Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Future of the Future

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  • Rob Stowell,

    careful and considered caution against being seduced by the rhetoric of yet-unsubstantiated change

    I'll check out Turner's book. I still have one foot firmly in the skeptikal camp :)
    And it surprises me personally, how little television I now watch on FTA television. It could just be me, but once the 'appointment viewing' habit is broken, it's hard to get it back.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1574 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Meh. Dictionary.com has that as disputed:

    —Usage note
    3. Enormity has been in frequent and continuous use in the sense “immensity” since the 18th century: The enormity of the task was overwhelming. Some hold that enormousness is the correct word in that sense and that enormity can only mean “outrageousness” or “atrociousness”: The enormity of his offenses appalled the public. Enormity occurs regularly in edited writing with the meanings both of great size and of outrageous or horrifying character, behavior, etc. Many people, however, continue to regard enormity in the sense of great size as nonstandard.

    But it wasn't the best sentence, I'll admit.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    @Andin: I don't think most New Zealanders are more careworn than those of previous generations; possibly less-so than those who lived in times of war or depression.

    I think television - like theatre, movies and band gigs - is mostly used for recreation.

    What makes you think that personal interactions are worse now than they have been?

    @Kyle: To "break even on the broadcast" is a considerable challenge. Television programmes are so expensive to make that many of them (including some of those mentioned by other subscribers as numbering among their favourites) can only be made with funding from a number of different broadcasters - each with different needs. Each needs to recoup the amount that it invested in the programme or series. Some may not have gained any rights to DVD sales or other forms of dissemination for their investment.

    Since Nov 2006 • 202 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    That Calvin cartoon reminds me of a picture researcher on a magazine I used to work for, who asked in all seriousness if a Renaissance painting she was sourcing for us was supposed to be in colour or black-and-white.

    And me of some research I read a while about about dreams. It seems some people dream in black and white. During the early days of black and white TV (and maybe film?) the number of people who dreamed in black and white was much higher than subsequently (and although there weren't data, presumably previously as well).

    Which is kinda cool. Although Calvin and Hobbes are too :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Don't you have to buy that Freeview thing though?

    My JC Matthews 320 GB decoder/recorder used to retail at a cool $800 slides, which sounds a lot, but increases the quality of our telly viewing by a far greater margin that would the same amount spent on fancy new flatscreen wo'eva.

    I think it's down about $600 now, which it should be. At times, if it's very busy doing lots of recording and viewing something else, it can get a bit clunky. But still a transformative bit of techno.

    And yeah, the content is FREE! FREE I tells ya! FREEEE! So MySky is totally out of the question, especially since I choose to transgress the national obsession with 15 a side.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 213 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Arguing is about winning.

    I grew up with argumentative Dutch parents. For them arguing was about winning, and they were good at it. My father took particular pleasure in arguing full circle until his "opponent" was arguing against their original position.

    To me that defines trolling.

    If your intent is simply to "win" an argument you are a troll. Learn to live with that and what comes with it.

    For most adults arguing is about comparing ideas worldviews and sometimes, hopefully, knowledge . The purpose is to end the discussion with more knowledge than you started not to "win".

    By all means bring your differences of opinion and better yet differences of experience and knowledge. But for me I'd prefer if you left behind competitive argument.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Wammo,

    Niche advertisers rarely have enough dosh to support niche channels, especially when you consider that the cost of making a commercial can be roughly equivalent to the amount these potential advertisers have to spend on their marketing.

    That's a good point if we're talking in terms of current traditional expensively produced content on TV. Not so when it comes to sponsoring Niche online content. The medium is different and so is the advertising. A different approach is required. Chances are if you're creating niche targeted content then you're also attempting to create an engaged loyal audience. This audience is bound to be cynical of "spray and pray" anything goes traditional ad placements. The key is to involve advertisers that the show producers trust and that trust is conveyed to the audience. The ads need only be adlibs or embedded sponsor messages conveyed in a way that gets the advertiser's message across and respects the viewer. In my last post I used Revision3 as an example, Thisweekin.com is another. This all applies to non-fiction show based content. Stuff like The Wire, Sopranos etc will be funded by subscription models imo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 42 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    @Wammo. I've observed a tendency with subscription models, in order to increase (or maintain) profitability, to include advertising, too. I think it would take a certain determination on the part of somebody running a subscription TV company to resist this trend. And they'd be acting against their own financial interest.

