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The Internet Television

Why the Web Mustn't Become the New TV 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the wouldn't-fit-in-my-living-room dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This article argues that Rupert Murdoch's bid to own complete control of BSkyB is only part of an ongoing process to make the internet a totally 'linear' experience. The increase in the use of paginated content and the proliferation of video over transcribed interviews are, the author argues, part of a tidal shift from a browsable internet experience to a linear one that will move the user's experience of media from genuine choice to a series of locked-down 'information rides,' in order to re-secure advertising exposure. The author also writes, 'Current worries among publishing houses that magazines and newspapers will succumb to the digital written word on the internet are perhaps analogous to Victorian fears about mechanical horses taking over from real horses in the drawing of carriages. The point is being missed, the wrong fear being indulged.'"
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Why the Web Mustn't Become the New TV

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  • Good thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday October 16, 2010 @04:53PM (#33920146)

    Rupert Murdoch is 79. He can't live forever.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I just imagined a "FOX Internet". Imagine this - a web portal and search engine that will give you just Fox' narrative. Watch Beck and he mentions something and he says, "Don't believe me! Read for yourself!" So you search on FOX.net and come across foxwiki and it says Global Warming is a LIBERAL myth created as an excuse for wealth transfer and for more taxation for LIBERAL causes.

      I think there's a lot of money to be made here.

    • by westlake (615356)

      Rupert Murdoch is 79. He can't live forever.

      The New York Daily News [1919] didn't die with the death of Joseph Medill Patterson. The Daily Mail [1896] wasn't buried with Alfred Harmsworth, Viscount Northcliffe, in 1922.

      It would appear that "The Great Man" theory of history is revived whenever it is convenient.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Local ID10T (790134)

        The New York Daily News [1919] didn't die with the death of Joseph Medill Patterson. The Daily Mail [1896] wasn't buried with Alfred Harmsworth, Viscount Northcliffe, in 1922.

        It would appear that "The Great Man" theory of history is revived whenever it is convenient.

        I have never heard of any of them...

    • by sethstorm (512897)

      ...and like Harper, his ideological attacks won't either.

      If he's sold his immortal soul for physical immortality, you might be wrong.

    • by melikamp (631205)

      What if they scan his brain and 70 years from now this data will be uploaded into an artificial brain. And at that point Murdoch II will uncover an old hidden will that will transfer the corporation back to him, and then he will resume normal operations for the rest of human existence.

    • He F__ks everyone else.

    • about Murdoch and his empire. Neil Chenowth of the Australian Financial Review is reported to be coming out with a book next spring.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      His son is almost as bad.
    • by rjch (544288)

      Rupert Murdoch is 79. He can't live forever.

      Maybe not, but I suspect he'll be around for a while yet. His mother [wikipedia.org] is still going strong, although she's a much more pleasant character than her son.

      It's a pity more of that character didn't rub off on her son.

  • by geek (5680) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @04:58PM (#33920168) Homepage

    Move along, nothing to see. Seriously, don't like what Murdoch is doing? Click elsewhere. This isn't rocket science.

    Hell you can even make a competitor to BSkyB if you like. The rampant Murdoch hatred is just so irrational. No one is forcing you to watch/read. Get the fuck over it.

    • by Calydor (739835) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:02PM (#33920206)

      That would work if this was just being done by some out-in-the-sticks local newspaper.

      Murdoch is rich and has influence. He has the political power to set a precedent for how to do things. Simply ignoring him is not going to change that one bit.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zocalo (252965)

        Murdoch is rich and has influence. He has the political power to set a precedent for how to do things.

        Yes, because his attempts to use his wealth, influence and political power to get everyone else in the News business to erect a pay wall in front of their websites is working out really well. So well, in fact, that he's even stopped going on about it himself lately after his own trial ended in a dramatic fall in readership.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by apoc.famine (621563)
          Well, it seems the rest haven't heard how badly it failed - my hometown newspaper had an ad-supported online edition for years and years. A week or so ago they paywalled it.

