file sharing – Antenna Responses to Media and Culture Thu, 30 Mar 2017 23:48:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What Are You Missing? October 7-20 Sun, 21 Oct 2012 14:51:50 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

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.


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What Are You Missing? January 1-14 Sun, 15 Jan 2012 16:26:15 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. The Academy has issued new provisions for future documentary Oscar nominations, including eliminating committee determination of nominations and adding a rule that a doc has to have been reviewed by the New York Times or LA Times to qualify (intended to prevent TV docs – *side eye at HBO* – from horning in on a film award). The latter has drummed up controversy, but Michael Moore insists it’s all good. Unrelated to this controversy but related to the Academy, the organization’s chief executive Dawn Hudson is under major fire.

2. IndieWire highlights 2011’s studio box office trends, as well as what happened at the specialty box office, which was apparently so much that it required a second part. Midnight in Paris led specialty grosses, while it was a down year overall for animation. British Prime Minister David Cameron wants UK filmmakers to shoot for topping one of these box office revenue lists in 2012. And the number of studios backing films that will make such lists is reduced by one, as Lions Gate has acquired Summit, thus putting The Hunger Games and Twilight series under the same banner.

3. Warner Bros. is getting tough about its DVD rental window delay, and while Netflix has caved, Redbox and Blockbuster are poised to fight. Unfortunately, Blockbuster is also poised to die. While Netflix is cooperating with Warner Bros. on DVDs, it is pulling out of the Warners-backed UltraViolet, which has yet to take off, though now Amazon and Samsung are trying to help out.

4. Publishers Weekly highlights 2011’s print bestseller trends, and USA Today says fiction sales were the big story last year, while a post-holiday e-books sales surge is the story now. It sounds like the Nook isn’t benefiting as much as it could from that, while the Kindle Fire could end up stomping other e-reader devices in the end, including the regular Kindle, not to mention other tablets.

5. Music stocks were mixed in 2011, vinyl album sales soared, rock sales were up, and digital sales surpassed physical sales for the first time, but indie labels got just a 12% cut of overall music sales. Most strikingly, only about 2% of the total album releases were responsible for 90% of new album revenue in 2011.

6. You might be tired of reading here about how video game sales in the US are slipping, so I’ll change it up for you: video game sales in the UK are slipping. The Consumer Electronics Show presented some hope for revitalizing the gaming industry, from Nintendo’s Wii U to Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows.

7. Twitter failed to predict the Iowa caucus winner but nailed it in New Hampshire, and the main takeaway is that Ron Paul could totally be the president of Twitter if he wanted. Twitter did pretty good at predicting a health epidemic, but it apparently falls short on fighting against pedophiles.

8. Twitter got mad at Google for incorporating Google+ into search data because it might diminish Twitter’s influence, and Google was all, This is your own fault, jerks. Facebook got snooty about it more quietly. Some think this is a big mistake by Google; others see it as pushing Google ahead in the online identity race. Google+ is growing, but I don’t think it’ll get to 1 billion users by August like Facebook.

9. Around the world in three sentences: Belarusians can no longer access foreign websites and India is threatening China-style controls, whereas in Sweden file-sharing has been recognized as a religion. Text messaging is declining in some countries, and globally, a mere 1% of bandwidth users are consuming half of all the traffic. Apple supplier factories in the Far East are rife with labor violations, as a This American Life segment recently exposed.

10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors posts from the past two weeks: All the TCA posts, Great Television Women, New TVs, iPad Value for Cable, Court Leaning Toward Indecency Regs, 2 Broke Girls at TCA, More Content to Xbox, Netflix’s UK Launch, Moffat & Sexism, Defending Pop Culture Studies, Louis CK’s Lesson, HBO Ends Netflix Discount, Consumer Usage Report, Reality TV Class, Comcast-Disney Deal, Netflix Doubles Up Hulu, Netflix Originals Plan, Viewing Stats, Internet Changing Syndication.


