Tuesday, December 03, 2013

MediaWeek (V7 N48): Amazon Drones, Digital Afterlife, PW Person of the Year + More

Lots and hype and hyperbole about Amazon.com this week.   At least Scott Pelley at 60mins went right to the top and managed to keep his hands clean.  As you probably know by now,  Amazon is going to deliver your toys to you with a toy helicopter.
Amazon is the world's largest online retailer, serving 225M customers worldwide. What's next for the company that prides itself on disrupting tradition? Charlie Rose interviews Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos.

Other reporters tried out the drudgery of working in a warehouse to see how they were treated.  Guardian.
For a week, I was an Amazon elf: a temporary worker who got a job through a Swansea employment agency – though it turned out I wasn't the only journalist who happened upon this idea. Last Monday, BBC's Panorama aired a programme that featured secret filming from inside the same warehouse. I wonder for a moment if we have committed the ultimate media absurdity and the show's undercover reporter, Adam Littler, has secretly filmed me while I was secretly interviewing him. He didn't, but it's not a coincidence that the heat is on the world's most successful online business. Because Amazon is the future of shopping; being an Amazon "associate" in an Amazon "fulfilment centre" – take that for doublespeak, Mr Orwell – is the future of work; and Amazon's payment of minimal tax in any jurisdiction is the future of global business. A future in which multinational corporations wield more power than governments.
And The Economist on the same story.

Kevin Roose in NY Mag believes something more sinister(ish):
Instead, I think Bezos is up to something much more practical. By unveiling a huge drone program in progress, he's sending a message to the FAA regulators and Senate committees who are currently considering how unmanned aircraft can be used commercially. And that message is: Don't even think about getting in our way. By floating a teaser about the drone program, and allowing the public to freak out about it, he's showing regulators how popular such a scheme would be, and how much backlash they'd face if they outlawed it.

Also, NYMag will now go to bi-monthly printing rather than weekly.  There's an iPad version.

"New York has evolved dramatically since its founding in 1968, with its intelligence, humor, playfulness, and visual punch remaining constants," editor-in-chief Adam Moss said in a statement. "Readers will continue to find what they love in the magazine, and we're undertaking these new changes to meet their changing media habits on all platforms."  The company did not address any financial reasons for its print publishing cuts in the statement.  Nymag.com will have a new science blog, and more photography and political and cultural coverage, according to New York Media.

Questions about the digital afterlife from the FT:
The elderly who die today still leave behind an attic full of relics for children and grandchildren to rifle through: boxes of love letters and photos documenting the family history. But increasingly, such memorabilia is password-protected and stored online. Many wedding albums exist only on Flickr. The history of courtship and falling in love among today’s young newlyweds is documented on Facebook and in text messages.
“Look how awful people are when they fight over the couch or dad’s graduation ring,” says Josh Slocum, president of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, an advocacy group. “I can only imagine what the fight will look like over dad’s computer files.”
In the US, such questions fall into the messy intersection of state property laws, federal privacy laws and corporate policies of the companies housing online accounts.
A handful of US states have passed laws addressing the treatment of digital remains. In Oklahoma and Idaho, digital data are treated like tangible property. The executor of a will can take control of social networking or email accounts the same as bank accounts and houses, and decide to continue operating them or shut them down. In Indiana, a law allows access to those accounts but not control. In Rhode Island and Connecticut, only access to email accounts is covered.
The Atlantic notes the awarding to Oren Teicher as PW Person of the Year:
This year's selection for PW's Person of the Year represents a wholly different approach to the honor. It is Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, and the ABA's board of directors, the organization that represents the country's independent book stores. The fact that these traditional brick-and-mortar, mainly locally owned bookstores are being recognized as outstanding contributors to publishing is not merely a sympathetic gesture to old-fashioned commerce in a generally downward trajectory. The accolade is justified by results defying the odds that so heavily favor the Amazon juggernaut and the chain stores, still led by (the struggling) Barnes & Noble.

From Twitter;
Yahoo’s Flickr Resurgence Continues With Handsome Photo Books, But Reliance On Sets Could Stumble
Prompt.ly Raises $1.5M Seed To Become The OpenTable For Time And Services  
Becksistentialism: because man is a goal-seeking animal  

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