Tag Archives: television

Cultural Revolution

China’s first gay TV show launches.

The programme is being broadcast online and will feature gay presenters discussing gay issues. The makers hope it will increase tolerance in a society where homosexuality remains a major taboo. Until 2001, Chinese authorities still classed homosexuality as a mental illness. How the programme fares within China’s notoriously censorious online environment remains to be seen.

The weekly 12 episode show has been produced by Hong Kong listed broadcaster Phoenix Satellite Television. The show’s producer Gang Gang told Reuters, that the show will be a forum “to get in touch with each other and communicate.” He added:

In a lot of major Chinese cities, gay people are playing sports, swimming, working out, singing karaoke — they are getting together for all types of activities.

Such coyness about what gay people actually do when they get together is to be expected. Whilst this is definitely progress, don’t expect Gaydar China to launch anytime soon.

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RIP Robert Adler

Inventor of the modern remote control dies at 93.

remote_wireless.jpgThe BBC reports that Doctor Robert Adler, inventor of the ultrasonic remote control, has died.

Before Adler’s innovation at Zenith, remote controls were wired, or used flashing lights that were effected by sunlight.

Back then, according to Zenith’s official history of the remote, TV sales people were dead against remotes which needed batteries (how we can learn from the Teachings of the Ancients!) because:

If the battery went dead, the sales staff said, the customer might think something was wrong with the TV. If the remote control didn’t emit light or show any other visible sign of functioning, people would think it was broken once the batteries died.

Respecting this insight, Adler’s remote:

was built around aluminum rods that were light in weight and, when struck at one end, emitted distinctive high-frequency sounds. The first such remote control used four rods, each approximately 2-1/2 inches long: one for channel up, one for channel down, one for sound on and off, and one for on and off.

Bless. Adler went on to win 180 patents in a variety of fields. According to his wife, who survives him, “the remote was not his favourite invention, [...] he rarely watched television and was ‘more of a reader'”.

Robert Adler, we salute you.

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Underwhelmed by 4OD

Channel 4’s ‘revolutionary’ VoD service: not quite showtime.

So, Channel 4 has beaten the BBC to the first UK-based ‘full’ Video-On-Demand service, which even uses crafty tech like peer-to-peer file sharing to push the infrastructure costs out to the punters and their poor ISPs. But respect — the legals on content must have been a killer to negotiate. We thought we’d give it a bit of a test-drive.

Visit the website, click the install link, computer says no, as the installer thinks my PC doesn’t meet the requirements:

  • Windows XP
  • A broadband internet connection (well, d’oh)
  • Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher
  • Windows Media Player 10
  • Macromedia Flash 9
  • Microsoft.net Framework 2.0

Well, lucky I wasn’t expecting to watch Big Brother on my Mac…

Anyway, I do have all that software, I just choose to not use Internet Explorer unless coerced. So, quit out of Firefox, start up Internet Explorer 7, click the link to install. Nice pop-up saying ‘Error reading initialization [sic] file’ (what — Channel 4 couldn’t find British programmers to write this thing?), of which nothing in their FAQs. Life’s too short, people.

Looks like others are having problems too. Oops. Nothing here to see, early adopters, move on.

Bored now. In the interim, we suggest spending some quality time with the open-source Democracy player: you can probably find everything you want from 4OD on BitTorrent anyway. Not that that’s legal.

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Downloading Stimulates TV-watching Shock

A study by CBS finds that downloaders watch more TV.

Following on from the music industry’ discovery that music downloaders are mainly fans who can market their music for them (like, duh), CBS has become the latest TV network to realise that allowing people to download TV shows actually makes the content more sticky and compelling.

TV.com reports that a poll taken by CBS shows that over half of the users who have streamed CBS shows on the Web had never seen the shows before on TV. The network says that the new users then became fans of those shows.

CBS says this data will help it and the other networks in their efforts to monetize Web content. The more new people who watch shows at the network sites, the better ad rates the networks can command.

“We’re looking at this as a key change in direction for us now and looking at our programming as dual distribution programming–over the air and on the Internet,” CBS Corp. research chief David Poltrack told reporters today.

The networks are also following the fans in using the web to provoke interest in cancelled shows. Clearly they’ve noticed all the fan lobbying trying to get such shows back on the air. Also witness HBO’s experiments with longtail program, The Wire, as a way to tickle interest in its forthcoming IPTV channel. As we’ve said before, go with this guys not against it (that means you Universal Music) — it’ll be much easier for everyone.

Story via Techdirt.

