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The Internet Television

Why the Web Mustn't Become the New TV 240

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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  • Re:Good thing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AnonymousClown ( 1788472 ) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @06:01PM (#33920196)
    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 Just_Say_Duhhh ( 1318603 ) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @06:02PM (#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.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @06:29PM (#33920374) Journal

    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.

  • Re:Good thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @06:34PM (#33920420) Homepage

    And nearly everyone stopped visiting his (London) Times Newspaper website after he started charging for it. Readership down from 10,000,000 to 10,000.

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

    by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday October 16, 2010 @06:59PM (#33920572) Homepage

    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.

  • Re:Good thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @08:04PM (#33920874) Journal

    >>>Conservatism has been often described as a political philosophy that denies or tries to prevent change.

    Which is why I've never liked the word "conservative". I'm registered Republican and yet want to repeal the Patriot Act, shrink government to the enumerated powers in the Constitution, and legalize marijuana, cocaine, et cetera. I can hardly be called conservative, despite people's attempts to attach it to me

    Meanwhile the so-called "liberals" seem intent to roll us back to Serfdom. It's as if they want to restore a 1500s-style political system in modern society, where the common man is treated like wards of the government. Rolling our individual liberty back 400 years, like serfs, is true conservativism.

    >>>Yet television, by its nature, tugs to the Right.

    Maybe in the UK but not in the US. The networks of ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and MSNBC all lean left and it's been that way since the 1950s. The only right-leaning channel is FOX News and that's a recent development (it didn't pass 50% coverage until 2002).

    >>>Without Net Neutrality laws very soon.....

    Or we could just break-up the Cable monopolies. If I were free to choose Comcast or Cox or Time or Cablevision or GoogleTV or Verizon or ATTT or..... it wouldn't matter if they chose to block websites. I could just change companies the same way I change grocery stores. Companies would quickly realize that censoring the net is a sure way to lose customers, and stop doing it.

  • by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @08:10PM (#33920902) Homepage Journal

    >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 process.

    He and his ilk are a blight and an opposition to democracy because the power they wield far outweighs their number. They are not elected, merely rich. And whilst Murdoch is not the only evil in town in this regard, he, with his penchant for buying up media channels is a particular threat than many others can't hold a candle to.

    You only have to look at the situation in the Uk with the Murdoch ownded News of the World and the influence it wielded with thMetropolitan Police in them delibertaely limiting the scope of an investigation into illegal phone hacking by the NotW to the NotW's advantage.

    Murdoch and his organs are scourges on Western democracy the world over.

  • Re:lol (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Surt ( 22457 ) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @09:43PM (#33921276) Homepage Journal

    The point is about which direction things are heading. Murdoch would like to make the internet be like tv, and has many of the resources required to force this upon the rest of us. He does NOT want to make TV like the internet.

  • by captjc ( 453680 ) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @09:07AM (#33923410)

    You have to dedicate time to watching TV because it needs 100% of your attention to be watched. But you can listen to the radio while driving a car, while writing code, while fiddling with the engine of a motorcycle in the workshop, while working on a building etc.

    In the last 10 years, prime-time TV has went through a bit of a resurgence. TV shows have payed more attention to writing, acting, and production value. Now that shows can be watched on demand via the web, DVDs, and DVRs, episodic shows are becoming less relevant and serialized shows are taking the spotlight. It is starting to become assumed that most of the audience has seen previous episodes (maybe not all or even the last episode, but are at least familiar with the overall plot and characters). Prime-time TV now has a luxury that other times don't have, People actually "watch" it.

    There was a commentary from the DVD release of "Police Squad" by the Zucker and Abrahams team who made the show. They said that one of the biggest secrets in TV is that nobody actually "watches" TV shows. People turn on the TV and they do other things. The purpose of a laugh track wasn't so much to tell stupid people that something was a joke but to alert people to look at the screen because something funny is happening. Within the last few years as I went through college, discovered podcasts, and acquired a disposable income for DVDs and music, I haven't turned on the TV except for Video Games and the occasional local news and weather. Before that I had the TV on all the time. It served as background noise and quick distractions while I was doing other stuff. My less tech-savy family members still have the TV on constantly as background for cooking, internet, whatever. As for the radio, I only choose to listen to it in the car. It also background at work, but that isn't so much a choice as what happens to be pumped through the overhead speakers.

    While I agree that radio is the most accepted option in cars and and the workplace, It is also necessary to separate the content from the medium. Once internet connectivity is ubiquitous, radio and TV as a medium will both die (which one will live longer will become moot). Radio and TV content will just be broadcast via the internet both as live and on demand. People will still listen to audio in the car and work and watch or just listen to video in their free time. In this case neither will die so much as just evolve.

  • Re:Good thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The_Wilschon ( 782534 ) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @10:16AM (#33923730) Homepage

    It's actually pretty easy (philosophically, not necessarily practically) for libertarianism to handle the tragedy of the commons. Libertarianism is not the same thing as anarchism. Libertarianism's claim is that the only proper internal role of government is to arbitrate where there is a conflict of rights. "Your right to swing your arm stops at the end of my nose" and all that. The tragedy of the commons exists because there is a conflict among people's right to use a common resource. Not everyone can use it all up. Therefore, libertarianism would claim that it is the government's job to arbitrate among everyone who wants to use a common resource, and thereby prevent the tragedy of the commons. Rule of law (often strongly associated with libertarianism) would further claim that the government should so arbitrate not by having a bureaucracy of officials who, on their own judgement, say "yea" or "nay", but by having a written, almost algorithmic, process for arbitrating, to remove graft, favoritism, and other bad things.

    Now, of course, how you go about writing the laws to accomplish this is a very very difficult question, and the answer might well lead you to something that doesn't look much like what we think of as libertarianism. I don't know. But libertarianism, considered properly, at least desires to address the tragedy of the commons.

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