What Are You Missing? Mar 20-April 2 Sun, 03 Apr 2011 14:00:14 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. Music recommendation engines have mostly flopped with users, and Google has pulled its music search feature to tinker with it. In the meantime, perhaps Google’s new +1 button will help with music searching and recommending, while the music industry itself is freaking out about Amazon’s cloud service, as labels are mad that Amazon hasn’t secured licensing rights for this use (some of the same issues that have kept Spotify from coming to the US), and Apple and Google are keeping an eye on this for their own future cloud plans. A bonus for Canadian readers: Canada beat the US again in digital music growth! 01 Canada!

2. Blockbuster is shuttering more than 150 stores as it awaits auction this week, with Carl Icahn and Dish Network as possible buyers. Netflix is probably chuckling at that, as its shares went up and it nears a big deal to stream Miramax films. And while Netflix is concerned about data caps in Canada, enough to reduce streaming video quality there, it maybe doesn’t have to worry about the Amazon cloud service, nor are movie studios as perturbed as music labels are by Amazon’s cloud (yet).

3. The role of film festivals and arthouse cinemas is changing as online distribution grows in prominence. Also likely to grow is online movie ticket purchasing through services like Groupon; some wonder if differential ticket pricing would help grow theater attendance; and, as our waistlines continue to grow, at least we won’t have to be reminded of the calories we’re consuming in movie theater popcorn, thanks to an FDA ruling. But the biggest challenge theater owners have now is premium video-on-demand rentals, whose imminent launching angers the National Association of Theater Owners. The underlying message from studios to theater owners at the recent CinemaCon was basically “Quit yer bitchin’ and get with the digital program,” which is sure to go over well.

4. The Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers struck a contract deal, no strike needed, even though it doesn’t offer everything the WGA wanted (note: Variety paywalled article), and some members, who still have to vote on it, think it’s a bad deal (note: NSFW Kurt Sutter tweet). Meanwhile, Michigan has decided its film production tax credits are a bad deal, and filmmakers are fleeing as a result, while Georgia decided to keep theirs.

5. Nielsen has studied the placement of gaming consoles in the home, determining that the Wii rules the living room, while the Xbox dominates in the kids’ bedroom. In terms of games, Guitar Hero 3 tops a list of best-selling games from this generation, and The Weinstein Company hopes to make future lists with video game versions of some of its library titles, mostly horror films like Scream.

6. Burma has banned Skype, while China’s censorship of electronic communication continues to tighten, and Google is especially in its crosshairs. Google is funding development of technologies to detect such censorship, and the US government has given the BBC World Service money to help combat it. But lest we think censorship is only a problem elsewhere, we should take note that the ACLU is fighting to stop schools from blocking LGBT websites.

7. File-sharing music piracy in the US has declined, with 9% of internet users now using P2P services to download. Some point to the shutdown of Limewire as a direct catalyst for the decline; others disagree. Either way, a London School of Economics study claims that file-sharing isn’t responsible for the record industry’s collapse. From the film perspective, new MPAA head Chris Dodd sees things differently, saying that piracy is the single biggest threat to the survival of the movie industry, as DVD piracy in places like China is running wild. So the solution, I guess, is to demand IP addresses of individual downloaders and to totally get that one guy who uploaded Wolverine. Take that, China!

8. David Carr insists we need to recognize Google as a media company, and it’s certainly made the WAYM links a lot lately. Here’s more: Google has picked Kansas City as its fiber network test market, gotten probation for the bad Buzz, been accused of antitrust violations by Microsoft, and added the +1 button; Google Street View has been deemed legal in Germany and got fined in France; and Google Books lost a key court case, which further delays the dream of a universal digital library.

9. Some random internet bits: AOL is consolidating content sites, Dropbox is making money, Groupon is getting sued, Reddit is creeping us out, Firefox 4 is being downloaded a lot, LinkedIn has reached 100 million, and PayPal has new competition, plus check where your state ranks in internet access speed.