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One to Watch: Revver

“Better than YouTube”, apparently.

Techdirt reports that:

User-generated video-sharing site [God we need a proper short word for this stuff!] Revver has landed an intriguing partnership with a new UK TV station called FameTV. Revver users will be able to opt-in for TV broadcast and those [clips] selected will be shown on FameTV. Viewers will vote for their favorites by SMS [just like erm 'real' reality TV] and revenue sent to Revver will be split 50/50 with the video publishers.”

As the article notes, there have been previous deals along the same lines — for example, Rocketboom’s with Tivo. Revver is also pretty and smart: “Revver is very 2.0, with post roll still frame ads, revenue splits for publishers, social bookmarking integration and an API.” But even though it’s an interesting idea, Revver has yet to build the crucial critical mass that has made YouTube so huge. And as we’ve noted before, prettiness and efficiency are not necessarily the key to success — just look at scrappy old MySpace. Let’s wait and see.

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Streaming HDTV, The Long Tail, and the Last Days of Discs

YouTube or Citizen Kane? On disc, or online? A reported technological breakthrough suggests that the skirmishes are over. The real battle for the future of video in the home is about to begin.

Technology Review reports claims from a company called MatrixStream that it can now stream HDTV content in realtime, over the public Internet. That’s big news, for a couple of important reasons.

It makes moot the outcome of the format war between the HiDef successors to DVD: if it’s possible to stream HD content on demand long-haul over broadband, it’s unlikely that (m)any punters will take a chance on ending up stuck with the ‘BetaMax of HD’. Instead, they’re going to wait until Apple releases its much-anticipated HiDef ‘media centre’ device. Long tipped to feature iTunes-enabled online access to first-run and classic films and TV series, Apple’s box is an even more compelling proposition if that content can be made instantly available through streaming.

Streaming HD not only marks the death of physical media. It also defines a new battleground: one where encumbent media behemoths will have to fight it out not only against consumer-created content (the Cat Channel) but against existing professional content producers as well. bruckheimer.tv? Hell, that would be on my playlist. Content is media. True today, ubiquitous tomorrow, on a thousand ‘channels-of-me‘.

The only question is, which content will show up on streaming HD? MatrixStream claims to be betting on the long tail:

[...] Independent content producers who could use high-definition Internet IPTV to reach niche audiences with premium programming that makes today’s streaming video look primitive. “We’re talking about the real long tail,” says [MatrixStream's CTO] Chung. “Instead of 500 channels, you’ll have a million. Or, to put it another way, you’ll have just one channel — yours.”

That’s a lot of content, and it will take a while for producers to create (and financiers to see the value of) high-quality niche programming. In the interim, we’re sceptical that punters who have just paid out for their HD home cinema ‘experience’ will use it to watch the same YouTube nonsense that keeps them busy in the office. Likewise, we doubt that MatrixStream’s system will herald the crossover of fan-created TV into the mainstream (not yet, at least).

We think they’re most likely to get bought out by Apple and end up streaming the same glossy, professionally-produced content we’re busily consuming on our Sky+ boxes and at the cinema — the revolutionary aspects of this technology will be in the way it opens up the market to different media and channel models. Assuming of course that Apple (or whoever gets their deals in place first) doesn’t just lock it all down with DRM and create a media monopoly that Charles Foster Kane himself would have envied. Stay (ahem) tuned.

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Transmedia: The Future of Television Isn’t What It Used To Be

Anyone see the season finale of Criminal Minds?

The Fisher King, Part 1 [just aired in the UK, apologies to US readers] was, of course, a cliff-hanger in the traditional season send-off style, with one member of the central team about to get blown away by an evil serial killer. So far so ‘who killed JR’.

But bonus points to any of you who noticed that the episode was also a textbook exercise in transmedia production, as defined by Henry Jenkins in our recent interview:

[T]ransmedia storytelling or more broadly transmedia entertainment [...] [is] a system where each medium makes a distinct contribution to the media franchise, each is left to do what it does best, and the reader is able to expand on their experience of a favorite story by pulling together bits and pieces of information from various sources.

The plot centred around a cryptic series of macabre clues sent by the Bad Guy to the team members — a severed head, a music box, a British butterfly — culminating in a book code left uncracked at series end. But rather than remaining tucked away in some character’s notepad, the whole code was written up on a large whiteboard, next to all the clues, in frame long enough for anyone with a PVR or PC to screengrab, upload and spend the rest of the summer pondering.

