Should Netflix Have Content Quotas?

Netflix provides a lot of content. But should a percentage of that content come from a specific geographic region?

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Roughly 90% of what I watch, I stream through Netflix. If I’m not streaming through my TV, then I’m streaming it through the Netflix app.

I consume my content this way because of convenience. It's easy, it's right there, and there are no commercials! Yes, I'm admitting I’m lazy. It’s something that I’m working on. Netflix is also enabling me.

Despite Netflix enabling of my apathy, I enjoy the content offered. It also helps that I checked out the best internet deals and packages.

Not everything I find there is something I want to watch though.

I would prefer, every now and then, to partake in content that’s centered around my hometown of San Antonio, TX. Not southern California dolled up to look like San Antonio. Instead, I'd prefer a more realistic facsimile.

Not only that, the program should present the city of San Antonio as it truly is. The representation should be based on current trends and not what people in Hollywood assume it is- some uber-conservative town steeped in old thinking (San Antonio is quite progressive, and I should know, I live here).

Can I find this on Netflix?

No, not at all.

Should it be a near-accurate representation of San Antonio in both image and sociological makeup?

I would say, “Yes.”

And can I require Netflix to create that show just for me?

Given my laziness—yes, absolutely I should!

Is it the right way to create content?

…hmmm.

Content Quotas

Although I might have some influence—something like 0.000000000000000001% influence—I highly doubt Netflix will scramble to make my dream become a reality.

Why?

Because they’re not even doing that for the European Union.

Recently, the EU took to changing up the rules they impose on outside entertainment services. Part of that rewrite includes demanding that Netflix allot 30% of their catalog to content centered on European works.

Netflix, understandably, balked at the maneuver.

I can see where the EU is coming from though.

They want to see more and more content that reflects the socioeconomic, ethnic, and regional background of their viewers. This will lead to less alienation, and hopefully, more confidence in oneself. Or maybe they’re just looking to provide opportunities to the content creators themselves? I’m inferring those last two points.

Anyway, this move could backfire.

You’ve heard the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”?

The road to hell can start with these good intentions.

By holding Netflix responsible for creating content specifically geared towards a subset of their audience, Netflix gets hamstrung. They need to figure out what types of programs those viewers like to watch, bring in producers for it, and create the appropriate content. This ties up money and creative powers.

Sure, it helps those specific content creators.

But are they going to create something worth watching for the wider audience? It's possible.

Ethics aside, forcing the many to watch something that appeals to the few will end up alienating the larger group in the end.

And if there’s a quota to meet, then quality will get sacrificed so that Netflix can say, “Hey, we met the quota, so what are you complaining about?”

A Different Tact

Is it more advantageous to create content aimed at specific sub-groups?

Sure. Why not?

As I mentioned earlier, I demand a program centered on San Antonio that doesn’t involve someone butchering a Texas accent, or making all Texans look ignorant.

But forcing Netflix to create that just for me will end up alienating viewers from Dallas, Houston, and the hipsters up the road in Austin. Soon they’ll get their own shows too. When that happens, I’ll refuse to watch them based on principle. This will drive overall viewership down and put Netflix in a bind. They could end up losing money on this content.

This solution is bad.

To solve this problem I’m required to (sigh) get up and do something about it.

If I desire to watch content about San Antonio that represents it honestly, then I need to go out there and make it myself. And if it’s no good, then Netflix can pass on the project. This will, in turn, force me to work harder to create content that’s of quality and will appeal to the mass audience.

And it will involve…sigh…work.

For those who want to have content that better reflects who they are, they’ll have to go out and create it themselves. Or get on board with a project.

Others Can Help

Given how much Netflix is pouring into their content creation, they probably can accommodate new content from creators from specific areas. If the content is approved, Netflix can add it into their catalog and appeal to that specific sub-category whilst still putting out content for the larger audiences. Netflix will handle the distribution while the creators handle the production end.

Another option would be for local and regional governments to offer incentives to content creators. For example; the San Antonio Film Commission offers a 7.5% incentive on film and television project with at least $100,000 of approved San Antonio spending (check the details at filmsanantonio.com). This is to help content creators secure locations and equipment in San Antonio for their projects.

