Posts Tagged ‘TV’

Who killed ITV Digital?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

itvdigital_monkey

After 25 years of watching the Murdoch TV empire unfold, the battle plan to beat him should be fairly obvious. You buy the best content – the most popular sport and movies – and raise lots of capital, and make watching it easy. Then you dig in for a very long fight.

In other words, this is the entertainment-business-as-usual. Wannabe telly and radio empires have failed because they bought the wrong stuff, were inconvenient to use or because they were under-capitalised in the long run – and typically it’s a mixture of all three. Entertainment isn’t an essential utility. It’s a discretionary purchase for households, and the market doesn’t tolerate inconvenience or rubbish for long.

But when the tale involves Rupert Murdoch, people will always look for diabolical reasons for his success. The myth demands it. A fascinating BBC Panorama researched by Guardian reporter David Leigh may give supporters of this view plenty of ammunition. It was enthralling TV about the TV biz, and must have been an eye-opening for anyone not familiar with the decade-old telly crypto saga. But for those of us familiar with the details and the context, the smoking gun just isn’t there. Murdoch’s telly rivals would have gone down even if nobody had ever watched a single one of their programmes for free.

 

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‘And one more thing…’ Manipulating the press, from beyond the grave

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Can nobody rid of us the barefoot CEO? He may be gone, but Steve Jobs continues to manipulate the press from the beyond – this time through his biographer, Walter Isaacson. The Steve Jobs biography launches the hype for Apple’s next great product, a TV.
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Inside Adam Curtis' funhouse

Friday, June 19th, 2009

It Felt Like A Kiss

After a few promises not to spoil the plot, I stepped through Punchdrunk’s It Felt Like A Kiss while the sets were being built

Read more at The Register

Breaking Bad: the joy of chemistry

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Breaking Bad

Here’s a show with the perfect profile to be a huge cult British hit – black humour, suspense, all the stuff we love. But what’s puzzling is how the British public broadcasters dropped the ball by failing to notice the show – particularly the BBC.

…Read more at The Register

'Parasitic' Google feels TV's wrath

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Your reporter holds TV executives in as much esteem as a flesh-eating virus. But even in the uniquely clueless world of television, they’re finally waking up to Google’s ‘parasitic’ nature. C4 chief Andy Duncan has become the latest to awake from his slumber. The problem? Duncan’s “cure” will probably only make Google stronger.

Duncan says that Google sucks billions out of the UK economy without making so much as a 30-second trailer in return. Duncan followed Michael Grade – who used the ‘P’ word – in voicing the criticism.

“Google should pay for content that it uses. The burden of responsibility should be on it to identify the people whose content it is using and make sure they are being paid for it, rather than expecting other people to point it out,” Duncan said.

Duncan also argued that because Google books so much advertising revenue it should regulated. This is muddle-headed and misses the point. In fact the call for regulation is likely to make Google stronger – at C4′s ultimate expense.

Contrary to what the company says, Google is in fact quite keen on regulation – when it hampers Google’s opponents. (more…)

Top-slicing the Beeb: Clueless execs get busy

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Some quangos, like jellyfish, seem to be able to reproduce asexually. It’s what they live to do. What this means is that without any contact, parthenogenesis occurs and they simply spawn off a little version of themselves, which may grow as large as its parent. Britain’s uber-regulator Ofcom, I learned this week, definitely falls into this class. I just hadn’t realised how badly it longs to plop out lots of baby Ofcoms.

Ofcom recently proposed that the BBC should share the licence fee with commercial rivals. But with one exception, none of the commercial rivals actually want this to happen – which leaves Ofcom keenest of all on the idea.

At the Westminster Media Forum debate on Wednesday, executives from the top of British TV management discussed the regulator’s review into Public Service Broadcasting, in which “top-slicing” the licence fee is The Big Idea.

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Why you don't need TV news to tell you you're in an earthquake

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Houses shook across much of Britain as the country experienced its biggest earthquake for thirty years early this morning.

Impressively, within ten minutes of the tremors, CSEM (EMSC), the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, revealed the cause: a 5.4 magnitude quake with an epicentre 10 miles north east of Lincoln, in the East Midlands. (Within an hour, this was revised to a 4.9 scale quake).