And of course that’s exactly what’s happening. Rather than forgetting about the series until next season, fans are working together online to crack the code ahead of the characters. A Google search on ‘”Criminal Minds” book code’ proves that the series maybe be off-air, but the action has simply moved online. Transmedia indeed. And noteable for being so neatly executed in a mainstream drama series — while Lost is built around the idea of puzzles within puzzles, Criminal Minds is still, at heart, a post-Thomas Harris police procedural.

Remember when the future of television was interactive (which always, frankly, sounded a bit tedious)? Turns out it’s transmedial. And fun.

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Henry Jenkins: On Convergence Culture

Henry Jenkins’ new book tells the story of emergent participatory media. He kindly granted BigShinyThing an exclusive email interview.

For a while now, we’ve been paying great attention to the writings of Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies graduate program at MIT.

Over the last few years, he’s argued that the participatory creation led by fans and gamers heralds a transformation in creative media. His new book, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide ties together many of the threads of his research, and was recently published to rave reviews from all sides.

While impatiently waiting for our copy to arrive, we caught up with Jenkins via email to get our readers the lowdown on his persuasive arguments about fan culture, collaborative production, and the social networking site backlash.

BST: We’re still waiting for your book to turn up in the mail! Can you tell us a little about its premise?

JENKINS: We live in an age where every story, image, brand, relationship will play itself out across the broadest possible array of media channels. This convergence is shaped top-down by decisions made in corporate boardrooms by companies wishing to tap their cross-media ownership and bottom-up by decisions made in teen’s bedrooms as they want to consume the media they want where they want it and when they want it.

Consumers are gaining a new power as they learn to operate within the knowledge cultures emerging within a networked society and as they learn to share media they’ve produced with each other.

Right now, they are acquiring and mastering these skills through their play with popular culture, but soon they will be applying them towards other powerful institutions. And Stuff.

You are a fan of fans, and argue that fans have long been ahead of the convergence curve, with their understanding that the ‘text’ of the stories they care about is open to engagement, involvement, transformation. Now a much wider community is participating in cultural creation. Is there an essential difference between fan-created content and other content contributions from the ‘former audience’?

Fans have been and are likely to continue to be the shock troops in this transformation of our culture — highly motivated, passionately committed, and socially networked. They are early adopters of new technologies and willing to experiment with new relationships to culture. (We might also throw into this category other highly motivated groups such as bloggers and gamers.)

There are signs that fan culture practices and products are spreading throughout the culture. Recent statistics from the Pew Center of Internet and American Life found that more than half of teens online produce some form of media and many of them shared what they produced by others. They are part of the participatory culture I am describing. So are people who join discussion forms or sign up for RSS feeds to get more information about their favorite band or television program.

As writers like Will Wright and Raph Koster have suggested, there is a pyramid of participation. Not everyone will want to spend massive amounts of time generating new content — some will simply want to engage with content others have produced. Not everyone will write fan stories — some may share critical responses with the authors. Not everyone will want to spoil reality television programs — some will simply enjoy the new relationships to the program the spoiler community helps to create for them. But the expansion of this participatory culture changes the context in which media content gets produced and distributed and thus it impacts all of us one way or another. Given this, I would imagine fans may still enjoy a privileged status in participatory culture but more and more people will benefit from the once invisible cultural work of fans.

As you define it, is ‘convergence’ an historical event, which has already occurred, an epoch (like the Renaissance), during which we are living, or something experiential, which is happening to different groups of people at differing times, in different ways?

That’s an interesting question. In some ways, each of these would be accurate.

In the book, I challenge those who think of convergence as a technological process and feel that we are a long way from integrating our communications technologies. I suggest we are already living in a convergence culture if we take advantage of the many kludged together ways that content travels across media platforms right now.

But I also see convergence as an ongoing process — not an endpoint — so it doesn’t make sense to read it as a historical event that has already occured, even if some aspects of the change have been building over an extended period of time at this point. I do think convergence is going to define our relationship to media for an extended period of time forward so it is in some ways an epoch.

But I also think the transitional nature of the present moment, as well as the uneven distribution of media technologies, means that we are not all living in convergence culture in the same ways or the same degrees. If it is an epoch, then, it is one that is just beginning and the long term consequences of these shifts are going to play themselves out for years and years to come.

The ‘Renaissance Man’ was a new creature, in that ‘his’ identity was open to invention, construction, reassembly, interrogation. What defines the ‘Convergence Person’, if such a person exists as a type? Who exemplifies this, and why?

