We’ve pulled together a sampling of stories that reflect discussions happening all over the entertainment industry. This week, we pay special attention to the UK.
- Long-lost tunes dug up for jukebox of the net; Universal releases 100,000 vintage tracks online; Archive raid aims to get older fans downloading: Realizing they have a cash cow just sitting there, Universal opens the vaults for the iPod generation (which not only includes pre-teens but also baby boomers). Bands like the Fairport Convention, the original Nirvana, and Big Country will be released into the wild. It is unclear what service Universal plans to use.
- BBC chiefs defend licence fee bid: The BBC needs a 2.3% hike in its licence fee to give the public what it wants, BBC director general Mark Thompson has told the House of Lords: A changeover to digital programming, demand for fewer repeats fuels the increase. The question remains as to whether this will do much to position the BBC for the future.
- CBS to Air ‘Micro-Series’ on TV, Internet: CBS will air The Courier in seven installments of a minute or less via cellphone and on the internet. The series will also air during CBS broadcast programs (think commercial break, no product). Pontiac is sponsoring the series; CBS.com will provide further details about the series’ core mystery. Inexplicably, CBS will not release the micro-series concurrently to cellphones and the internet. Those users have to wait until a day after broadcast to download. CBS is using Verizon’s V Cast service, so if you’re not using that system (and you may not be in light of last week’s news), you’re out of luck.
- Fox TV takes time on new distribution outlets: Fox isn’t rushing into making announcements and cutting deals, they say (though in-the-know types can easily assume that frantic deal-making is going on as we type). Peter Liguori is playing it coy on whether Disney’s deal with iTunes was premature, choosing to liken new media to a marathon. We’ll give him that.
- E-read all about it: The world of publishing stands on the cusp of the greatest innovation since Gutenberg. With cheap, portable electronic readers just around the corner, what is the future of the printed book?: Robert McCrum contemplates how electronic devices will affect the future of the book (we could have saved him some time: the book as we know will remain an institution for a long time to come). He looks at devices and contemplates the big question: how long before the OED offers download-to-your-phone definitions?
- Close-up on what went right, wrong: Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times reviews the last year in entertainment (motion picture-centric). He points to the key factor driving changes in how we watch: time. As in the consumer’s time. (Note: at least one level of registration required.)
- Ofcom suggests TV download plan: Broadcasters in the UK could have the right to distribute independently-made TV shows for downloading under new proposals from media watchdog Ofcom.: The UK continues to grapple with new technologies that threaten to drastically change how television has been controlled for decades. Interesting tidbit: the UK is the world’s biggest market for illegal television downloads. So much for our image of prim and proper Britons.
- Journalism’s paper tigers? A decade into the Internet age, newspapers try to stay relevant after losing a monopoly: Newspapers, who stood by as the internet siphoned off classified advertising revenue (we remain slack-jawed at the way the leading papers failed to grasp the importance of Craigslist), now try to figure out where they fit in the new new media.
- Wait wait! Don’t tell me! Too bad. TV spoilers abound, and the best you can do is keep up: Finally, the decline of appointment television has created a new challenge for viewers — how to avoid spoilers.