On March 16, 1991, two weeks after the tape of Rodney King’s brutal beating by Los Angeles police went public, a 15-year-old African American girl named Latasha Harlins walked into an L.A. market to buy orange juice. As she approached the counter, she put the juice in her backpack with one hand while holding money in the other.
Fuzzy security footage shows how their failed transaction ends: Harlins picks up the orange juice, which has fallen on the floor, and places it on the counter. She turns to walk away. But before she can get three feet she suddenly crumples to the ground, because the shopkeeper has pulled out a shotgun and fired it into her back.
With its noirish murder mystery miniseries The Night Of, HBO has introduced yet another innovation bound to alter people’s TV-watching habits. The show officially premiered on Sunday, July 10, but the cable network made the first episode (of eight) available to subscribers through HBO On Demand and its online HBOGO service more than two weeks earlier.
Engagement is the holy grail in user experience. Product engineers design for it; business owners strive for it; and users naturally want it. In discussions with owners and executives at cable, OTT, search-and-recommendation and video-streaming companies worldwide, Mediander has found universal agreement on the benefits of user engagement. A more emotionally involved customer is more likely to spend money on products and services. The connection between increased engagement and increased transactions seems like common sense.
So, Terence Winter: I tried to like your new show, Vinyl, I really did. Not least because a cool musician friend of mine is in it, and because I lived through 1970s NYC, albeit as a kid. But once I remembered who you are—the writer and creator-showrunner of Boardwalk Empire and writer of The Wolf of Wall Street and lots of episodes of The Sopranos—I understood why I wasn’t liking Vinyl and realized it was hopeless.
“They say we get the leaders we deserve,” begins Frank Underwood’s Oval Office address to you, his loyal fourth wall, in a recent trailer for House of Cards. Season four of the Netflix show premieres tonight and, frankly, the timing couldn’t be more appropriate. As Underwood claws and scrapes his way to victory, so do our own presidential hopefuls. Soon, all the campaigns will blur. Fiction and reality will become one. If we play our cards wrong, this November we may end up with a fictional character for president.
James White, the Sundance award–winning, feature-film debut of writer-director Josh Mond (producer of Martha Marcy May Marlene), is a performance-driven punch in the stomach.