The Renaissance Man was someone who sought to contain within their own individual intellect as much as possible of what anyone on the planet at that time knew.

Today, with the explosion of information we are all experiencing, it is simply not humanly possible to know everything. Most of us alive today know more about a broader range of topics than most of the people living in the Renaissance but we know a much smaller portion of what could be known that the idealized vision of the Renaissance Man suggests.

This is where Pierre Levy’s notion of Collective Intelligence enters the picture. Today, we see knowledge as dispersed across social networks. Everybody knows something, nobody knows everything, and what is known by any member is accessible to the group on demand. The Convergence Person thus knows how to tap that network to get the knowledge they need and knows how to make meaningful contributions back to the group in return. The Renaissance Man was a creature of hierarchy and expertise; the Convergence Person is a creature of adhocracy and pooled information.

Do you feel that converged culture offers specific opportunities to — or imposes particular obligations on — the ‘official’ creators of fictional worlds (open-endedness, unresolved story arcs etc)?

In the book, I offer two terms to refer to the aesthetic goals of convergence culture.

First, works seek to be cultural attractors. If consumption is now social and communal, then certain works will attract together people of similar interests so that they can begin to pool knowledge together. To do that, they often must tap existing cultural references in the way that Lost or The Matrix or Harry Potter can be said to do.

Second, works seek to be cultural activators. They give audiences something to do — some activity, some roles and goals, some meaningful form of participation. This can be literally the case in terms of the mechanisms of participation that surround reality television or computer games. Or it can simply be the show embeds lots of secrets and thus opens itself up to a prolonged process of decryption, as seems to be the case of Lost. There are plenty of shows that achieve the first, far fewer which achieve the second.

Once you’ve designed a cultural attractor and activator, the next step out would be to provide raw materials which fans then want to recombine in new ways and thus generate new forms of cultural expression. And the final step in this process may be to find ways to monitor and amplify the creative energies of these fan communities to sustain popular interest in your program.

To achieve the first two, you need the skills and creativity of professional creators. To achieve the second two, you have to create a context where grassroots creativity is respected rather than shut down.

Lost would seem to be a show which does very well by the first two criteria: a decade ago, Lost would be a cult show like Twin Peaks was in its time. Now, it is one of the highest rated shows on American television despite the fact that, as Steven Johnson has pointed out, it is also one of the most intellectually demanding shows on American television (or more precisely because it is so demanding.) It is designed in a way to generate constant secrets which we want to uncover and thus providing fuel for the participation of large scale knowledge communities. The map which was flashed across the screen for a split second in a single episode is, as Jason Mittell has noted, emblematic of that new relationship with the consumer.

As of this summer, the Lost Team has pushed this one step further by creating an alternate reality game that will generate new opportunities for participation and socialization around the series. There has been some suggestion that the Lost writers also monitor online communities and reshape the story in response to their speculations.

There has so far been fewer signs of audiences recreating Lost or creating the next generation of Lost on their own. This may be because the series is so demanding and people are still so unsettled in their expectations about what is actually going on there. In that regard, Lost may generate more new culture once it is finished than it has so far. This was certainly the case with Twin Peaks which only really started to inspire fan fiction once it was off the air. It is spectacular though to recognize that Wrapped in Plastic, a fanzine produced when the show was first aired, is still being produced and read — and if anything, it has more subscribers now, a decade plus later, than when the series was first broadcast. This is a classic illustration of the ways that fans can help extend the shelf life of media products.

With the advent of weightless digital media, we’ve anticipated some global crossover hit from somewhere other than the ‘first world’, but so far, it’s not happened — music in particular seems to exist in tight local (spatial or cultural) ghettos of genre. Any thoughts on what it would take for a truly converged global music culture and if/when it will happen?

I think you are measuring success by the old standards — looking for mega-hits — whereas the greatest impact of globalization in media content so far comes on the other end of Chris Anderson’s long tail. Global media in the West remains niche media.

Indeed, you can argue that it is the most vivid example of the potential of niche media for market success. Music is, as you note above, in general, defined right now by ever more precise niches or “ghettos of genre” to use your term. While music can be a shared resource within subcultural communities, there is very little music we listen to as a culture at large.

The Nichification of music is suggested by something like MySpace which emerged initially as a vehicle for helping people to find music that they liked by tapping their social networks. The massification of music might be suggested by something like American Idol — which has self consciously sought to generate music that will appeal across a broad demographic (though in reality, the best Idols have turned out to be second run performers on the show who then get pulled into specialized niches once they depart it.)

