Thursday, January 28, 2016


SPIN: Apple is a company that believes in leaving something on the table, rather than always enriching themselves at our expense. Why else would they release free operating system updates for mobile and desktop devices, which improves the experience of Apple users for no charge?

TRUTH: Apple makes its money in hardware, not software, and realised this strategy years ago. That's why the product launches became glittering evangelical events, designed to addict people to the Apple hardware ecosystem. The other part of Apple's strategy is to kill off competitors to their services, like how they are trying to kill free music streaming on Spotify and Youtube.

SPIN: Cinema is a dying medium because the youth all want to watch their user-generated content on Youtube and mobile phones, now and forever.

TRUTH: There has been no conclusive study into the evolving habits of young people when it comes to films, and the suggestion that the youth will behave a certain way in the future, because they behave that way now, is absurd. Tastes evolve with age, and there is no real evidence that young people will, or will not, graduate to more cinematic or refined screen content than user-generated Youtube videos. What we do know empirically, however, is that cinema attendance has stayed relatively flat for years, with no great leap in attendance, but no great drop off the cliff either. Using purely American ticket sales numbers as an example, we can observe that:

i) The difference between the five year average (2009-2014) for ticket sales and the ten year average, is only approximately -2%.
ii) The difference between the five year average for ticket sales and the twenty year (1994-2014) average is only approximately -3%.
iii) The difference between the ten year average for ticket sales and the twenty year average is only approximately -0.81%
iv) The twenty year average for ticket sales, including the 'golden years' of the early 2000's, is approximately 1.38 billion tickets sold. In 2012, only three years ago, the US Box Office beat this average with 1.39 billion tickets sold.

Shifting numbers, yes, but hardly catastrophic, particularly when viewed against box office revenue over those same years.

SPIN: Dynamic pricing, wherein the price of a cinema ticket should shift up or down along with the particular demand of the film/cinema session, devalues the intrinsic value of film as a piece of art, and simply doesn't work.

TRUTH: Dynamic pricing is a success on Broadway already, where it 'helps extend a show’s life­span, allowing producers to take advantage of boom times in order to offset fallow periods, during which lower prices are offered to attract new crowds.'

SPIN: Netflix making original content is a gimmick. Back catalogue and content licensing is the only way for streaming services to make money.

TRUTH: Original content is very good business for Netflix. Said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings: "Our originals cost us less money, relative to our viewing metrics, than most of our licensed content, much of which is well known and created by the top studios"

SPIN: You shouldn't bother forming an opinion, and DEFINITELY never say it out aloud. You will make yourself look foolish.

TRUTH: The respected only got there by using the grey matter between their ears, while having the courage to articulate their perspective. Putting their name under a quote, to make sure they have some skin in the game. Sometimes they'll be wrong, chalk it up to experience, and move on. And sometimes, you can even get it completely right.

What kind of world does this all add up to?

Well, there have never been more perspectives floating out there in the ether.

And there have never been more agendas for you to grapple with.

Think critically. Do your research. Cut through the vested interests.

Always ask yourself why someone may be pushing a certain perspective. Sniff out the wolf wearing the sheepskin coat.

But most of all, never go to war armed only with spin; particularly in the information age.

It's the thinnest armour there is.

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