          I'm wondering how long it will take them to realize that only a dozen or so people visit their website every day now. It's not a large paper, and the bulk of their readership are 50+. If they're going to paywall, they might as well just get off the internet. I highly doubt it's worth keeping an internet presence for the money generated
      • >>>Murdoch is rich and has influence. He has the political power to set a precedent for how to do things

        If I accept your viewpoint, then I fear Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and Steve Burke (NBC-comcast's new CEO) more than murdoch.

        • by Calydor (739835)
          The first two have no inherent interest in shaping the internet into a pure 'consume, consume, consume' form. Not familiar with Steve Burke so not going to comment on him.
          • >>>Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have no inherent interest in shaping the internet into a pure 'consume, consume, consume' form.

            (gives poster odd look)
            What???

            >>>Not familiar with Steve Burke so not going to comment on him.

            Me neither but I know Comcast (or more properly: Comsucks). I can see the previous acts he did as COO, and now he'll be CEO of the new maerged company.

    • by Microlith (54737) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:05PM (#33920222)

      Until he streams lobbyists into Congress and starts burning cash on attack ads. Remember, in America men like Murdoch have more rights and influence with the government than you do. The Supreme Court said so.

      Murdoch and the rest of the Media industry don't like the two-way, interactive nature of the web. They hate it, in fact, because it lets people ignore them.

      Hell you can even make a competitor to BSkyB if you like.

      I know, it's so easy to jump into the business of being a satellite media service company. Real easy.

      The rampant Murdoch hatred is just so irrational.

      Nah, Murdoch deserves all the shit he catches. I'm sure he'd not blink at killing everything you like about the internet if it served him in some way.

      No one is forcing you to watch/read.

      Of course not, but it's a shit deal to have only the options of "Murdoch controlled media" and "nothing," which is really how he wants it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You sound like Luddites. Like this quote from the article:

        "To a certain extent this is all reminiscent of the furore in the sea-change from practical to digital newspaper production in London's Wapping in the early 1980s, engendering protracted but ultimately futile strikes from the pre-digital technicians who were made jobless by new, computerised automation of magazine and newspaper production."

        You cannot stop progress simple because you don't like it. The horsewhip makers were laid-off when cars took o

        • by digitig (1056110) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:57PM (#33920564)

          You sound like Luddites. Like this quote from the article:

          "To a certain extent this is all reminiscent of the furore in the sea-change from practical to digital newspaper production in London's Wapping in the early 1980s, engendering protracted but ultimately futile strikes from the pre-digital technicians who were made jobless by new, computerised automation of magazine and newspaper production."

          You cannot stop progress simple because you don't like it. The horsewhip makers were laid-off when cars took over, and so too were these pre-digital technicians.

          So lets get this straight. Reducing the internet to the type of linear media that existed before the web is "progress" that cannot be stopped. Continuing to take advantage of the non-linear nature of the web and building on it is "Luddite". Er, well, keep taking the dried frog pills.

      • by jonbryce (703250) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:37PM (#33920438) Homepage

        Who cares about satellite media? The future of tv is internet based video on demand.

        • Free to air (not BSkyB) satellite has a few decent channels on it over on this side of the pond. With a PVR or with a tuner card you can collect a shitload of movies without wasting valuable bandwidth.

          Really all the IPTV stuff is ideally suited to satellite for its effortless multicasting abilities. If instead of 200+ TV channels a satellite broadcasted continuously the top 200 or so torrents on TPB it would go a long way towards freeing up the tubes. If the satellite has any free bandwidth you could use
    • Seriously, don't like what Murdoch is doing? Click elsewhere.

      Even if you don't like it, there are enough other people who like it that Mr. Murdoch has gained influence over countries. I don't like what Mr. Murdoch is doing to U.S. politics by having built the Tea Party protests into a nationwide movement, but FOX News Channel has attracted enough people to this reactionary movement that it has a significant chance of setting policy that can cause me to be imprisoned or die despite my vote against it.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:44PM (#33920472)

      The rampant Murdoch hatred is just so irrational. No one is forcing you to watch/read. Get the fuck over it.

