Sunday, February 24, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N8): TV Serials, Data Profiling, MOOCs. Wood + More

Serialization - Megan Garber in The Atlantic.
The cliffhanger has an obvious narrative value, but it also has a significant social one. And this is part of the debt television now owes to the Internet: services like Facebook and Twitter and their counterparts—not to mention couch-friendly devices like smartphones and tablets—make watching television an increasingly collaborative experience. Trendrr.TV, which tracks TV viewers’ use of social media, reports a whopping 800 percent growth in commentary about first-run TV shows from 2011 to 2012. Social viewing rewards synchronicity: it’s much more fun to tweet about True Blood when your friends are tweeting about it at the same time. Even with our ability to watch a show after it’s aired, using DVRs or online streaming, 43 percent of all time-shifted viewing still occurs on the day of a show’s original broadcast—suggesting once more that, whatever flexibility technology allows, we still prefer to consume our stories as a group.

Why, though? Why choose to be constrained by programming schedules when so much digital life can be lived on demand, shifted to fit our needs rightthisminute? Part of it, certainly, is social: simultaneous viewing gives us something to talk about. Schedules are one of the compromises we make for community.
Long article in The Nation about data profiling (The Nation):
Big Salesman is engineering a far grosser violation of our privacy than most people suspect—not a single incident, but a slow, unstoppable process of profiling who we are and what we do, to be sold to advertisers and marketing companies. Information that we reveal about ourselves constantly every day in our online and offline actions has become valuable to those who collect and amass it. Because the value does not lie in any one piece of data but in its unification and aggregation, the data in sum is worth far more than its individual parts. Ticketmaster may know which concerts I’ve attended and Amazon may know which albums I’ve bought, but each company would benefit if it had the other’s file on me. It’s a slow death by a thousand clicks: thousands of people see you on the street every day and it does not feel like an invasion of privacy, but if one person follows you everywhere as you work, read, watch movies and do myriad other things, it becomes stalking. And so we are stalked in the pursuit of marketing optimization.
Experimenting with the MOOC business model (Chronicle):
The first, called the "university self-service model," essentially allows a participating university to use edX's platform as a free learning-management system for a course on the condition that part of any revenue generated by the course flow to edX.

The courses developed under that model will be created by "individual faculty members without course-production assistance from edX," and will be branded separately in the edX catalog as "edge" courses until they pass a quality-review process, according to a standard agreement provided to The Chronicle by edX.

Once a self-service course goes live on the edX Web site, edX will collect the first $50,000 generated by the course, or $10,000 for each recurring course. The organization and the university partner will each get 50 percent of all revenue beyond that threshold.

The second model, called the "edX-supported model," casts the organization in the role of consultant and design partner, offering "production assistance" to universities for their MOOCs. The organization charges a base rate of $250,000 for each new course, plus $50,000 for each time a course is offered for an additional term, according to the standard agreement.
Norwegian Wood isn't just a Beatles song it's also a TV show (NYT). Isn't it good?
“My first thought was, ‘Well, why not make a TV series about firewood?’” Mr. Moeklebust said in an interview. “And that eventually cut down to a 12-hour show, with four hours of ordinary produced television, and then eight hours of showing a fireplace live.”

There is no question that it is a popular topic. “Solid Wood” spent more than a year on the nonfiction best-seller list in Norway. Sales so far have exceeded 150,000 copies — the equivalent, as a percentage of the population, to 9.5 million in the United States — not far below the figures for E. L. James’s Norwegian hit “Fifty Shades Fanget,” proof that thrills come in many forms.

“National Firewood Night,” as Friday’s program was called, opened with the host, Rebecca Nedregotten Strand, promising to “try to get to the core of Norwegian firewood culture — because firewood is the foundation of our lives.” Various people discussed its historical and personal significance. “We’ll be sawing, we’ll be splitting, we’ll be stacking and we’ll be burning,” Ms. Nedregotten Strand said.
From my twitter feed this week:

Why Do Publishers Hate Us? | American Libraries Magazine AmLib
David Bowie and Me. Guardian
Coursera Adds 29 Schools, 90 Courses And 4 New Languages To Its Online Learning Platform Techcrunch
An academic press sues a librarian, raising issues of academic freedom | Inside Higher Ed InsideHigherEd

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