June 11, 2012

Migo TV: Watch LEGAL Anime for Php7

Jay has already had his point across on this service we discovered in Isetann mall in Recto. Here is my take on this interesting service that if done right, can monopolize itself as the most affordable video-on-demand in the country.

To give a perspective: Migo is relatively an unknown presence in the country, obvious to the fact that we happen to get them out of sheer blue. But according to their website, it was a by-product of imaginary minds and multi-nationalities and race.  They seem to have a foothold in Taiwan and in Manila. But this may come as the development team might compromise of Filipinos and mix Chinese/Taiwanese, with western investors.

So what’s good about the Migo service? For one, it lets you download titles, ranging from cable series like Deadliest Catch and other famous American Drama. But since I am writing this in an Anime website, it also has a library of Animes. Yes. It has LEGAL animes from the four pillars Naruto and classics like Chrono Crusade of all things. There maybe more anime in the lot, but that’s what I can remember about it. But what’s interesting thing about this is that you can get their episodes for Php7 for 3 day access. Not bad if you at it. You have rights to watch shows you like for Php7 . That’s quite cheap and very affordable if you don’t watch a lot of cable and dislike subscribing to expensive cable channels.

It’s good that there’s a service that we can finally clean our morals over stealing anime and accused of being dirty pirates. But given that spanking opportunities it has as a service. It fails enough to achieve the modern demand of your average media consumer. Let me point out the biggest pitfalls of the service.

  1. NOT INTERNET BASE - The biggest and perhaps the defining pitfall for the service to achieve monumental success. There is no website, or mobile portal that you can access to purchase the content you desire. The entire service is deal OFFLINE in a brick-and-mortar store. To purchase a show, you have to leave your house. Yes. That involve using your two legs. Go to the nearest available Kiosk (Which I can safely guarantee that you won’t find one nearby). Pay 7 pesos to the cashier. REMOVE your microSD card from your cellphone. That means, turning off your phone. Let the attendant slide the memory card in a Kisok machine to download the episode. Gives you the memory card with the contents inside. To think of it, it would had saved you a lot of money if you just rent a PC in an internet Cafe and watch in Youtube. The point of purchase defeats the purpose of Video-on-demand. You don’t have instant access to the content you crave for. There’s a lot of overhead to deal with. No sane content consumer – myself included – will ever consume in this service. It’s just too much hassle to try to.
  2. NO ANDROID AND iOS APP - The only reason there isn’t such, is that the team at Migo wanted to have the largest scope of potential users. In a market where most phones are feature phones. It makes sense to develop the service that caters to old phones. From the demonstration that was given. We were shown an episode of Naruto playing on an Eseries Nokia handset. We were told that the videos are in HD, which is a blatant marketing lie, but that’s not what the service aims for. From the looks of it, it was encoded somewhere the same as 3gp, but it was encased in a layer that prevents itself from being recognized by any known player (i.e proprietary format), as well as have an expiring mechanism that renders the video unplayable after a certain number of days (3 days in this case). Perhaps, the way it works, is that the video has a time-stamp (could be the phone time. But that’s too easy to spoof) and the player checks for this stamp and run against the date and time, see if it has expired. If it was, the player will refuse to play the content. So to say much on the quality of the video. It would be pretty much cellphone quality. But more vivid compared to those sex scandals you are used to watch.

Now let’s say that I am owner of this company. How would I address this service so that it can cater to a wider scope of potential customer.

  1. DEVELOP FOR CURRENT FEATURE – SMART PHONES – Perhaps the point of the service is to deliver content anyone that has a cellphone. Its a noble act. But what’s the point in developing for phones that will become obsolete in just a matter of years. The first generation Smart Phones are already at arms reach of your average Juan. The first Nexus phone can be bought under 12K. Eventually, people will have Smart Phones that will either run on Android, iOS or the Nokia/Window 7 Mobile and some BADA. It would had been a sound decision to just develop on these brands and not spend all the development resources on deprecated but kicking handsets. It may not have the widest audience, but once maturity hits, you will not have a hard time maintaining the service. As a budding developer, I learn to accept not supporting old technologies for the fact that eventually people will migrate out of. It’s better to support the future than keep the past to the present.
  2. CREATE AN ONLINE STORE – Since Android, iOS, Nokia/Windows, BADA has an Online store, we can use to deliver content to the users. Now, I can’t be sure if these stores can accept 0.16$. But if this proves problematic, we can just have the content be bought at the migo website. The program will just look for the file and play the content if the verification passes. It would had been better if we can do streaming service, but with the country’s internet infrastructure, this business model is still light years early to start considering. For now, putting up an online store, where phones can download the video would be much more convenient and goes with the point of being an Video-on-demand.

Overall. I may laugh at how poorly thought the service is. I can’t deny that it was able to put up LEGAL content that is affordable to many customers. It has the people’s price. What it needs is a way for the people to access these content easily. Once they have that, then say hello to a “next big thing”.

If things pan out and I get my tech website running. I would wish for one of the Migo’s  representative for an Skype interview about the service.

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