With this kind of assistance, burgeoning projects can find a place to shoot their film in and around San Antonio. They can avoid straining their budget and keep an authentic look. Once filming is wrapped, they can move forward with presenting it to distribution outlets, like Netflix.

It serves as a better motivation for content creators, as opposed to making Netflix go and find content creators. While it sounds a little elitist, this keeps sub-par content from getting distribution.

In the end, it will work out better for Netflix, the greater viewing audience, and even me!


Save the MCU's Continuity with Bishop

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuing to grow, how can we keep up with it all? For this we call in Bishop, a character who can save the continuity!

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With Captain Marvel set to premiere soon, the events of Avengers: Infinity War to contend with, and Disney buying out most of Fox Entertainment’s assets, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting rather large and unwieldy. To solve this problem, the MCU needs to bring in Bishop. For those who are not familiar with the Marvel character, hold tight, we’ll get to him soon. First, here’s the problem that he’s got to solve.

Continuity

BishopMarvel and any successful comic book publisher had a handful of titles to start with. When those took off, they created years and years of backstory. With the X-Men, Avengers, Spider-Man, and similar titles, that history turned into decades worth of material. It didn’t stop there though. Characters were introduced and given their own series. And then more characters, some of them getting their own series too. Then came new teams. And then new lineups with old team names. Superheroes died, resurrected, died again, and then came back to life…again. Sometimes someone would die and another hero would take up their superhero alter ego. And when the original one came back to life—well—how do you tell the difference? This was all well and good for someone who was there from the beginning. If you got sick and missed a few issues, you had some reading to catch up on. Then there were those who wanted to jump on long after the series got started. You had to go find the first issues, read those, and catch up on the history. Or, in my case, my girlfriend needed to understand why I was so engrossed with these comic books. I was about to make her sit down and read them all, but she refused. To preserve our relationship, I relented and gave a quick synopsis to catch her up. And then we got married. And I stopped reading comic books. When I try to read a comic book these days, I just accept that I’ll be lost when it comes to backstory.

The MCU

When Marvel finally got their act together and made a decent superhero movie with Iron Man, they started simple enough. You just had one movie to track. Then came The Incredible Hulk. Soon the MCU had the same problem their source material had- continuity. While each movie does a good job of being self-contained, there’s still the larger MCU to contend with. Fans, both comic readers and non-comic readers, have a difficult time keeping track of all the storylines. Not to mention also keeping up with other responsibilities of life- jobs, families, basic hygiene and whatnot. As much as I would like to appear “above it all,” there’s part of me that wants to watch all the movies to keep track of all that’s going on. No matter how mature I claim to be, the comic-reading-kid inside me refuses to be ignored. For the time-being, I get by reading synopses. Don’t judge me. I’m not proud of it, but we all make mistakes in life. This is how I know what happened in Avengers: Infinity War without ever seeing it. Again, I’m not proud of what I’ve done, but rest assured, I have to deal with this shame every day of my life. Throughout all of this, I’m concerned with the continuity issues that are now popping up all over the MCU. There is also the possibility, however remote, that the X-Men will finally get to be involved with the greater MCU and stop being quarantined to their own little universe. If that were to finally happen, there would be a lot more continuity issues to handle. Will the MCU become too big to be sustainable? Then I remember that there’s someone who can help us with this.

Bishop

Lucas Bishop has been, and will always be, a man outside of time. Hailing from Aborigine ancestry, all the way from Australia, Bishop was born a mutant in some future from an alternate dimension. Being a mutant, he was branded with an “M” over his left eye. Although meant to forever brand him as an outsider, it actually gave him a cool character trait. Anyway, this mutant grew up hearing stories of the mighty X-Men and wanted to one day resurrect the hero team. It wasn’t for him, for the millions of oppressed mutants of his time. Long story short- he joined a law-enforcement organization from his time and began pursuing a criminal named Fitzroy. Fitzroy gained control of a device that allowed him not just to travel through time, but across dimensions. Bishop, ever the determined one, pursued him through his own means. Once he caught him, however, both men lost their ability to jump through time and space. Now Bishop was stuck in the “normal” universe.

