Links for December 23rd 2008 through December 24th 2008:

  • Top 10 Most Pirated TV-Shows of 2008 [TorrentFreak] – ” Lost is without a doubt the most downloaded TV-show, with over 5 million downloads for one single episode. TV-shows are getting increasingly more popular on BitTorrent. Most TV-broadcasters won’t be happy to hear this, but one could argue that BitTorrent has actually helped TV-shows to build a stronger, broader, and more involved fanbase. Perhaps even more importantly, the rise of unauthorized downloading of TV-shows is a signal that customers want something that is not available through other channels. Availability seems to be the key issue why people turn to BitTorrent.” (In order: Lost, Heroes, Prison Break, Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Desperate Housewives, Stargate Atlantis, Dexter, House, Grey’s Anatomy, & Smallville.)
  • Making the Intangible Tangible, the Economic Contribution of Australia’s Copyright Industries IP Down Under [PricewaterhouseCoopers report] – “PricewaterhouseCoopers, for the Australian Copyright Council, has released its report Making the Intangible Tangible, the Economic Contribution of Australia’s Copyright Industries, which has found that Australia’s copyright industries in 2007:
    • employed more than 837,000 people (8 percent of the nation’s workforce) – up 21 percent since 1996;
    • generated $97.7 billion in economic activity (10.3 percent of GDP) – up 66 percent since 1996; and
    • accounted for $6.8 billion in exports (4.1 percent of all exports) – up 6.3 percent since 1996.” [Via Terry Flew]
  • Aussie ‘Doctor Who’ Fans Set to Time Travel With BitTorrent [TorrentFreak] – “Australia has been the focus of much tech news recently, as the country struggles with its Internet piracy ‘problem’. Thanks to the infinite wisdom of ABC, Aussie Doctor Who fans are left with a tough decision – wait until mid-January to watch the show’s pivotal ‘Christmas Special’ – or pirate it with BitTorrent.”
  • WoW! How The Guild beat the system [Media | The Guardian] – “The Guild was written as an hour-long TV pilot but was rejected by a number of studios. “We were fighting against the stereotype of online gamers as pickly-faced teenagers living in their basements,” she recalls. In the end, Day and her co-producer, Kim Evie, funded the first episodes themselves and spent eight hours a day emailing bloggers about the show and marketing it through the Buffy and WoW communities. The next seven episodes were funded through donations collected via a PayPal button on their website and donors were credited at the end of each show. … The Guild has been a masterclass in direct marketing of content to a niche peer group. “The web is an amazing opportunity for people who want to tell stories but aren’t permitted because they aren’t the mainstream,” says Day.” (Profile of The Guild as a rags to riches webisode series now it has been picked up by Microsoft.)
  • Net music theory ends up a tall tale [Australian IT] – “The internet was supposed to bring vast choice for customers, access to obscure and forgotten products and a fortune for sellers who focused on niche markets. But a study of digital music sales has posed the first big challenge to this “long tail” theory: more than 10 million of the 13 million tracks available on the internet failed to find a single buyer last year. The idea that niche markets were the key to the future for internet sellers was described as one of the most important economic models of the 21st century when it was spelt out by Chris Anderson in his book The Long Tail in 2006. But a study by Will Page, chief economist of the MCPS-PRS Alliance, a not-for-profit royalty collection society, suggests that the niche market is not an untapped goldmine and that online sales success still relies on big hits. It found that for the online singles market, 80 per cent of all revenue came from about 52,000 tracks. For albums … 1.23million available, only 173,000 were ever bought”

Links for December 16th 2008:

  • The writer’s guide to making a digital living [Australia Council for the Arts] – “The writer’s guide was developed through the Australia Council’s Story of the Future project to explore the craft and business of writing in the digital era. It includes case studies from Australia’s rising generation of poets, novelists, screenwriters, games writers and producers who are embracing new media and contains audio and video content from seminars and workshops, as well as extensive references to resouces in Australia and beyond.” (The online presentation is great, but you can also download the full guide as a PDF and watch the hilarious introductory video.)
  • YouTube Videos Pull In Real Money [NYTimes.com] – Making videos for YouTube — for three years a pastime for millions of Web surfers — is now a way to make a living. Michael Buckley quit his day job in September. He says his online show is “silly,” but it helped pay off credit-card debt. One year after YouTube, the online video powerhouse, invited members to become “partners” and added advertising to their videos, the most successful users are earning six-figure incomes from the Web site. For some, like Michael Buckley, the self-taught host of a celebrity chatter show, filming funny videos is now a full-time job.”
  • A “Run” of William Gibson’s “Agrippa” Poem from a Copy of Original 1992 Agrippa Diskette [The Agrippa Files] – A video capture of William Gibson’s infamous self-destroying poem Agrippa – to read it, you had to erase it! Amazing stuff.
  • Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of 2008 [TorrentFreak] – Surprising no one, The Dark Knight is the most pirated movie of 2008, but how did The Bank Job end up at #3 given it took less than $US 65 million at the box office? The match between downloads and box office figures seems vague, at best!
  • News About the News Business, in 140 Characters [NYTimes.com] – “With staff changes and reductions across the media industry, even a blog post can be too time-consuming a way to announce who is in and out of a job. That is why a public relations employee turned to the instant-blogging platform Twitter to create The Media Is Dying, a Twitter feed that documents media hirings and firings in one-sentence bursts of text. “These sorts of layoffs are unheard-of,” said the stream’s founder, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve his sources in the industry. “It’s gotten insane to keep up with who was moving around and changing beats.” Initially, The Media Is Dying was accessible only to select Twitter members, as the feed was intended to help those in the P.R. industry stay on top of the revolving entries in their address books. But requests to be included flooded the founder, who decided to go public three weeks ago.”
  • Iran’s bloggers thrive despite blocks [BBC NEWS | World | Middle East] – “With much of the official media controlled by the government or hardline conservatives, the internet has become the favoured way of communicating for Iran’s well-educated and inquisitive younger generation. Go online in Iran and you will find blogs or websites covering every topic under the sun. Politics, of course, but also the arts, Hollywood cinema, women’s issues, women’s sport, pop music. Whisper it quietly, there is even an online dating scene in the Islamic Republic. Day-by-day there is an intriguing cyber-war, as the government wrestles for control of the internet, and Iran’s bloggers wrestle it back. Iran hosts around 65,000 bloggers, and has around 22 million internet users. Not bad for a country in which some remote areas do not yet have mains electricity.”

