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Interesting links for July 28th 2008 through July 30th 2008:
- Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog [Hulu] – Joss Whedon’s 3 Dr Horrible webisodes – availble for one week only – are now back – for 4 months – on Hulu. Only, of course, if you live in the US. Or know how to circumvent Hulu’s region locking.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Trailer [Moviefone] – The new trailer for the Harry Potter 6 film looks amazing. The embedded version seems geo-locked to the US, but the HD versions should load anywhere (or, at least, they loaded in Australia). Evil Young Lord V looks very creepy!
- Conroy welcomes ISP filtering [Australian IT] – “The federal Government will embark on the next step of its internet filtering strategy after initial trials proved successful, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said. … today released the findings of a recent … ISP-level internet filtering trial…
- Scrabulous pulled from Facebook in US and Canada [ABC News] – “The creators of online Scrabble knock-off Scrabulous say they have pulled their application from US and Canadian Facebook pages due to a lawsuit filed by game-making giant Hasbro.”
- Google enrolled for schools email deal [The Age] – “Google has snatched what is believed to be its biggest single client in the world – the NSW Department of Education – away from its rival Microsoft to claim up to 1.3 million new users of its free email product.”
- Joss Whedon’s online musical comedy Sing-Along Social Media Blitz [Chief Marketer] – “WWJWD. What Would Joss Whedon Do. Marketers looking to capitalize on the power of social media could do worse than keep that mantra in mind next time they want to launch a campaign.” (A look at the success of Dr Horrible.)
- China becomes biggest net nation [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “China now has the world’s largest net-using population, say official figures. More than 253 million people in the country are now online, according to statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).”
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Absurdly Implausible Excess [NYTimes.com] – Has the phrase “jump the shark” jumped the shark? Or, more to the point, should we be saying that it has “nuked the fridge”? …which emerged from a 1980s dorm-room discussion of a particularly ridiculous episode of the TV show “Happy Days”…
30 … 20 … 10 … nothing. That’s the experience fans outside of the US had earlier today when Joss Whedon’s web-based musical webisode experiment Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog went live using Hulu, a video-streaming service geo-locked to stream to US IP addresses only:
Now, it’s not unusual for content to be limited to US internet addresses, especially television, but Dr Horrible is a different kettle of fish. Joss Whedon has done an amazing job of courting the fans and getting them on side to view promote (and eventually buy) Dr Horrible’s adventures, so it came as something of a shock to most international fans (with whom Whedon usually has a pretty good rapport) when discovered they weren’t able to get the free stream of Dr Horrible’s first act (or even buy the episodes on iTunes).
On Whedonesque – the main Joss Whedon appreciation blog (to which Joss posts from time to time) – the thread initially celebrating Dr Horrible’s release was inundated with international fans lamenting the fact that they couldn’t view the new web-based show. Dr Horrible’s Facebook page and MySpace page similarly received a vitriolic helping of international fan dismay!
Now, if Dr Horrible was an NBC or Viacom property, that would be the end of the story. However, given Joss Whedon’s track record, it seems reasonable that the geo-blocking was unintentional or accidental. And now we can see that’s exactly right … on various forums Whedon’s team have posted that they’re trying to get a globally-viewable version up. It seems that this may very well be the case that the tools for online distribution simply aren’t quite up to the demands being put on them by content creators. Ironically, this experience might actually lead to more fans working out how to circumvent Hulu’s geo-restrictions as Whedon has sided with the fans once more and in the short term the official Dr Horrible Twitter feed has linked to instructions on how to circumvent Hulu! Indeed, for long-time Whedon fans this might be reminiscent of a moment in 1999 when Whedon encouraged Canadian viewers to “bootleg that puppy” after Fox postponed the season three finale due in the wake of the Columbine shootings.
For Dr Horrible, it has been a rough start, but Whedon’s track record and the excitement from US fans who’ve already enjoyed Dr Horrible leave the rest of us waiting eagerly, knowing that Whedon and his team are doing all they can and will surely learn a lot from this experience. (And thus, I should add, we can reasonably expect that acts two and three of Dr Horrible will, indeed, get a simultaneous global release!).
Update 2: It seems that Dr Horrible’s first day had one more obstacle: popularity. Dr Horrible’s servers were completely overloaded and the site diappeared for a while, but now they’ve moved onto “monster servers” so all should be good … or is that evil?