      If an idiot is standing on the street corner spewing lies and no one listens to him, then you can just ignore it and it's not a problem. If a significant portion of your country and voters start believing in it, that's mainly a problem with your country, yes, but it's no longer in the realm of "just ignore it and it won't be a problem." Murdoch's lies are affecting US policy. He's having a substantial impact, increasing partisan politics, preventing Washington from doing -anything-, encouraging ignorance, pushing us towards more of a police state, and distracting people while our rights get sold to corporations.

      I'll get the fuck over it when he's dead along with his whole propaganda machine, when most people who watch fox news and believe the BS voluntarily give up the right to vote, when Washington has fixed every problem they've created, and when large corporations stop trying to neuter the internet.

    • >The rampant Murdoch hatred is just so irrational.

      Ahem, your ignorance is showing.

      If only it was irrational, however his desire and ambition to dominate the various maouthpieces of the media plus his willingness to laud the politicians who chime with his views, and their subsequent fear of him (outlined rather concisely in the current UK issue of him taking over BskyB and politicians openly admitting their fear of pissing him off) make him a king-maker and fundementally a threat to the democratic proces

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:00PM (#33920182)

    The increase in the use of paginated content and the proliferation of video over transcribed interviews are, the author argues, part of a tidal shift from a browsable internet experience to a linear one

    And the rise of features like Safari Reader (and Firefox equivalent from which it was born), along with video heavily annotated and searchable also mean the web is moving to a totally non-linear, take it as you please kind of mechanism.

    Both things are true, the web can and will take all possible paths. If people do not like confinement than overly narrow paths will grow dusty with disuse over time, but even if they mostly like it the other paths will remain for those that want to take them.

    I never did see the point in freaking out about any super-powerful titan "taking over the web" since there is no web to take over, there's just islands that people can build up as high as they like in order to entice people to visit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This. Especially the video section.

      Youtube is heavily annotated, from both manual annotations to automatic speech parsing algorithms, language translation getting better all the time, and even some basic structure recognition for content in video.
      This is only Youtube, admittedly, but no doubt in the years that it will take for video to become the centerpiece of online content, this stuff will be trivial to implement for the average person.

      And as you said, nobody will ever really take over the web, even Goo

  • by Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:02PM (#33920208)

    Where is the discussion about why the internet can't kill classic TV? The article started out worrying about Rupert Murdoch's increasing empire, and then devolved into a "everything I hate about the internet" speech. In particular, how video interviews are inferior to the printed word, because they're harder to search, you can't pick just the bit you want to read, and you can't "space out" while watching it.

    The author seems to think all the "popular" sites will squeeze out the "old school" content, because if they don't join in the "linearized" content, they can't monetize their content. Hopefully, not everyone will feel a need to monetize what they provide, and we'll be able to share in people's passions, not just their livelihood. I may not like what you're selling me, but I'll be interested in what interests you, and Rupert Murdoch can't have that.

    • Hopefully, not everyone will feel a need to monetize what they provide, and we'll be able to share in people's passions, not just their livelihood. I may not like what you're selling me, but I'll be interested in what interests you, and Rupert Murdoch can't have that.

      Amen. I seldom visit "commercial" sites, save for advertising-supported blogs like this one. If you spend a lot of time looking at websites that are run by media conglomerates with their roots (and the bulk of their profits) in television, film, music, and print, you can't really claim surprise when the people running those sites try to make them more like the rest of their empires. In other words, if what you're interested in can only be produced by gigantic corporations, then you're going to have to dance

  • Meaningless peice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:09PM (#33920244)

    While I agree that maybe big media companies would like to make the web a linear experience, they can't. Reason is the web is too large to control. The barrier or entry is extremely low. As such there are sites all over the damn place, that do whatever they please. There is just no way for a media company to control all this. They can take everything they control and make it suck, but all that'll do is make people go elsewhere.

