Friday, April 29, 2011

Remote Cameras - Inside the Drone Missions

From Jennifer Sprouse -

A really cool article on the use of drones going inside Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor complex in Japan. These flying drones are making short trips of 40 minutes in-and-out of the plant, taking pictures and video of what's happening inside the reactors to try to fix what went wrong during the natural disaster. While the footage taken inside the complex is going to be mostly used for research, this kind of drone technology could expand and could be another way of shooting footage for news content.

A Future for Magazines

From Jordan Lawson -

New magazine titles launching in first quarter of 2011 were double the number during the same period last year, according to media database  The site lists 54 new titles launched in the first part of this year,  far surpassing the 25 titles folding during the same period.
Thank goodness. This is exactly where I want to be so this is good news that magazine launches have doubled in the past year. Maybe I can get a job after all!

Source: "Magazine Launches Double in Q1 2011", Folio

A World Without Google

From Jordan Lawson -

This was such a great find. Imagining a world without Google as I type an email on Gmail and talk to a friend via Google Chat while my phone with an Android operating system made by Google is in my pocket. I can't imagine a world without Google now, and this graphic shows how high reaching they are and asks if it would or wouldn't be a good thing if they were gone.
Source: "A World Without Google," Design Taxi
Accompanying Infographic (for enlarged version go here)

Evaluate iPad editions of magazines - free Wired.

Several of our magazine track students gave presentations on the potential of iPads and other tablets as a new format/medium for magazines. Here's some info on a trial offer. (BJB)

From Jordan Lawson -

I found this interesting because of my next big thing topic.It's a great marketing ploy to tempt readers to see what the Wired iPad edition is all about (and it's gorgeous). More interesting than the marketing ploy is at the end of the article: "The magazine went on to explain that paying the same price for the digital copy as the print one 'can’t possibly be the future,' but Wired still has no immediate plans to launch a subscription-based model on the iTunes Store." Come on Wired, be a trendsetter!

Source: "Wired iPad Edition Goes Free For A Month", Design Taxi

Android outpaces Apple in some areas

From Jordan Lawson -

Android has more free apps than Apple, as well as being more 'desired' according to two studies being reported by Design Taxi: It's interesting that these two posts from Design Taxi came out just mere hours before each other. Perhaps the reason Android is a little bit more desired because it has a bigger selection of free applications. I doubt it though. The percentage is just a tiny difference with 31% desiring Android and 30% desiring iPhone, but I was completely surprised by it. Perhaps Androids have caught up (or people have realized they can work as well as an iPhone), or they could be less expensive as there are more options and one iPhone to buy.

Source: "Android more 'Desired" than iPhone, Survey Says." DesignTaxi
            "More Free Apps on Android Than iPhone, Study Finds," DesignTaxi


New media for disaster news.

From Jordan Lawson -

Though the recent storm for me wasn't technically a disaster, I lost power around 8 p.m. and was able to keep track of the storm with my 3G accessible smartphone and by accessing Twitter and Facebook. I also could access weather and news websites, but I found myself mostly attracted to Twitter. It gave me quick updates about whtat was happening from friends and news sources about what was happening during the storm. These tweets gave me a better picture and I understood how devastating the storm was. If I just watched the news and didn't have personal accounts from other people, it might not have mattered as much, but I was interested and kept up to date by people's tweets. The storm wasn't as bad in my area and I wouldn't have had such an understanding of what happened. I didn't turn on a radio, I went to Twitter, and I think that is really telling of this age of social media. People didn't call in to a radio station to report what was going on (well I'm sure they did, but I didn't hear them) they tweeted and put #KnoxStorm to compile the tweets.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Future of TV: Why Broadcast Needs to Adapt

From Gina Hudson:

This article asserts that "without the swift implementation of initiatives like TV Everywhere, programmers and operators may just give web-savvy innovators an opportunity to steal a large portion of the market."

Source: "The Future of TV: Why Broadcast Needs to Adapt,Mashable

Creating "journalism" from social media (updated)

From Francesca Freed & Damion Huntoon -

Storify has launched an online tool that lets journalists (and PR and marketing firms) put together stories online by piecing together "tweets, YouTube clips, Flickr photos and other social media elements." 
"'We have so many real-time streams now, we’re all drowning,' founder Burt Herman told the NY Times. 'So the idea of Storify is to pick out the most important pieces, amplify them and give them context.'"
Storify, which has now just left beta-testing, helps communications people with the arduous task of breaking through all the "digital noise," the constant plague of social media.
Al-Jazeera has even used it for its live shows.
Source:  "Storify Launches Open Social Media Tool for Journalists," Social Times
              "The Story Behind Storify..." video explaining Storify

(Update: Added second recommendation from student, and video source- BJB)

Still Not Paying for Online News

As the NYTimes and Rupert Murdoch's The Daily launch major new efforts to construct a viable pay model for online news (or mobile news), Adweek reports on a new survey that raises questions about demand.
A survey in March 2011 found that only 20% were willing to pay for daily online news, down from 23% expressed willingness two years ago.  And even among those willing to pay, most said they'd pay no more than $10 a month. Murdoch's The Daily comes in under that level at $39.99 per year, while the NYTimes payment plans start at $15 per month and go up.  Regardless of political leanings, Murdoch seems to be the more realistic business model.

Source: "They Still Won't Pay for News," Adweek

Job Prospects in Journalism

From Francesca Freed:

It's hard to find people who are optimistic about the future of journalism jobs, but these people do exist. Those who fully embrace the digital age, and see it as the future of media--and it is, but that doesn't mean we won't lose a lot of people in the transition. eMarketer has released predictions saying that spending on online advertising will continue to rise (which is good), but that it won't replace the money lost from print ads (which is bad). Check the link for a helpful and depressing chart.

More on Apple tracking

From Jennifer Sprouse:

The Huffington Post has released an article on Apple finally speaking up over the allegations that they've been using the iPhones to track their customers. Apple has been somewhat logging informations of where their users are. What they claim right now is that it's not tracking the user, but the phone through Wi-Fi hotspots and cellphone towers. 
Source: "Apple: We've 'Never' Tracked Your Phone,Huffington Post

Citizen Journalism Goes Royal

From Britney Goo:

Citizen journalism is becoming more and more prevalent, especially thanks to the ease of technologies such as the Internet, mobile devices, and Wifi.  Not only does it allow consumers to interact with the media, it now allows them to help produce content.  The greatest example of how widespread and popular citizen journalism has become is CNN’s iReport, which gives viewers the opportunity to participate in the news by sharing their stories online.

iReport has come a long way since it launched in April 2006.  Today, it has more than 750,000 users, and this number significantly surpasses those of its competitors.  This is proof that iReporting will continue to grow and change the face of journalism.  Citizens are becoming real journalists who are respected and valued by the industry, as opposed to in the past when they were simply consumers and audiences for advertisers to target.  CNN shares this sentiment, for they will soon be sending a citizen journalist across the globe to cover a high-profile story.

