Liz Gannes reports on a study of 90 children age 3-12 in the U.S. and Israel by Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group of a wide variety of children's websites, including PBS Kids. The study concludes that, unlike adults, children are more app oriented than search oriented. Interesting reading. Link: GigaOM. --Dennis
Nine of ten visitors to local televisions station websites are already fans of the station, but only half of any given station’s “fans” visit their website. This startling piece of information comes from AR&D cross-platform media studies based on 2,200 interviews with consumers and reveals a major weakness in the operating strategies of local television companies. Online, according to AR&D senior analyst Rory Ellender, “stations are only playing to their on-air audience and not even doing a very good job of that.” ¶ This is the fruit of trying only to be a television station online, while the marketplace is vastly bigger. …
After some analysis, he goes on to recommend that stations “need to creat an online news service that is 100% Web native,” that they “need to be able to separate [their] ability to make money from [their] ability to create content,” and that they “need to place strategic control of making local money in the hands of local people.”
The FCC’s OBI issued a paper in June called Spectrum Analysis: Options for Broadcast Spectrum, OBI Technical Paper No. 3 [3.5 mb pdf]. The agency has a goal of recouping 120 MHz of spectrum (20 TV channels).
BroadcastEngineering has thus far printed two articles of analysis by Phil Kurz in what will be a multipart series analyzing the report.
In a related Congressional development, Sen. Jay Rockefeller has introduced a bill authorizing voluntary incentive auctions of TV spectrum, and last month Rep. Rick Boucher and Rep. Cliff Stearns introduced a similar bill in the House. Link: BroadcastEngineering. --Dennis
I’m reposting the following by my NPR colleague, David Julian Gray. It was originally posted on an internal blog, Technically Speaking. About a month ago, I reposted another essay of his on RadioDNS. --Dennis
At a technology presentation last year, which was sadly more interesting than the Major League ballgame used to lure me there, a vendor's Sr. VP asked what I thought of "cloud computing." I dismissively answered "You might as well ask me what I think of air! -- 'Cloud Computing' is just a convenient marketing term for remote applications and storage accessible over the Internet -- technologies which have been evolving for decades..." But this was too flip, I thought the trend toward so-called "cloud computing" so obvious I missed the forest for the trees -- or the clouds for the air ...
As it happens, I've been thinking a lot about "AIR" -- or better "The AIR" -- as broadcasters think about it -- that is, the Electromagnetic Spectrum or at least that part of it known as the "Radio Spectrum". I'm also thinking a lot about "The CLOUD" -- as the FCC appears to be thinking about it -- that is, the Radio Spectrum. "The AIR" is getting very cloudy these days -- as is the difference between the conglomeration of technologies, techniques, services and resources once known as "The Internet" and those once known as "broadcasting." As Vint Cerf, true daddy of the Internet and now Chief Evangelist for Google, is fond of saying: "IP on everything."
In my last entry in this space, I wrote about RadioDNS as a possible, I think ideal, bridging technology between traditional terrestrial broadcasting and mobile broadband platforms. To briefly recap, RadioDNS propose a collection of technologies to leverage the existing data already included in both standard analog and HD-Radio broadcasts to link to other services and content already and/or potentially provided by broadcasters to a variety WEB and mobile devices. In other words it merges "the broadcast cloud" with "the IP cloud".
As far as the FCC is concerned -- this cannot happen fast enough, but their approach is to annex "the broadcast cloud" and hand it over to those providing IP based services. That's what the conversion to digital TV was all about -- reminds me of old Hollywood's take on the Railroad's great land grab of the mid to late 19th Century -- you know the push to drive farmers off the land to make room for modern commerce. This is the great Radio Spectrum grab of the early 2010's, the push to drive broadcasters off the spectrum to make room for "Mobile Broadband"...puts an ominous spin on the exhortation to "Rule the Air."
But it needn't be ominous at all -- there are models of how providing information and content via an integrated set of radio spectrum based services blur any distinction between "broadcast" and "broadband". I'll get flip again and say it's a specious distinction after all. That seems clear to NBC and Comcast -- who have been trying to elope. One successful model we can point to of an integrated "broadcast/IP cloud" is in service to the Public Broadcasting community: the PRSS Content Depot.
"Radio Towers" aren't going away in five years or any time soon-- even if, or when, the FM band is yanked by some government agency and auctioned off to LTE or WiMAX providers -- for where will those LTE or WiMAX, etc. signals be coming from? "The Cloud" is just an expression ...
