What Are You Missing? October 7-20
1. YouTube is ramping up its investment in branded channels to make itself more like TV. There’s a danger, though, in alienating the amateurs that YouTube initially capitalized on to distinguish it from TV. More favorably, YouTube is trying to help out nonprofit campaigns, and it has tweaked its search algorithm to better favor videos that viewers truly engage with.
2. Some big numbers in the news this past fortnight: There are now six billion cell phones worldwide (though that still leaves one billion without one), and there are one billion smartphones out there. Internet advertising reached $17 billion for the first half of 2012. American mobile devices ate up 1.1 trillion megabytes of data across 12 months, and US high speed broadband connections are up 76% over last year. The biggest number in the news? A French woman received a mobile phone bill for $15 quadrillion.
3. Amazon is going to take advantage of all the consumer data it gathers by working more closely with advertisers and ad agencies to place ads on Amazon sites. The Do Not Track movement is trying to limit what consumer data advertisers can obtain from our web browsers, much to advertisers’ chagrin. Adding more chagrin is a study highlighting how frequently mobile ad clicks are merely accidental.
4. The newspaper audience is shrinking — or maybe it’s not — but either way, Britain’s Guardian is the latest to look at ending its print edition. In the US, the Chicago Tribune is shifting to a paywall strategy online, which sounds like a bad move if you buy the idea that print outlets should be following what The Atlantic is doing. Newspapers in Brazil don’t like what Google is doing, and they’re now going to have to deal with the New York Times encroaching on their turf in an effort to expand its global audience.
5. A new study finds that young people commonly copy and share music among family and friends, but it was also determined that file-sharers buy more music than non-file-sharers, lending some food for thought to the music industry, which will see peer-to-peer users warned about illegal sharing activities soon. Unfortunately, the musicians’ cut of digital music income remains paltry, but Pandora insists the money is there.
6. As the compact disc turns 30, Neil Young is pushing for a new digital format, one superior in sound quality to mp3s. Meanwhile, music streaming marches onward, with Xbox now joining the fray and the BBC starting its own service, while Spotify looks to expand in new areas, such as in Japan and on smart TVs.
7. 20th Century Fox professes to be very excited about new technologies, while one of the most pervasive of Hollywood’s recent technological efforts, 3D, is supposedly on the decline (again). Given recent studio turmoil, it’s unclear who exactly will lead Hollywood through this next stage of technological production, but it’s seeming likely there won’t be as many unpaid interns working for them as before.
8. The new documentary nomination rules that Michael Moore helped the Academy usher in for this year’s Oscars have apparently only caused new problems, so now Moore is proposing new solutions, including getting rid of the old solutions. Much of this revolves around issues of distribution, and the story behind Detropia illustrates how challenging distribution of docs has gotten today.
9. The gaming company Zynga is experiencing all sorts of turmoil, from declining stock to rumors of employee revolts to lawsuits against an ex-employee being portrayed as a threat to current employees. But at least there’s FarmVille 2, now with 50 million players. Of course, it’s no Angry Birds, now with 200 million players.
10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors posts from the past few weeks: Community Art, Ratings Takes, Scrambling Ban Eliminated, Cord Cutting Boxes, Connie Britton’s Hair, New Moonves Contract, New Local Ratings System, Real PBS Issues, DVR Boosts, Variety Sold, House of Cards Scheduled.