10. Some good News for TV Majors links from the past two weeks: Mad Men Agreement, TWC Fight & TWC Pulls Channels, Peabody Awards, Viewing By Race, Profanity Appeals Pause, Internet TV Standards, New Football PlaysStarz Delay for Netflix, Showtime Pulling From Netflix, Mogul Salaries, BBC Cuts.


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What Are You Missing? Oct 24-Nov 6 Sun, 07 Nov 2010 14:22:41 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry stories you might have missed recently:

1. P2P file-sharing service LimeWire has been shut down. David Barrett gives us 10 things to expect in its wake, Bearshare has already gotten a bump from its demise, and others are still pinning hopes on Spotify coming to the US. No matter what fills the LimeWire vacuum, the music industry must continue to battle declines in digital music profits and digital album sales, and Austin Carr says the industry needs to learn a lesson from Lady Gaga’s one billion YouTube views, while Jason Hartley says musicians will persevere through any negative consequences of illegal file-sharing, even if record execs won’t (and one tends to hope they won’t when you see them go after millions in damages from a Minneapolis woman who shared all of 24 songs on Kazaa, even if she isn’t so sympathetic either).

2. YouTube has hit one billion subscriptions and a half-billion promoted video views, and now it’s even got Turkey back on board. All those views mean video continues to fill up internet traffic, which Nielsen’s been doing a shoddy job of measuring lately.

3. MySpace, a thing on the internet that exists, has been redesigned into more of an entertainment destination, even a social television network of the future, though that future better arrive fast or it won’t be much of a thing existing the internet anymore (kind of like Chatroulette). Instead, it will continue to get demolished by services like Twitter, which is adding 370,000 new users a day and is somehow worth $1.6 billion now (seriously…how? I’ve got 6,000+ tweets that aren’t worth a dime).

4. It appears that every telecom company is suing every other telecom company, and Google is suing the U.S. government for anti-competitive behavior (though some think Google is a monopoly itself). Nearly half of Apple’s revenue comes from the iPhone, so Steve Jobs better worry about the Android’s rising sales. And Apple might be interested in acquiring Sony, though some analysts say Sony’s more down with Google than Apple.

5. Since going behind a paywall, The Times of London and Sunday Times have lost 4 million online visitors, gained only 105,000 paying subscribers, and appear to have about 362,000 customers behind the paywall. While those numbers look scary, it’s money that matters in the end, and subscriptions might offer more revenue than just advertising, plus advertisers might appreciate the more engaged readership a subscription would seemingly attract. It’s the new old media dilemma. Meanwhile, US News & World Report is dropping its print subscription option and going newsstand and digital only, and the AP has to upgrade its digital revenue streams as newspaper revenue falls due to ever-constant circulation declines (source of the latter article: the AP).

6. A conference of studio executives debating the future of Blu-ray indicated that there isn’t much consensus yet on the issue of DVD release windows, but there is consensus that the studios need to strike more favorable deals with Netflix. The studios will also be dealing with Redbox for streaming soon, and Wayne Friedman suggests Redbox follow Netflix’s lead and try to cooperate with content providers, though David Pakman points out that Netflix’s stunning success has really come from its leverage over the studios. With all these streaming movies on the horizon, some are now questioning the capacity of the internet to keep up with the demand.

7. Lots o’ drama in Hollywood, as usual: Rupert Murdoch is threatening stars who won’t do News Corp.’s PR bidding, Patrick Goldstein continues to be frustrated with the inconsistencies of MPAA ratings rulings, MGM has filed for bankruptcy and will soon be run by Spyglass Entertainment, which at least boosts MGM’s chance of maintaining its 50% stake in The Hobbit, whose ongoing drama Kristin Thompson catches us up on.

8. Independent filmmakers continue to struggle to find studio support, and piracy continues to be a major concern. Some believe the internet is a savior (and one-time indie darling Ed Burns has turned to digital distribution), while others see the internet as the enemy. Perhaps something can be learned from the development and distribution process of this year’s defining indie success, Winter’s Bone.