The Continuity Saver

BishopWith Lucas Bishop as the guy who knew about various other dimensions, the character can serve a unique purpose- bridging the gap between universes. It also wouldn’t hurt to have him jump in and out of the other Avenger’s storylines. This would serve two purposes; 1) Get a quick refresher on what’s going on, 2) Serve as a starting point for newcomers. Think of it; an Avengers-style movie with all the big names, albeit in smaller roles than normal, getting to meet Bishop and tying together all the storylines in a less convoluted story. And best yet, there will be minimal effect on the other all continuity! It’s a win-win-win etc.

Who Will Be Bishop?

The only real issue will be casting the character himself. For those who’ve seen Bishop, you know not just any actor will do. I, personally, would vote for Denzel Washington. But if he’s too expensive, then there’s Sterling Brown, Michael B. Jordan, and Daniel Kaluuya. I’m sure there are more qualified actors for the role, but these three have already proven their skill in physical acting. Not to mention they pull off the gritty toughness that Bishop is known for. He’s not a carefree and aloof mutant who easily spouts sarcastic quips. BishopHe’s a serious man who says little. Casting decisions aside, the MCU should now have the rights to Bishop since Disney bought most of the entertainment assets from Fox Entertainment. So all that’s left to ask is- when are going to see the X-Men, and by extension, Bishop, show up in the Avenger’s storylines? Maybe I’m stating what others already have or asking a question that’s already been asked? But if more and more people are asking, then Marvel will have to give us a reality-hopping flick centered on Bishop. Right? Either way, I’ll have to make do with catching up on Marvel movies when I have the time. As soon as they show up on Netflix, I put it on my queue, or when they get put on the streaming option. You’ll have to do the same. But make sure that you’ve got the best internet deals and packages. This way catching up on all things Marvel will be a little more cost-efficient. In the meantime, what’s the best way to approach a Bishop movie? How would you write that story?

RCN; A Powerhouse by Any Standard

RCN is one of the biggest Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the nation. This "small" ISP is regularly rated as one of the best ISPs available.

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RCN (Residential Communications Network), is one of the biggest Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the nation. Based out of Princeton, New Jersey, this ISP is regularly rated as one of the best ISPs out there by PC Mag. They work tirelessly to achieve these rankings and awards. You’d think a company with this much effort and acclaim would be one of the bigger ones out there. Well, it technically is…but not in terms of employees or presence. This puts RCN in a unique position.RCN

By the Numbers

Rated as the eighth largest ISP in the nation, RCN is available in only four states, not including the DC metro area. You can find them in New York, the greater Lehigh Valley area, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and as mentioned before, the DC metro area. This small presence is a strategic one. By setting up shop in these major cities and highly populated areas, RCN is able to provide internet, cable TV and voice to a significant portion of the overall population. So it works in their favor. But just being present here is not enough. RCN is still “small.” They’re always competing with the bigger companies. And it’s easy to assume that a small company is an easy target. Sometimes this is true. Sometimes it’s not. RCN falls into the latter category.

Where it Counts

To match the competition from the bigger companies, RCN is working hard to beat them on a metric that’s always tough- customer service. According to PC Mag, RCN is consistently ranked as one of the best in overall satisfaction. That alone is an interesting feat as they have a smaller customer base to work from. But think about it; for such a small customer base, RCN is able to garner such a following that they beat out companies two and three times their size. And this goes beyond customer satisfaction as well. RCN is also good on speed. To prove this, we go to Netflix. Netflix regularly monitors the providers who stream their service. They check download speeds during a specific time of the day- prime time. This is usually the hours of 5 pm to 10 pm. It doesn’t matter what time zone you’re in, prime time is easily the time of day when most customers are streaming their content. Netflix tracks this data throughout the year. Therefore, from August 2017 to August 2018, RCN ranked at 3.9 Mbps. That puts them in 19th position overall. Again, keep in mind that other slots in this list are occupied by much larger carriers. And some of those carriers are coming n behind RCN. Part of the reason for this is that RCN offers fiber connections in most of its service areas. They also have cable TV and voice services as well. You can bundle all three if you like. So check out RCN internet deals and packages to make sure you’re not missing out.

