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Related Names Dacia Sanchez. Matthew Sanchez Historical Name Popularity Name Popularity for Matthew Sanchez Percent of Births 0 0. A reduction of the number of owners in a newspaper market often leads to an increase in product differentiation. Firms in these situations find it is more profitable to lure consumers with new products than by trying to ape established ones.
Another classic example here is subscription television, where a single firm offers consumers dozens of highly diverse channels. If we are serious about encouraging media diversity we should be at the very least liberalising the number of television licences. Across the media sector, firms are searching for new business models. As audiences fragment, many firms feel that they have to expand their empires just to keep up. This may not end up being a successful strategy. In the United States, a wave of consolidations a few years ago has been followed by widespread break-ups and divestitures.
But in such a competitive environment, these firms need to be allowed to experiment with business structures as much as possible. Applying economy-wide rather than sector-specific competition law to the industry is a step in the right direction. Forty years since his death, Che Guevara is selling strong. But his continuing iconic status tells us less about Guevara and more about the irreverence and unpredictability of culture in a capitalist society. There is hardly a more recognisable symbol of revolutionary chic. One online store sells clocks with his iconic portrait to emphasise just how anti-establishment wall-mountable clocks can be.
Che Guevara is the Ralph Lauren polo shirt of the anti-capitalist set. Guevara was a Marxist guerilla who made a specialty of executing his opponents and prisoners without trial.
He pioneered techniques of psychological torture. For this reason, it would be easy to chalk up the modern admiration of Guevara to dormant totalitarian fantasies in the left. But there is already too much self-righteous indignation in politics. For most people, Guevara is simply a vague symbol of rebelliousness.
The modern cult of Guevara loves the rebel, but ignores his cause. Nevertheless, even that anti-establishment credibility is being seriously devalued. Advertising executives appropriate his image to make their brands seem edgy. The iconic Guevara has been devalued nearly to the point of meaninglessness. What remains is little more than a striking piece of graphic design with strong colours.
This is hardly surprising. Popular culture has a wonderful habit of appropriating meaningful symbols, processing them into accessible packages, making jokes about them and finally selling them for a profit. The modern cultural economy has a voracious appetite for icons to ridicule and market.
The popularity of Soviet propaganda posters is undiminished by an awareness of the brutal oppression of Soviet communism. Same too for Chinese communism — posters of Chairman Mao are widely available even as the tragedy of the Cultural Revolution is revealed to the West. Even Nazism can be the brunt of cultural ridicule. But Nazi kitsch has not been so comfortably embraced by popular culture — perhaps a testament to our continued inability to fully comprehend the horror of the Holocaust. Similarly, not every use of the Guevara icon is ironic or in jest.
Those who display it in deliberate solidarity with the Argentinian guerilla fighter are either ignorant or morally bankrupt. Guevara was nowhere near the quasi-Jesus figure portrayed in the film The Motorcycle Diaries. For many of the people who suffered from his attempts at Marxist revolution, a Guevara T-shirt is the moral equivalent of a Stalin T-shirt. Pornography is consensual and legal. Terrorism and child abuse are reprehensible violent crimes.
From a public policy perspective they require two distinct approaches. Chat room operators lack the expertise and resources to detect possible future illegal activity. It is, after all, the role of government to protect people from harm, not the role of private companies. Anti-terrorism should also be the focus of law enforcement, not communications regulators and ISPs.
But until today, the Liberal Party had been much more sensible about online pornography than the Labor Party. Such ISP-level filtering will be powerless against pornography distribution over peer-to-peer networks, chat sites or even email. Teenagers eager to get their hands on some porn will not be at all deterred.
They already have a remarkable array of tools to do so. Many internet service providers already offer their customers free or subsidised content filters as part of their broadband package. Terrorism and child abuse are the responsibility of governments, but monitoring the exposure of children to pornography should be the responsibility of parents and guardians.
But getting to its th birthday may be tougher. The ABC has to come to terms with the dramatic technological changes sweeping across the media landscape, changes that are slowly eroding the rationale for public broadcasting. The ABC has eagerly jumped at fads rather than focused on its strengths.
It has been convinced by a stream of hyperbolic and ridiculous media reports that the virtual world Second Life is the inevitable future of the internet. Second Life is essentially a glorified chat room with a focus on sex and gambling, but the public broadcaster has gullibly embraced it. A recent attempt to duplicate the success of the video-sharing site YouTube was also unsuccessful.
The website that accompanied the screening of The Great Global Warming Swindle asked viewers to upload their own videos critiquing or commenting on the documentary. But by the time the forum was shut down, only two people had done so. The discussion forums that accompany many of its radio and television programs are popular and cost effective. The network produces a huge volume of content every day and provides much of it online as podcasts and streaming video, instantly multiplying its value for taxpayers. Indeed, shifting material online is a far more vital task for the ABC than producing yet another mini-series based on a significant moment for the labour movement.
A debate rages within the ABC as to whether to charge for access to online content. Being asked to pay for ABC programming twice, the first time through the tax system, is hard to stomach. But, more important, the worst thing for a media company is not for consumers to enjoy its content without paying but to not enjoy it at all.
