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
"... TV networks are increasingly willing to skip the portals as they set their digital strategies. With the exception of some promotional clips and news video, the networks are largely choosing to keep their shows offline, sell them as $1.99 downloads through Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes store or stream them on the networks' own websites. ..."
"On weekday mornings in Salt Lake City, music station KZHT(FM)'s raucous drive-time show, The Morning Zoo, is simulcast on The Hive, a new digital broadcast TV station operated by Clear Channel Television's ABC affiliate, KTVX. On a recent Monday, the three hosts reenacted scenes from The Sopranos—billed as The Zoopranos—in high-pitched voices that the DJs called 'The Sopranos on helium.' ...¶... With their traditional business under siege, local broadcasters regard these new digital channels as a way to grow, independent of networks and syndicators. Competition for audiences has never been so fierce. Viewers are increasingly turning to the Internet, video-on-demand (VOD) and wireless technology for entertainment. At the same time, network programming—long one of a station's biggest selling points and a huge promotional platform—is now a commodity, as the broadcast networks funnel hit shows and sports to the Internet and iTunes. ..."
The latest issue of Mark Schubin's regular memo on digital television is available on the OpenDTV list.
Mark links to an interesting article that reminds us of the limitations of the human eye in discerning the added resolution of HD from smaller screens at normal viewing distances. InDVD in High Def? The Difference Is Not Eye-Opening, David Colker writes:
"... Last week, a milestone in viewing was reached with the debut of the Toshiba HD-A1, which costs just shy of $500. ...¶ Should you care? Probably not. Because unless you already have a state-of-the-art high-definition television at least 40 inches in size, you won't notice much of a difference. ¶ Here's my advice: If you've got a spare $500, use it toward an upgrade to a bigger set instead. In the time it takes to save up another $500, the price of HD disc players will probably drop and a pending format war may well be decided. ..."
Link: Los Angeles Times. I have two HD sets, a 27" LCD unit in the livingroom and a 30" CRT unit in the bedroom. I've tried my DTT set-top box on both of them and HD programming looks great on them -- from 3-4 feet away. However, my normal viewing distance is about 10 feet. --Dennis
Gary Gentile writes: "Local television broadcasters, seeing their networks potentially bypassing them in the rush to offer shows and other content online, will meet this week [at the NAB show] to figure out how to hang onto viewers and dollars. ¶ TV stations are already moving to provide their own video clips to Web sites hungry for content and insist they can use their strong relationships with local audiences to market network shows on their own sites in exchange for a share in the profits. ¶ It's not entirely clear yet they can cash in on the growing shift of advertising dollars and eyeballs to the Internet, but local broadcasters have no choice but to try. ..." Link: AP via Wired News.
Podcasting News reports: "Podcasting and MP3 players are stealing radio's audience, according to the latest figures from Bridge Ratings. According to Dave Van Dyke, President of Bridge Ratings, 'By 2010, today's 94% penetration for terrestrial radio will have sunk to 85%.' ¶ 27% of people 12-24 attribute their reduced use of radio to MP3 use; 22% attributed it to tired radio programming; 3% attributed it to podcast listening. ..." Link: Podcasting News.
Jack Loechner writes: "According to a new forecast from IDC, Internet video services will generate over $1.7 billion in revenues by 2010, an increase of more than $1.5 billion from 2005 totals. Internet video services are on the brink of becoming a mainstream phenomenon in the United States. Much of this growth will be fueled by a surge in the amount of premium content made available online. ¶ The market for Internet video services began its dramatic acceleration in 2005, as content owners started to experiment with digital distribution as a way to complement and enhance their existing business models and to stem illegal P2P file sharing and piracy. In particular, the television networks' decision to offer episodes from new shows as well as old sparked significant interest in Internet video. ..." Link: MediaPost.
Reuters reports: "The Public Broadcasting System is considering making its television shows available on the Internet or portable devices like MP3 players, its new president and chief executive officer said on Monday. ¶ PBS is also weighing whether to partner with technology companies, in the same way that Walt Disney Co. has teamed up with Apple Computer to sell episodes of some of its ABC television network series on iTunes for downloading to iPods, CEO Paula Kerger said. ¶ 'My goal in running PBS is that no matter what choice consumers in the digital age decide to do ... we recognize the need to make content available to any of those platforms, and right now we're moving in that direction,' Kerger said at a luncheon sponsored by the Media Institute. ..." Link: Reuters via CNET News.com.
Here's Rafat Ali's take on the speech.PBS' Flirtation With Digital Media; New President Against Commercialization. Link: paidContent.org. --Dennis