Tag Archives: media

Media Networks Cause Increasing Piracy

Fox delays Hulu availability, piracy surges. I can’t say as I’m surprised by this at all. I noticed recently that Fox had suddenly started delaying the publishing of their shows to Hulu from next day broadcast to eight days. They’re not the only network playing hard-to-get with Hulu, either. SyFy has taken to publishing only one or two episodes from the beginning of each show’s season to Hulu and then holding the rest of the episodes in abeyance until the current season is over. Similarly, networks like CBS and NBC publish only a few shows to Hulu and most never even make it online at all. (For those of us who are fans of these shows, it makes it extremely difficult to avoid spoiler information the day after broadcast.)

I understand, to a point, why the media networks do this. They have ratings to maintain to keep their advertisers happy, and so they hope, by limiting (or removing completely) online access to their shows, they can then increase their live viewership and continue to make money from the commercials they run. There’s just one problem with that scenario: we now live in a digital age. Live broadcasts, while not completely a thing of the past, are no longer the only — or necessarily even the best — way for viewers to take in their favorite shows. Technology has made it exceptionally easy to redistribute media through the web by a variety of means — network websites, third-party services like Hulu or Netflix, and yes, even through piracy.

What I think the networks — and their advertisers — are having trouble coming to terms with is the fact that the media industry is rapidly changing and, much like the newspaper industry, are fighting that change kicking and screaming the entire way. By cutting off online access to their programming and attempting to force viewers to watch shows live, they are, in a way, shooting themselves right in the proverbial foot. It takes almost nothing to record a show when it airs, strip the commercials out, and redistribute the show online through any number of means, torrenting being the most notable method. This is a practice that is not likely to stop anytime soon, and the more the networks fight against online distribution, the more money they’re going to lose in the process. People are always going to find a way to get around the system so they can continue to consume media on their own schedule and on their own terms.

Personally, I think the only way the networks are ultimately going to survive is by adapting to this ‘new’ media age and actually finding ways to distribute their programming online in a way that proves beneficial, not only for them but also for the viewers they are trying to reach. There are any number of ways to accomplish this, whether it be by including their own advertising with the shows, leasing them to third-party services like Hulu or Netflix who, in turn, charge a subscription fee for viewing, creating their own online subscription system (which I noticed HBO has already started doing), etcetera and so forth. TV as it used to be is becoming a thing of the past, and I think that online distribution is the way things are headed. It’s very likely that the two mediums can, and will, co-exist but until the networks figure that out, everyone is going to lose — except for the pirates. They’re going to do just fine.

Ideal Lifespan

Here’s a little reader’s poll for you. Many successful TV shows like _Buffy, the Vampire Slayer_, _Stargate SG-1_, and _Alias_ have fun for 5+ seasons. _Buffy_ ran for seven seasons, _SG-1_ ran for 10, and _Alias_ – well, I never watched the show so I don’t really know exactly. Now, _Battlestar Galactica_ is scheduled to end after its fourth season, and “a comment has been made”:http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/005171.html that maybe the show should have and could have ended successfully after three.

What do you think is the ideal lifespan for a successful TV series (any genre). Is seven seasons too long? Three seasons too short? Five seasons just right? I’m curious to see how people weigh in on this topic.

Art of the Saber

FXhome.com :: Cinema :: Movie Info :: Art of the Saber ::

A friend of mine stumbled across this video the other day. It’s a beautifully choreographed light saber duel, with an opening narration that pays homage to a Civil War soldier. The video is brief – right around five minutes in length – and it’s close leaves you wanting more. You can download a copy of the video from the link above, but don’t bother clicking through to the forums – they’ve been hacked for some time now, which indicates that those forums are no longer active, since no one’s bothered to fix it. Check out the video, though. It’s well worth it. And if anyone knows of any other videos done by the Ho Brothers, please let me know.

Podcast

I’ve been considering the idea of recording some of the flash fiction stories I’ve written and podcasting them – y’know, just a little something to further exercise my inner geek. It would require, of course, that I purchase a suitable microphone, but I already have the necessary software. ((Open source is a beautiful thing.))

Is this something anyone might be interested in?

Commercials and Marketing

I will periodically remark on a commercial I’ve seen or heard with a comment like, “That was really stupid. That company ought to fire whoever wrote that commercial.” My wife will then give me this knowing smile and say, “But do you remember what company the commercial is _for_?” When I say that I do, she then says, “Well, then, that guy _doesn’t_ get fired. He’s done his job.” And I am chagrined to find that I see her point.