    Since Nov 2006 • 202 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The future of TV? IP is king and we will continue to converge in order to atomise. The major social issue will be how to get important information through the compartmentalised echo chambers most people will seal themselves off into.

    Clemenceau famously remarked that war was to important to be left to the generals, and like yet another bungled trench raid "Cheers for fifty years" is ongoing evidence that public lions are being led by broadcasting donkeys. TV (or at least it's fourth estate component) is clearly to important to be left to the executives. Once we finally shed ourselves of our "market knows best" fetish the only known antidote to a dumbed down atomised audience where everything is either 15 second bites or lost in the noise is a strong, well funded public broadcaster in all mediums and effective and strong government regulation of the domestic media market.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1811 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    With regards to the intellectual activity of engaging in TV; I'd wager most people treat their favourite shows as something they get involved with the analysis of ... a lot of my best and long-term friendships have sprung entirely from discussing why show X has literary qualities and so forth.

    I'd take that wager.

    Most people's favourite show is Coronation Street, or Fair Go, or reality like The Zoo, Border Patrol or American Idol, or sport.

    13.6m Americans watched the final of Lost. The 1990 final of Mr Belvedere attracted more viewers.

    Of the 45 most watched things on US TV ever (easy to find), 21 of them are games of American football, there are a couple of Michael Jackson interviews (60 Minutes and Oprah), some of the big finals - MASH, Cheers, the Fugitive, etc. - some one-offs: the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, Nancy Kerrigan & Tonya Harding, a Bob Hope Christmas special, the OJ verdict, and the 16th episode of the second season of the Beverly Hillbillies.

    The Literary Merit, get-people-talking-about-their-importance etc, were the TV movie The Day After, the first showing of Gone with the Wind, and a couple of mini-series: Roots, and The Thorn Birds.

    Most people just watch TV.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Tell that to amazon and google.

    And facebook and apple

    (was trying to add that same point last night, but overwhelmed by site glitches)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    arguing is about comparing ideas worldviews and sometimes, hopefully, knowledge . The purpose is to end the discussion with more knowledge than you started not to "win".

    Yes

    (though I have learned that trolls bring out the worst in me and expecting them to argue in good faith is pointless)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Just a quick on topic comment.

    For me the issue around TV of the future is not about extinction it is about adaption.

    50 years ago when it got dark you read a book or watched TV or played scrabble/sex. That was it.

    What has happened over the last 25 years and with internet in particular is that the list of things you can do after the sun has gone down has dramatically expanded. And guess what different people, do different things.

    What was once a monopoly on people's time after sunset is now well and truly broken. Millions people play WoW after dark, or X-box, or playstation and if they watch TV it is only to see specific things. Millions of people surf facebook after sunset and if they watch TV it is only for specific things.

    People don't simply sit on the couch watching TV because it is only thing to do. Now they have choices and they actually exercise those choices.

    What is happening now is that producers of TV programs and advertisers are adapting to that change. Some of that adaption is to lowest common denominator programming. But some is to high quality specific target programs.

    How people will pay for that will change as well. We aren't very far from simply paying on the spot if you want to watch Dr Who and probably two prices with/without ads.

    But the age of the TV monopoly where advertisers and programmers could guarantee a set market is gone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    @Kyle: To "break even on the broadcast" is a considerable challenge.

    Yes, I suspect the model I have in my head works well for more mainstream TV series, suitable for large international audiences, made for 7.30 - 9.30 weeknights.

    and the 16th episode of the second season of the Beverly Hillbillies.

