We discussed “wild cards” in the scenario planning process and the way they can disrupt what appear to be the assumed and most likely directions and timing for trends and events.

As Stephen Bartholomeusz discusses, the wild card to projections about the longevity of the commercial “free to airs” in Australia is the nascent National Broadband Network and its potential for remediating television as IPTV services.

As the government seeks to develop its digital economy strategy, it will have to consider the relationships and interactions between the networks, the pay TV services and the looming explosion of internet protocol television (IPTV) services within a 21st century regulatory framework…………

The wild card in the development of new policy settings is the government’s contentious commitment to building a new national broadband network, regardless of cost. Conroy’s willingness to do whatever it takes to buttress the questionable economics of the NBN – including using threats to undermine Telstra’s ability to negotiate the terms on which it might cooperate with the new network – ought to be a concern for the networks.

To make any sense at all of the cost of the NBN it needs, not just a monopoly and all Telstra’s customer base, but also new applications that drive traffic volumes beyond those of the industry today. Video – and IPTV in particular, given its mass market potential – is an obvious application…………

Read the full article

However, the network-centric regulatory framework is an anachronism in an environment where digital technologies are converging to create a new era for both content and distribution. They’ve slowed the tide but the future is now racing towards them.

Stephen Bartholomeusz

the rule is you watch it on the best screen available

viewing in transition.

Do you watch TV and use the  Internet at the same time? I often do, but not when I seriously want to get absorbed in the content, like a great television drama (although I’ll often rewatch it on the net)

Nielsen says that over 50% of viewers in the US use both mediums at the same time, at least once a month now Web and TV.

Public Service Broadcasting commitments on Commercial TV

Like the Australian system, in the UK the Commercial Free to Air ITV has a s et of Public Service Commitments which they are now cosidering jettisioning.   Media Guardian has published a couple of eye-opening articles based on a speech made by Michael Grade the MD of ITV.    The first outlines the potential, the second outlines the potential cost.   Both have real relevance to our Quadrants 2-4.

“Migrant Watch”????

As part of our project on what Australian television and its society will look like in 2018, we also need to consider the broader global outlook and how it interplays with models for governance, communication technologies and the needs of transforming cultures.

Will we, in Australia, be using our advanced communication systems in 2019 for a benign system of border control and protection? And will it result in cyber terrorist revenge from those denied access to our shores?

This is suggested in one of the video “scenarios” posed by an online forecasting game and “futures” project, Supersruct, developed by the Institute for the Future, a not-for-profit think tank based in Palo Alto, California (see the video scenario, “Generation Exile”).

Debunking “Net Neutrality” fears

Here is an article (thank you Slashdot) where the “boys from down under” – the OZZY ISPs – argue that the concerns surrounding Net Neutrality (or lack of it), are a result of a problematic American Business model regarding access to the internet. They argue there is no shortage of bandwidth now or in the future, and no need to fear hoggers in the space – as long as users pay thier way and don’t expect an “all you can eat” ride on the service.

Live road shows – the future of television, or only for the petrolheads?

Top Gear’s big guns to take live show on £20m world tour | Media | The Guardian

This story from The Guardian takes further an idea that has cropped up a couple of times, that of ‘live presence’ and live performance.

Top Gear is described as the first of BBC Worldwide’s ‘superbrands’, and a template for others, intended for multi-platform exploitation around the world. Gruelling, schedule, though.

Top Gear is the first of up to 20 global “superbrands” that BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm, has targeted as potential revenue-generating machines across television, the internet, publishing and live events.

The live show will visit 10 cities in its first year, including Johannesburg, Sydney, Auckland and Hong Kong. Each location will host at least 10 shows, with Top Gear Live playing to a total of more than 300,000 people. Deals for a second series of dates, including appearances in Moscow, Stuttgart and Abu Dhabi, are on the verge of being signed.

Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond launch the live Top Gear
show on Tower Bridge, London. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

End of the American Internet?

Internet Traffic Begins to Bypass the U.S. – NYTimes.com

Article by John Markoff in The New York Times 29 August noting that due substantially to concerns about surveillance by the US government, internet traffic is increasingly being routed around rather than through the US.

“Since passage of the Patriot Act, many companies based outside of the United States have been reluctant to store client information in the U.S.,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. “There is an ongoing concern that U.S. intelligence agencies will gather this information without legal process. There is particular sensitivity about access to financial information as well as communications and Internet traffic that goes through U.S. switches.”

Markoff also notes economic reasons which emphasise the role of national governments in the future development of the internet and in maintaining (or not) their citizens’ access to the internet:

Almost all nations see data networks as essential to economic development. “It’s no different than any other infrastructure that a country needs,” said K C Claffy, a research scientist at the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis in San Diego. “You wouldn’t want someone owning your roads either.”

Indeed, more countries are becoming aware of how their dependence on other countries for their Internet traffic makes them vulnerable. Because of tariffs, pricing anomalies and even corporate cultures, Internet providers will often not exchange data with their local competitors. They prefer instead to send and receive traffic with larger international Internet service providers.

This leads to odd routing arrangements, referred to as tromboning, in which traffic between two cites in one country will flow through other nations. In January, when a cable was cut in the Mediterranean, Egyptian Internet traffic was nearly paralyzed because it was not being shared by local I.S.P.’s but instead was routed through European operators.

The issue was driven home this month when hackers attacked and immobilized several Georgian government Web sites during the country’s fighting with Russia. Most of Georgia’s access to the global network flowed through Russia and Turkey. A third route through an undersea cable linking Georgia to Bulgaria is scheduled for completion in September.