For a while Taco Bell ran a series of commercials that I thought were pretty lame. More recently, Subway has been running their “Subway Dinner Theatre” commercials, which I find so obnoxious I have to turn the radio down or change TV channels just so I don’t have to put up with them. Geiko’s commercials, which are usually extraordinarily funny, have also gone the way of unfunny lately, and now “PS3 has a new commercial”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJaGScKpZuU&mode=related&search= that is just strange, bizarre, and quite disturbing.

Have the marketing people done their jobs? Do I remember these brands, even long after I’ve seen the commercials? The answer to both questions is ‘yes, I do.’ And it’s strange – but logical – that I would remember _these_ commercials, the ones that annoy me more than entertain me, better than the ones that make me laugh. For whatever reason the human psyche tends to remember negative reactions better than it does positive ones. It is the ‘bad’ experiences we remember best, possibly because we often spend more ranting and raving about how annoyed or irked we are. So, in that sense the marketing guy has done his job and done it well.

On the other hand, though, perhaps he has not done his job so well. For people like me, who miss the humor in some of these commercials – like the Subway ads, which are obviously supposed to be humorous to a certain (male) demographic – or, like the PS3 ads, find them disturbing enough to avoid watching them a second time, the reaction is to avoid buying _anything_ from these companies. Why reward a grain of sand for falling into one’s eye, after all? I don’t have any idea how widespread this reaction is among the general populace. Perhaps most people simply disregard their annoyances and give their patronage to these companies, anyway. Perhaps brand loyalty overcomes weird, strange, and obnoxious commercials. I know I certainly haven’t done much, if any, business with any of the companies cited above. Could be I’m all wet on this.

There are certainly a lot of factors involved here, requiring anyone studying this aspect of psychology to develop a complex and comprehensive experiment to measure the effects of advertising. Obviously, it must work, else these companies wouldn’t waste their millions on them. Subway, for instance, has been running these dinner theatre ads for months now, and Geiko’s last few commercials have likewise, in my opinion, been duds. Could be I’ve just lost my sense of humor.

Punditry

The Upward Way Press » Blog Archive » Wishing

Rob adequately expresses the opinions of so many of us, I think. We’re tired of the media trying always to tell us what to think, what opinions we should hold, and what feelings we should have about various events and issues taking place around the world. It’s difficult these days to find a news venue that doesn’t try to spin it somehow, that doesn’t try to influence you in some way. Some of it is overt – videos with voice-overs appealing to some aspect of your emotions, articles with commentary that includes name-calling, predictions of the future, nearly-irrelevant poll numbers, etc. Some of it is more subtle – the mere choice of which stories get covered, for instance, or which adjective are chosen to describe the event, or which perspective the news story is told from, whether it be from the victim’s point-of-view, the antagonist’s, the demonstrators’, or the politician’s. Frankly, the American public is sick and tired of having everyone else’s opinions jammed in their face ((Ironically, this in the age where “being certain”:http://christianmind.blogspot.com/2006/06/humility-is-never-having-to-say-im.html about just about anything is considered rude and offensive.)), and most of us just want the facts.

I think there’s a reason why so many of us are tuning out of news broadcasts and becoming apathetic and disinterested in the events taking place around us, whether they be political, social, economic, etc. The information flow is high, we are inundated with messages and viewpoints not our own, and so many of those in positions of power, authority, and influence appear corrupt and immoral. There is only so much of this sort of stimulation that a person can take before becoming completely jaded, and I think that most of us have passed the breaking point. The world moves awfully fast these days, and as a result people have to shout and become more intense to get their message heard. These individuals then come across as pushy and in-your-face, and that approach has never gone over well – with anyone.

So, we’ve tuned out of the news (unless it’s some juicy tidbit of gossip, apparently) and the media have taken this to be a sign of approval. I wonder how many of them realize that a lot of us simply don’t care what they have to say anymore.

Caution, Not Thrown to the Wind

We live in a world that is driven primarily by the strength of its libido. Sexual stimuli surround us everywhere we look. Even the most mundane of daily activities, such as eating, are paired up
with images of eroticism, sex, and lust. Common knowledge says that sex sells, and it certainly must because nearly every product available in this capitalistic society of ours incorporates some sort of sexual imagery, either in its advertising or in the product itself or both. Our culture has so accepted and incorporated sexuality into the every mundanity of life that it has essentially thrown all caution to the wind and now exercises its proclivity for sexual activity far more freely than it ought. The consequences of this are the cheapening of the act of sexual intercourse itself and the diminishment of the moral will.

