CBS and Comcast Read My Blog!

Woo-hoo! Congrats to CBS and Comcast for using my ideas. I didn't copyright them, but they are doing what American electronic media have always done: make the bargain with the audience that we can see shows for "free" in return for exposure to advertising. As you've read in this blog in the past, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (George Santayana, 1922, Reason in Common Sense). I will always remember USA Today trying to charge something like $4.95 per month to have access to read their newspaper online when there were hundreds of other free sources online. I'd love to know how much money USA Today took in under the "pay per view" model versus their current advertiser-supported model.

So, Bravo to CBS and Comcast who are clearly taking the right path for themselves. I confess I don't really care to see commercials, but I'll make the trade, pretty happily, I think.

One source for this story (the link is probably not permanent) is the Los Angeles Times, 15 September 2006.

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!


Apple's iTV Challenges Set-Top Box Manufacturers

Well, there's big news out again from Apple. Steve Jobs surprised most by introducing a product currently named iTV. I wonder if Independent Television in Britain might take umbridge at the use of their established TV network abbreviation (Independent Television). At any rate, it is interesting to watch the Apple enthusiasts leap with joy upon hearing such announcements. Far be it for me to contradict them. Apple has been magnificantly successful lately. It also announced new iPods yesterday, and I have to quote the article title from T3: "It's official - new iPods! It was worth the wait – Apple’s eye popping new players already have us dusting off our wallets." I'll get back to them later (although Apple's Midas touch makes it difficult to raise doubts about their new products). By the way, Apple unleashed nano versions and 22" (iPod screen) versions of some of its products lately. I've been telling my students that near future newspapers will be video displays that change the articles as the user decides (didn't I see something like this in a Harry Potter movie?).

Although the computer literate audience members at the announcement yesterday (12 September 2006) didn't seem to recognize it as such, it seems to be a set-top box and one that will compete in some ways directly with TiVo, I should think. I guess it's safe to say it can "download" any digitial content and then allow the user to physically transport that information (including Hollywood films) to the display device of their choice, the big seller seeming to be large screen TVs.

What this means to me is still further pressure in an already extremely competitive marketplace, which should be good news for consumers (especially with price). This is just another case of the accelerating pace of technological change. I suspect iPod's success has made consumers confident in Apple, but I wonder who beyond the inovators who will try anything first will comprehend what this device can do.

The product is slated for introduction in "early 2007" (whatever that ends up meaning). I wonder if this will cut into consumers' spending on video games. It seems a possible trade-off. I pity anyone who's trying to keep up with this stuff, especially me!

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!

Dr. Klopfenstein Approved New Media Web Sources

The subject line is supposed to be an attention getter, not an endorsement of the sites. Having said that, there is an outstanding web site with daily analyses and citations of media and new media activities, with only a slight bias toward the business end. If you are unaware of it, it's probably even worth a bookmark. Here's the site (don't delete this until you go there):


There an especially heavy amount of information coming out right now on Apple, and it's critical, not just rewritten press releases. The information is broken down by segment. Here's TV, for example: http://media.seekingalpha.com/by/type/tv.

I've always thought corporate behavior is a critical variable in the adoption and diffusion of new media products and services. Sony, for example, did no market research before it introduced the Walkman, a huge success. RCA, on the other hand, spent millions on consumer research on its SelctaVision videodisc player in the late 1970s and early 1980s; it bombed, costing RCA nearly $600 million in 1984 dollars.

From the web site itself (you should go to the site despite this mundane description):

Seeking Alpha is the leading provider of stock market opinion and analysis from blogs, money managers and investment newsletters. ('Alpha' is a finance term referring to a stock's performance relative to the market; it's used more loosely by fund managers to describe beating their index, so every stock picker is "seeking alpha".)

Our team:

selects the most interesting articles from over 200 contributors,
edits them to guarantee quality and consistency, and
arranges and tags them so they can be searched by stock ticker, sector and theme.
To make Seeking Alpha a one-stop-shop for stock research, we then add a daily One Page Annotated Wall Street Journal Summary, a weekly Barron's Summary, hundreds of conference call transcripts, daily summaries of Jim Cramer's stock picks, comprehensive coverage of new IPO filings and a regular housing market roundup.

And if you were wise enough to read all the way down here, comscore is another company that does market research including new media and releases some of its data through press releases.

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!


It Is Done

When I was in grad school in the early 1980s, I chose to go to Ohio State, not just because I am a Buckeye who loves his home state, but because Warner Cable had built Qube, the first truly interactive television service in the U.S. (we provincial Americans think we're first at everything, but maybe someone else did it somewhere). When I began my academic career at Bowling Greem State University (no, not Western Kentucky in Bowling Green. KY), I was already fascinated by how technology was on the verge of changing broadcasting, in particular.

When I began teaching a new media class, I began to make predictions (my dissertation is on forecasting the market for home video completed in March 1985). When the web came, it was under the culture of "over my dead body will there be commercials on the Internet's web!" My dad was a history professor, and it's in my blood. The Internet was of little interest to anyone other than public and private scientists and grad students like me. Yes, I learned Unix. But history is quite clear in the United States: we accept the bargain of advertising subsidizing media content that we perceive to be "free." It wasn't long before the graphics-ready Web was attracting the business innovators who saw it's potential as a new communication medium.

I remember telling my students that the could "log in" to a television station in the future and pick a channel to watch (my example was KING-TV when the Cleveland Indians played at Seatle). Well, I've been preaching that the web would evolve into a medium that would allow delivery of video programs anytime and anywhere there was a computer with an Internet connection. Once again, I was suprised by my daughter who, while I was watching OHIO STATE beat Texas on "ESPN on ABC," was watching her Disney Channel movies on computer via my house's generic wireless system. She was watching
the Suite Life of Zack and Cody on the computer. The video appeared to be about 300 by 400 pixels, perhaps larger. But the audio was great and the video seemed flawless, and my home wireless network is nothing special. I was stunned at how good the video was. I saw no artifacts and there were a lot of quick cuts in the show as well as plenty of color on the set and in the actors' clothes.

I let her teach me how to navigate the site (which I'm not sure I can do without her!). Once again I found myself, eyes wide open, with another new video source on the web that I somehow missed. This is interactive television by anyone's definition from watching the linear show (and FF or rewind as desired), picking from what looked to me to be a fairly complete listing of the Disney Channel's lineup. And there are plenty of games that can be played as well. I actually searched for advertising and didn't see it (clearly you can consider the entire site an ad for Disney, but there was nothing I saw that would allow me to, for example, purchase a stuffed animal like Winnie the Pooh. As a parent, I am thrilled with the lack of advertising, while cognizant of the inherent Disney uber alles.

I had to check Nickelodeon's web site and it didn't seem to hold a candle to Disney, but I'll bet it will soon. And let me be clear: I didn't spend much time on the Nickelodeon site. The Disney Channel site is immediately colorful with lots of button animations with sound. By the way, there is also a one-year-old medium sized TV in the same room, but my daughter chose the computer over the TV. Very interesting.

Check them out and let me know what you think.

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!