Tag Archives: US

Kids Make History – Smarter Than Their Parents

Children in a doorway in Jerusalem

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There is a once-in-a-millenium kind of thing going on.  Due to the rapid pace of technological advancements we are at a moment in time when many kids are simply more adept at using the key technological system of our age – the internet (and the computer itself).

“An overwhelming majority (89%) of all kids age 6-11 in the US spend at least some time doing online activities and – though many of their basic social activities haven’t changed much over the years – they have vastly different communication styles and preferences than older age groups, according to a study from Experian Consumer Research.” (via)

When else in human history have parents had to consistently turn to their own children for help with what is now a basic household device?

This won’t last long.  As these kids grow up tech-saavy they will have a leg up on their own kids but for the generation in the middle, born too late for native understanding but too soon to ignore it altogether, it’s going to mean trusting that 10-year-old can reset your mail server.  Don’t worry.  She can.

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Top 5 My Media Musings for Tuesday

Cinema 4 at HOYTS, Forest Hill Shopping Centre.

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Every day I probably scan a few thousand bits of information via email, RSS, surfing, chatting and even the occasional tweet.  Here are the top five things that caught my eye:

1) MGM putting up movies on YouTube – This is really only big news because YouTube is the biggest provider of video on the web.  I like the point made by TechDirt:

“You don’t see movie studios today looking to do exclusive deals with one chain of movie theater to distribute their movies. No, the idea is to get the movie seen in as many places as possible to make it as convenient as possible for whoever to watch it. The same should be true of studios who realize that they want their movies available for free online.”

2) Project Playlist vs. Labels – Project Playlist is another music site hoping to help people discover new music and are in the news because they just hired Owen Van Natta (formerly #2 at a little site called Facebook).  Question is whether or not they can survive on ad revenue and whether their linking to music is yet another form of music copyright violations.  As the NYT points out:

“The record labels have indeed proven themselves quite willing to settle lawsuits and license their catalogs to up-and-coming Web sites, so long as the sites pay a nine-figure upfront fee, a penny or so for every song played, and often a big chunk of stock as well.”

And we wonder why the music business is suffering…

3) OceanSpray to Replace Charlie Brown – It is becoming more and more common for brands to fully sponsor shows so I guess OceanSpray’s upcoming ABCFamily special “Cranberry Christmas” shouldn’t be so upsetting…but it is. Via MediaPost:

The story is about an antagonist, Cyrus Grape, who won’t let kids ice skate over the local cranberry bog near his home. The hero, a young girl, saves Christmas Day for the children by reclaiming their favorite ice skating spot and discovering the land’s rightful owner.”

Yeah, that’s much more in the Christmas spirit than some red-nosed reindeer.

4) Bond Breaks Free – The weirdly named “Quantum of Solace” has been released first in the UK meaning the larger US market has to wait to see the newer, darker, James Bond, unless they know how to use BitTorrent:

“…despite searching the bags of paying customers, monitoring movie audiences with Bond-style night vision goggles and proffering misinformation, the industry has failed to stop the movie leaking to the Internet.”

Gotta wonder how much people are willing to put up with after paying $12 for a ticket and another $10 for soda and popcorn – Would you rather be treated like a criminal at the theater or actually just be one from the comfort of your couch?

5) Women are Pirates, Too – I love looking at the top “pirated” TV shows downloaded via BitTorrent.  Not only is it constantly surprising to see “Prison Break” at the top of the list (who watches this show?) but I am also fascinated that both “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” are always in the top 10.  I doubt lots of men are downloading Housewives and that means women are very much in the pirate game.

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On My Phone – More Video Please!

iPhoneDev Camp - and here is the original imag...

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The US lags way behind much of Asia and Europe when it comes to watching video on our cell phones (question: how many people need to ditch their landlines before we can just say “phone” and everyone know we mean “cell phone?”).

Mashable has a good look at what’s holding us back (technology, lack of rich content, etc.) and sees some hope in the future.