The media landscape is characterised by an abundance of material. In a crowded, highly competitive market, few companies can afford to deliberately exclude their consumers. This abundance also presents a problem for the ABC. Public broadcasting is premised on scarcity. The limited space on the broadcasting spectrum, so the argument goes, means that commercial broadcasters will not be able to provide high-quality or important programming.
Public broadcasting steps in to fill that gap. But with the widespread availability of the internet, quality journalism has never been more plentiful. Quality opinion and editorial is produced by millions of amateurs and professionals, on and offline. Quality drama is available at the click of a mouse from anywhere in the world. If anything, media consumers suffer from an overload of information and entertainment. In such an environment, it is hard to justify spending vast sums on public broadcasting.
The ABC may need to look towards another programming and funding model if it is survive to meet its next big milestone, in A useful model to consider is provided by C-SPAN, the US cable TV network dedicated to hour coverage of congressional debate, campaign trail footage, speeches and book forums. C-SPAN is self-consciously focused on objectivity, even going so far as avoiding political commentary. One of the most important roles the ABC has is broadcasting parliamentary proceedings, and the C-SPAN model would allow it to continue and expand on this valuable programming.
C-SPAN, however, is a good example of how the free market can provide quality public affairs broadcasting in the absence of government subsidy. The network is a privately run, not-for-profit company. Alternative models, such as accepting advertising or even full privatisation, have been well discussed by critics of the ABC. But probably sooner than it expects, Aunty is going to have to provide an answer to a simple question: what role should public broadcasting have in an age of media abundance?
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is arguing that Google is responsible for the content of the advertisements that accompany its search results, and that it is not sufficiently obvious that they are ads. The ACCC alleges that ads that appear to link to one firm, but in fact link to another firm, are in violation of trade practices law. But Google already has its own dispute resolution process that adequately resolves these problems.
The company may seem like it owns the internet, but the history of software and computing shows us that such domination is easy to lose. Users will migrate if they stop trusting Google. Internet users are fairly sophisticated at determining the validity of individual sites. They have to be — the deluge of email spam has made computer literacy a requirement. Even so, if a search engine wanted to pepper its results with ads, it should not be against the law to do so. Publications mix paid advertisements and editorial content shamelessly, but do not find themselves the target of high-profile ACCC lawsuits and media releases.
The biggest challenge modern software companies have is developing business models that can actually turn a profit. Reckless regulatory intervention will limit the ability for firms to experiment with ad-based revenue models. The action against Google is a symptom of a deeper struggle that government and regulators are having with the implications of digital technology and the internet. Rather than seeing the paradigmshifting opportunities of online services, they are merely being seen as a further opportunity to expand the turf of the regulator.
ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel has repeatedly argued that online sporting content provided exclusively to Telstra BigPond subscribers could constitute a monopolistic bottleneck to competition. Never mind that this is a whole new service developed entrepreneurially by Telstra, and the rights to provide this content to subscribers had been ascertained by fair competition on the open market.
Nor that Optus and other service providers are also seeking to provide unique content of their own. The regulator has announced that this is the first action of its type internationally. But this is not entirely the case. By arguing that Google is responsible for the content of its ads, the ACCC joins individuals and firms who sue the search engine for merely linking to objectionable material. Such activity is becoming common internationally — rather than suing the site or sponsor of the offending material, litigants target the much higher-profile Google.
This ensures publicity and targets an entity that is wealthy enough to pay should the suit be successful. There is a further worrying implication of this action. The software industry used to be clearly separate from the regulatory morass that rules other industries. The industry moves astonishingly fast, has no entry barriers and is characterised by the sort of innovation and entrepreneurial action that renders regulatory oversight redundant. But in Europe and the United States, the potential expansion of regulation to online services has forced tech companies to set up lobbying divisions in Brussels and Washington staffed with lawyers and government relations specialists.
The last thing the industry needs is to compel software engineers to sit down with regulators before they can offer new services. To do so would be to invite the same regulatory stagnation that has enveloped telecommunications. If the people who watch Big Brother are so stupid, why do we allow them to vote? After all, the cultural criticism of reality television is, implicitly, a criticism of its audience. The political condemnation which has greeted a series of reality television controversies could easily backfire.
The series is simple entertainment, but it is entertainment designed to reflect the social lives and concerns of its audience. There is more to Big Brother than voyeurism. Nevertheless, in June this year, the cultural pessimists who have made sport of condemning the reality television genre were provided with yet another target for their concentrated hysteria. A new Dutch reality television programme, The Big Donor Show, starred a terminally ill woman with a kidney to donate.
Three potential donor recipients were to compete for the life-saving organ. Of course, it was a stunt, designed to highlight the shortage of organ donors in the Netherlands and, indeed, around the world. The conservative politicians who had been quick to condemn the programme and call for its censorship awkwardly tried to back away.
The show may have been designed to attract attention to the shortage of organ donors, but the politicians who instinctively shot from the hip illustrated just how highly politicised reality television has become. Reality television attracts vehement criticism—criticism about its supposed emphasis on sex, its voyeurism, its artlessness, and its seeming appeal to the lowest common denominator. On the surface, many of these objections seem unfounded.