RCN is Advancing

While RCN is staying small, for the moment, they’re working to make improvements. For example; RCN Boston is one of the first ISPs to use green electricity. This came about back in February 2018. RCN Boston’s energy manager secured the vendor contract with IGS Energy, a green energy provider. Thanks to windmills, RCN Boston will have a smaller carbon footprint. In other news, at the beginning of 2018, RCN Lehigh Valley announced they were rolling out 1-gigabit communities. And that’s just news from 2018 alone. This puts RCN on the leading edge when it comes to ISPs. So often the larger companies are content to sit back and “do things the way they’ve always been done.” While this may work for a time, it will never delay the inevitable. Reminds me of another thing that was “small” but became a decisive factor.

USS Defiant

Before Hollywood began rebooting the franchise, and not making it any better, there was Star Trek: Deep Space 9. This series diverged from the original Star Trek in many ways; it was set on a space station and not the USS Enterprise, it had a mythic arc for the entire series and not self-contained episodes, and the Captain sported an awesome goatee by about the third season. As mentioned before, the show was set on the eponymous space station Deep Space 9. Deep Space 9 had once been the property of a foreign government that had subjugated another species. In the wake of a drawdown, the Federation took over the station and attempted to broker a treaty to include all three. Since the show was set on a space station, and space stations largely remain in one place, the ability to travel to other worlds was limited. In the season three premiere, the writers of the DS9 solved that problem.

Get a Better Ship

Up to that point, any “war ship” of the Federation was a small craft meant for short-range combat. Oh, and they were called “escort ships” so as not to sound too aggressive. The USS Enterprise, from both the original and Next Generation series, was a massive ship. Plenty of room to move around, spacious quarters, and the second one even had its own holodeck. Thanks to their size, these ships had weapons and shields for defense. So if the situation called for it, the Enterprise could fight back or come to the defense of an ally. The drawback here was their size. In reality, a ship that size wouldn’t be hampered by weight or friction in space. The budgets of a weekly sci-fi drama, however, made “realistic” depictions of space battles difficult. These shows were made back in the day of props and green screens. Thus, any “action” sequences of the ships involved moving a prop in front of a green screen and trying to make it look believable. By the time DS9 was in full swing, there was computer-generated imagery. This allowed the producers of DS9 to do two things- create more realistic space battles, and have ships maneuver more gracefully. By that point, however, everyone believed that a ship the size of the Enterprise was sluggish at best. Also, DS9 introduced some new enemies that required new technology to fight. Or, more accurately, technology the Federation hadn’t fully utilized. This is where we got the USS Defiant. The Defiant was created to combat a previous enemy, or so the narrative went.

Small Powerhouse

RCNThis ship was small compared to the Enterprise and others like. In fact, it was so small that space inside was at a premium. Quarters were barely the size of bunk beds. And there was no holodeck. While most of the amenities found on normal starships were removed, the weapons and powerplant were not. The Defiant, despite its size, still carried a warp core that could power the Enterprise. They also loaded it down with the normal weapon complement of a standard starship. There was a perk too- a cloaking device. The Defiant, small and swift, go also go invisible. Thanks to this “little ship,” the crew of DS9 could travel away from the station as they needed. Most of the time that was to drop kick bad guys and save stranded allies. And thanks to advanced effects, the Defiant moved gracefully through space, literally running circles around its opponents. Just like RCN is doing.

RCN and The Defiant

While it’s a “small” ISP, RCN is running circles around its competition, and deftly weaving in and out of spaces the bigger ones can’t. While the big companies may have the money and reach that RCN doesn’t, they’re slow to react. This is putting RCN in a superior position. As the small ISP leverages this advantage, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more people switch to RCN as soon as its available to them.

Strategy and Spectrum

Charter Communications, better known as Spectrum, is doing well. They have a strategy in place for growth, even if there are a few major obstacles.

