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A crowded space, even for the top of the class

By Michael Hurtig
Monday, August 15th, 2011

Anthony Tommasini’s article in Sunday’s NY Times describes an ‘exponential’ increase in the number of extraordinarily proficient pianists as of late.

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Weekly Media Briefing for August 15th-19th

By Michael Hurtig
Monday, August 15th, 2011

Time Warner Cable has expanded its Midwest operations by acquiring cable company Insight Communications for 3 billion.

Youtube’s most popular content: Music videos. According to a report from Ad Age, 40% of Youtube viewers in July visited the site to watch music videos, with VEVO and Warner music taking in more views than any other branded channel on the video streaming site. Meanwhile, the National Music Publishers Association signed a licensing fee deal with Youtube, offering a source of revenue for music publishers whose music videos and songs evidently make the site such a popular destination.

Netflix is making headway into Spain and Britain in 2012. The company will not have the same head start in premium streaming video services that it did in the US – it will be competing with other major streaming sites such as Lovefilm, Europe’s leading streaming service, acquired by Amazon in January.

The traditional TV advertising format is gaining steam online. Mid-roll advertisements are increasing in length, and viewers are sticking around to watch them. The study confirming the ongoing shift can be found here: Freewheel

Amazon now has 100,000 movies and tv shows available for a-la-carte purchase online, whereas its streaming content stands at a much lower 9,000 titles. Amazon’s approach is unique in that it offers consumers both an a-la-carte (pay per download) and subscription options.

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Weekly Media Briefing August 8th-12th

By Michael Hurtig
Monday, August 8th, 2011

Media companies are remaining positive amid the market slowdown, reporting that advertising revenue is not decreasing as a result.

Comcast continued rolling out its plans for an expansion of local news programming this week. Its Telemundo Station Group was the focus of the announcement, which indicated the production of new spanish-language local news and public affairs programs in select markets across the country.

The Dish Network, which acquired bankrupt video rental company Blockbuster for $320 million in April, also lost 135,000 subscribers in the quarter.

Forbes reports that e-books are exempt from sales tax in the state of New York, because they are not “tangible personal property.”  Does this have anything to do with the collapse of bricks and mortar retailer Borders?

The Columbia Journalism Review asks if public media is ready for the digital age.

When cable operators first offered programming on tablets, content owners reacted with litigation. Viacom and Cablevision have  now come to an agreement which will allow Viacom content to remain a part of Cablevision’s ‘Optimum’ apps.

Hulu will soon begin streaming in Japan, marking its first expansion into an international market.

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Weekly Media Briefing August 1-5

By Michael Hurtig
Monday, August 1st, 2011

The National Association of Broadcasters expressed its support for the omission of spectrum auctions in Monday’s proposed debt deal. Spectrum auctions, which would repurpose tv broadcast spectrum for use by wireless broadband providers, have recently been proposed by policy makers as one solution to expanding capacity for wireless broadband providers.

This week both CBS and Time Warner reported higher revenue than expected for the last quarter. The legacy media companies both surprised analysts, and the trend is expected to continue across the media sector.

The Washington Post reported a 50% decline in earnings on Friday, including a 12% decline in advertising revenue for its print operations.

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Weekly Media Briefing July 25-July 29

By Michael Hurtig
Monday, July 25th, 2011

Why tyrants love the Murdoch scandal, by Bill Keller of the New York Times.

It is unsettling that the family of recently deceased singer Amy Winehouse has to ask for privacy in the wake of her death.  Surely, a public still outraged by the News of the World’s invasion of a grieving family’s privacy, should be uncommonly sensitive to this issue.

Publishing guru Joe Wickert speculates that online book-buying could gain the personal touch of the neighborhood bookstore by integrating social media.  (tip thanks to Gotham Ghostwriters).

Despite a popular product and a subscriber base 25 million strong, Netflix isn’t performing well enough for Wall Street.

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Marshall McLuhan: fifty years in the global village

By Michael Hurtig
Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Over at The Nation, I have a piece up about the legacy of Marshall McLuhan, the visionary media theorist who was born one hundred years ago last July.

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Weekly Media News Briefing July 18-July 22

By Michael Hurtig
Monday, July 18th, 2011

Let’s ban books, or at least stop writing them, says Bill Keller of the New York Times.

The UK phone hacking scandal has officially spread to those just one step away from the Prime Minister’s office, says News Corp-owned The Wall Street Journal.

When a site recommends purchases, your privacy might be at risk, say the researchers at Freedom To Tinker.

Will Google+ kill the blog?  Author and futurist Bruce Sterling at Wired thinks it just might.

In the most unexpected move yet, Murdoch to buy “The Daily Prophet,” says Slate.

Another piece connecting the News of the World scandal to Harry Potter, but this time not at all humorously.

A new set of ethical guidelines for reporters employed by Murdoch.

The News Corp scandal officially spreads to the US, in this scathing piece by David Carr of the New York Times.

US officials to investigate News Corp over alleged hacking on 9/11 survivors phones, and alleged attempted bribery of American law enforcement, says the Huffington Post.

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Weekly Media News Briefing July 11-July 15

By Michael Hurtig
Monday, July 11th, 2011

From the Globe and Mail, one of the most insightful pieces yet not only about Murdoch, but the state of the larger media.

Thoughts on the role of PBS in American Journalism from the Columbia Journalism Review.

From Stanford University, a fascinating visualization of the growth of newspapers in the United States.

The UK phone hacking scandal continues to change the fortunes of Rupert Murdoch, the world’s top media mogul.

What’s your NEWS IQ? Take the Pew survey and find out how you measure up against the rest of America.

The always insightful David Carr of the New York Times on why the News of the World phone hacking scandal is good for newspapers, and good for democracy in the UK.

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Weekly Media News Briefing: July 4th – 8th

By Michael Hurtig
Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

More trouble for German Public Media, says the Hollywood Reporter. A system designed to prevent the evils of a centralized state media seems to be doing a poor job of fighting individual corruption.

Twitter has the power to launch a book to #1, even if it’s still being written, according The Wall Street Journal.  Another example of how social media is disrupting the traditional marketing model.

The publishing industry is seeing growth in both print and digital books.

The newly launched Center for Copyright Information will standardize industry best practices on how to crackdown on copyright abusers.  Unlike previous ventures, this one is backed by internet service providers Verizon and Comcast, says Deadline New York.

The prime-time shuffle at Time Warner deals Eliot Spitzer out of the deck.

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Weekly Media News Briefing: June 27 – July 1

By Michael Hurtig
Monday, June 27th, 2011

NBC is looking for non-profit local news partners. If you are a serious, non-profit local news organization in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Washington, DC, or Hartford-New Haven, CT, NBC News is inviting you to submit a proposal for a long term partnership that could include cooperative content creation, shared use of technical facilities, and on-air opportunities.  NBC New York

The future of publishing is bright. Two stories this week from Frankfurt Book Fair sponsored Publishing Perspectives detail surprising trends in the publishing world, a potentially bright future for Britain’s biggest bookseller, and the rise of a new class of self-published e-book authors making a living full-time.

More Smartphones in Spain. The percentage of mobile phone users in Spain who now use smartphones has jumped to 40%, says Nielsen.

No matter the screen, TV is still king. Americans have found even more time on average to watch video content, are using more screens to do it, and TV is still the top choice for entertainment, says Nielsen.

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