Changing landscape.

How many people do you know that have Netflix now instead of cable?
Crazy numbers right?

Yeah, well the landscape is changing and the future may be vastly different. Completely digital.

netflix-television

To put into perspective the decline in popularity for cable companies let’s look at the statistics. From 2011 to 2014 Netflix has grown from having around 21.67 million subscribers to around 39.11 million and is continually obtaining more. In contrast, cable companies have gone from having around 44 million subscribers to around 41 million in a few short years. This declination appears to only be declining even more with the increasing Netflix popularity. If this pattern continues the way it has been, it could ultimately result in the loss of cable television.

            Despite the increasing popularity of Netflix, there are still several disadvantages to the app. For example, there is a limited selection of TV shows and movies. Netflix does not possess the rights nearly half of what cable companies have access to. This is what gives cable companies an edge on Netflix: they have the ability to obtain more content. Another downside is the fact that Netflix does not have immediate access to current TV shows. Typically it takes months for Netflix to have newer seasons of show available for viewing which cable companies have readily available. When it comes to certain movies you have to wait several days to receive a DVD in the mail in which you have to return later. Many cable companies have the option to rent and watch movies instantly on your TV rather than wait days to be able to view. Finally, one of the biggest cons for Netflix is its lack of access to sports. If you’re a huge sports fan and feel you have the need to watch all sporting events conveniently in your home, forget Netflix. Netflix lacks the capability of streaming live events and has no option to purchase any sports type packages.

            One could wonder how Netflix is continually increasing in popularity if there are several different cons associated with the app. The answer is simple: it’s cheap, commercial free, and has a wide selection to choose from. Existing subscribers currently pay $7.99 a month for the next 2 years, then pricing is adjusted to the same as new subscribers ($8.99 a month). There is also a standard streaming option in which subscribers have access to the entire catalog in standard definition only for $7.99 a month. The most expensive package is for a family plan in which offers HD access up to four screens at a time for $11.99 a month. This means that multiple family members can be on the app at a time whereas other package deals only allows one screen at a time. There are thousands of titles available to watch instantly on Netflix organized either alphabetically or by genre. The app offers suggestions based upon previously watched TV series’ or movies. In addition, the app is so easy to use, even children can enjoy it. Netflix has the option to create a kid friendly profile for young watchers which ensures the inability for them to access titles not suitable for certain age groups. Also, this feature allows for kids to only view shows and movies specifically meant for young audiences. Another major perk is that when watching these shows and movies you do not have to worry about commercials as you do with cable TV. Although a con stated previously was that of limited selection in comparison to cable TV, Netflix is continually adding more and more to their database. This means that with a wider variety, the appeal of Netflix becomes greater.

            Although cable TV still takes the lead in amount of paid subscribers, Netflix is rising to the challenge. This battle between the two has become what is known as ‘cut the cord movement’. Why pay for a cable subscription with hundreds of channels when you really only watch a few of the stations? Why pay to watch TV shows or movies through cable companies when you have to sit through countless commercials? Why pay cable companies when you can only watch the shows you want to watch when they are scheduled to play? These are the factors that Netflix has taken into consideration when developing their app. I, myself, have chosen to take part in this cut the cord movement by cancelling my cable subscription and instead relying solely on Netflix for my media entertainment. So long as I have internet connection I have access to thousands of TV shows and movies right at my fingertips. I am able to browse and choose to watch whatever I want, whenever I want. The appeal of Netflix was greater for me rather than that of cable TV. These same opinions are clearly shared with millions of other subscribers based on the steady decrease in cable subscribers. Whether cable companies will suffer the same fate as that of Block Buster and other similar stores of being completely wiped out is uncertain, but as of late they are taking a hit in the number of people willing to pay for their services.

What are you going to do?

News is a conversation?

Or at least that’s what Briggs tells us.

“The speed of communications is wonderful to behold.
It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of
information that we know to be untrue.” – Edward R. Murrow

conversation

The man that said this passed away before the digital news even happened.
Now, this quote remains true.
One of the challenges that journalists now face is how to manage that conversation.
This chapter really looks at a couple questions:
1. How do journalists participate in the conversation without sacrificing objectivity?
2. What about legal and ethical issues now that everyone can publish anything they want?
3. What happens when you really want audiences to participate, but they don’t?

Now, moving on in the chapter, Briggs offers tips to make the conversation.
How do you do that?
-> Answer all questions
-> Address criticism
-> Publicly or privately respond
-> Share good responses
-> Publicly correct yourself
-> Always acknowledge news tips

I personally enjoy these tips. It may seem like common sense, but they are tips because there can be right and wrong ways to do things. There is no perfect way to do things, but there are things that may work better than others and this is one of those things. And the rate of growth for social networking sites makes it obvious how important these tips are.

He also advises to build a community online.
He says that the link is the first building block, then comes the comment or the contribution.
Journalists must get involved- by using their time, energy and resources.
Developing sources through the community is a perk of this commitment.
In the collaboration, journalists usually can provide the how and why when the network provides the what.
But the journalist must keep conversations accurate and ethical.  Briggs says to set guidelines for participants, monitor postings for offensive content, know your legal responsibilities and correct errors.

Overall, great chapter with alot of useful information.

Digitize Me.

Chapter 9 is all about the digital age. What should we use to make our lives easier? What are you already doing? How can we make digital tools work to our advantage?
Briggs starts off the chapter with asking us about our digital life? We take a look at what digital tools are already in our lives.

Firstly, he tells us to organize your email.

Then, he tells us to find the right productivity tools. As journalists, you have to be able to manage your to-do lists, your contacts, calendars and notes. Things such as google docs and Microsoft Office Suites are your friend in this case. Easy tools that can make communicating and sorting your information that much easier.
He also notes that a strategy is important. What will help you do better in your own life and work? How much are you willing to spend on personalized tools?

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We also look at data-driven Journalism in this chapter. Data such as test scores, public employee salaries, summer camp for kids, new movie listings, and property taxes are all different types of databases that are being built and can be helpful in your story.
Briggs talks about stories being data and journalists much research this data in order to make a story.

He moves from using data into creating it. Do you know how to make a spreadsheet? This is an easy way to share data with others and could be helpful to you in your field. This isn’t just applicable to journalists but it goes across career fields.
Maps are also technology that are useful. He used Google Maps as an example. Map mashups use different databases in combination with the usual map to help people find something like an apartment or restaurant. He also mentioned how this could help stories-like murders. On a map you could find points in which murders occurred digitally.

This chapter was really interesting to me and I found it helpful. Whether we like to admit it or not, we live in a digital world. The best thing to do is learn what works for  you and own it.