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Posts Tagged ‘PSB’

Media shakes and quakes

A quick round-up of some interesting news in the media world in the past 24 hours or so…

The scope of the BBC is to be drastically reduced. The TelecomPaper writes that the plans are to “reign in its website, close down two radio stations, cut management costs and focus spending more on quality, local programming.” News organisations have been complaining for some time that the BBC News website is taking traffic away from dedicated news publication sites, and in general this news will be music to the ears of James Murdoch, whose Sky continues to see ebullient profits.

Viacom and the US TV streaming service Hulu are parting ways, meaning hilarity such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will no longer be available on the site. The WSJ reported that they reached a “financial impasse”. Meanwhile,  Hulu has launched its own show.

Apple is currently making the rounds of movie studios after paying a similar visit to the music labels in discussions to be able to provide users with their media in the cloud. The upshot is that users would be able to access their iTunes products from anywhere at anytime on their mobile devices. Zeitgeist looks forward to seeing this in action.

Lastly, if you’re planning to watch the Academy Awards this Sunday night at home on television, you’ll be in the same position as one of the producers whose film has been nominated for Best Picture and is seen as a front-runner. On the last day to send out one’s vote for the Oscar ballot, Nicolas Chartier wrote an email asking for his friends to vote for “Hurt Locker” rather than a certain “$500 million film”. The Academy have responded by banning Mr. Chartier from attending Sunday’s ceremony. The LA Times reports, “Should the film win best picture, Chartier would be given his Oscar at a later date”. The insight is that backstabbing isn’t kosher, even in Hollywood.

UPDATE: Very interesting post from TechCrunch on the Hulu / Viacom split; “The economic incentive is too great for media properties to centralize their videos on their own sites. But to consumers, this recentralization looks more like fragmentation”.

TV Evolves Before Our Eyes

October 3, 2009 1 comment

From the October Zeitgeist…

TV Evolves Before Our Eyes

As Octavius once said of the Roman Empire, so now says the TV industry and the advertising that supports it: we expand or we die.

In the US, the once niche and piffling cable networks now command a much larger slice of the advertising pie, and in terms of quality, their output speaks volumes; Mad Men, The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Dexter; these same shows are rewarded at the annual gush‐fest that is the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. In the UK, the BBC is defending attacks on its unique position in the marketplace as a Public Service Broadcaster. It’s licence fee revenues mean it is moving relatively easily through the recession compared to its moribund rivals. ITV is desperately trying to find someone crazy/stupid enough to take control of the network and Channel 4 is angling for a slice of the BBC’s licence fee to help support it’s own PSB commitments. Sky meanwhile, under the stewardship of heir apparent James Murdoch, is resilient. It is having little trouble courting advertisers as the little personal liquidity that exists is sunk into home comforts like HDTV.

The crowded and volatile marketplace in both countries has led to audience fragmentation, but some are convinced there is not yet saturation. Variety wrote recently about the US push to broadcast TV to devices over ad‐supported mobile DTV; creating a “world where travelers waiting in an airport lounge will watch golf live on their laptops, or homemakers who have to dash out… won’t miss the last 10 minutes of Oprah because they can catch the end… on their cell phones”. 70 TV stations will soon be making their broadcasts available to the country’s 270m mobiles, providing another way for advertisers to create more impressions and reach more eyeballs.

Last month, Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw announced the end to the ban of product placement on commercial TV. The ban was somewhat arbitrary since imported US and Euro shows flagrantly display their wares already. The FT believes benefits to broadcasters are “hazy…a lot of the [money] would simply be transfers from traditional spot advertising”; they also might be tightly regulated, discouraging use. Advertisers though are really more fearful of no one watching their product. DVR penetration continues: most people tend to fast‐forward the ads. US networks are now trying to blur the lines even more between entertainment and advert; American Idol now inserts auditions in the middle of ad breaks.

All this risks putting off the consumer, but Brand Republic notes that viewers think product placement will “add a sense of realism” to fictional fare. If done sensibly, that is.