    Because of the distributed, low cost nature of the web it is just not really possible for one group to control it. With TV, sure they can do that to a large degree. Not only are TV programs inherently linear, but running a TV station is expensive. It isn't like someone can say "Ya I think I'll set one up." Even if you had a TV station, you have to deal with contracts to get on the distributors, and then of course produce content people want.

    None of that is a problem with the web, other than content. You can get a website for $10/month or less with a reasonable host, and probably free if you sniff around a bit. That's all it takes and your site is now on the same level with every other, there is no barriers for people to get to it. The only question then is producing things people want to see. Also people like some extremely cheap things on the web. Look at Maddox's page. It is nothing but his writings and drawing. No big budget productions, nothing fancy, but people like it.

    That is just an environment big media can't control. This goes double since the closest things to gate keepers there are is search engines, and they are run by companies way bigger than big media. Fox isn't going to scare Google or Microsoft. They'll keep running their search how they want.

    I'm not at all concerned. The web will continue to be a massive collection of any and everything. Different people/groups/companies can make parts of the web that are however they like, and as many people are as interested can go and enjoy it. Maybe some people want a real locked down, linear web experience and if Fox provides one they may enjoy it. But don't worry about them forcing it on everyone, they just don't have the ability.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by s0litaire (1205168)

      Until 2 tier access comes into play and "Net Neutrality" goes out the window then you'll be stuck with what ever "Howling Mad" Murdoch thinks you need to see...

      • Sorry but so far all this has been nothing but a geek scare story from what I've seen. My ISP has made no move, at all, to restrict or limit any kind of access to anything and shows no signs of wanting to since they rather like making their customers happy.

        Also here's some news: Murdoch doesn't own the world. I know that he's a popular conspiracy target for "OMG he's controls the media!" but he really doesn't. Plenty of other companies out there who are not interested in playing ball.

      • Until 2 tier access comes into play and "Net Neutrality" goes out the window

        Precisely. The reason why TV is full of crap these days is the "channelization" of content into pre-packaged streams selected by those running the cable and satellite networks and the content providers. This oligopoly [wikipedia.org] power over the TV content markets gives them the ability to choose what people see while at the same time preventing effective competition. Even Steve Jobs, when presenting the Apple TV as a "hobby", acknowledged the difficulties of breaking into and being disruptive in the media business, reg

  • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@s[ ]hdot.fi ... m ['las' in gap]> on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:18PM (#33920294) Homepage

    I hate it when i go to read a news story, or a howto or something else online and it's only available in video form...

    Especially technical guides, where a howto would let me cut and paste but a video won't...

    • I hate it when i go to read a news story, or a howto or something else online and it's only available in video form

      Open a help ticket and say your hard-of-hearing family member couldn't enjoy the video or the advertisement before it due to lack of SRT captions [whatwg.org]. If your country has a disability discrimination act, and you have a lawyer in the family, you can probably push this even harder.

    • As someone already posted, "Youtube is heavily annotated, from both manual annotations to automatic speech parsing algorithms, language translation getting better all the time, and even some basic structure recognition for content in video."

      It's only a matter of time until this is common place everywhere there's a video posted on-line. (Perhaps as simple as a browser plug-in.)

      Meanwhile, may I suggest you stop "hating it" and do something about it--such as contacting the author of the video, asking for a wri

  • Videos vs Text (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thyamine (531612) <thyamine@oLISPfd ... m minus language> on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:19PM (#33920302) Homepage Journal
    I can agree with the complaints about some of this at least. I hate when I go to read an article and instead its a video piece/interview/etc about the topic. I can't just open it and read at my discretion, not to mention how almost every video link seems to start with some commercial. Sure, you need to make money, but you just lost any interest I have. I do fear that this will become what the web is. I also can't be doing much else, I have to stop and engage directly with the video instead of opening interesting sounding articles that I can peruse anytime I want. I suppose I could re-watch the video or pause/rewind/play but that's not what I'm after.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phurge (1112105)
      totally agree. plus a video usually takes two minutes to tell me something I could read in 20 seconds.
  • The increase in the use of paginated content and the proliferation of video over transcribed interviews

    Sucks when you're deaf. Guess I should do what the blind groups have done and sue everyone til they listen.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      You don't even need to be deaf, you just need to be browsing with the speaker on mute because you are at work.