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Charter Communications, better known as Spectrum, is doing well, all things considered.

True, the State of New York is waffling on whether to allow the merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner to stand. And they’re also working to oust the cable provider from the state itself.

This comes after the state’s Public Service Commission declared that Charter was moving too slowly in fulfilling its promises.

As a result, they slapped the ISP (internet service provider) with a hefty fine and declared they had thirty days to move out of the state. While this may seem extreme, Charter is still in New York as the wheels of politics are slow at best. On August 21st, 2018, it was declared they had a two-week extension. No new news has surfaced after that.

As the dispute drags out, frustrating Spectrum customers, the company itself, and still raising questions over the Time Warner-Charter Communications merger, we can look to an odd source for guidance in this situation.

The game of Risk.

World Domination in Two Dimensions

Risk is a classic board game that allows players to attempt to take over the world. The first edition of the game was your basic map of the world. Most of the countries and nations were simplified into general territories. Each continent was turned into its own entity and there were set paths for entrance.

The goal was simple- control as much of the board as possible. Take out your “friends,” and make sure your armies were everywhere.

Risk has taken on many different versions over the years.

Variations

The ones that I’m most fond of are the Lord of the Rings, Halo, and Legacy editions. These take the basic concept of Risk and apply it to a new map with a few exclusive perks.

For example; Risk: Legacy had some of the oddest armies involved, such as the Enclave of the Bear. This army of genetically altered humans looked the Doth Raki from Game of Thrones. But they came with a unique bonus. More than that, bonuses could be added during each game.

Every time you played Risk: Legacy, the board changed. It would remain that way for the next game and change some more.

One principle remained in all versions of the game- dice rolling.

For each attack, the attacking player got up to three dice. This is where it got tricky for me- if I had more than three armies, I got three die. Two armies= two dice, and one army= one die. In the heat of trying to take a country, I usually forgot this and just kept throwing dice.

The defender, if that person had two armies, got two dice. And, of course, one die= one army.

Both sides would roll.

Your highest dice roll would be matched up the highest dice roll of your opponent. The second-highest to their second highest.

If you had higher dice rolls than theirs, then you won that attack. They’d lose two armies and you’d roll again until you either decimated them, or you were decimated.

It was a little confusing for me at first, and to be honest, it still is. I need constant reminders when I play.

Anyway, you may have a ton of armies, but a few bad dice rolls may derail any visions of swift and decisive victory.

I can recall the ONE time that I won at Risk.

My ONE Victory

It was 2010 and I was still looking for a steady job. My best friend still had the Lord of the Rings Risk that he had “borrowed” from another friend back in college.

About four of us came to his apartment on a Saturday and instead of just watching TV all day, we decided to play Risk.

Up to that point, I had lost every time I played. Most of the time it was a solid and humiliating defeat. But being the good sport that I am, I decided I would play yet again. After all, I was among friends and they so enjoyed the feeling of success when they soundly pummeled me in a game that had no real-life application.

But I read more books than them, so I’m the real winner here.

Anyway, the game got started as it usually did and I worked my normal strategy- expand as fast as possible. In hindsight, this is a severely flawed strategy. No matter how much space you occupy on the board, you leave yourself open to attack from multiple fronts. Then again, if you fortify and make them come to you, you don’t expand and score more territories. You just spend the game sitting in a corner and waiting for someone to come to play with you.

In this specific instance, I had the dice rolls on my side. I won a few early victories. These victories lead to control of key regions. And with these regions, I got the extra armies I always so desperately needed.

With the extra armies, I was able to ride out a few losses and keep expanding.

Soon the board was controlled by a vastly more intelligent and benevolent ruler.

Me.

This day has been marked in history so that none of my friends forget it. I also make sure to remind my wife regularly as well.

Now, if only I could take what I’d learned in this game and apply it to real-life somehow?

Risk and Spectrum

Okay, so let’s apply this analogy to Spectrum.

They’re working to expand their footprint everywhere in the nation. They’re not some army bent on controlling the world. No, instead they’re working hard to connect as many people as possible.