9. The Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday about banning the sale of violent video games to minors versus considering them protected by free speech doctrines, and the Court’s eventual ruling the issue could have a significant impact on consumers. Consumers are starting to cool on music-based games, and tabletop gaming is shrinking dramatically, while Microsoft has very high hopes for holiday Kinect sales.

10. Some good News for TV Majors links from the past two weeks: Olbermann Suspended, Retrans Effect, More Late Night Ratings, News Corp Wants BSkyB, House Win Helps Industry, The Unraveling of TV, Walking Dead & Commitment, More Fox-Cablevision, Program Choices & You, Political Spending & Targeting.


What Are You Missing? Sept 26-Oct 9 Sun, 10 Oct 2010 13:31:39 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry stories you might have missed recently:

1. While others were watching a movie about its founding, Facebook has been busy attending to other matters: developing a partnership with Skype, improving its photo sharing service, and going all DMCA evil by shutting down an unofficial Let Me In fan group (Facebook reversed the decision after this was publicized, however). Anne Thompson highlights the marketing possibilities of Facebook by featuring some official and unofficial pages for The Social Network, and Alexia Tsotsis addresses the intriguing evolution of the “Like” button, which could have been totally “Awesome” instead.

2. The lawyer going after Hurt Locker downloaders insists illegal file sharing must stop, and many would agree that piracy is hurting independent filmmakers more than the major studios. Another lawyer is leading the fight against piracy of porn movies, with leaders of the porn industry uniting to support action against individual file sharers (hey, that would actually make a good porn premise: knock at the door, it’s a process server in a tight shirt saying, “You’ve been very naughty”). In terms of government action against piracy, a key US bill has been shelved, while France is starting to send threatening letters to pirates, and forty countries have signed an anti-piracy trade agreement. James Myring says the end result of this will be a piracy arms race.

3. AOL went wild with acquisitions this fortnight, snapping up TechCrunch, 5Min Media, and Thing Labs and Brizzly. Too bad for them the media only really cares about what Apple does. Google has also been spending a lot of money on odd things like robot cars and a human-powered monorail (That’s right! Monorail!). Google is also vowing to bring the sexy back to display ads (who knew it had left?), while AOL has studied how consumers react to online ads (unfortunately “sexy” didn’t come up there), and MSNBC has developed a new ad rendering system (no “sexy” there either, but plenty of talk about “performance”).

4. There’s turmoil at Yahoo, Internet Explorer usage is plunging, and MySpace has been surpassed by Twitter, which has a new CEO, Dick Costolo. To get himself up to speed, Costolo might want to check out XKCD’s map of online communities, Lou Kerner’s charts on who uses social media, and CNN’s study of news sharing on social networks. He should also take toddlers much more seriously than John Mayer.

5. DC and Marvel are dropping prices on comics in an effort to boost readership; comics retailers are confident of a positive effect. And to capitalize on wide interest in the TV series launch, the latest Walking Dead comics appear simultaneously in print and digital form (plus Walking Dead novels are on the way). Dark Horse is also planning to capitalize on digital options, the future potential of which a company called ScrollMotion is trying to innovate for the publishing industry.

6. Record stores aren’t pleased with Lil Wayne releasing his next album digitally two weeks before they receive it, but they should be pleased that vinyl sales are actually booming right now, though record stores continue to close across the globe. Wilco and other bands aren’t pleased with fans who come to concerts and record the shows on their phones, especially since some bands make a lot of money or at least generate valuable buzz from live gigs. ASCAP wasn’t pleased with a court ruling that said downloads can’t be counted as public performances, but despite the common impression that the music industry is in dire straits, some things are going quite right and spreading pleasure from fans to music executives.

7. The Academy is thinking of moving up the Oscars to late January, possibly impinging on Sundance in the process. Steve Pond says it’s a terrible idea; David Poland says the idea makes sense. Poland also has some strong words for the Hollywood Reporter in response to its early speculation about possible African-American Oscar nominees, while the foreign language nomination submission process is nearly complete.