After winning a contest, Jason Sauter will be traveling to London to witness and report on the British Royal Wedding this week.  Sauter does not work in the news industry.  He said he gained some experience with broadcast news while in college, but today he works at Walt Disney World, where he is a guest service manager.  Sauter joined iReport in April and has uploaded seven iReports so far.

As Sauter covers the wedding this weekend, his content will appear together with CNN’s professional coverage on a newly launched interface called Open Story.  Open Story maps out selected stories about a particular event and places them on a timeline to form an accurate account.  It is living proof that citizen journalists are now collaborating with the professionals, and will continue to do so in the future. 

To view Sauter’s video submission, visit:

Stray Thought (from BJB): I wonder if CNN thought the 400 folks they sent to cover the wedding weren't enough?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jobs: Apple erred in handling iPhone Data issue.

From Jocelyn Blake-

There has been controversy about Apple's faulty location data on the iPhone and iPad. Steve Jobs has been on medical leave but he made sure to personally explain the situation to the public. "Confirming speculation from some security researchers, Apple said in the statement posted on its Web site that the file in people’s iPhones is not a log of their location but rather 'the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone.' " Many people were thinking that Apple was invading the public's privacy when that was not the case. After all, we live in a panoptic society were everyone enjoys displaying a critiqued image of themselves. However, we also value our right to place something for all to see as opposed to invasion of privacy. Any time we use a new piece of technology, we have to give a new piece of our identity. 

How the FCC can promote broadband deployment ;)

Last fall, the FCC created a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to look into ways the Commission could enhance innovation, create jobs, and increase competition in broadband deployment.  Monday, the TAC released a initial report that included 8 specific recommendations.
1. "Recognize" those municipalities that have expedited broadband deployment
2. Ask the White House to order the approval process to work faster.
3. Use the FCC's "leadership pulpit" to ask states to streamline their approval process
4. Offer workshops on new ways to deploy broadband
5. Create a website with content promoting deployment that local governments could stick their name on to make it look like they're actually doing something productive.
6. To redefine how we measure broadband deployment so it looks like we're deploying faster
7. Try to scare people by highlighting concerns that some devices might not work with newer systems
8. Work with other federal agencies to encourage deployment, say by putting cell and wifi towers on federal buildings and offices..

I have to say, "Wow!! What great suggestions! Praising some folks, scaring others, and creating promotional materials and "workshops" is sure going to help clear all the regulatory hurdles, raise all the capital, expand demand, and create all the technology needed for broadband deployment."  Good thing they included #6 - let's forget about actual deployment and change meanings so we can claim faster and more complete deployment.  As for #2, good luck in getting a White House that has delighted in adding regulatory hurdles in almost every other area to take seriously a suggestion to reduce and streamline regulatory oversight.  They might mouth the words, but action is likely to go the other way.

But what do you expect from a government commission?  Actual practical suggestions that might work?

Source: "Technical Advisory Committee: Eight easy ways the FCC can help fuel broadband deployment," Connected Planet.

Is There a Spectrum Crisis? NAB thinks not...

One of the issues discussed by our guest speaker yesterday, George DeVault of Holston Valley Broadcasting, was the current debate over the best use of spectrum.  The FCC and wireless industry look to grab some arguably underused TV spectrum (which has already been mined three times in previous spectrum grabs).  A recent report by NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) argues that while there are spectrum needs, "crisis" isn't an appropriate term, and that the FCC could address most anticipated needs within its existing regulatory authority without grabbing serious chunks of the remaining TV spectrum.
While challenging the notion of crisis, the study notes that most existing demand for new mobile spectrum could be met through existing technological improvements, using non-TV spectrum already identified by the NTIA as being underutilized, and allowing spectrum holders to shift to alternative usages.
At the very least, the FCC should begin by acting on these alternative options, and not rely on scares about "crises" to grab large chunks of an already crowded TV spectrum (Earlier spectrum grabs have already significantly reduced the potential for future growth in local TV broadcasting, and some of the plans being talked about would largely close off any potential for future expansion as well as force existing stations off-air, or limited to sharing a channel allocation with other broadcasters.)

Sources:  "Solving the Capacity Crunch," NAB Report
               "NAB-Commisioned Study Offers Alternatives For Spectrum Crunch," Broadcasting & Cable

Smartphones: Evidence or Protected by Privacy?

From Jennifer Sprouse:

Here's an interesting article from the Atlantic magazine asking the question of whether cops should be allowed to search your phone- including email, photographs, and text messages- without obtaining a warrant. I think this is something that we should all be mindful of considering that our cell phones are our personal property, but this article raises the question of how personal our things are, and if the laws set in place already against warrantless searches and seizures will actually stand in the long run.

YouTube Exploring Movie Rental Business

From Martin Johnson:

YouTube is prepping an expansion of its movie rental service that will include selections from major movie studios and serve as a serious competitor to Apple's iTunes, according to a report. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers, and Universal, as well as Lionsgate and Kino Lorber have all agreed to allow YouTube to rent their films. 
"We've steadily been adding more and more titles since launching movies for rent on YouTube over a year ago and now have thousands of titles available. Outside of that, we don't comment on rumor, or speculation," a YouTube spokesman said via email.
YouTube has been dabbling in movie rentals for more than a year, but it has not become a major focus for the Google-owned video site.

Netflix to surpass Comcast

Netflix is on track to become the entertainment business with the largest number of subscribers.  Analysts are expecting Netflix to announce that it currently has 23.7 million subscribers, pushing it ahead of Comcast's 22.8 million and Sirius XM's 20.2 million.  Netflix's expansion, boosted by its embrace of digital streaming, is expected to top 30 million subscribers by the end of the year.
Analysis from NPD suggests that Netflix accounts for 61 percent of all movies viewed through the Internet, a level 8 times higher than number two (Comcast, again).  Netflix has also been aggressively securing its place in Internet-enabled TVs and other devices,  with apps for its streaming service included on more than 250 devices
Netflix currently offers more than 17,000 movie and TV titles for streaming, and has been in the news lately for acquiring rights to stream signature TV series, and is expected to spend more than $1 billion this year securing streaming rights..

