Posted March 3rd, 2010 by Andrew Kaplan - Special Assistant to the Future of Media project
The FCC is holding a workshop entitled “Serving the Public Interest in the Digital Era” on March 4, 2010 from 10:30 am to 5 pm.
The workshop will focus on:
Posted in Workshops , Ideas and Debates , Commercial TV and Radio , Information Needs of Communities
Posted March 1st, 2010 by Dana Scherer - Senior Policy Analyst, Media Bureau
After they lost their radio jobs, deejay Mike O’Meara, sidekicks Robb Spewak, Oscar Zeballos, and “news guy” Michael Elston opted to take their show to the Internet. Zeballos argues that listening to traditional radio programs and advertising is like watching wallpaper: you know it’s there, but you don’t pay much attention to it. In contrast, he says, podcast listeners actively seek out programs, making them far more likely to be engaged in the accompanying commercials. (See Mike Musgrove, “With this Radio Gig, Who Needs FM?,” Washington Post, Feb. 21, 2010 at G1.)
Paul Camp writes in a Future of Media comment that readers who self-select news and information online miss out on the serendipity factor. When you listen to the radio or thumb through a newspaper, you may encounter a hidden gem of a story that you otherwise might have missed. Paul calls this an “unsung beauty” that neither advertisers nor consumers have fully valued.
Another facet of online-offline media dynamics is the “Water-Cooler Effect.” Brian Stelter in the New York Times discusses how the Internet can enable television viewers to alert each other to and engage in national conversations about politics, sports, and entertainment. While consumer split their time between computer and television screens, the two screens reinforce, rather than compete with each other. (See Brian Stelter, “Water –Cooler Effect: Internet Can be TV’s Friend,” New York Times, Feb. 24, 2010 at A1.)
Do you think these forms of gathering news and information will co-exist in the long term, or do you expect one will dominate? What do you think are the public interest costs and benefits of each? How do you think advertisers will react?Posted in Ideas and Debates , Business Models and Financial Trends , Commercial TV and Radio , Internet and Mobile , Newspapers and Magazines
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
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.
Posted February 3rd, 2010 by Dana Scherer - Senior Policy Analyst, Media Bureau
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.]
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
Posted February 2nd, 2010 by Andrew Kaplan - Special Assistant to the Future of Media project
Posted January 29th, 2010 by Steve Waldman - Senior Advisor to the Chairman
Newspaper editors know that for many years popular entertainment and sports features – like horoscopes, comics, and box scores – in effect subsidized the cost of the city hall reporter and other more civically-oriented journalism. In The Big Switch by Nicholas Karr offers an interesting description of this “bundling” process, and the effects of the internet:
Posted in Ideas and Debates , Newspapers and Magazines
Posted January 27th, 2010 by Elizabeth Andrion - Deputy Chief, Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis
Posted January 25th, 2010 by Steve Waldman - Senior Advisor to the Chairman
Ellen Goodman, a professor at Rutgers University School of Law and expert on media policy emailed me with this fascinating point about last week's Supreme Court ruling:
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court this week overturned statutory controls on corporate funding of campaign advertising (Citizens United v. FEC). It is a hugely significant decision in that it will allow corporations to expend unlimited funds to promote or defeat candidates for office. Before this decision, the corporations were limited to directly funding “issue ads” and funding candidate advertising only through PACs and political parties. The decision will mean a flood of advertising dollars onto broadcast television, cable, and every other medium.
Putting aside what this will mean to electoral politics, what will it mean for news and information? In the short term, it will probably mean tons more advertising dollars especially for local broadcast stations. One could imagine a scenario in which these dollars were re-invested in local journalism, and it was the kind of journalism that supported beat reporters and the other kinds of information gathering that has been under threat. But it’s not at all clear that this is the kind of journalism the market would support or, therefore, that ad dollar recipients would choose to expand.
One thing that seems fairly clear is that the influx of ad dollars will REQUIRE more journalism. Corporations will be required to disclose when they are responsible for advertising (over a certain dollar amount). But it may not always be obvious why they are supporting a certain candidate. Journalism will be required. This might be just the kind of database journalism that the “crowd” or citizen journalists can do, if they have access to the right kinds of data. Or it might be the kind of journalism that only intrepid, “feet on the ground” full-time journalists can do. Probably, it will be a combination of both. Will the news and information apparatus up to making meaning from increased corporate spending on elections?
Posted in Ideas and Debates , Trial Balloons , Business Models and Financial Trends
Posted January 20th, 2010 by William Freedman - Associate Bureau Chief, Media Bureau
The Future of Media project encourages comments and suggestions on the key questions about the changing media landscape. This post includes broad questions about the information needs of consumers and citizens. (The full public notice can be found here.)
1. What are the information needs of citizens and communities? Do citizens and communities have all the information they want and need? How has the situation changed during the past few years? In what ways has the situation improved? Gotten worse? Consider these categories:
· media platforms (e.g., broadcast, cable, satellite, print, Internet, mobile, gaming);
· media formats (e.g., video, audio, print, email, short message formats);
· geographic focus (e.g., international, national, state, regional, local, neighborhood, personal);
· media affiliation (e.g., independent, affiliated with an advocacy organization or movement, academic, governmental);
· organization type (e.g., commercial media, non-profits, public broadcasting, cultural/educational institutions);
· types of journalism (e.g., breaking news, investigative, analysis, commentary, beat reporting, objective reporting, advocacy, specialized, general interest, citizen generated, collaborative); and
· topics (e.g., politics, crime, schools, health, disasters, national news, foreign news, children’s programming).
2. How have the changes in the media landscape affected the delivery of critical information in times of natural disasters, extreme weather, or public health emergencies? From where do people get their information in such situations? What, if anything, should the Commission do to ensure that communities receive such often life-saving information widely and quickly?
3. How do young people receive educational and informational media content? How do they consider and process the news and information provided to them? How should these patterns affect government policy toward the future of the media?
4. Are media consumption patterns different in minority communities? How would those differences affect business models for various media platforms? What are the implications for the availability of news and information in minority communities? How should such business models and their implications affect government policy?
5. What roles should libraries and schools play in supporting community information flow? How can communities best make use of citizens’ talents and interests in the creation, analysis, curating, and sharing of information?
6. What are the best examples of Federal, state and local governments using new media to provide information to the public in a transparent, easy-to-use manner? When has this public information been provided directly to consumers and when has it been used as the basis for lower-cost reporting? In what formats should such data be provided? Should the laws on government provision of information to the public be changed?
Join the discussion to help improve the FCC. Your suggestions, ideas and comments will be part of a public discussion that furthers FCC reform.