Federal Communications Commission

Archive for February 2010

Public Notice Comment Deadline Extended to May 7

Posted February 19th, 2010 by Andrew Kaplan - Special Assistant to the Future of Media project

FCC finds that a limited extension of time will further the public interest by allowing all commenters additional time to file studies, analyses and other submissions in response to the Public Notice, facilitating the compilation of a more complete record. The deadline is therefore extended to Friday, May 7, 2010.



Posted in About the Project Public Notices Information Needs of Communities
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Do More Media Choices Translate to More Polarized Elections?

Posted February 17th, 2010 by Irene Wu

In his book, Post-broadcast democracy: how media choice increases inequality in political involvement and polarizes elections (Cambridge, 2007), Markus Prior shows the following graphs. To simplify, he argues when people with little interest in public affairs lived in an environment with few media choices, they were more likely to hear the headlines – for example, catching a news reel while at the movies. With more media choices – cable and satellite television and the Internet – catching the news as a by-product of other activities declines. In other words, more Americans watched the news when there was little else to watch. Fast forward to today, this means that with more media, citizens who are not interested in politics live in an increasingly separate world those who are – thus elections and political involvement are more polarized. What do you think?

Posted in Ideas and Debates Research and Studies Information Needs of Communities
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New Documentary Explores How Digital Media is Transforming Culture

Posted February 4th, 2010 by Andrew Kaplan - Special Assistant to the Future of Media project

This past Tuesday, Frontline, an investigative journalism show airing nationally on PBS, explored how digital technologies are changing every aspect of our lives, including how we consume media in a 90 minute documentary Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier.

The Frontline website notes: “Within a single generation, digital media and the World Wide Web have transformed virtually every aspect of modern culture, from the way we learn and work to the ways in which we socialize and even conduct war. But is the technology moving faster than we can adapt to it? And is our 24/7 wired world causing us to lose as much as we've gained?”
The documentary explores the implications of living in a world consumed by technology and the impact that this constant connectivity may have on future generations. Check out the website and from there you can watch the documentary online for free.
Do you believe the technology is moving faster than we can keep up with it? Do you find our wired world causes us “to lose as much as we’ve gained”?

Posted in Ideas and Debates Information Needs of Communities Internet and Mobile

Newspaper Advertising: Paper Dollars vs. Digital Dimes?

Posted February 3rd, 2010 by Dana Scherer - Senior Policy Analyst, Media Bureau

In Entertainment Industry Economics, Hal Vogel estimates that about 80% of newspaper revenues have traditionally come from advertising, with the remaining 20% coming from subscription and newsstand sales. [Hal Vogel, “Publishing,” Entertainment Industry Economics (Seventh Edition) at 342.]

Standard and Poor’s has a similar estimate in its August 2008 Publishing Survey.  [James Peters, Industry Surveys: Publishing (includes Advertising), Standard and Poor's, Aug. 21, 2008, at 26.]

As newspaper readership migrates online, however, this ratio may change. Ken Auletta states in his latest book, Googled that:

The rule of thumb is that an online ad brings in at most about one-tenth the revenue as the same as the same ad in a newspaper. There are two reasons for this: readers spend less time reading a paper online than they do a newspaper, and because ad space is not scarce on the Web, advertisers pay lower rates.” [Ken Auletta,”Chasing the Fox,” Googled, 2009, at 165.]

Do you think that these estimates are valid? Do you think these estimates will persist? If so, could the paper dollars vs. digital dimes ratio apply to subscription revenues as well?



Posted in Ideas and Debates Business Models and Financial Trends Internet and Mobile Newspapers and Magazines
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Could the Library Serve as an Aggregator of Local News?

Posted February 2nd, 2010 by Andrew Kaplan - Special Assistant to the Future of Media project

We have an area where citizens can describe their local media. For example, Rick Livingston writes:
Columbus still has a strong, locally owned daily paper (The Dispatch), functioning as the main channel for local news and statehouse reporting. It also owns the major TV station. Other print publications are mostly puffery, catering to the college-age music-and-drinking crowd (or post-graduate, young-professional versions thereof). We have three (count 'em) NPR stations, mostly overlapping programming larded with a little local coverage; the rest of the radio dial is hopelessly canned. One excellent website I know (Columbus Underground), and several partisan blogsites. Some civic issues are getting publicized through Facebook, thanks primarily to a few civic-minded individuals: the medium is not conducive to discussion, however, so much as mutual encouragement. Good if you agree already. We lost one important voice for fair-minded debate this year, when Fred Andrle, a gifted local talk-show host, retired.

I know we're lucky still to have a hometown newspaper, but the range of discussion and information is distinctly limited. The Dispatch has invested heavily in a particular version of urban development and definitely shapes the options we're offered. The only civic institution with a comparable citywide reach is the library system: could it develop a presence as an aggregator of local news and a forum for discussion?
What are your thoughts? Could the library “develop a presence as an aggregator of local news and a forum for discussion”? Could Facebook (or other social networking websites) be used to facilitate discussion of civic issues? Feel free to comment and don’t forget to tell us about your community and its media by posting here.

Posted in Ideas and Debates Commercial TV and Radio Internet and Mobile Newspapers and Magazines
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