If Amazon owned YouTube…

We got a BT Sport subscription last month to watch Champions League and Europa League matches. The stream (we watch on the TV using Chromecast) often paused and skipped, often over entire plays, and at least once over a long sequence including the goal. It was terrible.

Before the finals, we remembered that BT Sport streams the two finals free on YouTube. So, halfway through the Europa cup final, I switched to streaming from YouTube. It was flawless. There was no pause-and-skip. At all! For the Champions League final, I didn’t even bother switching on the BT Sport app, and went direct to watching on YouTube.

BT Sport isn’t the only company with a terrible live streaming product. Eurosport player’s pause-and-skip is terrible, making all sports unwatchable. ITV is so aware of its terrible product that it doesn’t even offer live streaming on Chromecast, only recorded programs are available. These are just the ones I’ve tried1.

This got me thinking. YouTube has some of the best2 streaming infrastructure and knowhow. For instance, they understand that continuity is more important than quality in live streaming, so their algorithm dynamically reduces video quality instead of pausing live streams. They have content delivery deals with most network providers globally, helping reduce lag and data transfer. They basically already have all the infrastructure for a successful streaming platform.

What would Amazon have done if it owned YouTube in its current state? They would have productised the YouTube streaming platform, a la AWS and Amazon logistics, and opened it up for any company to use.

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Incomplete numbers

India’s premium smartphone segment grew 29% YoY in 2019; Apple was the fastest growing brand, up 41% YoY, and OnePlus maintained its No. 1 position

—The Economic Times (via Techmeme)

This headline is bothering me. It appears to present the idea that the Indian market is (finally) turning towards premium smartphones. But these numbers only present half the story.

It’s great the the premium smartphone segment grew 29%, and Apple’s sales (I presume) grew 41%. But from what base did they grow?

Also, how fast did the overall smartphone market grow? If the overall smartphone market grew by more than 29%, then the market share of premium segment actually shrank.

Half the numbers, half the story. Still makes it to the front page of Techmeme :/

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Bias is good

Economist - Red, but not a red top
Red, but not a red top.

In professional cycling, the more dangerous surface to race on is not the slippery one, or a rough / cobbled one, but an unpredictable one. The cyclists can slow down, and/or change the angle of approach if they know about the slippery conditions, or broken road surface. Crashes happen when they go into a corner full gas not knowing about the bad road surface condition ahead.

Moving from pro-cycling to media (and people), the problems caused by bias are just the same. It’s easier to deal with a person who you know is strongly, and consistently biased one way or the other1 – irrespective of whether that bias is in alignment with, or against, your own biases views. It’s the unpredictable ones who are harder to read (and deal with). As interesting as people are to write about, in this post, I’ll stick to media.

Karthik wrote about what he considers The Economist’s *shit* coverage of Indian politics, tinted by their bias against Narendra Modi. Yet, he continues to read the newspaper2 for their non-Indian-politics coverage. However, in view of his recent discovery of the Murray Gell-mann Amnesia effect, Karthik ponders whether he can trust The Economist’s viewpoint on other topics anymore. Read his full post here.

The Predictable

My take on this issue is different. It relies on known and unknown biases. Having been a paid subscriber of The Economist for about 8 years now, I have come to identify their bias as ‘Economically Conservative, Socially Liberal3 4.

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