-djg (David Julian Gray, IS Sr Product Manager, Content Production
Hope isn’t exactly “busting out all over,” but two examples of at least guarded optimism for the business model of mainstream media came to my attention in as many days.
In an article in Columbia Journalism Review, “A Second Chance,” Curtis Brainard says that mobile devices might just be the key. He writes:
… Media outlets are still having a tough time seeing beyond their own dwindling print runs, and it was only three years ago that electronic paper helped incite what has been called the “e-reading revolution.” It’s not much of a revolution yet, but what is increasingly apparent is that mobile devices have the potential to offer the journalism business that rare and beautiful thing: a second chance—another shot at monetizing digital content and ensuring future profitability that was missed during the advent of Web 1.0. ¶ I use the word “potential” because there are many ifs and unknowns undergirding this notion of a second chance. But I use it also because so much of the hype about how e-readers could save journalism that has poured forth since the release of the iPad in April (actually, such articles have been appearing since the launch of the Kindle in 2007), ignores—or fails to grasp—what’s really going on. …
Then I got a link to an On The Media [WNYC for NPR] program on newspaper economics from 15 July that I’d missed. It had a variety of opinions about the economic future of newspapers, some of them unfashionably optimistic. I liked their approach to the topic. Toward the end, though, they quote from Clay Shirky’s March 2009 essay, Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable:
… Ancient social bargains, once disrupted, can neither be mended nor quickly replaced, since any such bargain takes decades to solidify. ¶ And so it is today. When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to. ¶ There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.
In previous posts here and presentations I’ve given, I’ve stated that my own view is pretty close to that of Kevin Kelly, who asks in his by now classic “Better Than Free” essay, if content can generally be freely copied on the internet, what is it for which we can charge? You sell things which cannot be copied, which he calls “generatives” and lists eight of them in the essay. He writes:
… A generative value is a quality or attribute that must be generated, grown, cultivated, nurtured. A generative thing cannot be copied, cloned, faked, replicated, counterfe3ited, or reproduced. It is generated uniquely, in place, over time. In the digital arena, generative qualities add value to free copies, and therefore are something that can be sold. …
I’ve spent my whole professional life in public media and his generatives resonate particularly well, but they would seem to for other mainstream media as well. That’s not to say that some forms of paid content won’t be successful. I’m a happy Netflix subscriber, for example. But smart people need to apply as much thought to those eight and other “generatives” as they do to resuscitating the legacy business model of their medium.
Thanks to Steve Rathe for the CJR link and to David Liroff for the OTM link. --Dennis
FLO TV uses the old upper UHF TV band to provide primarily off-cable programming to customers through its own devices and through Verizon and AT&T smartphones. I noted here last month that it’s CEO said it hadn’t found the audience they’d hoped for, and now Michael Grotticelli is reporting in Broadcast Engineering that they’re now saying Qualcomm is open to selling the company.
Matthew Lasar, writing for ars technica, discusses three ways that spectrum now allocated to UHF television could be made available for wireless broadband per FCC goals [bold added]:
… The first possible method would be a "two step auction." In phase one of this system, individual broadcasters would announce the minimum auction price at which they'd be willing to relinquish their license to the FCC. The agency would then conduct "a repacking analysis" of the spectrum and the cost of "clearing" for transfer to a wireless company. ¶ The next possibility would be an "exchange," in which groups of broadcasters would offer up their spectrum together and bidders offer prices on them simultaneously. ¶ Congress would need to authorize either of these means to the spectrum transfer end. … ¶ The last prospect would be to create a license sharing or "overlay" regimen. We'll let the FCC explain this one:
Under this alternative, the FCC would divide the broadcast TV bands into large, contiguous blocks and auction all or a portion of those blocks as overlay licenses with flexible use. Overlay licensees would have co-primary rights with DTV stations. They would have primary rights in any part of the license area that is not served by DTV licensees, but would have to protect any DTV broadcast stations in their service area.
The overlay license holders could negotiate directly with broadcast TV stations to clear the spectrum either by discontinuing OTA signals or by relocating to another block. One overlay license holder could pay another overlay license holder to accept the relocated station or pay a broadcast TV station to share its bandwidth with that relocated station.
first iteration of online video was about silly pet tricks on YouTube,
the next wave will be about professionally produced full-length content
such as TV shows, movies and live sports,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer
senior analyst. “This shift will be propelled by a combination of
technology integration, demographics and a growing comfort level with
the idea of watching video hosted on Websites.”