I think that wider adoption on mobile video viewing will come quickly, especially as handsets like the iPhone make the viewing process much more enjoyable.  The iPhone’s lack of Flash-compatibilty is the only thing that stops me from watching loads of videos online while I’m away from my laptop.

It would also be a great boon to producers and distributors of things like webseries that could automatically push new episodes to your phone much like you can have email pushed.

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We Love TV on the Web, Why Not Originals?

Bree aka lonelygirl15 and her stuffed animal f...

A much commented upon study has come out that shows quite a big jump in online viewership of episodic network television shows:

“With over 12 billion videos watched online in the U.S. during the month of May, its hard to argue against the ubiquity of the PC as the king of media. To further this claim, market research company, Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI), has released a study that claims that almost 20 percent of primetime “episodic” television shows are watched online.” (via)

So, the argument that people only watch short clips online no longer rings true.  However, it would be tough to argue that there have been any legitimate orginal online “hits.” (ok, some will argue LonelyGirl15 but even at it’s height it has never been widely viewed)

The question is why.  The most obvious reason is that there haven’t been any great online originals yet.  Sure, there have been some mildly entertaining bits out there (Wainy Days?  The Guild? We Need Girlfriends?) but nothing that has been strong enough and consistant enough to build a solid audience.

The second reason is that nobody knows what’s online.  There is no advertising or marketing.  Relying on the “viral” nature of the internet might work for a one-off but it will never build the kind of audience that could some day be self-sufficient.

With the networks and bigger-name creatives placing more time and money into online originals things might change but for the time being the best way to be a hit online is to be a hit on TV.

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Scrabble Fumbles Bingo Opportunity

The board of the deciding game in the World Sc...

Just as I suspected, Scrabble was in no way prepared to handle the fallout caused by their forced shut down of popular clone Scrabulous:

“We’ll be back up shortly,” an apologetic error message read. “We’re working on some tech problems and Scrabble will be ready to play as soon as possible!” The game is slated to exit the beta phase in the middle of next month, and some (my colleague Rafe Needleman among them) initially found it to be a better-quality game experience than Scrabulous had been.

But in the wake of a server crash, Facebook users weren’t too pleased, as the message wall for the Scrabble application revealed. “Wow, does this suck,” one Facebook user wrote. “Why can’t you guys work out a licensing deal with the Scrabulous boys? Now we’re back to square one and have to go through all of your debugging process.” (via)

Not only did they fail to provide Scrabulous users with a valid alternative, they increased the level of overall dislike already aimed their way.

Nice work, Hasbro.

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Scrabble Kills Scrabulous – Backlash Brewing?


After months of wondering what they would do, Hasbro acted and has forced Facebook to take down the unauthorized clone of Scrabble, the extremely popular Scrabulous.

“If you try to pull up the popular game, you get the following message: “Scrabulous is disabled for U.S. and Canadian users until further notice. If you would like to stay informed about developments in this matter, please click here.” If you click, you get a form from the Scrabulous founders asking for your e-mail address so they can keep you posted on further developments.”(via)

Here’s the big question: will Scrabulous users be so mad at Hasbro that they will go find new games to play or will they decide that they really want to play Scrabble and if the only way to do that is through the official site, so be it?

Of course, much will depend on whether or not the official version works as well as the clone.  Hasbro better hope it does or they could be dead on arrival.

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ITV Just Plain Lies to UK About Ford in American Idol

American Idol

In the US, we’ve grown so accustom to product placement that some are wondering if it is even effective anymore.  In the UK, however, they have some heavy rules about the separation between brand and content.

This has led to a censure of ITV for broadcasting episodes of “American Idol” featuring music videos that they claim overtly plug Ford cars.

Anyone who watched any of AI last year knows full-well that those music videos were so obviously Ford-sponsored that they could have been mistaken for ads themselves.  I don’t think anyone thought they were trying to hide the fact.

Which makes statements like this so funny:

“In response, however, ITV said the music videos in question were included on their “editorial merits” in terms of entertainment value to audiences and were not the result of any relationship between the broadcaster and Ford.” (via TheStage)


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