Netflix.UKTV, which has a mix of 10 free-to-air and pay-TV channels, is jointly owned by the Eurosport owner Discovery and BBC Studios, the commercial arm of the BBC. Continue reading...

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16 сентября, 15:00

Genevieve Gorder Net Worth: Everything You Want to Know About Her Interior Design Career

You might know Genevieve Gorder as one of the original designers on TLC Trading Spaces, but the hit series is only a fraction of her successful career as an American interior designer. With new television series like Stay Here on Netflix and a Trading Spaces reboot, the famous interior designer has had quite the home […]

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15 сентября, 15:00

Netflix ‘Stay Here’ Rentals: How to Find the Listings to Book Your Next Trip

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Short-term rentals are an excellent way to travel. Not only do they offer more bang for your buck, but they also offer unique experiences that hotels simply cannot offer. Netflix’s new series, Stay Here caters to Airbnb culture in a unique way through renovation, design, and business. On the show, interior designer extraordinaire Genevieve Gorder […]

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15 сентября, 15:00

Here’s How Much Netflix Paid for ‘Friends’ (And Why It Turned Down ‘Seinfeld’)

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Seinfeld and Friends are without a doubt two of the most popular sitcoms of the 90s. And with many Millennials craving television shows from their youth — which has resulted in some reboots — Netflix was like “I’ll be there for you” and paid millions of dollars for the streaming rights to Friends. That said, […]

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15 сентября, 08:00

I decided against TV journalism, but then Netflix came calling | Bim Adewunmi

It’s been odd to appear in Follow This, a documentary where BuzzFeed reporters (my day job) report on subculturesYears back, I decided that I was going to be a pharmacologist, because it seemed a practical, smart direction to take in life. There I was, a bright-eyed, sixth-form student, gently failing my chemistry A-level while treading water in my biology A-level, and preparing for a life of failure. Then I chose another path, by adding a media studies AS-level to my course load and taking a year off. I learned shorthand and interned at all sorts of places, and 16 years later, here I am. I started in radio but I write full-time now, something I am very happy about.So it’s been odd to be appearing in Follow This, a new Netflix documentary series where BuzzFeed reporters (my day job) investigate interesting subcultures. I studied TV journalism with the full intention of being one. But here I am, talking to survivalists, firing a gun and sending an arrow into a target, all available on a streaming platform near you. Continue reading...

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14 сентября, 21:09

‘Stay Here’ Short-Term Rental Home Decor Tips Genevieve Gorder Swears By

Genevieve Gorder wants your short-term rental to not only be a beautiful space, but also a thriving business. To do so, there are some important things to consider — starting with the home decor. When re-decorating or renovating an Airbnb or other short-term rental property, it’s important to consider a few variables that add wow […]

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14 сентября, 15:51

British TV drama for autumn 2018: water-cooler moments are back

Bodyguard, Press and Killing Eve lead bumper crop of unmissable shows It has been a record-setting autumn for British television. The 10.4 million viewers that the first episode of the BBC’s critically acclaimed drama Bodyguard attracted made it the biggest new drama on UK television for a decade. But it is hardly the only show that is able to draw a crowd.There are the big autumn reality shows – The Great British Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing – as well as the totally engrossing docu-drama The Mighty Redcar. A trio of media-based dramas have all emerged at the same time: Mike Bartlett’s send-up of the newspaper world, Press; Danny Boyle’s Getty family saga, Trust; and Jesse Armstrong’s media family saga, Succession. Continue reading...

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14 сентября, 15:00

Here’s How to Watch ‘Friends’ Without Netflix

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 25 years since Friends first aired. And, even almost fifteen years after the series ended, the show is still a massive success. With fans of all ages — some that weren’t even born when the first season debuted — the show continues to rival some of the most […]

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14 сентября, 14:27

Netflix hunts long-term UK production base amid race for studios

Permanent space needed to spend more of film-maker’s £6bn yearly budget in BritainNetflix is targeting a permanent production base in the UK because a boom in demand for studio space is hindering plans to spend more of its $8bn (£6.1bn) annual production budget in Britain.Netflix, which is making about 40 productions in the UK this year, is understood to have made the UK a high priority for securing a long lease on studio space to ensure its growing slate of UK-based productions can be filmed without delays. Continue reading...

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14 сентября, 11:00

How BoJack Horseman became the most empathetic show on television

In a standout fifth season, the dark animated comedy continues to provide unexpected insight about human behavior through its non-human protagonistSince BoJack Horseman first came out in 2014, it has gained both critical acclaim, as well as a staunchly loyal following of viewers who enjoy the show’s seamless blend of whimsical animation and earnest exploration of the human condition. Throughout the series, we follow the experiences of BoJack, a once-famous horse actor who was best known for his role in a corny sitcom called Horsin’ Around. At once, a satire of Hollywood culture (which is called “Hollywoo” after the D is stolen from the sign), BoJack Horseman is also a complex look at what it means to be happy and how the choices we make can have a profound impact on the happiness and wellbeing of others. Related: In the golden age of TV, the existential-animation is king Continue reading...