November 2005

How downloads will save TV

by Andy Polaine on November 29, 2005

So, I’ve been ranting about the iTunes downloads killing off TV for a while. I’ve not been arguing that TV content will die out, but rather that the way they are funded will change and with it the nature of TV programming and content.

Ivan Askwith from MIT has put forward the details of this argument far better than I:

The most enticing possibility, though, is that on-demand television will allow audiences to take an active role in programming the networks. We’ve seen several examples of fans banding together to save their favorite programs in the past few years. Fox put Family Guy back into production on the strength of high DVD sales, NBC released Freaks and Geeks on DVD after getting bombarded with petitions, and a fan-organized campaign to resurrect Firefly resulted in last month’s big-screen release of Serenity.

Direct downloads will give fans of endangered shows the chance to vote with their wallets while a show is still on the air. And when a program does go off the air, direct payments from fans might provide enough revenue to keep it in production as an online-only venture. If we assume that the average hour-long drama costs $1.5 million per episode and downloads will cost around $2 per viewer, shows would only need a few million viewers to turn a small profit. Would a few million viewers pay $2 a week to download an hour of television? It’s certainly not impossible. In the past month, viewers have shelled out more than $30 million for two hours of Serenity. And even if viewers aren’t prepared to pay $2 per show, there’s nothing to stop the networks from offering free downloads with embedded advertising (which could be far better targeted than the ads networks currently show).

The interesting thing here is the relationship Ivan sets up between the networks on-air versions and then the continued life off-air. I suspect this might turn around the other way. It’s pretty common for TV to pick up on other media outlets (radio is one the most common for comedy) and then harvest the popularity and turn it into a TV show. We’ve seen it plenty of times with cable/access shows too, so I imagine TV might become even more of a repository for things that have been around for a while going broadcast, rather than the place where content is originated.

Via the MIT Arts and Science Blog.

New Hulger phones.

by Andy Polaine on November 28, 2005

Hulger PIP phone

Although I’m one of those Bluetooth headset jerks (I use it in the car, okay?) I’m very excited about the new Hulger’s from my friend Nic. There’s a Bluetooth version of them too, but I like the curly cable. The Pip, above, reminds me of the phones my Dad used to have in his office in the 80s.

American border police overzealous

November 26, 2005

I’ve just been reading Hossein Derakhshan’s (aka Hoder) account of being stopped at the border in Toronto about to go back to New York. It’s pretty depressing reading of an overzealous immigration officer Googling his name and decided to bar him on what sounds like pretty illegitimate grounds. I had an equally depressing (though not […]

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Interactive Entertainment 2005

November 25, 2005

I’m just here at Interactive Entertainment 2005 presenting a paper, The Flow Principle in Interactivity as well as a demo of my Time Smear piece. There’s some fascinating debate on the tensions between narrative, gameplay and interaction. Check out the program.

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REFRESH! Conference – Lowbrow, High Art: Why Big Fine Art Doesn’t Understand Interactivity

November 23, 2005

An archive of the REFRESH! Conference at the Banff New Media Institute is now online. You can download my paper, Lowbrow, High Art: Why Big Fine Art Doesn’t Understand Interactivity here. Most of the conference was also recorded and is available to view here. My link is broken at the moment though. Sigh. UPDATE: The […]

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More TV vs Internet debate with Ian Methods

November 23, 2005

A friend of mine, who works for one of the major Pay TV networks, mailed me a comment as I had inadvertently turned off comments when I moved to WordPress. He writes: On the I-pod / Disney thing, and nails in coffins, not sure I follow (but then again, must confess I read in somewhat […]

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ACUADS paper – The Future has already Happened: Dispelling some Myths of Online Education

November 20, 2005

Recently the Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools finally published the papers from the 2004 ACUADS conference in Canberra. My paper, co-written with Rick Bennett and Leong Chan, The Future has already Happened: Dispelling some Myths of Online Education, is now available for download from the ACUADS site. Here is the abstract: As […]

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New Omnium site – an online haven of collaboration

November 15, 2005

My friends and colleagues on the Omnium project have just launched their shiny new site. It is the outcome of over six years of work and research and they have now launched various versions of their software. Expect exciting developments and new projects along the lines of this year’s Creative Waves project. Also keep an […]

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Snaps for my students

November 10, 2005

Nice to see one of my students, Tim Rudder getting some interest on Tween for the music clip, Alicia, he’s just finished for his final year project with Toby Pike. Simple idea well executed. I’m ploughing through all the final year work at the moment and there is some good stuff there (amongst a few […]

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Adolf. Not a popular name after 1940s.

November 6, 2005

We were looking around at the popularity of names the other night and amusingly stumbled across this graph. What’s weird is the change of heart around 1948. What happened? Did people start thinking, “Hey! He wasn’t such a bad guy after all…”?

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