Source: "Netflix to Become Largest Subscription Entertainment Business in U.S." The Hollywood Reporter

Android tops in Pops

From Jocelyn Blake:

Google's Android operating system already runs on more smartphones than any other OS, and Android phones may also be the most desired.
According to a Nielsen Co. survey of U.S. cellphone consumers conducted from January to March of this year, 31% said they planned on buying a new smartphone and that Android was their preferred OS.
A close second was Apple's iOS, which runs on the iPhone, with 30% of those surveyed saying they wanted the smartphones from Steve Jobs & Co. above all other options, Nielsen said.
Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphone were coveted by 11% of respondents, while about 20% said they didn't know for sure what they would choose, Nielsen said.
Not all that long ago Apple was edging out Google.
From July to September of 2010, a Nielsen survey found, Apple's iPhone was the most wanted smartphone.
About 33% of consumers surveyed in that period said they wanted an Apple iPhone, while 26% said they would choose Android phones and 13% said they planned on picking up a BlackBerry phone.
"Those dynamics are already translating into sales," Nielsen said in a blog post reporting the findings. "Half of those surveyed in March 2011 who indicated they had purchased a smartphone in the past six months said they had chosen an Android device. A quarter of recent acquirers said they bought an iPhone and 15% said they had picked a BlackBerry phone."
As of March, 37% of smartphone owners in the U.S. had phones running Android, while 27% owned iPhones, the research firm said.
Both, however, are beating the BlackBerry, which accounted for a 22% share of the market, Nielsen said.

Apps in the Clouds

From Jocelyn Blake:

After listening to my classmate present on cloud computing I have been doing a little research. While researching I found that there are cloud based apps for iPads. When I first heard about cloud computing I just thought of it as people using a server to share files. I have come to realize that is more than that. Some applications include :

Google Docs ( and Microsoft’s Office Web Apps ( are the two front-runners in the cloud-based office suite arena, and both offer a strong set of tools for creating everything that most people need, including word processing files, spreadsheets, and presentations.

ILovePDF ( lets you perform some advanced functions with PDF files, including merging PDFs and splitting an existing PDF into multiple files.

Google’s cloud-based Calendar ( may be one of the handiest cloud apps going, primarily because of how useful it can be in helping both individuals and groups stay organised. The interface is as you’d expect: a calendar that can be shown in day, week, or month, four-day, or agenda mode. To schedule an event, meeting, or reminder, just click a cell, provide a title, and optionally add details.

Adobe’s Photoshop Express ( is another capable cloud—based image editor. It offers some advanced tools — such as white balance adjustments, soft focus, and tinting controls — that Picnic does not, and its interface will be familiar to users of Adobe’s image browsing applications such as Lightroom.

With theses two powerful technology advancements, we are bound to be actually computing from a real cloud soon!

Source: "The Best Cloud-based Apps", The Hindu

Not so Fast - Conde Nast holds iPad releases

From Francesca Freed:

Conde Nast already has several of its more popular titles available in iPad versions, but it's holding off from releasing any more in the foreseeable future. It had originally planned to release all its titles in iPad format.
Apparently iPad versions of magazines, which, conceptually, have been touted as the future of magazine journalism, aren't doing as well as they had hoped.
Conde Nast still seems optimistic about the future of these versions (calling their work with them so far "a learning experience"), but the fact remains that they've totally changed course.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Will Rock Save Books?

Or more aptly, will tell-all memoirs from aging rock stars stir up sales?  Maybe even create an interest in books for a generation focused on audio and visual content?
A few imprints have been paying huge advances to nab old rockers like Keith Richards (reported $7 million advance) and Sammy Hagar (a reported $3 million).  While some have reportedly done well in sales, these bios don't seem to have helped general non-fiction sales - the number of non-fiction titles with sales of 100,000 or more copies dropped 20% last year.  And it isn't clear that these bios are reaching untapped markets, either.

Source: "How rock music is saving books."  Broadcast Newsroom.

"Why I Gave up the Newspaper to Save Newspapering"

Colleague and Asst. Professor Elizabeth Hendrickson recommended this column, recounting one person's decision to leave the family newspaper business and start an online community news website.  While acknowledging that newspapers face in a transforming media environment, his motivation for leaving had to do more with shifting ownership structures. He argues that Publishers are increasingly not from the communities they cover, but are visitors in the towns they cover.  As a result, the ties between newspapers and their communities are being lost.  Recognizing the role that the Internet and Web play in fostering and developing new communities, this former publisher concludes in saying that he walked away from his family's generations-long heritage serving communities through newspapers, because he thinks a community news website start-up has a better chance to resurrect the ties between news and community.
The article's short, and I recommend reading it.

Source: "Why I Gave up the Newspaper to Save Newspapering"  Mediashift (a PBS Blog)

Social Media, Journalism, & PR - thoughts

From Francesca Freed:

Romey Louangvilay, the senior account executive for digital and social media at EuroRSCG Worldwide PR, recently gave an interview that discussed cutting through digital noise, the challenges journalists face with new technology, and how to mix journalism, PR and social media.
Of particular interest is his advice to young people: use social media to get connected. As in, not just using social media to promote your brand or your magazine or whatever, but using it to learn about other people and talk with them, particularly sources or journalists you might be working with.

Apple chases "look and feel" monopoly

From Francesca Freed:

Apple has sued Samsung for their Galaxy tablet, claiming it violates trade dress copyright, because of its rounded corners and the "colorful square icons with rounded corners." Apple is fighting for the idea that, once you have a good idea, you should be rich forever. This comes shortly after their lawsuit against Amazon for using the term "app store." It seems that Apple is disappointed that they can't hold a monopoly on all new technology.

Churnalism or Journalism?

From Brittney Goo:

Journalists today have many more resources than journalists did a few decades ago.  The journalist's overall goal of completing a quality story by the assigned deadline still remains the same.  However, the way in which journalists meet these deadlines has changed.  Today, they have access to press releases, wire services, and other pre-packaged material that can speed up the process of producing a story in time.  Time constraints still exist, but the convenience of having pre-assembled content relieves a lot of stress and pressure that goes along with meeting tight deadlines.  Unfortunately, this makes it a lot easier for journalists to slack off and discourages them from coming up with original material.  Additionally, it can even make the reader more skeptical about a journalist's credentials.  Readers are likely to notice that journalists do not always write as much as the public perceives. 

A website launched a few months ago that is devoted completely to recognizing whether specific content is original or borrowed from pre-packaged content.  It's easy to use: simply copy and paste text into the box and the website will tell you what is original content and what is not.  The UK-based website currently searches national newspapers and  websites such as BBC news. 

