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Unbundling’s downside: the air travel analogy

So here’s an analogy you don’t hear every day: airline fees and multichannel video. But there may be a disturbing symmetry brewing, thinks the New York Times writer Neil Irwin. He points to the airline industry’s embrace of bric-a-brac fees for piecemeal services like beverages, meals and baggage handling, and says pay TV could be headed to a similar place if providers unbundle catch-all video packages.

Turntables rejoice: Renewed mojo for vinyl records

That turntable collecting dust in your basement may be due for a second life. In a rare example of an analog resurgence, sales of vinyl records are rising so fast that manufacturers can't keep up with the demand. The 7 million flat, round, black, glistening LPs purchased through early December, 2014 represent a 50 percent rise from a year earlier, as indie rock fans in particular embrace the needle. But the resurgence, alas, may be limited. "The  record-making business is stirring to life—but it’s still on its last legs," writes the Wall Street Journal's Neil Shah. 

The care and vining of television in the new era

While the traditional television crowd wasn't looking, an entirely new content explosion was rising up on YouTube. Here, New Yorker contributor Tad Friend pens a gotta-read piece here about Big Media's attempt to catch up with and/or co-opt the new original online video movement -- and why the next big thing in TV might last only six seconds. One irresistable line: "The digital realm is no country for old men; younger, fleeter forms and stars are emerging faster and faster, and you almost can’t trust anyone over thirteen to understand them."

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Wednesday, March, 11 2015

The semantics of a new television era

By: Stewart Schley Wednesday, March, 11 2015

Here’s when you know innovation has gone mainstream: People stop talking about it.


By name, that is. Some old-school examples: When’s the last time you casually mentioned you were about to use “the postal system” to deliver a sealed envelope? Can you recall a moment when you announced you’d need to make use of “electricity” to fire up a cool new music appliance? How about television itself? Do you “turn on the television set” or do you simply watch a show?


When the semantics around devices and technologies recede into the conversational background, we know they’ve truly arrived. That moment is getting closer with regard to Internet-streamed video, but we’re not quite there yet.


Proof exists in a recent edition of the New York Times, which described comedian Tina Fey’s Netflix-bound original comedy series this way:


“The longtime collaborators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock return to producing television (albeit the streaming variety) with a new series starring Ellie Kemper.”


The telltale reference to “the streaming variety” offers a popular culture indicator of where Internet video stands circa 2015. Here, the writer presumes it’s important to explain that a new show from one of today’s greatest comedic minds happens to fall into the “streaming” category. The act is notable by contrast. Had Fey’s new creation, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” been destined for CBS, we doubt the article would bother to describe it as a “broadcast network” TV show.


The same phenomenon used to prevail with “cable TV” programs, but has long since faded. Now, the designator that matters is merely which of many networks (USA Network, FX, et al)…

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