To do this they need to move into new territories and establish roots.

So, in a sense, they do act like the little figurines in a game of Risk.

As they work to move into a new space, they’re essentially rolling die to see how smoothly the process goes. The defender die could be anything from bureaucratic red tape to rival companies trying to force them out.

In the case of New York State, they didn’t have the dice rolls on their side.

Now they’re having to retreat.

Risk and the Bigger Picture

I admit this is a simplistic way of looking at the current state of ISPs, especially Spectrum.

It does make it easier for me to figure out what’s going on though.

Anyway, Spectrum is working to resolve the issue with New York State, as well as ensure that the merger with Time Warner stands. With those two obstacles holding them up, Spectrum is going to have trouble implementing other initiatives that could help more and more customers.

That’s kind of ironic when you think about it.

It’s also frustrating when you realize that Spectrum is one of the better ISPs out there.

By the Numbers

Spectrum is one of the faster providers out there.

This is proven thanks to the Netflix ISP speed index.

Netflix regularly monitors the various ISPs they partner with. During peak viewing hours, that is, the hours between 5 pm and 10 pm, Netflix is monitoring how fast ISPs can stream their content.

From August 2017 to August 2018, Spectrum averaged 3.95 Mbps.

That’s a good number.

Even better is that, despite having issues in New York, Spectrum is available in 48 states, and 9,179 zip codes across the nation. This puts them in the second spot for largest ISP in the nation.

Spectrum, like many other ISPs, offers internet through cable and fiber. They also have voice and cable TV services as well.

So make sure to check out Spectrum internet and cable deals. Not only are they a fast and reliable ISP, but they can also bundle a lot of services for you. This will, in turn, save you money and time.

Winning the Game of Risk

While Spectrum works to resolve the issue with New York, that still leaves about 47 states that they can still help. Which is good news for most of the country.

If you’re in New York though, sorry.

They might get it cleared up soon enough and you can see if they provide internet to your home.

In the meantime, pull out your Risk board game and get playing.

If you don’t have one, then you need to get to your nearest retailer and get one. I’m not saying this because I get a cut of the profits. Instead, I’m advising you to play a game that’s a lot of fun and just once, just once, you might get the chance to rule the world.



The 3 Laws of Starting a Streaming Service

Apple, and Disney, have been teasing their streaming services for some time. Instead of launching, they're following 3 laws for starting a streaming service

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Apple, much like Disney, has been “working” on launching a streaming service for quite some time. Most recently, on August 23, they announced they’ve greenlit a series based on Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series. It’s expected to debut in March of 2019. This is all well and good, but they could have launched this already. They seem to be following a set of rules, or laws, to starting a streaming service. These laws are great for starting one, yet, laws on launching a streaming service seem to be missing. Instead, we’re just getting more and more updates on series while Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, continue to increase their content offerings, as well as solidify their subscriber bases. It’s somewhat frustrating. The good news is that Asimov’s “Foundation” series will get some series power behind it.

Who’s Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov was a prolific writer of science fiction. He saw the genre as a place where true intellectualism could reign. Ideas could be thought over, developed, and allowed to expand without anyone putting restrictions on them. Asimov was also a curious one and loved science fiction from a young age. He taught for some time at Boston University and wrote on the side. But when income from his writing surpassed his professor’s salary, he went to writing full time. If only we could all be so lucky.

The Three Laws of Robotics

Asimov created and developed The Three Laws of Robotics. It's also what he’s most well known for. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z7a8MTYrDE
  1. A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. Robots must obey orders given to it by human beings except when such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First and Second Law.
These laws have become commonplace among the die-hard science fiction fan. Not only do they provide a basis for robotics to behave, they also provide constraints. Without constraints, there’s no conflict, and even robots need conflict. Asimov developed the laws for his Robots stories. A series of short stories and novels that revolved around the autonomous creations was also where the term “Robotics” was birthed. Asimov saw robots as another character in his stories. At the time this was a novel concept and one that remained solely within science-fiction for some time. These robots, man-made though they were, developed their own personalities. As a result, some were good, and some were bad. While he does have a long list of published works, he’s most well known for writing “I, Robot.” This was turned into a summer blockbuster in 2004, starring Will Smith. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL6RRIOZyCM And then the FX Network put it into syndication until it was overplayed. I heard there might be a sequel, but nothing new has come of that rumor. “Foundations”, though not as popular as “I, Robot”, has its own cult following. And now it’s part of Apple’s promised lineup of original content for its streaming service. Which leads me to believe that there are three laws for starting a streaming service.

