....LMB: "Capitalist Media Prognosticating"....

January 08, 2003

The business magazine Forbes has printed an issue which focuses on predictions for the world of commerce in 2003. They had one section on "Media, Marketing & Entertainment" which had a few interesting ideas. I don't really know anything about this panel of precogs, but I'm going to comment on what I feel to be their more accurate and inaccurate predictions.

"Advertisers are going to start calling the creative shots on TV."

I think that this is true. In the wake of the dot-com bubble burst, advertisers want more for their money. They have finally awoken to the fact that the commercials they run on TV or banner ads they place on websites might not be increasing their sales. They now only want to spend money on sure things, which has left a lot of the advertising-driven media into a frenzy. In the author's words: "imagine a marketer running a focus group to find out what kind of show their target demographic wants to see--or which storylines interest those potential consumers most--and then handing their notes to the producers and scriptwriters, who program accordingly. Advertisers are already quietly experimenting with co-financing television programming, which buys them ad time, product placement and other subtler efforts at 'brand integration.' It will take us back to the original soap operas, just far more meticulously engineered." I think that's where television is headed.

"It's time to buy [stock in] cable. A growing number of cable operators are finally making good on their plans to deliver new services like video-on-demand."

This seems somewhat true. I have read that some cable companies are working on video-on-demand, but your selection will primarily be long-form ads, sponsored mini-movies, and promotional material for movies and musicians (again, largely due to the changing demands of advertisers). Does anyone reall "demand" this kind of programming? I don't think that this kind of VOD is going to make cable companies much money.

"Despite the industry's efforts to sell music legally online, many music buyers prefer to steal it. Barring some breakthrough in anti-piracy technology, the bloodsucking is sure to continue."

This guy doesn't know what he's talking about. This guy below does:

"The music industry's problems ... run much deeper than [piracy]. Management needs to find the next hot genre, artists are rebelling against the pay structure, and radio consolidation has turned the station programmers into the real hit makers."

Music sales are down because 1) the music that most labels are releasing is terrible, and 2) the country is in a recession. The second music "expert" here also adds in the additional factors of employee-employer conflict and the rise of radio power over label power.

"Movie-rental late fees will disappear altogether ... they will be a thing of the past for those who catch on to disposable DVDs."

I doubt this one. This idea came out and was killed about four years ago. It was called Divx, DVDs that would have some kind of computer chip installed which would prevent you from watching a movie more than once or twice. If this predicted new version of disposable DVD becomes reality, hackers will break the code, I'm sure of it.

So there you go. America's business experts, or whoever they are, and the media world of 2003. Stuff will happen, or maybe it won't.

Posted by Jake at 10:36 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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