Here is the link to the website:
On a side note, here's an interesting article about churnalism and its role in science writing: "Science Churnalism," Guardian

3-D on the move (literally)

From Brittney Goo:

3D Technology to Expand to Automobiles and AirplanesIt seems like everything is going 3D nowadays.  From movies to televisions to hand-held video game devices, 3D has taken the world by storm.  As if that were not enough, it appears as though media consumers will soon be able to experience 3D images while traveling.  MasterImage, a 3D technology company, is currently in the process of securing deals with automobile manufacturers and airlines.  In addition to being able to watch movies in 3D, travelers would no longer have to worry about wearing bulky, dorky-looking glasses in order to gain the complete 3D experience.  This is because MasterImage plans to install glasses-free 3D screens in luxury cars and passenger airplanes.  The glasses-free technology will not only change the way people travel, but it will also change the way people watch television and movies.  For individuals who wear glasses to correct their vision, this will relieve the burden of wearing two pairs of glasses that likely do not fit together comfortably.  Furthermore, this shows that the possibilities for 3D technology are no longer limited to the home or movie theater.  Travelers will be able to download 3D movies via Wifi to watch in their cars, which will definitely make long road trips more bearable for the entire family.

Check out this article to learn more: 
"MasterImage Eyeing Glasses-Free 3D Deals with Airlines, Auto Makers"
  the Hollywood Reporter

Taps for Typewriters

From Jennifer Sprouse:

An article from The Atlantic looks at how the last typewriter factory in the world has shut down. It was a pretty interesting piece about this, now, ancient machine, and the lack of use for typewriter manufacturers now that newer technology has inevitably taken over. It's almost sad how these machines that we once used as a main tool of communication are slowly making their way to the trash.

New study on Digital Overload

A survey on "The Digital Lifestyle" has some interesting insights into modern day connectedness.
  • 50% say they're connected to the Web "from wake up to bed time."
  • 64% say the info coming at them has increased over 50% in the last year
    (25% say it's more than doubled)
  • 70% describe their data stream as "a roaring river," a "flood," or a "massive tidal wave"
  • Despite that, 40% report missing out on important news
Source: "Digital Overload," MediaPost

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gatekeeping, China-Style

If it was good enough for Hearst, it's good enough for authoritarian regimes, I guess. 
One of the stories oft told of William Randolph Hearst was that he would regularly send notes to the editors of his newspapers, listing stories they must run, and stories they must not.  It's been thought that authoritarian regimes often did the same, but thanks to the Internet, you can read what the weekly "do's and don'ts" for journalists and news organizations in China.  Here's last week's "directions."

Source: "Chinese editors, and a Web site, detail censors' hidden hand," Washington Post

A Recipe for Journalism Sausage

A quick set of pointers from blogger Susannah Breslin, on doing journalism and getting a job in journalism.  Some of my favorites:
"Get motivated"
"Get Your Gear in Order"
"Show up and Shut up"
"Focus on the story and Nothing else"
"Listen to your readers"
"If you do something, something will happen"

"How Your Journalism Sausage Gets Made"
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Thursday, April 21, 2011

From the Floor - NABShow

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) annual convention in Las Vegas has ended, but they've put up a website that gives you access to a number of clips and reports about what went on.  It's worth exploring.

NABShow website:

Radio Goes Social

Radio Mega-Group owner Clear Channel recently announced that it's releasing an iPad version of its fairly popular iHeartRadio app (joining versions for iPod, iPhone, BlackBerry and Android).  The app not only allows users to stream audio from 750 Clear Channel radio stations, but also to station Twitter feeds and information on upcoming songs.  The new version aims to take advantage of the iPad's larger screen to add social media features (sharing stations and a variety of audio and video content).
Last August, Clear Channel had reported that more than 10 million of the apps had been downloaded, and that 15% of all terrestrial radio listening.

Source: "Clear Channel Brings iHeartRadio to iPad" MediaDailyNews

Smartphone tracking - A privacy issue?

A story broke yesterday about the Apple inserting a hidden program in iPhone 4 and iPad 3G models that periodically tracks ad records in a hidden file the physical location of the device.  Triangulating from cell towers and local WiFi systems, the program calculates geographic position and records in an unecrypted file (that apparently also is downloaded to computer drives whenever the device is synched.  What remained unclear was whether Apple also had access to the file and its information.
This comes on the heels of last month's assertion that Pandora and other smartphone apps were collecting similar information on users, locations, and behaviors and marketing that information to others.  It's one thing for the company providing a service to use such information for its own purposes - say to improve its recommendations, or to make us of location-based advertising, and something quite different to divulge that information to others without explicit consent of users.
The rising concern about privacy and the collection, use, and dissemination, of user behavior and location data is reflected in a recent Nielsen study that reported that most people who had smartphones and had used apps expressed concerns about mobile privacy (59% of women, 52% of men, and 63% of seniors (55 or older)).  On the other hand, there was somewhat less concern about apps using such information to target information to users, or to people within a general geographic area.  A large and growing segment seem willing to have such information used, if they in turn see some benefit for themselves.
The main "privacy" issue actually seems to be one of transparency and control - if users fell they can control the conditions under which personal information is collected and used, then they are not as concerned.  What worries most is the potential that such information will be collected and widely disseminated without their knowledge or consent (and that means not hiding the info away in the fine print of the license/service agreement).
Apple's problem is that they didn't offer this as a service and benefit that users could opt in to utilize, but in seeming hiding things.

Source: "Most Smartphone Users Are Concerned About Piracy," Online Media Daily

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reprogrammable Chips, the Future of Consumer Gadgets?

From Emma Thomas:

One of the most common and possibly only major complaint people have about technology is just how quickly it is changing, making the newest, latest and greatest gadgets outdated once people finally purchase them.  However, this could all change with a breakthrough from Tabulba.  Researchers from the start-up company have created an idea that could revolutionize gadgets like iPods, cell phones, digital cameras and televisions: the reprogrammable chip.  It would essentially make instant hardware updates for consumer products.  The chips are five times cheaper to manufacture and stronger than some programmable chips currently being used in large equipment like CT scanners.