Right now, I see people consuming more and more media from other parts of the world — global fusion music, anime and manga, Bollywood films, Latin America soaps, Nigerian horror films, etc. but in fairly localized communities of interests. We are seeing this culture brought into the western market by a mixture of Otaku (fans) and Desi (immigrants): fans seek out difference where-ever they can find it in the world; immigrants seek to maintain ties back to the mother country which they left. Both contribute to a cultural landscape where global media is more readily available. And the results can take off dramatically.

Do you think that the diversification of modes of media consumption (iPod, PVR/DVR, home cinema, mobile phone) makes for a fundamental challenge to creators of ‘content’? If so, what’s the challenge, and where do you see this challenge leading?

Ok — there are two potential challenges — one a dead-end, the other a new possibility for gifted entertainers.

The dead end is the idea of developing content that simply gets reconfigured easily across all of those platforms. This is an idea that’s been kicking around for a while and this practice shows little to no appreciation of the aesthetic and social dimensions of those various media.

The result will be something like the pan and scan prints of films which have been reconfigured to fit our television screens as opposed to the letterboxed prints that reflect a recognition of the aesthetic practices that shaped the original product and seek a meaningful compromise as it is moved into the new medium.

To create media content that is mechanically reconfigured across all of those platforms is to produce content that really exploits the potentials of none of those media. We’ve seen this in cinema where the expressive uses of cinemascope found in the 1950s when films were designed for the big screen have given way to the pretty limited use of the frame edges that characterize current filmmaking practice. However big the screen looks in the theatre, the significant action has to play out within the boxed window which will be visible on the television screen.

There will of course be some content that moves easily from platform to platform but in general, I think one has to develop strategies appropriate for each space. We are already seeing that there are television series that do spectacularly well on video iPod that are not ratings champs on broadcast and other shows, sitcoms, dramatically under-perform in these new contexts.

The alternative is what I am calling transmedia storytelling or more broadly transmedia entertainment. This is a system where each medium makes a distinct contribution to the media franchise, each is left to do what it does best, and the reader is able to expand on their experience of a favorite story by pulling together bits and pieces of information from various sources.

I discuss this in the book in terms of The Matrix where the films, animation, games, and comics each made unique and integral contributions to the whole. This is similar to the “media mix” culture that has emerged in Japan, for example. I believe that transmedia storytelling represents the most compelling way to use convergence to expand the canvas on which our most creative entertainers work.

We are convinced that the current proliferation of hardware and software is but a moment ie netflix, PVRs, chargeable film downloads, before content moves entirely online (reaches convergence). However, the media industry at large appears to be in denial about this — do you agree?

I am much more interested in predicting where our culture is going than predicting where technology is going. My hunch is that we are going to see a variety of delivery mechanisms for the foreseeable future and indeed, that there will be no steady state of media convergence, no fully integrated technological infrastructure.

We are seeing that divergence as demonstrated by specialized devices is part of the process by which convergence operates. I don’t happen to like the idea of my cell phone as a media appliance, for example, and I find that I prefer to watch dvds on a portable dvd player rather than my laptop. These are probably idiosyncratic choices but then, the point is that every consumer wants their own unique mix of media appliances because they like certain affordances each offers in specific contexts.

My hunch is that as soon as some media functions get integrated, someone else will offer a new appliance that seperates them out again for consumers who want a different relationship to media content. This goes back to what I say about convergence being a process rather than an endpoint. We are going to see ever more complicated configurations of media, ever more complex integrations of media content, but we may never reach a technological steady state.

This doesn’t mean that all of the stop gap measures you are referring to above are here to stay. They will only last if they are seen by consumers as serving necessary functions or if they serve a clear niche in the new media infrastructure.

Nobody I suspect imagines the video iPod say is the best possible way to watch television. It simply came along at the right moment to provide an infrastructure to support television content on demand. And we will see a better solution emerge. We are already seeing Netflix and other services experiment with new ways to get movies into the hands of consumers besides mailing dvds. On the other hand, there are signs that people still want to buy books even where they can download the content for free on the web.

danah boyd and yourself seem to have become (reluctantly) the most visible defenders of young people’s rights to explore and create identity using emergent media. We remember when ‘learning-though-doing’ with technology and media was at the core of education, but it seems that the young people growing up now have to reclaim reedoms that have somehow subsequently been lost without a fight — any thoughts on what went wrong with the relationship between children and tools/media, and what we grownups can do to help them maintain and/or win back their right to play (with technology, identity, etc)?

