Showing posts with label Netflix. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Netflix. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Netflixed: Ozark

 The Netflix show, Ozark, is a stressful show to watch.  It was nicknamed the "depression session" in our household as we binged through the four available seasons and each episode saw the main characters go through one depressing change of events after another.  We had watched the first season when it first came out but hadn't returned for its follow ups until now.  After watching the series finale last night I kind of wish I hadn't picked it back up.

Beware; spoilers ahead!

I honestly don't understand how so many good shows fail to land a decent ending. Game of Thrones is the most famous, but there are many others in the modern era of binge-worthy television shows that just can't get it right.  Ozark is another one on the pile and probably closest in feeling to the series finale of The Sopranos.  It is classic fade to black leaving the audience wondering.

Fortunately (or unfortunately maybe) the last season's story line is so unbelievable that as a viewer I was well prepared to be let down.  There are so many plot holes and questions and then a last second (literally the last seconds of the show) "oh hey I'm back" character appearance before the fade to black.  Also the season throws one ridiculous situation after another at our main characters who in turn find one more perfect miracle solution to get out of it. Then the ending.

The ending is a let down.  The Byrde family is happily back together murdering someone (assumed as the screen fades to black before a gunshot sound plays) to keep the gig going.  Throw this on top of the fact we just watched Ruth get whacked for literally no reason because some character blurted something out.  Oh and Nelson was killed by whats-her-face.  What was Nelson even doing?  We will never know.

The ending and lead up to it through the latter half of the season is just baffling.  The situations were so stressful to watch as well that it made it hard to enjoy but also hard to not want to binge the next episode and the next and the next.  Unfortunately that stress is unrewarded as the Byrde family is right back where they started: a family tied up in a criminal enterprise looking for a way out.

Another thing that rubbed me wrong was Marty's flirting with "do I really trust Wendy?" when he pours his heart out to his daughter Charlotte.  This was a pointless scene though as Marty goes way out of character to keep letting Wendy ruin any chance he has at saving his family.  Its OK though; the show writers just snapped some fingers and all miracle solutions were easily obtained off screen for Marty.

Most egregious of problems in my book was the final season kicking off with a car crash only to leave the viewer hanging and going back in time.  Then we eventually get to that car crash in the final episodes and it MEANT NOTHING TO THE STORY.  What a fucking wasted tease to have that as the kick off to the final season.  The scene was fine, but it didn't need to be teased as some huge ending moment.  Well maybe the scene was not fine; it was just one more ridiculous scene on the pile of ridiculous scenes.

Damn it.  Typing this post has stressed me out.  I want Season 1 Marty and Ruth back in my brain.  There was so much possibility there.  Another great series wasted with a shit ending.

Disagree?  Love Ozark's ending?  Leave a comment so I can tell you that you are wrong.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Steam can learn from Netflix

I love Steam, but I hate misleading press releases. Valve, Steam's overlord, announced that they now have 25+ million users. Unfortunately the details are sparse. There is no indication of what "active account" means or how many are purchasing games on a regular basis. It's difficult to believe these numbers don't include accounts that have long gone dormant. The only vague number given is that ~10 million people have a profile, indicating some sort of buy-in into the Steam platform.

During the last calendar year the platform surpassed 25 million active accounts, up 25% from the prior year. Of the 25 million accounts, over 10 million of those have profiles in the Steam Community.

In addition to the millions of new accounts created during the year, the peak number of concurrent users eclipsed the 2.5 million mark during the month of December, pushing Steam's average monthly player minutes to more than 13 billion.
Contrast this information with the recent Netflix end of year report:
Subscribers. Netflix ended the fourth quarter of 2009 with approximately 12,268,000 total subscribers, representing 31 percent year-over-year growth from 9,390,000 total subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008 and 10 percent sequential growth from 11,109,000 subscribers at the end of the third quarter of 2009.

Net subscriber change in the quarter was an increase of 1,159,000 compared to an increase of 718,000 for the same period of 2008 and an increase of 510,000 for the third quarter of 2009.

