What Are You Missing? May 24-June 5
Ten (or more) media industry stories you might have missed recently:
1. James Poniewozik describes the literary and political joys of satirical Twitter accounts, such as @BPGlobalPR, whose anonymous editor has brilliantly skewered corporate-speak. Such must-reads have helped Twitter as a company, which in the past six months has doubled its staff and its collection of cool office doodads. It’s also growing fast as a video source, though it has irked some by banishing third-party ad networks. Finally, HubSpot has just about every Twitter infographic you could ever want or even imagine.
2. Things were much calmer for Facebook this fortnight as CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a few privacy changes (and placated Pakistan), but Pete Cashmore says the privacy war is far from over. The Quit Facebook Day didn’t see too many quit Facebook, but Tom Spring says it’s the negative PR that really mattered, not the quitting. Facebook is still comfortably atop Google’s list of most-visited sites and is still the most popular i-Phone app, but Collin Douma gives us a glimpse at the next Facebook freakout coming: the prospect of Facebook charging for use.
3. Good news/bad news for Apple: The Department of Justice is investigating the anti-competitive practices of iTunes and possibly more, but Apple finally toppled Microsoft for the title of most valuable technology company. Cutting it down the middle, Reid Rosefelt says CEO Steve Jobs is just like Kim Jong-il but in a sort of good way. Plus, Jobs says he’s got the answer for saving the media business; I’m betting Kim Jong-il doesn’t. I also bet Kim never inspired the creation of a dating site.
4. Nicholas Carr says we need to stop dropping hyperlinks into sentences (um…darn), but Scott Berkun proposes a few counter-arguments (yay!). Speaking of links, it’s looking like Digg is dying. And as far as the blogosphere, Frederic Lardinois offers a few infographics detailing the demographics of bloggers; nearly 30% reside in the U.S., and the gender split is even. And as far as other stories related to the internet that I wanted to fit in somewhere, Sarah Lacey reports on how a Southeast Asian newspaper is dealing with the digital revolution, Ryan Chittum describes how the online paywall helps out the print Irish Times, and Pepsi says they plan to turn much more to social media marketing than traditional methods of advertising.
5. One study says that 4% of video gamers qualify as extreme, which means they play upwards of 50 hours a week; the average is 13 hours. I personally spent a good chunk of time playing Google.com’s Pac-Man game last week, but despite the claim that office productivity declined measurably thanks to the game, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry says that without it, we still would have been wasting our time some other way. Maybe we can waste it in better ways: J. Matthew Zoss interviews a pair of game designers about how to build satisfying gameplay around moral issues.
6. A survey indicates that 33% of musicians don’t have health insurance; Nancy Pelosi says health care reform will help. I assume Lady Gaga has the money for good coverage; she said she doesn’t even mind if fans illegally download her music because she makes plenty enough from touring. I bet she’d be bothered if a politician appropriated “Bad Romance” though (insert Mark Souder joke here), and numerous politicians have recently been taken to task, or even court, for using music in their campaigns without proper permission or licensing.
7. A lot of negative Hollywood news: AMC has closed the U.S.’s first-ever megaplex (though some might see that as a positive); theater ticket prices are soaring; May’s tentpoles sunk (and stunk), and Memorial Day weekend was a box office bust (Prince of Persia disappointed, proof for David Cox that video game movies never work); the Weinsteins’ bid for Miramax fell through; producers everywhere are reeling; Guillermo del Toro has quit The Hobbit; the summer films are overwhelming white already, but many freaked out at the suggestion of Donald Glover as Spiderman; and Brett Ratner is throwing around words like “edgy” in connection with his planned Snow White movie. The one bright spot you can always find in Hollywood? Pixar.
8. Brian Brooks highlights the must-see Cannes entries, and Eugene Hernandez recaps the business side of Cannes. The Village Voice assesses the post-Miramax crop of indie distributors, and the LA Times focuses in on Focus Features, one of the few remaining specialty distributors owned by a major. Chris Thilk says high-end indies are getting a lot of play this summer, while John Bradburn calls for grassroots “film gigging,” akin to low-fi, DIY music touring.
9. On the business side of DVD, Nielsen assesses the current impact of DVD rental kiosks, while Netflix sees DVD-by-mail peaking in 2013, expecting that streaming will take over thereafter. On the cinephilia side of DVD, Jonathan Rosenbaum considers DVD’s impact on the collective viewing experience, while Paul Synder wonders how streaming might affect such viewing and accessibility issues.
10. The best News for TV Majors links of the fortnight: Season Summaries, Lost Engagement, Buzz vs. Ratings, Upcoming Retrans Fights, Survivor Contracts, CNN Revenue, The TV Times, Emmy Nomination Eligibility Lists, Showrunner Panel, Zucker’s Exit Deal.