Bluffers guide to digital TV in Australia

A guide to the various types of DTV in Australia, by Pam Carroll and Ty Pendlebury at cnet.com.au which covers differences between SD and HD, multichanneling, and the offerings of subscription TV providers.

UK: ITV’s public service commitments set to be reduced after controversial cost-benefit analysis by OFCOM, BBC licence fee to subsidise C4?

From The Guardian, 28 July, spotters fee to ALJ

ITV is likely to win its battle to reduce its public service commitments while the BBC may have to give part of its licence fee to Channel 4, according to a leaked blueprint prepared by the media regulator Ofcom. Under the proposals, ITV will be allowed to cut back on regional news, reduce its current affairs output and reduce programmes produced outside London, saving almost £40m a year.

The decision, following Ofcom research that suggests the costs of ITV’s public service status will outweigh the benefits by £60m by 2012, is likely to spark outrage from MPs and the broadcasting unions, who campaigned against the plans.

Ofcom is likely to suggest that the BBC’s “excess” licence fee money be diverted to other broadcasters for public service television from 2012, rejecting the corporation’s argument that its “unique link” with the public needs to be maintained.

The regulator also supports Channel 4’s argument for public subsidy, at a lower level than the broadcaster has suggested. Ofcom says that Channel 4 will need about £40m a year in the medium term rather than the £100m it has argued for.

Television production, post production and commercial FTA statistics from Australia, stats on television viewing and online video use from Europe

Last week the ABS released a bunch of statistics for 2006-07 showing, amongst other things,

Television, film and video production activity

  • At 22,200 hours, sport accounted for the highest number of first release broadcast hours during 2006-07, followed by news and current affairs (20,600 hours).
  • Feature films accounted for just over two-thirds (67%) of total production costs ($273 million).

Post-production businesses

  • Generated $444 million in income during 2006-07, with more than half of this from visual editing services (58%).
  • Employed 2,970 people. More than half (55%) were permanent full-time employees, and more than two-thirds (69%) were male.

Commercial television broadcasting

  • Collectively, commercial free-to-air and subscription television broadcasters generated $6,813 million in income during 2006-07 and employed 10,032 people.
  • Gross income from sale of airtime was $3,611 million, up over 6% from 2002-03. Gross income from other sources ($919 million) declined from 2002-03.
  • Operating profit before tax was $834 million, operating profit margin was over 19%
  • the main source of income for subscription television broadcasters was subscription fees ($1,975 million)
  • subscription television sector recorded operating loss before tax of $163 million.

And today Reuters is reporting rising web video use in Europe, though still tiny compared to television viewing time.

Although time spent by Europeans watching online video rose 50 percent from 2006 to 2007, it still accounted for just 0.9 hours per week of viewing on average last year, compared with 13.2 hours spent watching television.

The Myth of Multitasking

A valuable piece as a companion to AMC’s post on the internet and the mind.  It comes recently from the New Atlantis and opens up some of the research being carried out on attention/distraction and the Brain