SparkTrail FREE round table for Innovators

Announcing the

SparkTrail Round Table Series for 2017.

I am pleased that I have been asked to conduct the monthly round table discussion for the SparkTrail Innovation group in Nashua NH!  I will present the topic and moderate the discussion for 7 monthly meetups start next Wednesday 6/28/17 at noon.   For more info, and to register, please visit:

If your passion is product development,  join the  lively discussion with your peers to explore the processes and methods that dramatically improve chances of success in your marketplace.

These sessions are FREE but have limited seating, so please register if you can join us.

Hope to see you there. — Bob Rosentel

Full SparkTrail Round Table Sessions for 2017


Date: June 28th, 2017:   Topic: Innovation & the Art of Defining Boundaries

Date: July 26th, 2017:   Topic: Ideal Buyers

Date: Aug 30th, 2017:   Topic: Customer Journey Mapping that Transforms Business

Date: Sep 27th, 2017:   Topic: Innovating With a Purpose

Date: Oct 25th, 2017:   Topic: Hitting the Target

Date: Nov 29th, 2017:   Topic: Alternatives and Competitors

Dec 20th, 2017:***   Topic: Collaboration

*** Note that Dec. 20 is the Wednesday before Christmas, not the last Wednesday in December.

All Spark Trail Round Table Events take place at:

Nashua Technology Park @ Gateway Hills,

Enterprise Collaboration Room

200 Innovative Way

Nashua, NH 03062

Events officially are 12 noon to 1 PM, but come early and stay late for more networking and discussion.

For more info, and to register, please visit:

Should Kids learn to code?

Computer on desktop.“Over the coming years, the delineation between “product design” and “front-end development” as separate functions will disappear.”

This is an excellent article predicting the future merger of design and front-end presentation:

The future of front-end development is design

Businessman using PDA.In this article delineating the differences between front-end and back-end software development, the trends indicate that design and UX will be hand in hand and driven by the user experience.

Think of it as a “carpenter” hired to work on your house.  Framing, roofing, insulation, plastering, chair rail moldings all have differences in tools, skill sets, and attitude.

Should Kids learn to code? Yes, but software coding is like building.  There are many layers of complexity.  Understanding software is always a plus.  But understanding users and needs is the future. This leads to successful products.

“Kids with an interest in building and delivering better experiences for consumers and businesses should double down on design and business instead of developing deep software development expertise.”

What does “learning to code mean”?



FCC ruling on Internet Broadband

#NetNeutrality Here is the press release today from the FCC. I would recommend a read through before we all get buried in the spin.



In essence, the FCC has stated three things:

1) Internet Broadband access is Title II — i.e. “common carrier”

This gives the FCC authority to regulate ISPs which authority previous court rulings have questioned

2) No “fast lanes” or slow downs are allowed for legal content on the Internet.

No special treatment of certain content providers material because they pay an ISP premium

3) There is to be no distinction between wired Internet and wireless or mobile Internet.

The FCC called this distinction an “anachronism” in the modern day.

It remains to see how this oversight and regulation will play out in the coming months, and years.

Does anyone have an opinion on the future?

FCC on the verge of revising Title II rules — The future of Net Neutrality?

Net NeutNetNeutrality617by835rality regulations are expected this week from the FCC.  At stake is the next generation of Internet TV among other forms of content.  Industry press is wondering what the response will be from the Cable operators and all the incumbent producers of content.  In the late 1990s, Jim Chiddix (SVP Time Warner Cable) said that the cable industry was inevitably headed toward be classified as “common carrier” and that the industry is not set up to be run as a highly regulated business.  The day to figure out the solution is upon us.


Caption: Two concerned citizens pondering the FCC decision  

“Escape velocity” is the perfect metaphor

earth3a8“Escape velocity” is the perfect metaphor for describing the explosive move to OTT video. Clearly the industry is facing a brave new world where the known planet is being left behind.

For those of us who remember Apollo 8, the first manned mission to leave the Earth’s orbit, it was both wildly exciting and full of trepidation.

Now the video business is leaving the known world, and exploring new territory.

Excellent article from Joel Espilien.

The Most Important Decision to come for the Media Industry in 2015

by Robert W. Rosentel, Mediavatis Consulting

As 2015 officially kicks off, I would suggest that the most important decision in the media business on the horizon for the new year is an unusual one:

How much will HBO charge for

its new direct-to-consumers OTT video subscription service?