8. Better visit your local video rental store before it’s gone: more companies are getting behind streaming, some studios want to shorten video-on-demand windows dramatically, and Universal is testing premium rentals at kiosks. However, Netflix’s streaming content is still minimal compared to DVDs, and Rupert Murdoch thinks collapsed VOD windows would be a big mistake.

9. Despite the removal of the Taliban option from the game, the U.S. military won’t lift its ban on the sale of the new Medal of Honor on its bases, while a Fox News co-host is suspicious of the possible leftist slant of NBA Jam. But Drew Napoli says there’s value in still playing games others say are awful, and even if it turned out awful, I would still totally play Need for Speed integrated with Google Maps. Apparently not awful is FIFA 11, which has become the fastest selling sports game ever.

10. Some good News for TV Majors from the past two weeks: User-Generated Current TV, Apple TV v. Google TV, NBC News Concerns, The Internet Can Help…Mostly, Televisa & Univision, Good #Flow10 Tweets, Google TV’s Partners, ABC Changing Model, Upscale Popularity, Secondary Streaming Reconsidered, NYTF Wrap-Up, We Love the Overnights, Burke Replacing Zucker.


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What Are You Missing? June 20-July 3 Sun, 04 Jul 2010 14:34:22 +0000 Note: Due to my summer travels throughout July, WAYM will be on hiatus until August. I’m pretty sure nothing important will happen in the media industries until then, so it’s all good.

1. Digg is trying to renew its influence with a redesign, Perez Hilton might be losing his influence, and the influence of blogs in general could be fading. Conversely, user-generated porn is on the rise (be on the lookout for the .xxx domain). And whether it’s used to access news, celebrity gossip, or porn, every citizen in Finland now has the legal right to broadband.

2. Google is gunning for Facebook, though tech insiders say its odds are long. Google is also still trying to make things work with China; MG Siegler is disappointed with Google’s concessions therein. Finally, Google Wave is now open to everyone (now that no one cares about it anymore), and the company is now enabling same-sex domestic partner health benefits for employees.

3. The FTC ordered Twitter to be more careful with user information and account security, which is ever more important, as the social media service is growing across the globe (heads up, Mark Zuckerberg). This growth is also reflected in the number of cool stories about Twitter this fortnight, including about the use of the hashtag, how tweeting is physiologically like falling in love, the importance of tweet cred, Twitter scholarship, Coke’s success with Twitter ads, and how Twitter has transformed NBA free agency.

4. There was a bunch of news about the dynamic between print and online this fortnight, most of which you heard plenty about (such as Rolling Stone sitting on the McChrystal story and seeing online outlets run with – or steal – it), but there were a few other stories that might have gone under your radar: newspapers’ share of revenue from digital advertising is declining; traditional media is having fun with Tumblrs; iPad magazines aren’t impressing yet and aren’t effectively social; YouTube trumped traditional media with the news that BP has been burning up turtles; and News Corp.’s paywall for online access to The Times is now up, a move Steve Blacker says Rolling Stone should take note of.

5. Pixar rules, Jonah Hex drools. The U.S. government cracks down, a file sharer battles back. A Fox marketing executive takes the heat for Knight and Day, but Cruise’s stardom likely fights on for another day. Screenwriters are struggling to find work, while Fox struggles to treat screenwriters like they matter.

6. indieWire offers a mid-year report on the specialty box office; the foreign-language Oscar winner The Secret in their Eyes could end up earning an impressive $7 million, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is headed toward becoming one of the 25 highest-grossing foreign-language films of all time. Restrepo and Cyrus also saw impressive earnings in recent weeks.

7. DVD’s days as a regular WAYM entry may be numbered: Blockbuster is being dropped from the NYSE due to its low share price (though the company has been granted more time by lenders to restructure its debt), Apple is backing streaming video online over Blu-ray, Ryan Lawler sees Hulu Plus as a DVD killer, and Will Richmond agrees with Jeffrey Katzenberg that DVD ownership may soon be a thing of the past.

