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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Netflix上陸前の予習

 



Wired [UK] February 2015 (単号)Wired [UK] February 2015 (単号)
(2015/01/23)
不明

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いよいよ日本でもサービスを開始することを発表したNetflix。イギリスのWiredではちょうどNetflixをカバーストーリーにしていました。ヨーロッパにも拡大しているようです。

MEET NETFLIX FOUNDER REED HASTINGS
MAGAZINE 05 FEBRUARY 15 by JAMES SILVER


Words checked = [3469]
Words in Oxford 3000™ = [86%]

昨年の秋に、フランス、ドイツ、オーストリア、ベルギー、スイス、ルクセンブルクに進出したようです。

Lean and silver-haired, with a goatee and an easy-going, laconic manner, Hastings, 54, sits in Netflix's European headquarters, which overlooks a canal in the heart of Amsterdam. The space is so new that it's almost entirely empty, although the artwork has been finished: graffiti art adorns the walls, and doors have been decorated with unnerving, life-size blow-up portraits of characters from some of the channel's best known series, including a malevolent George "Pornstache" Mendez (played by Pablo Schreiber) from Orange Is the New Black. Hastings is in the Dutch capital to host a dinner with journalists to mark Netflix's first anniversary in the Netherlands, and to oversee the firm's push into Europe.

France was one of six territories into which Netflix launched in autumn 2014 (the others were Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg), as growth in the core US market, where the service currently has 37.2 million customers, inevitably starts to slow. (Hastings has said that, in the long term, he's aiming for between 60 million and 90 million subscribers in the US.) Next on his list are central, eastern and southern Europe. "We've got Asia, the Middle East and Africa still to go," he says. "Our basic view is that we want to make Netflix available everywhere in the world."


ネット環境が整わないとストリーミングサービスはストレスが溜まるだけになってしまいます。そのあたりの品質について語っている部分です。

Hunt explains that to ensure streaming quality, Netflix has purpose-built its own content-delivery network (CDN) called Open Connect -- essentially, a set of servers that house Netflix video that the company offers to ISPs either to install directly into their own networks, or to connect with at common internet exchange points throughout the world.

"If the data is travelling a shorter distance -- the industry calls it the last mile -- it makes things work substantially better," he says. "But in many ways, the real smarts happen on the client end. We leverage very straightforward, conventional protocols -- in this case just http -- to gather data very efficiently and use it as effectively as possible. A key piece of that is adaptive streaming. We can pick and choose which of several different versions of the video and audio to request and deliver, in order to get the best picture that your particular internet connection is capable of. We spend a lot of time trading off how quickly and how aggressively it shifts up to higher-quality levels, and how much buffer to retain, so it never stops, never freezes and doesn't interrupt unless there's absolutely no alternative."


ストリーミングの利点は、より詳細な視聴データを集められること。Netflixは番組釣りにも生かしているようです。

Netflix's second differentiator lies in its use of data, terabytes of which are analysed to build recommendations for each subscriber. Every title on the service is tagged and cross-referenced with a vast array of global viewer data, including what an individual subscriber watched and how they watched it. Did they binge watch seven episodes in a row, for instance? Did they fast forward through certain sections, or rewind to rewatch a particular scene? Or if they abandoned a film, when did they do so? And what did they click on next?

According to Kevin Slavin, assistant professor and founder of Playful Systems at MIT Media Lab, this has far-reaching implications for legacy television's business and delivery models. "The premise of lining up entertainment around a demographic, which is basically what networks do, may fall apart when you place it next to lining up entertainment around a person, which is what Netflix does," he says. "It's not just the shift in availability, or mode of consumption, but it's also the shift in how decisions get made about what to watch. It's true that one of the single biggest determinants about whether a show is going to get watched on linear network television is what was on right before it. But if you're given an alternative [way to choose] that seems to be vastly preferable."


今でこそストリーミング会社としての地位を確立しましたが、元々はDVDレンタル会社だったんですよね。5年前にカナダで初めてストリーミングだけに絞ったサービスを展開したとあります。今では当然のことも当時は思い切った決断が必要だったようです。

As Hastings tells it, Netflix's breakout moment came 13 years after the company was founded. In 2010 the company had just launched into Canada, its first new territory. Until then, the Netflix model had been a hybrid of DVDs -- which were ordered online and delivered via the post -- and streaming. But north of the border they opted, with some trepidation, to go to market offering a streaming-only service.

"It was a beautiful day in Toronto," Hastings says, sitting in the Netflix office in Amsterdam, "and because we'd spent the day doing demos, we didn't know what our [Canadian launch] numbers were. That night we got them and found that the number of sign-ups was like ten times larger than we'd thought it would be. That was just shocking and I remember thinking, 'Gosh, streaming works!' That was the beginning of our great, global expansion."


Netflixは高画質の4kテレビにも積極的に取り組むようです。

A single-lane, superfast connection is, of course, integral to Hastings' vision for the next frontier for television, which he believes centres on both internet streaming -- which he predicts will account for around 50 per cent of all viewing in the US by 2020 -- and on 4K Ultra HD television (with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels). This is the first format that's internet-centric, rather than broadcast-centric, he says. The shift from standard- to high-definition TV has been slow because it didn't make sense for traditional broadcasters to change their signal when only five per cent of consumers owned an HD TV set, he says. "And there was no incentive for consumers to buy an HD TV if they couldn't get any content on it -- so that chicken-and-egg problem forestalls the development of better audio-visual standards.

"But the internet solves that, because we can now have one in a thousand people buy a 4K television, and then Netflix can supply them, over the internet, with 4K content. So then you can, much more quickly, move from one in a thousand, to one in a hundred, to one in ten, to almost everybody, because you don't have to switch over the whole broadcast spectrum. You can treat each individual as an individual. So we're very big on 4K Ultra HD television, which is the next big wave, and you'll see TVs now out there at £1,500, and coming down. Samsung and Sony are both being very aggressive in pushing that -- and we're their primary source of 4K content."


現在Huluを視聴しているYutaですが、迷わずNetflixに変えてしまいそうです。
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