"The result of such technology means consumer electronics that can receive chip hardware upgrades in the same way our handheld devices get software upgrades pushed through periodically. Instead of coming out with a whole new digital camera or television, etc, a manufacturer could push through a chip upgrade and thus offer more features," read the article by Jaymi Heimbuch in the Science & Technology section of

Read the full article at:


From Damian Huntoon: gives their speculations of coming trends in digital media for 2011. These consist of tools for reporting and distribution, brand creation and distribution, new models in aggregation, and multiplatforms subscriptions.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Digital Cameras in Film and Video Production

From Martin Johnson:

If you want to shoot video today there are many options for you to choose from. You can go the old fashioned route and stick to film. You can even shoot decent quality video from your cell phone. A big part of the music video/ movie market is slowly turning to shooting video with DSLR cameras. Some of you might ask why these cameras are being used for video and what are the benefits. Well the big benefit of shooting digitally is having the big sensors that are used in the cameras. These sensors capture so much light and detail you get amazing results. The DSLR are in no way ready to be the main cameras to shoot all your video on. They do still have a few set backs, like audio recording and focus and zooming options. There have been a few exceptions for using only digital cameras to record movies. The RED ONE camera has been used to shoot many top movies including the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie and award winning movie The Social Network. Expect to see Canon and Nikon pushing their way further into the video industry in coming years. Being able to shoot amazing video is becoming easier and easier.

The RED ONE camera.

Learning DSLR Video

DSLR Film Blog

DSLR University

Monday, April 18, 2011

E-book now top-selling format

The most recent numbers from the Association of American Publishers show that the E-book ranked as the #1 book format, outselling all other book categories (Hardcover, Paperback, Mass market, etc.).  They reported E-book sales of $90 million last February, triple the level from February 2010.  The AAP report is based on results from 84 publishing houses, 16 of which offer E-books.  Just last summer, Amazon had reported that its e-book sales for the Kindle had eclipsed its hardcover sales, and the addition of Apple's iBooks has helped spur sales, reporting more than 100 million e-books sold in its first year.
Trade publishing houses credit E-Books as generating fresh consumer interest in both new titles and older "backlist" titles (books over a year old).  Many reported that those enjoying a new release will often purchase an author's full backlist.
Tom Allen, AAP President commented, "people love books and publishers actively serve audiences wherever they are... (The public) have made e-Books permanent additions to their lifestyle while maintaining interest in print format books."

Sources:  "E-book sales triple from a year ago, now top-selling book format," LA Times Technology blog
           "E-Books Rank as #1 Format among All Trade Categories for the Month," AAP press release.

Survey shows DVD dominates home video

From Martin Johnson:

In a survey of consumers in March by The NPD Group, the research firm found people "are still using DVDs and Blu-ray discs to watch movies more than all digital-video options combined." In the past three months, 77 percent of consumers reported watching a movie on a DVD or BD, which is unchanged from last year.
The survey of the more than 9,600 people found that 78 percent of home-video budgets were spent on the purchase and rental of DVD and Blu-ray discs. This also included Internet downloads. NPD found that 15 percent was spent on video subscription services like Netflix that offer a mix of physical and streaming rentals.
Executives from Best Buy and Hastings Entertainment said that there's still plenty of life left in movie discs. The executives said that Netflix and Redbox's decision to delay renting videos until 28 days after they've been released has helped boost disc sales.

Google is Shutting Down Google Video

From Martin Johnson:
Google is closing its Google Videos site and binning your old movies. The search giant, which also owns YouTube, won't keep the videos that have been uploaded to the site.
It's not much of a surprise that Google has opted to wind things down with Google Video, considering Google owns YouTube, which according to comScore's January figures, is the number one online video content property with 144.1 million unique viewers per month. 
So what will happen to videos hosted on the site? Google is asking that users move their content over to YouTube.
Google said videos uploaded to the site will be unavailable for playback as of April 29. The company added a download button on the video status page, so that content you want to save can be stored easily. This feature will be removed after May 13.

From Melissa Grimes:

In 2009, 10,839 people were killed due to alcohol-impaired drivers.
This article asks why Google and Apple are allowed to carry apps that tell drivers where sobriety checkpoints are located? The main purpose of a sobriety check point is not to catch a incredibly large number of drunk drivers, but instead to let drivers know that there are randomly placed checkpoints out there are and to detour them from driving drunk in the first place. While Blackberry has removed their version of the checkpoint app, Google and Apple have not. The apps that Google and Apple have pin point the exact location of these checkpoints and eliminate their purpose all together. Technology isn't exactly working in the favor of the general populations safety on this issue. But Joseph Scott, chief executive of PhantomAlert, a checkpoint alert app, defended real-time alerts of sobriety checkpoints as a convenience to law-aiding citizens who do not want to be delayed by a checkpoint. He said, "Assuming someone who gets a D.U.I checkpoint alert if going to drink and drive is like assuming anyone who owns a gun is a murder."

Source: "Helping Drunken Drivers Avoid Tickets, But Not Wrecks," NYTimes

Can Facebook help journalists?

From Jocelyn Blake:

 Facebook is trying to make nice with the media world. This social media network is trying to catch up to their competitors, Twitter and Tumblr. Facebook is mainly used for keeping in touch with friends while Twitter and Tumblr have taken it a step further by friending journalists and media corporations as a promotional tool. Facebook is hiring a professional that can bridge the gap between Facebook and journalists so that there will essentially be a strong relationship between the two. I question whether this is an advancement or a setback. If they build teams that are comprised of people who aren't journalist but are doing journalistic duties, what do real, trained journalists do?

Source: "Facebook trying to 'friend' journalists," CNN Tech

"Will the iPad Eat TV Next?"

That's a headline that will attract attention.  Steve Smith (of VidBlog) asks that, in discussing a recent AdMob/Google study of 1400+ tablet users.  A large portion (43%) say they spend more time with their tablet than they do with their desktop or laptop, and other studies suggest tablet sales eating into netbook and other PC sales totals.  So what about TV - 34% report spending more time with the tablet than watching TV,
Smith suggests that tablets aren't really replacing traditional TV sets for viewing, but that in some respects, tablets have become the new portable TVs (and ones that facilitate time-shifting as well).
After all, the AdMob/Google study found that only half the respondents reported consuming entertainment content on their tablets, well below the 61% who used their tablet for news, the 74% who used it for email, the 78% who used it as a search tool, and the 84% who used it as a game playing device.

Source: "Will the iPad Eat TV Next?", VidBlog

Online TV Revenues Grow

Revenues for the US online television industry grew more than 34% in the last year.  Revenues reached $1.6 billion in 2010, with $719 million coming from advertising (up 65%), and the rest coming from consumer fees and subscriptions.