8. Video games as a business: Console sales are down but games were up slightly in May, Microsoft says it’s going to wait and see on 3D, and UK tax relief for the games industry has been canceled. Video games as art: Tom Bissell argues that video games deserve more respect, Roger Ebert relented in his games-aren’t-art battle but gamer Gus Mastrapa was disappointed that he did, and Dennis Scimeca has a mixed response to a handful of video games presented as art exhibits.

9. Two researchers who argued back in 2004 that peer-to-peer file-sharing did not have a negative impact on recorded music sales have now reversed their position, while T Bone Burnett decries the fact that creators aren’t being rewarded financially for their music. A new company has cropped up to help boost that reward by licensing music for YouTube videos, and Peter Kafka says even though digital music distribution is a terrible business. Google is right to get into it.

10. Some good News for TV Majors links (and please note the new URL at the site – the “blogspot” is out): Pay TV Doing Fine, Network Summer, Captive Audiences, Daily Show & Women, Hulu Plus, Ratings Kick, Viacom Loses, Multi-Cam Dominance, Til Death Weirdness, Treme Finale, Franco Returns.


What Are You Missing? May 9-May 23 Sun, 23 May 2010 18:58:19 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry stories you might have missed recently:

1. The Cannes Film Festival’s major award winners were just announced, with Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives taking the Palme d’Or (and thus you can add Thailand to this chart of past Palme d’Or winners by country). Mike D’Angelo says Cannes got that right, a critics’ poll on the best and worst films had Uncle Boonme in second place, and indieWire’s film report card gave it a B+. Overall, the Cannes lineup has been judged merely so-so and distribution deals were slow to develop. The usual glamour was there, though, and there was plenty of off-screen news, from Woody Allen’s presser to Jean-Luc Godard’s refusal to explain his impenetrable Film Socialisme to protests over the film Outside the Law to outrage at Jafar Panahi’s imprisonment. With some questioning whether anyone cares about Cannes anymore, David Poland asked at the start of the festival if Cannes still matters; Eugene Hernandez answered yes, and at least on indieWIRE’s list of fifty leading festivals, Cannes is still #1.

2. Ted Hope offers 38 ways the American film industry is failing cinema (Brian Newman responds to one), plus some added reflections and thoughts on the value of cinema. A profile of indie producer Michael London explains how he’s dealing with new industry realities, and Guillermo del Toro proposes short films as an industry savior, while Mynette Louie says microbudget filmmaking is decidedly not a savior. African cinema could use a savior, as theaters are dwindling, but at least Nigerian cinema (Nollywood) is thriving, and African filmmaking was relatively well-represented at Cannes.

3. In Hollywood news, Bob Kerrey is expected to head up the MPAA, Marc Cuban is suing Paramount for millions over fraudulent accounting, and NPR featured a story on just such creative Hollywood accounting in connection with Gone in 60 Seconds. Elsewhere, Britain’s Hammer Studios plans to develop swankier horror films (figuratively and literally: Hilary Swank will be in one) and, inevitably, a 3D horror film. The latter will annoy Francis Ford Coppola, but James Cameron will say told you so. And in an attempt to foster U.S. box office success, the Indian film Kites will be distributed in two versions, one a traditional Bollywood romantic drama with extended dance sequences and the other a Brett Ratner recut that basically drops all the Bollywood bits (*sigh*).

4. A court ruled against file-sharing service LimeWire for copyright infringement, and PirateBay was briefly sidelined by court injunctions, but defiantly carries on. Nintendo is going after illegal game copiers and The Hurt Locker’s producers are going after illegal downloaders. One of those producers, Nicholas Chartier, is quite outspoken against illegal downloaders, which isn’t going over so well with some. Chartier should have a chat with British actor Peter Serafinowicz, who says he even steals movies he’s in. Steve Safran thinks maybe the only way to out-pirate the pirates is to get first-run films into our homes sooner.