The Three Laws

While Asimov’s three laws were meant to govern robots’ behavior and interaction with humans. The laws were a safeguard as well as a means to keep the robots in check. As displayed in I, Robot, even these laws have their loopholes which can be exploited. Beyond that, robots were free to live as they wanted. It’s different when it comes to streaming services. Especially when launching one. It seems every company these days has already launched a streaming service or is working on it. Those that have already done so have paved the way. Streaming services, as exciting as they are, still require a means to enter the world. Growth, oddly enough, needs assistance. Hence, the three laws.

The First Law

Build up hype. Streaming services are not created in a vacuum. To get one started, there needs interest among the general public. It doesn’t matter if it’s an entertainment company, a software company, or a retail giant, anyone can launch their own streaming service…well, almost. There needs to be a lot of money first to get the production companies involved, scout out properties for original content, and set up the service itself. To justify such costs, the company in question will announce they’ll be making their own streaming service. And that’s it. They just have to announce it and put out there a vague deadline somewhere off in the future. Walmart has set a definite deadline for the rollout of its pumped-up Vudu service. Disney and Apple, however, have taken their time. The deadline for each is a blurry date somewhere off in the future. But at least they’ve got the hype going for them.

The Second Law

Find an intellectual property that’s not too popular, but just popular enough. Asimov, in the science fiction community, it a well-regarded name. To those outside that community, he may be known, he may not be. But his name is tied in with some big movies, so there’s that. Now, the streaming service must create the original content to populate its new lineup that’s set to debut…sometime in the future. To ride the hype they’ve created, they need anchor content to build on. But most of the major production companies, and other streaming services who haven’t been sitting on their butts, already hold the rights to popular stuff. Unless they’re willing to shell out a lot of cash, they’ll have to go find their anchor content somewhere else. This is why Apple went for “Foundation”, and Disney has promised a live-action Star Wars show. Since Disney owns Star Wars, this is a no-brainer. They’ve got the rights and the money to do a series like that the right way. For Apple, they need something that can compete with Star Wars, and other sci-fi shows, without looking like a rip-off. Luckily, they’ve got Asimov. His work is original and already has a loyal fanbase. It also helps that Asimov consulted on the Star Trek movies. That fact alone differentiates “Foundations” from Star Wars.

The Third Law

Pack Big Names behind Anchor Content. With the hype rolling and the intellectual properties secure, a few big names are needed. John Favreau is behind Disney’s Star Wars show. Foundations will be headed by David S. Goyer, the story writer for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, among other highly known properties. The purpose of these big names is not only to ensure these properties are done right but to also give fans the hope that they will. Favreau and Goyer are big names. They know how to create, write, and produce content that resonates and entertains. When it comes to adapting content that’s not their own, they’ve proven themselves already. This is good news, as there are a few series out there that have been soiled by big names. I’m not going to name names directly, but Star Trek got ruined by JJ Abrams, and Superman and Justice League were messed up by Zak Snyder. Just because A big name is attached to a project does not mean it is the RIGHT big name. Think I’m wrong? Just jump on Netflix, or Amazon Prime to watch these films yourself. Make sure you’ve got the best internet and cable deals first. This way you’ll save money. But you might get a headache, so consider yourself warned.

Applying the Three Laws

For Disney and Apple, they seem to be following these three laws pretty closely. And doing a good job of it. You will notice, however, that there is no law requiring a definite start date. Instead, that’s assumed. Somewhere, off in the future, we’ll get to see these streaming services. In the meantime, we’ll make do with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and the other services that have already gotten their act together.