In a way, each generation of young people across history have had to fight their own battles for expressive freedom and for the right to play with technology and identity. Young people have always been on the cutting edge of media change as they search for ways to escape the surveillance of their parents and define their own space in the world. They gravitate towards the new and the shiny and they are willing to put in the time to adopt it to their needs and interests.

Parents are often spooked by their relationship to these technologies that were not part of the culture of their own childhoods. They don’t know how to protect their children as they go into that space — and this is part of the point.

All it takes is one shocking tragedy — something like the Columbine shooting — to turn their ignorance into fear and then it takes the mixture of moral reformers, sensationalistic media, and opportunistic politicians to turn their fear into a moral panic which results in laws and regulations that try to put the genie back in the bottle again. It can take a generation to reverse those constraints — more particularly, it takes the generation which came of age with those technologies to take on adult roles as parents, teachers, lawyers, and citizens. Then, we see a reversal of course which allows us to adopt a more normalized attitude towards those technologies and practices.

With Columbine and video games, we were lucky that few of the laws passed in that phase of moral panic withstood judicial review. With MySpace, we are apt to be less lucky because if DOPA passes, it will be a law that is going to be hard to challenge in courts. Technically it isn’t censorship. Schools are not prohibited for allowing youth to access MySpace. They simply lose federal funding if they do so. And the Federal government can make any stipulation it wants on how it distributes its funds.

The result is going to be a law which we will actively have to repel once the generation that has grown up using social network software becomes adults. This is going to be a huge step back for participatory culture and a big step back for those of us who want to see Web 2.0 applications used more fully in the classroom. What is shocking is that it is occuring with so little real public discussion because the mainstream media has done everything it can to scare people about MySpace and has little interest in reporting the truth about this story.

That said, I think there was a fatal mistake in the discourse about youth and digital media in the 1990s. It became all about the digital divide which got defined in terms of access to technologies. This wasn’t true of [Seymour] Papert and a few others but it became the mantra. “Let’s build a bridge to the 21st century. Let’s wire our classroom.” Well, we wired the classroom — now what? We now face the participation gap — the gap between those who have unlimited access to new media outside of school (and more importantly, the skills and experiences they enable) and those who have limited bandwidth, limited access, on filtered computers. We dealt with the technological challenges but not the social and cultural challenges. And we have been held hostage by a culture war discourse that has been very effective at transforming adult ignorance into fear and backlash against those forms of cultural experience teens have found for themselves in the online world.

I am very involved right now in developing the case for a very different form of media education — one which grows out of a desire to enable kids to become more active participants in the participatory culture I describe in my book.

That’s where Convergence Culture ends — with the call for new media literacies — and that’s where my new book begins. We are going to be releasing a white paper later this fall that paves the way for a whole range of pedagogical activities designed to help teachers and parents better appreciate the value of gaming, social networking, fan fiction writing, and all of the other things the most digitally adept kids are doing now.

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Reality Bites

Channel 4 is threatened with a viewer strike as it returns voted-out housemates to Big Brother.

daily star.gifIf there’s one thing guaranteed to make the great British public take to the streets it’s messing with their reality TV. Earlier this week, in an attempt to boost ratings and secure media-friendly finalists, Channel 4 returned 4 housemates to the Big Brother house-next-door with one having the chance to go back in to the main house and be eligible to win the show. Viewers have reacted to the news that their phone votes were wasted with No Small Ire.

There have been to date been more than 2,500 complaints to the UK broadcast regulator from viewers who were under the impression that their votes resulted in permanent eviction from the Big Brother house. Channel 4’s claim that all of the proceeds of the most recent vote have gone to charity has done little to quell the furore.

Channel 4 shouldn’t really be surprised. Reality TV is the TV that viewers control and participatory culture is the genie that stubbornly refuses to get back in its bottle. The ‘former audience’ (as Dan Gillmour of We the Media rather cleverly described us all back in 2002) has spoken.

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EU Moves to Censor Online Video

Media and tech companies have come out fighting against EU proposals to bring the Net under existing broadcasting rules.

BusinessWeek reports that an alliance of British companies — including ITV, BT, Vodafone and the UK subsidiaries of Yahoo! — have said that a European Commission proposal to impose rules for traditional broadcasters on new media providers could have ‘unintended consequences’ and hurt investment (not to mention hurt their own potential business growth). The EU wants to make IPTV and TV-like services follow the same set of rules as existing broadcast programming. Currently the rules include limits on hate speech, advertising and the kind of content that can be broadcast to children.

All we can say is: good luck.

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