5. You probably haven’t missed much of Facebook’s privacy mess, considering it even made the cover of Time. But here’s a condensation of the fallout (yes, this is a condensation; there was a lot of it): Some are responding in defense of Facebook or saying who cares or at least defending the value of publicness in some measure; writing thoughtful essays about the issues involved; demanding that Facebook as a company itself be more public and transparent; creeping us out with infographics; mocking those who don’t seem to realize that their very personal info is public (the folks featured there really need to use some privacy scan tools); working on Facebook alternatives; proposing a bill of privacy rights for social media; and calling for us to delete our Facebook accounts on May 31 or at least stay away from them on June 6. So far, Facebook has only promised to simply its privacy settings. As if the privacy backlash wasn’t enough for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to account for already, this fortnight also saw user data from Facebook and other social networks sent to advertisers without user permission; Zuckerberg embarrassed by old IMs, sparking demands for him to speak up about his current beliefs (while others say the attacks on Zuckerberg have gotten out of hand); Zuckerberg accused of securities fraud; and info leaked about Aaron Sorkin’s Facebook movie The Social Network in which Zuckerberg doesn’t come off so well (the phrase “sex maniac” certainly caught my eye). But wait, there’s more: Pakistan banned Facebook because of the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day movement. You know you’re having problems when both Pakistan and the ACLU are mad at you. Any good news for Facebook? Nike likes it.

6. Twitter has high hopes for its new advertising system, others are intrigued by the future possibilities of using Twitter for precise opinion polling, and Twitter reworked its trending topics algorithm to make it less Biebery, but Adam Ostrow said there’s more work to be done. Similarly, David Carr is frustrated by hit-generating, Google-luring headlines online. Vaguely related (I just had to fit it in somewhere): Harry McCracken has a great analysis of the word “fanboy” as a tech world put-down.

7. YouTube has turned five years old (a birthday which Conan O’Brien celebrated by picking out his favorite clips), and touts that its viewership now exceeds that of prime-time network TV. But Simon Dumenco claims that the latest YouTube sensation, Greyson Chance, owes more to TV than YouTube for his virality, while says it beats YouTube in time spent on the site.  Across its next five years, YouTube is hoping to foster more professional and profitable content. They might want to work on more professional corporate communication, too.

8. April saw yet another plunge in video game sales, while a report suggests game companies could pick up sales by better serving older and disabled gamers. Looking for more money itself, EA Sports announced a plan to charge gamers to play used games online. Given that nearly half of gamer money spent reportedly goes to used and online games, it sounds like a shrewd move. Meanwhile, MySpace hopes that online gaming will help turn things around for them, movie studios are turning to online gaming to generate greater audience involvement, and you can help fund Indie Game: The Movie. Thinking beyond money, game companies are going green and are also being called on to support fair labor practices.

9. Last week was the worst for album sales since 1991, and last year, a mere 2% of the albums released accounted for 91% of sales. In terms of online distribution, Leor Galil is frustrated that iTunes gets so many exclusive releases, so he might be happy with the news that Google looks ready to take on iTunes, and he should also check out Mashable’s list of seven sites for discovering new music.

10. The best News for TV Majors links of the fortnight: Law & Order Acting, TV=Art, Introducing Google TV, Upfronts Summaries: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, The CW, Sitcom Trends, Boycott Call, Content Power Ratings, Finale Advice, Lost Music, Mad Men & Women, Activities During Ads, FCC Waiver for Movie Studios


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What Are You Missing, April 25-May 8 Sun, 09 May 2010 13:59:19 +0000 Ten (or more) media industry stories you might have missed recently.

1. The Supreme Court will consider if the sale of violent video games to children should be outlawed, thus deciding if video games are more like movies or more like pornography. Millions of Boy Scouts await the ruling with great interest. This debate is playing out elsewhere: Rob Fahey says concern in the UK about video game effects has died down in recent years (replaced, of course, by concern over social media effects), while in Australia, gamemakers are frustrated that the highest age rating is 15+, and they feel that without the addition of an 18+ rating, they have to censor their content for adult gamers.