Source: "Online TV Revs Hit $1.6B, But Networks Move Cautiously," MediaPost

Online Advertising Continues Growth

From Melissa Grimes:

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, online advertising has been slowly rising in the past two year. They have seen a fifteen percent increase in online advertising dollars since 2009 and it doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon. This was also the first time that the IAB reported on revenues from search and display advertising on tablet and smart phones, which was reported at around 550 to 650 million dollars. The main industries showing increases in their digital advertising spend included retail, packaged goods, health and pharmaceutical, and travel and leisure. The money that is being spend for online advertising is in direct correlation of where the future is heading. We are increasingly becoming more and more of a digital economy and it seems that advertisers aren't being left behind.
Source; "Online Ad Revenue Continues to Rise," NYTimes

NIST to use crowdsourcing to help identify Historical Artifacts

NIST is the federal agency that sets technical standards, and along the way has acquired a treasure trove of documents and photos of scientific instruments and other devices.  However, it's having trouble identifying some of them, like this one, currently labeled "Metal Instrument in a Wood Case."
The agency hopes that crowdsourcing - the use of volunteers on the net to collaboratively work towards specific goals, will help the agency find and take advantage of the expertise of outside experts. 
In a real sense, it's another sign that folks are beginning to see, and make use of, the innovative forms of communication offered by the digital network.

Source: "NIST Crowdsources Historical Artifact Identification," Information Week
To visit the NIST Digital Archives, go here.

Airplay for All?

Apple's helped increase the value of it's various pieces of hardware (iPhone, iPad, AppleTV) through the development of their new "video-tossing" technology - AirPlay.  Folks with an AppleTV connected to their TV set will have the ability to "toss" video you're watching on your mobile device to your big-screen TV.

Robert Scoble suggested that this feature, when combined with 3 new apps, has the potential to change viewing habits.  Mentioned apps were: TED iPad app (TED lets leading experts talk about new ideas), Squrl (video aggregator), and ShowYou.(social media video sharing app).

Source: "Airplay for All?VidBlog
             "The most important new protocol since RSS: AirPlay (three cool new apps that use it to change how we view TV)", Scobleizer

iPads for Preschool?

From Jocelyn Blake:

The Los Angeles Times reported that "A school district in Maine is proposing to spend about $200,000 on Apple iPad 2s to get the devices into the hands of about 300 kindergartners." This article caught my eye because as we discuss our Next Big Thing, this proves that companies are producing technology that makes the public feel the need to purchase. I grew up in the poorest zip code in Memphis and I doubt that our schools system would dish out $200, 000 for iPads. In the case of Maine, it is viewed as a necessity for children to learn. Somehow the use of this mind boggling product will improve the reading of 5 year olds. I will agree that children are more likely to retain information when they are stimulated and engaged. However, I'm not sure if this was the best way to go about it. 

Source: LA Times Technology Blog

Comment from Ben Bates
There's a researcher, Sherry Turkle, (now at MIT), who's been studying how young kids can learn to play and use computing since the 1980s.  Part of her findings is that you don't need formal language skills or formal programming skills to use computers - that young kids can use a more visually-based iconic system to use computers for play and other things.  iPads make more sense than laptops in that case.

Mobile Web Makes Stronger Impacts

I'm going to report some results from a recent study that focused on the use of the Web on mobile phones, but I need to throw in one caveat - the news report didn't provide info on what sample was used, so it's difficult to know how far to generalize results.  Thus, the following percentages are of respondents:
  • 57% access the Web through their mobile phones daily
  • 32% access Web search sites through their mobile devices more than they do on their PCs
  • 49% have made a purchase through their mobile device in the last 6 months
  • 68% use mobile search to find the best prices for goods or services ("There's an app for that!!")
This fits in with some predictions (already coming true in some countries where mobile infrastructure is better and cheaper than land-based Web networks and services), that mobile devices are enhancing access and may become the dominant web access portal.

Source: "Mobile Web Impacts Shopping Significantly," Research Brief, MediaPost

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can I have ads with my Kindle?

Amazon's announced it will offer a new variation of its ebook reader, the Kindle.  Called "Kindle with Special Offers," it offers a $25 price reduction (to $114) for a reader that will offer "sponsor messages and special offers" as the device's screen savers (currently those rotate several book-related images).  And it will let Kindle users vote between different offerings, and also allow Kindle owners to set some user preferences in terms of what kinds of offers they are interested in.
It's an interesting concept, and can bring the Kindle to a new price-point, potentially opening up a new market for the Kindle, and a new revenue stream to offset all of us Kindle owners who mostly download free stuff.

Source: "'Kindle with Special Offers' Hits Rhetorical Target, But Is The Price Right?" Mobile Insider

The Future of TV Sets

The panel on Connected TV at this year's NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention thinks that in the future, all sets will be connected, and not just to the Internet. Suggesting that connectivity will go far beyond an Internet plug, one panelist suggested that TVs will link with a growing ecosystem of devices, networks, formats and standards. Intel's rep, Wilfred Martis, argued that "connected TV" is already an outmoded concept, offering the label "Smart TV" as a replacement.  And part of that "smarts" is the ability of sets to track viewers choices well enough to make useful suggestions among the plethora of networks and content sources available.
The panel largely dismissed concerns about viewers leaving Pay TV services or reducing premium services by shifting to Internet and digital broadcast sources, arguing that it's still all about content, and the traditional pay and premium services still offer the best range of new and high-quality content.  And somewhat expectedly, the panelist from Comcast suggested that a mix of free and paid content best serves diverse audiences, although also stressing that everyone "still needs to be paid," one way or another.
I have no doubt that digital TVs will continue to become smarter, adding more processing power and memory options.  The critical issue is what level of connectedness they decide to implement with the outside video content ecosystem, and to what extent can the various groups and industries come together to develop standards and practices to make the interconnections and uses seamless and transparent.
What might that look like? Check Corning's promo video, "A Day Made of Glass."

Source: "Connected TV is Bigger Than The Web," TVNewsCheck

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cell Phones and Health

From Andrew Starnes:

We use cell phones everyday in our lives. Any time someone releases a study showing negative side effects on the body, we should pay attention. If cell phones can lead to bonedeterioration then we could see major hip or leg related problems with future senior citizens from our current younger generations. Cell phone usage should have devoted studies like this because we may be hurting our bodies and not even no it.I also think this is further evidence that young children should not be given phones due to the increased risk on their developing bodies.