As a Christian man trying to live a righteous life, I continually find this trend extremely frustrating. Like nearly every man, I am easily aroused by the things I see. Oftentimes I wish it were not so, yet it is the way God made me, and it is something that I must face and deal with on a daily basis. This culture in which I am immersed makes living a pure life exceedingly difficult, as nearly every Christian male can attest. I can, in fact, count on just one hand the number of men I know, both Christian and non-Christian alike, who have not been affected by pornography. It is a medium for sexual arousal that has been made exceedingly prevalent, and the current trend of advertising, television programs, and movies only serve to whet the
male appetite for things that it should not desire outside of a healthy, Godly marriage relationship. Even the video game industry is not immune, and indeed, in many ways serves as an even greater purveyor of exotic images and sexual stimuli.

All this to say just one thing — we Christian men must strive with all our might to guard our hearts and minds against the onslaught of these stimuli to which we are so vulnerable. God calls us to righteous living and to roles of wise leadership, both in our families and in our communities. If we fail in the area of sexual temptation, we greatly weaken our ability to serve as the men we ought to be, as the men God desires us to be. Only in pursuing a deep, intimate relationship with God, in encouraging one another and keeping one another accountable, and in taking physical, practical steps to guard our hearts and minds can we ever hope to be as effective in our culture as we ought to be. The cost and heartache of failure are great,
but the joy and satisfaction of victory over weakness are immense!

So, I say this to you — do not wait until you have already fallen into sin to take steps to protect your hearts and minds. Take a proactive stance, develop that daily relationship with our Lord, find an accountability partner (or group), and set in place standards and barriers against the barrage of sexual stimuli that assault us each and every day. In the longrun, you’ll be glad you did.

The Psychological Difficulty of Media Exposure

I was listening to some friends discuss TV shows over the weekend and heard them talking about the effects that certain shows have on them. It was interesting to hear the differences between male and female reactions to a particular show. Differences in background seemed to play a role in how the show affected each individual, as well. I listened as one guy exclaimed that he could not understand why the women were so creeped out when he himself reacted so
casually. I got the distinct impression that he felt that the show should not have had any real impact on them because he believed that it had not had an impact on himself.

Similarly, I thought about all the books I have read over the years, all the different kinds of music to which I’ve listened, and all the movies and television programs I’ve watched. I was reminded that I would be foolish to think that any of those things had never affected me in any way. Everything that an individual is exposed to has an effect on the psyche, on the spirit. It changes the individual, however slight. Everything in the media affects every person that it touches, changes them, makes them a different person. The sad thing is that for so many people this change is unconscious, beneath awareness. People end up changing into something other than what they expected and before they realize it has happened. I can clearly recall my mood and demeanor after reading certain books, watching certain shows, listening to certain songs. Sometimes, I am content with the changes. Sometimes, I find the changes disquieting. Sometimes, I mentally work to counteract the changes before they can become permanent. Sometimes, I find myself brushing them off casually, shrugging my shoulders in disregard. I fear, though, that few people ever make the effort to even think about how the media to which they expose themselves affects them. And I think that it explains, in part, the nature of our society today, the nature of the generation of youth that only seek self-fulfillment at the cost of nearly everything else. And again, I find myself coming back to this issue of critical thinking, constantly evaluating everything, putting it into its proper place, avoiding those things which are harmful and consciously, willfully attending to those things which we allow ourselves, whether it be willfully or passively and indirectly, to be exposed.

Do not think that it does not touch you, that it bounces harmlessly away. I do not think that exposure to the media is wholly bad, but I do not think that it can only be casually embraced.
Vigilance is key, self-awareness necessary. Given time, and without these, you may not recognize the face in the mirror.

Moral Attack

So how does one live a holy and moral life when our society is so absolutely immersed in the immorality that the media so blatantly promotes? It’s tough being a Christian in the midst of this, let alone a Christian married man, when every other TV commercial or show is all about half-naked (or even mostly naked) women (and latetly, even guys). It’s on the TV, on the radio, on the Internet, and even in our email. The message is being sent this is all ok, and since truth is such a relative or non-existent thing in our society, there’s really no base for a stance. And it is our youth who are so vulnerable to this. They are being brainwashed right out from under us. It’s no wonder that they think so much differently than we do.

Now, we can fight against this at every avenue, and it is our Christian responsibility to do so and to promote biblical morals (old-fashioned as they may sound sometimes), but with all honesty, we probably are not going to do a whole lot to change things. We are woefully outnumbered by the moderns and postmoderns who are submerged in their own despair. As unrewarding and unsatisfying as it feels, the main area where we can find success in waging war against relativity and immorality is by training up the younger generation to think differently than the majority of their peers. I thank God for His grace and my parents for their training that I think “old school,” with a sense of absolutes. I can’t imagine just how confused I would be right now if the only truth I knew was the one I made for myself. It would be so fluid and changing. And so it is up to us to mold and train the younger generation to continue the battle with us and after us.