    Curious minds etc:

    An escaped kangaroo reported by Granny as an oversized jackrabbit leads the others to suspect she has had too much moonshine. (This is the highest rated 30 minute American television episode as of 2008 since A.C Nielsen went to their current ratings recording system in 1960).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    "Cheers to Fifty Years": I switched over from Grey's at one point to see a question about Mataku that Gunn delivered in a ludicrous Temuera-parody voice - "Described as a Māori Twilight what-ah?" The panelists apparently found this so amusing that Gunn repeated it again with all the stops pulled out. Wacky!

    I presume someone here was twisted enough to watch the whole thing. Was it as consistently, relentlessly bad as the bits I saw or were there peaks and troughs?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1563 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    When did our days become soooo careworn, that "entertainment" became what we craved?

    Uh, one of the longest working weeks in the "developed" world, thanks to low investment in productivity and capital funds, thanks to decisions made in the 80s and 90s by idiot neolibs some of whom still grace our parliament and business circles.

    Note that I'm not expecting to find discussion about that on telly - and nor do I need it thanks to places like this. But the tensions in the underlying broadcast/publishing business models are becoming hard to ignore - hence the traditional industries trying to use copyright law to resist change.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    scrabble/sex

    Can we have an overview of the rules for this variant? Everyone seems to play online now.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    @Bart. this "paying on the spot" intrigues me. I know you can pay to watch individual movies on Sky, but I also know that in most places, you can't subscribe to just one subscription TV channel. For some reason (presumably to make a workable business model based on differing individual tastes) you can only subscribe to "bundles" of channels.

    I wonder if whatever drives this will also work against the "pay on the spot" model you describe?

    Since Nov 2006 • 202 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    By all means bring your differences of opinion and better yet differences of experience and knowledge.

    This.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    people like talking about the items of culture they have in common

    I agree - it's just that we have a wider range of sources now for conversational objects, as Bart notes. Look, we're even talking about scrabble.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    (was trying to add that same point last night, but overwhelmed by site glitches)

    Hmm. Just had that myself. Ill follow it up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    Further to my earlier comments about newspapers, here's an interesting article about business models, news providers and Google: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2010/04/how-to-save-the-news/8095/.

    Since Nov 2006 • 202 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I know you can pay to watch individual movies on Sky, but I also know that in most places, you can't subscribe to just one subscription TV channel.

    Sky you can also individually subscribe to Rialto and the Rugby channel I think.

    But that's again different from 'show me this episode or series of this show'.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    The purpose is to end the discussion with more knowledge than you started not to "win".

    Yes that. Arguing to win is more like dick-tation.

    Over time you realise that if you enter a discussion assuming others might know more than you, things tend to go much better than if you think everyone else is an idiot and needs a good mental spanking.

    Anyway, I think the future of TV is close to now. I almost never watch programmes live anymore, including the news, which we start at 7pm, as it suits our schedule. Everything else is started at least 15 minutes late to fast forward the ads using MySky.

    I'm also catching up on some series that have passed me by like *cough* The Wire, using streaming or torrents.

    User defined programming is not far off, and if you have the bandwidth and inclination, can be achieved now, in a round about way.

    As to content, it is hard not to get the judgy pants on though when the latest series being promoted here is Noise Control. Each to their own I guess, but really?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Marcus

    I think television - like theatre, movies and band gigs - is mostly used for recreation.

    Oh The missed opportunities...
    Sorry my last line was a failed attempt at humour.

    Sacha

    When did our days become soooo careworn, that "entertainment" became what we craved?
    Uh, one of the longest working weeks in the "developed" world, thanks to low investment in productivity and capital funds, thanks to decisions made in the 80s and 90s by idiot neolibs some of whom still grace our parliament and business circles.

    Still doesn't make me crave what passes for entertainment on th' telly. I guess the important word there is ME.
    I'm daydream wondering if there isnt some impromptu experiment going on where people are forced by dreadful worldly circumstances to stay in and watching and when things get Better? or whatever. And we emerge blinking into the daylight from our telly caves, those driven to anger by teh mindless fodder are sectioned off from those who were sedated by the diet of drivel.
    OK Conspiracy moment over.

    Excuse me while I just nip out to buy Hitch -22. Now that sounds like entertainment with a capital E.
    And capital E's can be very entertaining.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1230 posts Report Reply

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