Dennis Haarsager's rolling environmental scan for electronic media. "Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us." --Jerry Garcia "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." --Bob Seger
PriceWaterhouseCoopers is out with a new report on the entertainment and media businesses. The promotional page for this includes a generous sampling of interesting data. Thanks to paidcontent.org for the lead.
I posted about YouTube last week. Here's another new video sharing site called iFeeder. Don't have time at the moment to try it in different browsers, but will do so later and update this post. --Dennis
A draft House bill setting a deadline for broadcasters to complete the transition from analog to digital television hit a speed bump last week when Republican leaders raised concerns about its potential impact on certain consumers. But stakeholders said the prospects for passing DTV legislation this year, with some type of subsidy for analog set-top boxes, remain high. ¶ "I still think it's on the same trajectory it was on a week or two ago, in the sense that it's very likely to be in the budget reconciliation [bill], and the reconciliation is likely to move after the August recess," said a technology industry source in close contact with House GOP leaders. ... Link: National Journal.
Broadcasters have told members of Congress that the main obstacle hampering their support for a measure to set a fixed date for the end of analog television is the lack of a generous subsidy program for converter boxes. ...¶... Sources close to the [House] Energy and Commerce panel said Barton is now prepared to accept a $900 million allocation for converter boxes, which is seen as sufficient to provide a free or subsidized box to every over-the-air household. Homes that currently receive cable and satellite service would not be eligible. ... Link: National Journal.
MSTV and NAB Seek Proposals for DTV-to-NTSC Converter Box. Link: NAB TV TechCheck [pdf].
Stephen Hill, in an email to me, writes: "Yesterday the erstwhile Marybeth Peters, U.S. Registrar of Copyrights (she runs the copyright office) testified before the Senate "Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, Committee on the Judiciary" and proposed a sweeping change in the licensing structure for digital music. Here's the link. ¶ If I can summarize 15 pages in a sentence....she is saying flatly that music licensing is currently dysfunctional and attempting to set up "one-stop licensing" for everything to do with the music publishers. ¶ Her proposal would fold the functions of the Harry Fox Agency (mechanical licenses for reproduction and distribution) into the existing performance rights agencies ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC and turn them into "MRO's" -- Music Rights Organizations. She would abolish the "compulsory mechanical license" provision of the copyright act and let the market set the rates for this integrated digital transmission license, which would work for both streams and downloads. This is what we need for podcasting or any other download service. ¶ Note that this would still leave Sound Exchange as the sole agency for collection of the music recording copyright fees, which are setup by the DMCA and are split by the record company and artist 50-50; so if Ms. Peters proposal is adopted it would still mean "2-stop licensing." Still, it would be progress. ¶ Give it few more years and this digital media thing might amount to something."
The convergence of mobile phones and digital music is fast approaching and a slew of content delivery agreements will likely escalate the pace. As the race reaches full-speed, dozens of companies believe that delivering exclusive digital content and radio to phones could be as big as both the camera phone and the ringtone phenomena. ¶ Apparently, customers actually want this service too. In a recent survey conducted by AOL (which is currently talking to wireless providers about offering its online radio stations), more than 50 percent of respondents said they would listen to radio on their mobile phone. Experts believe radio services will eventually reach two billion wireless subscribers worldwide, opening up a huge new revenue stream. ... Link: FMQB.
Peggy Anne Salz writes: "... In his breakthrough book Democratizing Innovation, Eric von Hippel, head of the Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management, documents the impact of user input on product innovation. From extreme-sports equipment to library information systems, users are consistently ahead of the curve, von Hippel observes. ... ¶ But this grassroots approach isn't limited to manufactured products and software. Motivated individuals linked by the Internet in what von Hippel calls "open information communities" are fast becoming a new force in the content creation and distribution marketplace. These communities are by no means restricted to user groups. "They can also be run by nonprofit organizations and profit-making firms and have a profound effect on how we create and share knowledge at all levels of our society in the future," von Hippel says. ..." Link: EContent. Recommended. --Dennis
YouTube.com is a new site for sharing videos in a Flickr-like environment. Pretty cool, but... While it works well in Internet Explorer, I couldn't get videos to play in Firefox. In Opera, they started to play but after a few seconds it stops and wants to report a serious error to Microsoft. The second time I tried in Opera, it caused the screen to black out and rebooted my computer. --Dennis
Edward Jay Epstein writes: "... Murdoch plans to digitally deliver movies and other programming from his satellites to home digital video recorders that would be the same quality, or higher (HDTV), than a DVD. Since there are not enough transponders on satellites to stream movies to individual subscribers on demand, Murdoch needs DVRs in every home to make his digital-delivery system work. With DVRs, the satellites can upload movies in the middle of the night in encrypted form onto subscribers' hard discs without us having to do anything or even be aware of it. (One idea now under consideration at DirecTV is to provide these DVRs with an enormous 160-gigabyte recording capacity. The subscriber would only be told about 80 gigabytes, with the remaining 80 gigabytes reserved for encrypted movies.) Once the movies are placed on the DVRs, a customer 'rents' them by clicking on his remote control. ..." Link 1: Slate. Link 2: NPR Day to Day.