2. paidContent has a striking chart of the decline of music sales, but Glenn Peoples at Billboard says this is similar to a dip in the 1980s and, like then, sales will rise again with innovation. Gordon Smith says it’s the internet, not radio, at fault for music’s decline; We All Make Music considers the challenges musicians have with promoting themselves over the net; and fans debate whether the indie band Grizzly Bear writing an ad for a commercial is selling out or just doing what has to be done.

3. New York Magazine’s Logan Hill observes that the internet is taking music videos in audacious new directions, and Vulture provides a list of 14 music video directors to watch. A number of music videos grabbed attention this fortnight: Christina Aguilera released a Lady Gaga-esque video for “Not Myself Tonight”; Miley Cyrus got dirrty in “Can’t Be Tamed”, and M.I.A. got people talking and even yanked from YouTube with “Born Free”.

4. Mashable showcases a social media stats video that contains some grabbers, like that if Facebook was a country, it would be the third largest country in the world. Given what Facebook has been doing to its privacy settings in recent years (which Matt McKeon puts in a striking image form), I don’t want to live in that country. Tim Jones looks at how deceptive Facebook’s interfaces are, and while Jeff Jarvis says Facebook actually has an opportunity to turn around the privacy outrage by actually listening to it, Ryan Singel calls for the creation of an alternative to Facebook.

5. Christopher Mims says Twitter is the future of news, but it’s looking like a lot of people will go uninformed in the future, then, as a study says 87% of Americans are aware of Twitter, but only 7% use it. Teens in particular say they hate it and the celebrities who use it. 17-year-old Arya Zarifi says in the latter article, “It’s something for adults who feel like it makes them hip or something.” Arya, I use Twitter; I don’t feel like it makes me hip or something. However, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off being played out on Twitter, now that’s hip. Or something.

6. Apple didn’t come off so well this fortnight. There was the lost iPhone debacle, Apple’s shutdown of the Lala music service, which the AV Club says makes it that much more likely that iTunes “will one day control all the music in the world,” and the Ellen incident. What also got techie keyboards tapping was Steve Jobs’ dismissal of Flash. Dan Rayburn accuses Jobs of being disingenuous, while Christina Warren says it’s not Apple but HTML5 which is dooming Flash, with Scribd’s ditching of Flash for HTML5 as an example.

7. In Hollywood news, Kevin Maher explains Hollywood’s 1980s remake obsession (at least we don’t have to worry about any more Rambos); Matt Zoller Seitz stirred up a lot of dust with his anti-comic book movie position; and studios are ramping up cross-promotional efforts. In indie news, Anthony Kaufman wonders where the under-30 audience for indie cinema is, Michael Cieply looks at the process of rebuilding indie cinema, and Peter Knegt found six cases where indie documentary distribution has gone right, but Michael Moore fears for the future of documentary with a recent federal court ruling. In film criticism is dead news, Pete Hammond says theaters and studios can’t survive without critics.

8. Movie Gallery is shuttering its doors, while Bloomberg’s Tiffany Kary says it appears bond holders expect Blockbuster will go that way too, but one man thinks he can save Blockbuster. Redbox rentals are shooting up, and Chuck Tryon responds to a Redbox publicity piece about the  labor involved in keep Redboxes running.

9. Megan McArdle considers the theory that file-sharing is killing the entertainment industry, while Nate Anderson reports on a study that says file-sharers are the industry’s biggest customers and also points to India as the most consumer-friendly copyright country. The US has dropped further down on that list with the FCC ruling that lets the MPAA enforce the blockage of copying capabilities for first-run video-on-demand movies. Cory Doctorow says this is a ridiculous decision that opens to door for corporate control over all of our electronic devices in the future; David Poland is not so outraged.

10. The best News for TV Majors links of the fortnight: FCC Internet Control; Lost Ending; TV Future; CBS & CNN; Soap Lessons; Dramas Dominate; Economist Series; MSNBC Following FNC Lesson; FlowTV Conference; Gender Imbalance; Sets Statistics; Reclaiming the Multi-Cam; Sports on Cable.


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