CSEM even saves you the from converting latitude/longtiude co-ordinates – it’s integrated with Tele Atlas data, via Google Maps.

Despite the availability of real-time information, the instant news media fell back on, er… “calls from viewers”. The BBC and Sky’s radio and rolling news hurried to bring us what we already knew – that a great big earthquake had happened, somewhere in Britain.

A resourceful night operator at BBC News took a break from cutting and pasting these reports (“there was a really loud bang” – Jemma Harrison, 22, in Greater Manchester) to find the US Geological Survey’s website – which (naturally) carried rather less accurate information than the real-time sensors in Europe.

CSEM had quake information within 10 minutes:

real-time quake info

(At time of writing (90 minutes later), BBC News had raised somebody from the British Geological Survey out of their beds, who had in turn gone to the web, and confirmed the CSEM information. This confirmation replaced the reference to the US Geological website. That’s one way of getting the news out…)

It’s tempting to conclude that the moral of the story is one of new technology baffling hacks: “why can’t the media use the internet better?”

But it’s worse than that.

One Laptop Per Newsreader

Publicly funded science, which is supposed to operate on our behalf, did its job – by making available real-time information available within ten minutes of the quake. Not all of it worked – alas, our own British Geological Survey, a member of the EMSC network, doesn’t publish real-time monitoring information. But it shows what we get for our money, when scientists aren’t concocting disaster fictions of their own. Which with gullible politicians and quangocrats in charge, is how they get research grants today.

The science network did rather better than the publically-funded media, which demonstrated how badly it has lost the plot. The 24 hour news hacks long since forgot how to do even the most basic research, and now fall back on telling us what we already know.

What’s the point?

[some interesting feedback at The Registersee end]

Paid video has look and feel of dead duck

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Forrester Research has predicted that video download services such as iTunes will peak this year, unless consumers change their habits.

Forrester analyst James McQuivey calls them a “temporary flash” but a “dead end”. He forecasts a sharp ramp in revenue this year, from $98m to $279m, powered by what he calls “media addicts”. But these won’t be enough to sustain a mass market, he suggests, and free services will eventually win out.

You can’t trust early adopters, says McQuivey:

“An analysis of these consumers showed they are a niche of media junkies willing to spend heavily on such content,” he writes, “they do not represent the vanguard of a rush by mainstream consumers. Without mainstream viewers joining the party, the video download market will not grow fast enough to support the ambitions of all the companies involved.”

The company reckons only nine per cent of adult in the US have dabbled with online video purchases, spending an average of $14.

There are some other interesting conclusions in McQuivey’s research. Ad-supported TV will eclipse ad-skipping PVRs, he predicts, because ad-supported TV costs less. (Skip the adverts, and you either get cheaper TV – or someone has to pay).

Web 2.0 firms lobby for £100m gravy train

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

If the Web 2.0 hype is running out of steam, a healthy injection of public funds should kick it back into life. New media companies in the UK are lobbying for the establishment of an institution which could spend what critics call a £100m “jackpot” of public money each year.

The new agency, which Ofcom calls a “Public Service Publisher” or PSP, would play a “gatekeeper” role in commissioning new media concepts. These range from interactive websites to participatory games involving different kinds of digital media, such as text messaging.

And without Parliament so much as examining the idea, it already looks like a shoo-in.

The idea has the powerful backing of UK Telecoms regulator Ofcom, and the personal imprimatur of its CEO Ed Richards, who describes it as the centerpiece of his “personal crusade”.

“It’s a new media answer to a new media question”, Ofcom spokesman Simon Bates told us.
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Babelgum: another new, new TV thing

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

“Frankly the business plan is subjective”- Babelgum chairman Silvio Scaglia

So P2P TV services really do conform to the proverbial bus cliche: you wait ages for one, then loads of cliches come along at once.

If you know Joost, then you’ll know Babelgum, which unveiled its service in London today. Both are PC-based upstarts to the industry’s own IPTV standard. Both are in closed beta, both offer TV over broadband, both RE free to end-users, as they’re both ad-supported propositions, and both have an element of P2P.

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