Gross subscriber additions for the quarter totaled 2,803,000, representing 34 percent year-over-year growth from 2,085,000 gross subscriber additions in the fourth quarter of 2008 and 29 percent quarter-over-quarter growth from 2,180,000 gross subscriber additions in the third quarter of 2009.

Of the 12,268,000 total subscribers at quarter end, 97 percent, or 11,892,000, were paid subscribers. The other 3 percent, or 376,000, were free subscribers. Paid subscribers represented 98 percent of total subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008 and at the end of the third quarter of 2009.
At a glance the reports look similar, but Netflix has two subtle differences.

First, Netflix breaks down year over year and quarterly growth in hard numbers, not percents. This is an important distinction as it gives a clear picture of where the platform is heading. Steam on the other hand only provides a current number and percent growth.

Secondly, Netflix identifies the number of accounts that are riding on their various free offerings and trials. The Steam report has no indication of how many accounts were brought on board through free game offers or "required by game" installs.

Other than labeling all 25 million Steam accounts as "active", there is no real sense of the power of the platform. With the Netflix report, we get a much better feel for how subscribers are using the platform and how Netflix is growing.

Valve is more than generous with data collected from Steam (hardware surveys, heat maps, etc.), but its starting to feel like marketing overdrive when they are talking about the status of the platform. Hopefully, Valve can take a queue from Netflix and realize that granular subscriber data is not the end of the world.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hulu to Start Charging in 2010 - A Sunday Morning Post

Sad news for fans of all things legally free on the Internet, Hulu officially to start charging for content in 2010:
Bad news if you like free stuff: In 2010, the popular ad-supported streaming video site Hulu will officially begin charging for content.
Let me preface this with: as a fan of Hulu, I would pay for some premium content. However, the vast majority of what is on Hulu is something I am already paying for on cable or can get for FREE over the open air waves. The ONLY edge Hulu has is the fact that it is free and on-demand (meaning I can watch what I want, when I want). Is that worth paying for? As I said, maybe, for some stuff, especially if I dump my overpriced monthly cable bill. I gladly pay for Netflix, which a similar argument can be made for.

A lot of people are stating they are just going back to their torrents. Seriously? People are going back to torrents? I highly doubt any torrenters (aka pirates) dumped their torrents for Hulu. Torrents are simple to get, often better quality, and don't come with advertisements. Hulu was there for those of us that didn't pirate, but still wanted quality free content while supporting the content developers in some way.

Come 2010, my wife and I have decided to dump our cable TV and go Internet only. Regardless of whether Hulu is free or not, quality FREE and LEGAL content is available in droves on the Internet. Its just a question of setting expectations that we may miss a few things here and there (at the same time we may discover a few things we've been missing).

Anyways, we have Netflix and I think that is where the problem is. Can Hulu convince anyone to pony up for yet another online-centric service? I think the answer is yes, especially if it works out to be SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than my monthly cable bill.

Back to Hulu and the pirates, and lets get this post back towards game-related

I just don't buy either side here. Hulu claims to be losing millions, but all the evidence shows how successful their model is for advertisers. Not to mention Hulu giving rebirth to almost dead TV programs such as Its Always Sunny in Philadeplphia. Hulu just needs to leverage itself better and get paid for the power that it now yields.

Pirates claim they were using Hulu, which is just laughable.

We've seen this in the game sector as well. Pirates ALWAYS claim they just want a free preview or that games are too expensive. As this post from an iPhone game developer shows, its a lie.
Well, from this data we can conclude that 0% of pirates think the game is worth buying (which, by the way, is contrary to most of the forum posts we read from legit buyers).
To summarize: iPhone games are cheap and NONE of the pirates came back to buy the game after playing it hardcore.

My view on piracy and what content creators should do:
a) minimize its impact to their service (don't let pirated copies tag along on your online services, make support requests, etc.)

b) ignore it
And that's that for a Sunday morning post.