Netflix becomes first streaming service to join MPAA
Just a week after we discussed Netflix's next big hurdle — competing with everyone for your attention — the company hit a big milestone: it's officially become the first streaming-only service to join the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
If the MPAA is an organization you recall but have forgotten the purpose of, it's an organization made up of the biggest production houses in Hollywood: Disney, Paramount, Universal Studios and so on. In part, you probably know of the MPAA because it's spent the last two decades fighting online piracy aggressively, but it's also responsible for the movie ratings system alongside that.
The reasons this matter are fairly clear: it puts Netflix on a fair footing with the rest of the movie/TV industry, sending a message that it's a serious original content player, and it now has a say in the anti-piracy conversation, which the MPAA is well known for.
Netflix being added to the group is a big deal because it's the only streaming-native player, and the MPAA's CEO has been critical for years about how slow its participants have been to embrace digital technologies. The other members don't have any meaningful services to compete with Netflix, but soon that'll change with Disney+ and other platforms launching in 2020.
More than anything else, it seems like a prudent move to have the biggest distributor of video on your board, even if some of your members don't like the idea of the service eating their lunch. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer seems like a wise move in an industry that's slow to adopt anything new.
P.S - Some interesting thoughts in the community about the fight for slices of your time. Curious what you think, and whether this is going to be a race to the bottom across the streaming/entertainment industry?
Hangouts is going away in 2019, and now we have a timeline
This has to be one of the most mismanaged product sunsets in history, with Hangouts feeling dead for at least a few years now, but at least there's an official timeline for it to go away now. Once Google adds more features to its Slack clone, Hangouts Chat, it'll kill the original Hangouts for good by the end of the year.
Microsoft continues push for schools with new low-cost devices
Chromebooks are the choice by default in many schools, particularly in New Zealand, but Microsoft wants them to consider its own devices. A wise play here from Microsoft, which is pushing the cheap Surface Go as a school device, and I'd argue it's a great fit. Even better, it has a new 'classroom pen' which can be purchased for just $40 a pop, and devices from companies like Lenovo even work with a traditional number 2 pencil.
Playing for the school space is never going away, because it's such an impressionable time. Google winning so dramatically with Chromebooks means an entire generation of kids growing up thinking that a 'computer' is just a web browser, which benefits the company massively, and allows it to define the next platform shift. Five years from now, I'll bet that ChromeOS is huge as teens graduate and come to expect that.
Great read: How LiveJournal pioneered, then lost, blogging
FYI: Apple's earnings, which will tell us how bad last quarter really was, are scheduled for next Tuesday (Jan 29)