Source: "Cell Phone Health Risk to Bones," Information Week

Prospects for Online Video

At some recent business conferences, various industry types addressed the potential and reality of online video. Here's some key points made by industry leaders:
  • Having, or making, good content is still critical
  • Replacing "contextual" videos with "personalized" videos can triple viewing (What this means is using individual interests instead of topic/context to select which videos appear on various pages)
  • You need a mix of cheap and expensive videos, to keep average costs down.
  • The industry needs some big advertisers to commit big dollars ($100 million) to show viability
  • Monetizing distributed traffic isn't easy, but some new approaches look promising

  • Figure out where your target audience is - and go after them
  • Commit to building and maintaining an audience
  • Let your audience help shape content.

Sources:  "What has Video Done for Us Lately?" Online Video Insider
               "Online Video: How to Break Through the Clutter and Build an Audience," Online Video Insider

Sales of Radio Stations Picking Up

The general level of station sales has been seen as an indicator of economic conditions (the argument is that the better the economic prospects for a market or industry, the greater the interest in entering that market, and in broadcasting that's mostly through buying stations).  Mark Fratrik of BIA/Kelsey, a consulting firm and broadcast broker, sees the stagnant sales level of the last two years ending in the first quarter of 2011, driven by a couple of large transactions (Cumulus Broadcasting's acquisition of Citadel's radio operations, and Hubbard Broadcasting's purchase of 17 stations from Bonneville).  He also suggested that 2010's relatively low sales were largely a result of a lack of available financing.  He predicts that the market will open up in 2011, providing a friendlier atmosphere for station trading and sales.
Source: "Station Transaction Market Picks Up," Radio World

YouTube to Offer Original Content

From Martin Johnson:

(Originally forwarded last week, my fault for losing it in email backlog- Ben Bates)

Google is planning to spend as much as $100 million to develop original content for YouTube as part of a site redesign around channels based on categories, according to a report published in The Wall Street Journal today.

YouTube is looking to introduce 20 or so 'premium channels' that would feature 5 to 10 hours of professionally-produced original programming a week.

The report would mark a change in strategy for YouTube, which has historically maintained that it is not in the content creation business. However, the company does have grant programs that enable partners to create content for the site. The site also allows people to create channels for specific content, but is not organized by topics, relying instead on a search box for navigation.

Monday, April 11, 2011

10 Reasons There's a Bright Future for Journalism

From Jocelyn Blake:

(The list is from the article - so I'll put it all in quotes.  You may have to go to the original article to reach the embedded links.  I'll add a couple of thoughts at the end)

"1. More access to more journalism worldwide. One of the undersung advantages of the Internet is that it gives us access to content from newspapers, TV channels, blogs and podcasts from around the world. No longer are we limited to our local media for news of the world. Now we can go directly to that corner of the world to get a local angle from far away. No one has figured out how to sell advertising that would be relevant to all those international readers, but that doesn't mean they won't figure it out eventually.
2. Aggregation and personalization satisfies readers. Tired of being programmed to, we now have the tools online to program our own media experience. Whether that's through Google News or personalizing My Yahoo or an RSS newsfeed reader, we can get quick access to the media outlets and journalism we want on one web page. Some newspaper executives have railed against Google News, but the vast majority are working on their own ways of aggregating content from other sources or offering up personalized versions of their sites (see It's a more open way of doing journalism than saying "we have all the answers here."
3. Digital delivery offers more ways to reach people. Before the web became popular, traditional media offered up just one way to get their content -- in a print publication, by watching TV or listening to the radio. Now you can get their content online, in email newsletters, on your mobile phone and in any way that digital bits and bytes can be delivered. That's journalism unbound from traditional format constraints.
4. There are more fact-checkers than ever in the history of journalism. Maybe it's true that professional fact-checking has taken a big hit in the layoffs at mainstream media outlets, but it's also true that bloggers and free-thinkers online have provided an important check and balance to reporting. They might have an axe to grind or a political bias, but if they uncover shoddy reporting, plagiarism or false sourcing, it's a good thing for journalists and the public.
5. Collaborative investigations between pro and amateur journalists. The Internet allows ad-hoc investigations to take place between professional reporters and amateur sleuths. The Sunlight Foundation gave tools to citizen journalists so they could help find out which members of U.S. Congress were employing their spouses. The Los Angeles Times and various amateur investigators worked together to unmask the LonelyGirl15 video actress as Jessica Rose. Many more of these collaborative investigations are possible thanks to easy communication online and experiments such as
6. More voices are part of the news conversation. In the past, if you wanted to voice your opinion, correct a fact or do your own reporting, you had to work at a mainstream news organization. Now, thanks to the rising influence of independent bloggers and online journalists, there are more outsiders and experts exerting influence over the news agenda. Not only does that mean we have a more diverse constellation of views, but it also takes the concentrated agenda-setting power out of a few hallowed editorial boardrooms.
7. Greater transparency and a more personal tone. Thanks to blogs and the great wide pastures of the web, reporters can go onto media websites and explain their conflicts of interest in greater detail, leading to more transparency. Plus, online writing tends to be more personal, giving reporters, editors and news anchors the chance to be more human and connect with their audience in deeper ways.
8. Growing advertising revenues online. While old-line media people complain that online ads aren't bringing in enough revenues to replace what's lost in the transition from the old advertising formats, that doesn't mean all is lost. Almost every forecast for online advertising shows double-digit percentage increases in revenues over the next five years, and it's hard to believe none of that will trickle down to media companies. What might well happen is that media concentration will lessen, and more of the revenues will be spread out to smaller independent sites than just the big conglomerates.
9. An online shift from print could improve our environmental impact. Very few people consider just how much our love for print newspapers and magazines harms the environment. It's true that publishers are trying to use more recycled paper, but use of online media has a much less drastic ecological impact. Choosing online over print actually saves trees, which in turn means that media companies that transition wisely could be helping to reduce global warming. Many people expect that some type of reusable, flexible e-ink readers will eventually replace ink-on-dead-tree publications.
10. Stories never end. Perhaps one of the weakest points about traditional journalism is that there's rarely any follow-ups on big stories. It usually takes a professional reporter having to go back and report what's happened since the big story. But online, stories can live on for much longer in flexible formats, allowing people to update them in comments or add more facts as they happen. Wikinews is one example of user-generated news stories that can be updated and edited by anyone."