The success of the Dutch kidney donor stunt was only made possible by exploiting the instant notoriety with which reality television has become synonymous. And just as in the Netherlands, over-zealous Australian politicians have rushed to condemn the tone and content of the genre. But the political response in Australia has gone much further than simple statements to the press. The knee-jerk reaction to a series of reality television scandals has led to a major regulatory expansion for online content and delivery.
The controversy surrounding Big Brother in mid has inspired the federal government to increase the powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority ACMA to police mobile phone and online content. Endemol, the production company which produced the stunt, was one of the major companies responsible for the modern wave of reality television.
It produced the first series of Big Brother which aired in on Dutch commercial television. These have all been franchised internationally: there are now 95 different winners of the Idol series around the world, and more than winners of Big Brother. But reality television, a loose genre which presents largely unscripted non-actors in various contrived situations, has a long history. The borders of reality television are unclear.
The Seven Up! Series — the latest episode of which was reviewed in the December edition of the IPA Review — also shares some similarities with this strand of the genre. Like a game show, the participants in Big Brother compete against each other for a prize, as do contestants in the Idol and Survivor formats. Talk shows such as the Jerry Springer Show have also sometimes been classified as part of the genre when they actively try to foment on-air drama between participants. Much reality television blurs into fiction. Scandal and controversy have accompanied reality television since its early days — reality television has been a more powerful conduit for debate about social and cultural issues than any number of high-minded, preachy Hollywood films.
The most controversial programmes, however, have been those which have placed participants in special living environments. Tensions and arguments over race and sexual orientations have been a recurring theme throughout the series. Unsurprisingly, the Big Brother franchise has a tradition of controversy. Politicians who have been so eager for the limelight that they have volunteered as participants have come under heavy public fire. The Scottish MP George Galloway thought that the best way to capitalise on his notoriety after being accused of Iraqi Oil-for-Food corruption was to appear on the edition of Celebrity Big Brother.
The minority whip of the Mexican Green Party also participated in a Mexican Big Brother, to much political criticism. The Australian Big Brother may not have featured any politicians as housemates yet, but the franchise has been readily embraced as a political totem. Beginning in , early Australian seasons of Big Brother were aired with relatively little controversy. The Dutch production company which developed the Big Brother format originally conceived as few as six contestants locked up in a house for a year.
And it is this lineage of total surveillance and exhibitionism that has provided the source of the major controversy. Big Brother participants are certainly exhibitionists, but it would undoubtedly be easier to get work on a porn film than become a housemate. Once the programme had attracted the attention of the Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, media regulators determined that the material chosen for broadcast was in breach of the free-to-air code of conduct.
It was the Internet-only, subscription-only live feed which recorded the alleged sexual harassment by two contestants of a third female participant. Predictably, the ACMA was once again pulled back into the fray. Whether the ACMA had jurisdiction over the online material was, however, uncertain.
The incident was not broadcast on television. But enterprising subscribers had recorded it themselves, and the incident was soon viewable on video-sharing sites such as YouTube. For the government this was an insufficiently dramatic political response to the August incident. So now, in , we have legislation which gives the ACMA that authority.
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The law places the regulator firmly at the centre of ascertaining the responsibility for content created and delivered on the internet. The creation of content by Internet users, rather than professional content producers, has been one of the primary innovations in entertainment technology over the last decade. Sites such as YouTube provide a neutral distribution system for users to upload and broadcast that content.
But the introduction of this legislation requires the site to police the material it hosts, rather than placing the responsibility with the producer of the material. As Microsoft has noted, this surpasses the high regulatory bar set by the European Union—an unfavourable comparison. In an effort to translate the complex technological and cultural changes of the content industry, the legislation confuses and over-regulates.
Entrepreneurs eager to found their own YouTube killer in Australia will struggle to navigate the convoluted legal framework and liability issues. Programme producers can cut and edit what is finally broadcast to direct or create narratives, play up potentially dramatic situations and even manipulate audience perceptions of individual housemates.
But they have very little capacity to manipulate the live Internet feed. When politicians criticise or disparage the contestants on Big Brother, they implicitly criticise the voting audience. The Australian audience has a similar composition. The participants on most of the standard Big Brother series are deliberately chosen to replicate the likely audience.
This same demographic now spends more time online 38 per cent than with any other entertainment medium. Again, the activity online provides an interesting parallel with the Big Brother format. This is the same generation that is likely to have a public profile on MySpace or Facebook, to record their daily activities publicly on services such as Twitter, to run a blog, to produce YouTube commentaries, or in some other way to participate in online discussions and forums.
Big Brother may be exhibitionism on the scale of free-to-air television, but the audience also practices their own smaller-scale exhibitionism online. Politicians eager to court this key demographic should be wary of such instant point-scoring. The reactionary attitude of the political class to the genre is, particularly for young viewers, indicative of a failure to understand youth culture.
The programme, this finding implies, is popular because the audience can relate to the housemates; and politics is unpopular because the participants are harder to relate to.