Names, games, blames and shames

I’ve been busy these last few days, and I actually decided to take Father’s Day off. Hence, I’m a little behind on my writing.

Here are some things I think are important:

Milestone: NBC Universal has changed the name of NBC Universal Television Studio to Universal Media Studios. This is smart on a number of levels (which I’ve written about in the past), but the most significant is the message it sends internally. We are no longer television stations; we’re local media companies, and the sooner we begin using that language, the quicker we’ll find ourselves evolving.

YouTube has launched a re-mixer for certain videos. The application allows users to unbundled and rebundle the videos to create their own versions. Photobucket, which was recently purchased by Rupert Murdoch’s MySpace, has similar functionality, and the early analysis suggests that Photobucket’s is much better. This is another concept that could (and should) be easily adopted by local media companies.

Shelly Palmer offers the provocative suggestion that local television — in medium and small markets — will go the way of radio stations. They’ll be stripped down and automated to achieve the highest return on investment for the owners “with most of their revenue coming from the use of their new government granted digital spectrum.” This is a chilling thought and one that doesn’t bode well for local broadcast content, but (as if we needed one) it’s another reason to be aggressively pursuing Media 2.0.

Over at Lost Remote, my business partner Steve Safran writes of a new Pew Poll reported in Atlantic Monthly showing Americans’ knowledge of news events hasn’t grown since the advent of 24/7 cable news with one exception:

The most knowledgeable Americans were those who got their news from the Web sites of major papers and those who watched programs like The Colbert Report or The Daily Show; they correctly answered 54 percent of the questions about current affairs, while regular viewers of local TV news and network morning shows got only about 35 percent right.

Steve points out that this could simply be that viewers of the shows need to have awareness of events in order to get the jokes, but the study should raise a few eyebrows.

Finally, another newspaper sports department was threatened by the NCAA for blogging during a live college world series game. This time, it was The Oregonian, and the blogging was taking place from their offices in Portland while watching the games live on ESPN. In the words of the immortal Frank Barone, “Holy Crap!” A week ago, a Louisville Courier-Journal reporter was tossed from the press box in Louisville for doing the same thing. The only way this can be completely enforced is if sports teams or associations ban all cellphones or PDAs from their games, and that’s not about to happen. Somebody’s going to take this to court, and the ruling could have profound implications for all sports.

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