How Netflix is turning viewers into puppets

How Netflix is turning viewers into puppets

Image: Salon.com

“The interesting and potentially troubling question is how a reliance on Big Data might funnel craftsmanship in particular directions. What happens when directors approach the editing room armed with the knowledge that a certain subset of subscribers are opposed to jump cuts or get off on gruesome torture scenes or just want to see blow jobs. Is that all we’ll be offered? We’ve seen what happens when news publications specialize in just delivering online content that maximizes page views. It isn’t always the most edifying spectacle. Do we really want creative decisions about how a show looks and feels to be made according to an algorithm counting how many times we’ve bailed out of other shows?” (Andrew Leaonard, Salon.com)

Aspect Jumping

Aspect Jumping FLOW

Image: J.D. Connor

“The sort of deeply meant aspect jumping we see in TDK is almost absent on television, where shifts from 4:3 to 16:9 and back happen far more often. At some level that isn’t surprising. Hollywood cinema has managed to fret publicly over medium specificity as part of its assertion of cultural primacy even in an era where an ascendant television has made stronger and stronger claims to quality, even superiority. There is a reason that Keanu Reeves can get excited enough about the digital turn that he wants to talk to everyone about it, as he does in the documentary Side by Side (Kenneally, Tribeca, 2012).

But if aspect jumping in film is an occasion for obsession, it has been all but neglected in television studies, and that, too, seems almost natural. Ask yourself: what was the last 4:3 tv show you watched? You probably know that The Master is in limited 70mm release and that it is likely one of the very last films in that format. You probably cannot say what the last 4:3 television series on ABC was. (It was Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.)

Some blame for this ignorance falls to us as scholars. But surely the larger share belongs to television industry itself, which has a vested interest in downplaying epochal events in its own technological history because its industrial organization makes a hash of any such historical breakpoints.” (J.D. Connor, FLOW)

Customise your favourite TV show

Customise your favourite TV show - NewScientist

Image: HBO/Everett/Rex Features

“Lost the plot watching Homeland or Game of Thrones? Wondering when a strange character you’d never seen before on Doctor Who was introduced? You’re not alone: the tremendous choice of programmes on offer on today’s multichannel TV services can make it hard to keep up.

But help is at hand, thanks to scene-analysis software that can compile a video sequence summarising any chosen plot line or character’s appearances in a TV series. Choose a scene, for instance, and the software will assemble a personalised video episode based around it. And in a move screenwriters will doubtless detest, it can also help fans compile customised episodes starring only their favourite actors. […]

The researchers successfully tested StoViz on three TV series with very different formats: the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, the fantasy drama Game of Thrones and the legal lunacy of Ally McBeal.” (Paul Marks, NewScientist)

 

NTU scientist invents pocket living room TV

NTU scientist invents pocket living room TV

Image: Nanyang Technical University

“Named the “Social Cloud TV”, this system allows you to watch TV programmes and online videos with your family and friends at the same time. The system leverages a cloud backend for media processing (e.g., video transcoding), such that the same video can be streamed into devices in the most suitable format.  When viewing a TV show or perhaps a live soccer match, you can invite family and friends to join your session, from either your phone book or social networking contact lists.” (Nanyang Technological University)

What do Jell-O, Kraft, and Adidas Have in Common? They All Want to Know Your Face

What do Jell-O, Kraft, and Adidas Have in Common? They All Want to Know Your Face -  Forbes

Image: Forbes

“Next time you’re looking up at a billboard, there’s a chance it may be looking back down at you.  Immersive Labs has developed software for digital billboards that can measure the age range, gender, and attention-level of a passerby and quantify the effectiveness of an outdoor marketing campaign. Beyond just bringing metrics to outdoor advertisements, facial detection technology can tailor ads to people based on their features.

Plan UK, a children’s charity group ran a bus stop advertisement as part of their “Because I Am A Girl” campaign, where women passing by would see a full 40-second clip, while if man saw the ad, it would only display a message directing him to their website. The next generation of systems could take this data collection much further – an algorithm could judge whether you look happy, sad, sick, healthy, comfortable, or nervous and direct personalized ads to you.” (Tarun Wadhwa, Forbes)

How We Talk About Media Refusal, Part 1: “Addiction”

How We Talk About Media Refusal, Part 1: “Addiction” - FLOW

Image: Phillip Toledano, The Atlantic

“Practices of media refusal, as well as statements by media refusers about their choices, could be seen as implicit indictments of the norms of media culture, the most basic norm being that everyone ought to be a consumer of media. Yet media refusal is usually understood and practiced individually (though there have been a few campaigns aimed at getting people to collectively) unplug. This individual response to a collective problem is typical of contemporary “lifestyle politics” in which resistance tactics are arguably more effective at generating further consumption (of self-help magazines, for example) than actually altering objectionable aspects of consumer culture.” (Laura Portwood-Stacer, FLOW)

Web Deals Cheer Hollywood, Despite Drop in Moviegoers

Web Deals Cheer Hollywood, Despite Drop in Moviegoers - New York Times

Photo: J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

“Instead of Hollywood suffering its own Napster moment — the kind of digital death trap that decimated music labels first through the illegal downloading of files and then by a migration to legal downloads almost solely through iTunes — several deals announced this month have it feeling more in control.

While studios still consider piracy a huge problem and feel stymied by Silicon Valley (and Washington politics), they nevertheless control their content. And now the Web is coming to them.” (Brooks Barnes, NYTimes.com)