These are all about the potential that the Internet and Web can bring to online news, and to some extent journalism and news media more broadly.  However, several of these ideas face heavy resistance among many traditional news outlets and journalists.  I've witnessed no upticks in corrections when (often grievous) errors are pointed out. Nor even much evidence of most reporters doing simple online fact-checking themselves.  And little interest in mainstream journalism in continuing to follow stories over time, or collaborating in investigative journalism projects. Finally, most traditional journalists and editors still seem to reside in their own world, with their own ideas of (self-)importance, and little interest in learning what their audiences want, like, and value.  
So, these are opportunities which we can hope are realised - but also yardposts for tracking how successful traditional media adapt to the global digital marketplace. 
-Ben Bates

Source:  "10 Reasons There's a Bright Future for Journalism," PBS

Five Myths about the Future of Journalism

Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism's Tom Rosenstiel recently published his thoughts on the future of journalism in the Washington Post.  His "Five Myths about the Future of Journalism" is worth a read. But in case you're wondering, his myths (and my take) are below.

1. Traditional Media are Losing Their Audiences
(While I agree this isn't the main problem, I would argue that it is true, at least in the U.S.  Rosenstiel argues that the audience's shift to online sources isn't a loss, because 60% are going to online sites affiliated with traditional news outlets.  I wonder about the other 40%, and the fact that the shift from traditional media with higher advertising value, online, is a leading cause of declining revenues, which is the real problem.  Rosenstiel does end his argument with a similar point, that the crisis in traditional news is about revenue, not audiences.)
2. Online News will be Fine as Soon as Revenues Catches Up
(In terms of the actual statement, that's not a myth - but Rosenstiel's point is that online (ad) revenues will not catch up with traditional news media revenue levels - at least not for quite a while.  When you also figure that news will capture only a share of online revenues, the prospect for returning to traditional media revenue levels is bleak.  Well, traditional news media only captures a share of all media revenues now - and the lower costs of online news means that you don't have to reach the old traditional media levels to be successful.  But for me, the bigger problem is the (unstated) assumption that ad revenues will remain the dominant source of funding for online news.  Online news doesn't have to reach traditional ad revenues levels to be successful, and it would probably be better off if it focused on finding multiple revenues streams rather than waiting for online ad rates to "catch up.".)
3: Content will always be King
(Rosenstiel makes some good points. First that just producing news content and assuming that people want and will purchase it is not enough to ensure success. Second, that the more you know about your audience's preferences and the value they place on various types of content, is critical in this more competitive environment.  But content is still king - people don't buy newspapers for the paper, but for the content.  And newspapers were successful because they offered a range of content that its readers valued (not just "news").
One problem with US newspapers is that new media developed more valued ways to access a lot of that valued content.  And the continued viability of news media will depend on doing a better job of creating and distributing "valued" content.  They just have to work on what audiences value (not merely what journalists are interested in or think is important), and finding ways to distinguish their content from that available elsewhere, by adding value to the content or its distribution.  But content remains king - just not the old content)
4. Newspapers around the World are in Decline
(This is a myth we've already debunked in class.  Or at least they are not yet in decline.  The problem facing newspapers is the increased competition, and as new media emerge and are adopted throughout the world, creating not only competition, but competition that often has competitive advantages in portions of the "news" marketplace, old-line newspapers will decline if they don't adapt. There are examples of newspapers successfully adapting, carving out a niche for paper readers.  So call this one a myth for now, anyway.)
5. The solution is to focus on local news
(Rosenstiel makes the argument that going local, particularly hyperlocal, creates two problems: it reduces the market (and ad revenues), and he's not sure who will produce hyperlocal content.  While he has a point there, I'd argue for this being a myth more on the idea that there is not likely to be any single broad solution that will rescue traditional news media.  I will suggest that there is an approach which is likely to be successful in a hypercompetitive market environment - that media's best shot at success (and supranormal profits) will come as a result of carving out a niche and not trying to compete with every other outlet.  That means examining who your main competitors are, where your competitive advantages may lie, and what can you do to increase the value of your product within your new market.  There is no room for a single solution to be successful, unless it's going so hyperlocal that there is no competition (at which point Rosenstiels arguments are persuasive). For some media outlets, that may mean going local, even hyperlocal; as the smaller the market, the less likely you are to have competition.  But there are other ways of competing (offering increased access via mobile devices, better content, figuring out how to exploit all that "amateur" content out there, or employing gatekeeping more consistent with audience preferences, for instance).  The challenge facing all media these days, is to stop assuming that you're valuable and to start figuring out how you can be more valuable, and how you can monetize that value)

So over all, Rosenstiel makes some good points, but has missed some others.  Not too bad for an old line news guy

A Gendered Press?

According to a report issued by Echo Research, three quarters of all news journalists are men.  Women do slightly better among those covering business and politics (about one-third are female).  Or at least among the 28 largest circulation newspapers in the UK.  And the imbalance is worse for senior editorial positions.
Its better in the US, where the percentage of male journalists peaked in 1970, and has been falling ever since. In the last ten years, more than half of journalists have been women.

The complete Echo Research report can be found here.

GoogleTV seeks to expand

One could easily make the case that Google was in the entertainment business.  Or at least in the business of helping people find entertaining content.
But with GoogleTV and some recent business moves, you could argue that now Google is getting serious.
The acquisition of YouTube gave Google the largest repository of user-generated video content; and keeping it open as a free service has encouraged continuing exponential expansion.
Not to be satisfied with fuzzy home videos, Google’s actively making deals for “premium” video content from more traditional entertainment media outlets.  Last week, Google India announced that its put hundreds of Indian movies onto YouTube,   Then came word that Google was planning to create original video channels on YouTube.
More recent actions include the acquisition of fflick, a service starting to integrate social media by seeing what friends are saying about movies.  Other recent acquisitions include a firm specializing on marketing business videos online, and a video production house.  All told, Google has invested a reported $100 million in “premium” shows and materials to serve as a draw for a YouTube app on Google TV and elsewhere. (A reported 7000 hours of full-length movies and shows so far).
With YouTube, Google already has arguably the world’s largest repository of video.  The new emphasis on original, high-quality productions, Google TV seems to be trying to position itself more as a content destination than a search engine.  While Google’s excelled at text searches, its ability to sort, categorize, and develop individually-focused recommendations for video content has been less successful.  Its current video search relies largely on textual descriptions and filenames of clips, as much of the Web’s video content doesn’t have particularly useful metatags associated with it.  This has made using GoogleTV search apps difficult, as they provide limited results per display, making finding something you want to watch more of an effort.
For now, Amazon’s new online video system seems to be providing a better viewing experience – using their knowledge about user’s interests (and previous movie and video purchases) to make better recommendations.  And it probably helps that with their more limited selection of content, they’ve been able to do a better job of meta-tagging their offerings.  We'll have to see if Google can come up with a better approach to searching for, and making good recommendations for users online video entertainment.