This may seem like an odd choice for the “most important question” given all the innovations and new technology that we expect (or don’t yet expect) to see in the coming 12 months.  But, the pricing of the direct HBO service is a critical juncture in the business of the cable industry.  It will set a tone and a trend for the future of video distribution.

Several possible price ranges have been rumored.  Let’s consider what each of these would mean.

1 ) Price of $8/month (or thereabouts)

This price point would be the most aggressive option indicating that HBO is ready to go head to head with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus and others.  However, the cable partners of HBO would be undercut by a price point below what they have offered customers for HBO (which includes HBO on Demand, and HBO Go).  This would likely lead to a catfight of sorts between long-term partners and may lead to contract battles and price cutting.  It would be a major move on HBO’s part to explore a new business opportunity without much regard to their current distribution system.

2 ) Price of $10 – $15 / month

This is considered the safest bet for both Cable distributors and their happy relationship with HBO, because it matches the current costs for HBO in most households who pay through their cable company. (bundled or ala carte).  At this price point, HBO is not likely to anger their longtime cable partners, but also not likely to attract many viewers who can’t currently afford HBO.

3) Price of $20 + /month

This price point has been rumored, and would indicate a “high-end HBO service” (possibly with many more titles and video libraries attached).  This would likely only attract the highest income households, and would have little or no effect on the HBO-subscriptions currently in place through cable partners.  It would represent a targeting of consumers who value access and choice with little regard to cost.

In each of these cases, HBO assumes the costs of distribution, customer service, and billing which are currently handled by the cable partners. However, there is no partner split the revenue on the distribution side (we assume).

HBO will make the decision (allegedly) in the first quarter of 2015 about the service and its price point.  This decision will set the tone for the future on the relationships that have been mutually profitable to both premium video channels and cable distributors for over 30 years.

If HBO picks the safest bet (i.e Option #2), and prices near the current costs of their services from an MSO, how long will it be before the marketplace (i.e.  consumers), new competitors (e.g Netflix, Verizon, etc) and old competitors (e.g. Showtime) or other factors force their hand to deliver a less expensive, and less encumbered service? Another year or two? The importance of the decision rests in the choice that HBO makes.

What do you think?






TVE or TVEE? TV Everything, Everywhere: are we confusing the consumer?

TV Everything, Everywhere

Are we confusing the consumer?

For those in the media industry, we all know why certain programs are only available on certain devices at certain times.  But what is the consumer expectation?

In the 1990s, with PPV windows, the public had a sense that the PPV movies were a bit “old”, and perhaps they also sensed that airplane and hotel movies were a bit more recent.  Those were the simple days.

“What is available, on what terms, and when” has never been more convoluted.

Examples of the current consumer offers

Three random examples:

1)    House of Cards was created for Netflix for two seasons, and is available for free on Netflix to those that pay the Netflix monthly subscription fee. But HoC is now on Xfinity on Demand to buy for $2.99 per HD episode. Of course, only the first season is offered by Comcast. (Everyone understands that, right?)

2)    HBO GO is available to Comcast subscribers who subscribe to HBO on their Pay-TV package, and can be viewed on iPhone, Android, tablets, laptop PCs and Macs.  But not on Roku.  (This is not the case if the consumer buys an HBO subscription from Time Warner, Charter, Cablevision, DirecTV, Dish or dozens of others.) ???

3)    HBO content is soon to be available on Amazon Prime.  But (read the fine print) the deal says that only HBO programming that is more than three years past its original airdate will be available. So, when the customer hears the news about HBO / Amazon in the press, and goes to Amazon Prime, they will expect to see Game of Thrones, but it won’t be there for a very long time.

(It is difficult to keep this straight even for those of us that do this for a living.) I am certain there are many more examples.

The new world we live in:

I have observed anecdotally that when 20somethings or teens are discussing a TV show, video or song, they search for it on YouTube.  Whether it is a musical number, awards show segment, or a single scene from a movie or TV show, (whether from last night or from 1963) they expect it to be there.  And most often it is! (legally or not).

The expectation of TV Everything Everywhere is already ingrained in their mindset.

What are your thoughts on how the consumer can access what they are looking for (without footnotes explaining the rules)?