Links of interest for October 23rd 2008 through October 24th 2008:

  • Musician defends Sony game song [BBC NEWS | World | Africa] – “The Malian musician whose song is being removed from a Sony video game because of concern it may offend Muslims has denied the music was blasphemous. Grammy award-winning Toumani Diabate said the song celebrated the Koran. “In my family there are only two things we know – the Koran and the kora [West African harp],” he told the BBC. The release of the much-anticipated LittleBigPlanet was delayed when it was found that a background music track included two phrases from the Koran. Copies of the game are being removed from shops around the world.” (I don’t know enough to comment on the religious implications, but I’m fascinated by the power and seriousness with which the politics of in-game music.)
  • Apple Goes McCain On Microsoft With Mocking Attack Ads [TechCrunch] – “The advertising war between Apple and Microsoft continues. Apple’s latest TV spots mock Microsoft’s $350 million ad campaign for Windows Vista, suggesting that some of that money would be better spent fixing Vista. The ad is funny (see above), but it does seem petty and elitist.” (See the ad.) I’m not sure this was a smart move by Apple – while they have the hearts and minds of a significant user base, the the demographic for whom ‘it just works out of the box’ is the main selling point probably don’t see themselves as ‘better’ than PC users; the elitism just might rub a few people the wrong way (that said, the critique seems fairly accurate!).
  • Our media freedom lags behind most other democracies [PerthNow] – “Australia trails other democracies in media freedom due to “outrageous” anti-terror laws and lack of protection for journalists’ sources, a report says. Australia is ranked 28th in the annual Press Freedom Index released this week by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders. Australia’s ranking is the same as last year’s and puts it behind New Zealand (ranked 7th), the United Kingdom (23), Canada (13) and Scandinavian countries. Iceland, Luxembourg and Norway were jointly named the nations with the most press freedom, while Eritrea was named as the country with the least media freedom. “
  • The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and the Meta-Silly Season in Politics: Agenda Setting in the Contemporary Media Environment by Jennifer Brundidge [Flow 8.10 October 16, 2008] – A look at the role of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report in discussing, reporting and debunking other reporting regarding the political process and, most notably, the 2008 US presidential election: “…the particular format by which The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are able to pose a challenge to mainstream media agendas and frames. By being “silly,” they are able to effectively challenge “silly season in politics.” Indeed, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that through this process, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report play an important role in advancing the political sophistication of their audiences.”
  • Tigh/Roslin 2008: When Politics Turn Fictional by Emily Regan Wills [Flow 8.10, October 16, 2008] – Great article exploring the Tigh/Roslin parody by Battlestar Galactica fans regarding the McCain/Palin ticket. An excerpt: “… Battlestar Galactica is sufficiently complex, and sufficiently political, that it is possible to interpellate political positions for its characters. Fans know where Roslin falls on abortion policy: the plot of an episode revolved around her decision whether or not to make abortion illegal in the fleet, and included arguments based on religion, civil liberties, and population structure. Her general style of governance, her position on separation of church and state, even how she feels about wildlife conservation: it is plausible to deduce political positions for Roslin on each of these contemporary political questions. ” (There are a bunch of other great articles in the special issue of Flow about Sarah Palin, too. )

Last year as part of Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign they produced the important and memorable Evolution video which graphically illustrated the many, many steps between a photograph being taken and the image based on that photograph ending up on a billboard or fashion magazine cover. This year Dove have, in my opinion, produced another fine clip which looks at the tirade of body images and messages young girls and women encounter through various media in their everyday life. It’s called Onslaught:

Incidentally, while I know these viral videos are something of a marketer’s dream, I don’t think that distracts from the message one little bit.