Posted by: crudbasher | April 21, 2011

An Education Parable


“The avalanche has begun. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.” Ambassador Kosh, from the TV series ‘Babylon 5’

Yes I liked Babylon 5. 🙂

I came across this interesting article today about why Blu-ray sales are not taking off faster. People today still buy more DVDs than Blu-ray disks. In the article they look at certain factors but finally conclude that people are going to skip any more physical disks and move on to streaming video instead. I think this reason is correct, at least it is from personal experience. I still have a DVD player but no Blu-ray player. Instead I got a Roku box over a year ago and Netflix. My goodness the night I hooked it up was an amazing experience. All of a sudden I could watch thousands of movies and tv shows on demand!  Not only was it a massive amount of content, but it was cheap too!

There are very few things in our society that we feel are a good deal, let’s be honest. Paying 20 dollars for a piece of plastic that we all know costs a dollar to manufacture is not one of them. An ever expanding ocean of content for only 10 dollars? Yeah buddy, sign me up.

So why is this a parable and what does it have to do with education?

The advent of streaming media has been fought against by virtually all the big movie studios. As essentially a cartel, they wanted to keep the old way of doing things. Expensive disks create a market of scarcity. I remember when DVDs came out, the studios said they would end up being a lot cheaper than VCR tapes. Well that didn’t happen did it? It was quite a cash cow so the studios had every reason to fight against any possible competition. (like Netflix)  Blu-ray was supposed to be their next cash cow.

Despite the studios having massive amounts of cash, and quite a few lawmakers in their pocket, they are losing the battle. Streaming is clearly a superior way to access content and the market is speaking. They met a disruptive technology and didn’t know how to adapt.

Thus we can start to see the parable taking hold. Look at higher education. It’s a bunch of very powerful entities who have been selling a very expensive and scarce resource. (degrees) What if someone comes along and sells the same thing but in a much more convenient and cheaper form? Let’s say online maybe? I think the same thing will happen to higher education that is happening to the movie business.

I’m waiting for the Netflix of Education to emerge and present the public with a product that is undeniably a good deal. I want to see that ocean of learning opportunities open up to me!

I think the avalanche has already started. Or should I say (to use my metaphor) the stormfront is getting closer?

  • Article about blueray. Competition from Netfix etc…

    tags: technology blueray obsolete

    • Strategy Analytics researcher Peter King recently said his analysts were surprised that DVD player sales continued to be so strong against Blu-ray players. That reminded me of what some critics have suspected: Blu-ray really hasn’t caught on — and probably never will.
    • Blu-ray discs and players are clearly superior to DVDs, offering more features and a better picture overall.
    • So why haven’t shoppers been impressed? It can’t be the price. Walmart sells Blu-ray players for as little as $70.
    • The real reason Blu-ray players never went mainstream? Quite frankly they were never that good.
    • Recent research by analysts at NPD has shown that 77 percent of viewers still watch movies on disc, meaning there’s hope for Blu-ray. On the other hand, after years of Hollywood studios fighting the trend, the future is clear: Movies and video are moving to online streaming services. No more video stores. No more discs and late fees.
    • Simply rent or buy the movie online and get it via Netflix, Amazon or Vudu. It won’t be as sharp a picture as that offered by a Blu-ray disc, but you don’t have to get off the couch. Indeed, it’s such a significant trend that the makers of Blu-ray players were forced to add the very streaming services they compete against to their own players.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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