  • maybe to Murdock's websites, but not everything on the net, but if it does it would give me a good excuse to cancel my internet subscription, i have plenty i can do on a PC for years without the internet, besides i have a library of books i could spend my free time reading
  • 14 years too late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hessian (467078) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:46PM (#33920494) Homepage Journal

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September [wikipedia.org]

    Sorry, internet: this is your new audience.

    Their purchasing determines what is profitable on the internet.

    Their attention span determines the type of information that will be profitable.

    You, the old school user, are maybe 1% of the net. You are irrelevant except as a niche market.

    They are comfortable with TV, "rides" and planned, advertising-funded adventures in alternate realities to distract from their depressing existences as corporate serfs.

    They (or rather, what they will buy) will determine the content of the internet. Not you.

    What do they like?

    * Television
    * Fast food
    * Coca-Cola
    * Movies like X-Men
    * Disco
    * Corn dogs

    That is your future, internet. You are only ruled by the nerds at night.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September [wikipedia.org]

      Sorry, internet: this is your new audience.

      Their purchasing determines what is profitable on the internet.

      Their attention span determines the type of information that will be profitable.

      You, the old school user, are maybe 1% of the net. You are irrelevant except as a niche market.

      They are comfortable with TV, "rides" and planned, advertising-funded adventures in alternate realities to distract from their depressing existences as corporate serfs.

      They (or rather, what they will buy) will determine the content of the internet. Not you.

      What do they like?

      * Television * Fast food * Coca-Cola * Movies like X-Men * Disco * Corn dogs

      That is your future, internet. You are only ruled by the nerds at night.

      Soma! Soma! Soma! Soma! Soma!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FroBugg (24957)

      Are these the same kids that just won't get off your lawn?

    • by Larryish (1215510)

      Hellz yeah BOYYYYEEE!!!!

      We ownz da night, muthafukka!

      Nerds is da new gangstas, ya Digg?

  • "Locking down" information is like trying to make water not be wet. Also, "taking away choice" on the internet is a great way to get completely ignored.
    • you buy up 80-90% of the ISP's. Then you get to be in charge.

      Its only a step away from charging extra for your IP packets to be routed through News Corporation routers on its destination. Some ISP along the way says I won't pay and packets will have a way of getting lost.

  • Don't panic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Arancaytar (966377)

    I agree that Rupert Murdoch is one of the biggest dickwads in media outside conservative talkshows, but this article is exaggerating the danger.

    Murdoch does not have a monopoly over internet news media by a long shot, and the unpopular decisions he has made (such as paywalls) are costing his companies market power.

    If Murdoch tries to turn internet news into television, the internet will not become television; rather, Murdoch's internet news companies will compete with Murdoch's television networks.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      I think the paywalls are just a tactic in his efforts to get governments to pull the legal rug out from under Google so that he can get to some of that advertising money. He hasn't really made any money from newspapers in the last decade and probably made more money selling a Chinese cable TV network earlier this year than all of his newspapers are worth put together.
      One theory is he keeps his newspapers because they are a good tool for political influence. He certainly uses them that way - the "Australia
  • I'll believe that when I see Slashdot lose vertical hold.

    You kids who don't understand that, stay off my lawn!

  • by wen1454 (1875096)

    The web has been getting more linear for a long time. Greedy businessmen are only part of the problem. The other part of the problem is the emphasis on recentness. The most recent articles are placed first creating a linear organization. Blogs, /., twitter, reddit are all part of this trend. In the past content was more likely to be organized hierarchically (e.g. most personal websites) or with the most recent comments first (message boards and newsgroups). The consequence of this trend is that now articles

  • pretty clear he does not understand the internet at all.

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