Tim Longhurst's Blog

Entries Tagged as 'Media Mayhem'

Next Generation DVDs – the entertainment industry’s vision of tomorrow

March 9th, 2006 · No Comments

Have you ever seen an episode of MTV Cribs? Basically, it’s a show where people in the entertainment industry show you how much money they’ve blown on their house. One episode I saw featured a child way too young to have a license showing off his personalised sports car. More often than not, the ‘celebrity’ is someone I’ve never heard of, but they’ve amassed enough wealth to own a multi-storey complex with a pool, gym, home theatre and little electric buggies to get around in.

So when corporate frontmen from the entertainment industry claim that copying DVDs and CDs is threatening their industry, I think about “Cribs”. But the entertainment people think about something else: they imagine next generation of DVDs, discs that can’t be backed up, discs that can’t be copied and discs that dictate the way they are viewed. To quote Gerry Block, “You know those previews on DVDs that you can’t skip through? That’s only the beginning of the ways Hollywood wants to control your entertainment experience.”

How is this all happening? Through the Advanced Access Control System (AACS). AACS has been negotiated by a mega-corporation dream team:

  • IBM
  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Panasonic
  • Sony
  • Toshiba
  • Walt Disney, and
  • Warner Bros

are all members.

Basically, AACS is a system that means next-generation DVDs will only work on specially licensed equipment. That means you’ll need a new DVD player AND a new TV! Even the three million High Definition Televisions (HDTVs) in America today will be rendered obsolete by AACS.

A former Apple Executive, Mike Evangelist has pointed out an announcement from AACS that mentions an “analog sunset” – a decision to end support for traditional analogue playback in the coming years.

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Daniel Slack-Smith: Heckler

December 11th, 2005 · No Comments

cricketyawn.jpgMy mate Daniel now has his name in print: Sydney Morning Herald was smart enough to publish his musings on cricket today.

Well done, Daniel! I too would like to see less cricket on TV.

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Yahoo7 – Seven Network and Yahoo! Australia & New Zealand together

December 10th, 2005 · No Comments

cuddleyahoo7.jpgYesterday (Friday) Australia’s Seven Network and Yahoo! announced they were ‘joining forces’. So even less diversity in the Australian media, even before cross media ownership laws are altered. Here’s how the announcement was made at the yahoo website:

Seven Network Limited (ASX: SEV) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) today announced that they will combine their online, mobile and IPTV businesses in Australia and New Zealand. The strategic partnership brings together Yahoo!’s successful Australian internet business, Yahoo! Australia & NZ, and the online assets and television and magazine content of Seven Network, one of Australia’s leading media companies.

Looks a bit like something Kerry Packer and Bill Gates did way back in 1997.

The promotional flash animation is really lousy and gives away nothing. If this is the kind of product we can expect from the new yahoo7 or whatever they call it, we’re in trouble.

As for the name of the new service, the media release indicates we’ll be waiting a few weeks for that:

Yahoo! Australia & NZ and Seven will be combining their online teams and are expected to launch a new name and an exciting online presence in late January, coinciding with Seven’s coverage of the Australian Open and the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, as well as the opening weeks of the 2006 television season. The vision for the combined teams is to create the best entertainment, information and communications experience for Australian internet and mobile users.

Yahoo7.com.au is being used as the promo site, but if they want to use that name, they might be considering buying yahoo7.com, which currently appears to be owned by a Korean.

The Australian ran a decent article on the announcement.

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Fairfax’s poor coverage of today’s industrial action

November 14th, 2005 · No Comments

The Sydney Morning Herald website is running a gallery of ten photos of the industrial action taken by thousands of workers in Sydney’s CBD.

But you won’t see thousands of workers in the photos…

Not one of the Fairfax photos has more than 200 protesters in it.

Fairfax’s photos make the protest look like a non-event, but it wasn’t. Below are the worst offending of the ten photos in the gallery. Check out the whole gallery here.

Marchers in George Street.

Marchers in George Street.

A police car blocks off George Street ahead of the march.

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Packer’s orchestra backs Pavarotti visit

August 2nd, 2005 · No Comments

packerpavarotti.jpgIs Luciano Pavarotti’s upcoming tour one of the top six current affairs stories of the week? Or was 60 Minutes‘ profile on the singer just the Nine network playing its role in the Publishing and Broadcasting Limited orchestra?

When Pavarotti performs at the Sydney SuperDome on 5th November as part of The Farewell World Tour, patrons will have forked out between $125-$535 to Ticketek for each ticket.

It’s not a bad deal for Kerry Packer, whose company, PBL, produces 60 Minutes (in Australia) and owns Ticketek as well as a controlling interest in the SuperDome.

So should 60 Minutes‘ audience have been notified of these ‘synergies’ when they were subjected to a fawning Pavarotti interview on Sunday night?

Tara Brown’s introduction to her own interview gives you an idea of just how loudly 60 Minutes was beating the Pavarotti publicity timpani:

Like Madonna, Bono or Sting, like any self-respecting international idol, Pavarotti is simply that, Pavarotti. He’s the most famous of the Three Tenors, more famous than any opera he’s ever performed. And after 43 years on stage, he’s had more standing ovations than he can count. But the music’s about to end for Luciano Pavarotti. At 69, the maestro is finally saying arrivederci — goodbye. Don’t despair, in true operatic style, it’s a long goodbye — a two-year world tour, including Australia. And lucky me, I was granted a sneak preview — an audience with the great man in Dublin.”

Reads a lot like a promoter’s press release, doesn’t it?

60 Minutes’ story appears to have been driven by the most compelling commercial news value of all: self-interest.

Shock-jocks like Alan Jones are obliged to disclose their interests when they editorialise on issues linked to their financial backers. Perhaps it would be best if ‘news programs’ like 60 Minutes did the same?

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Category: Media Mayhem