Telecom headlines -- week of 8 Sept.

Gary Handman (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 08:59:33 -0700 (PDT)

Title: Microsoft Facing a Challenge Over Internet-Cable TV Link
Source: New York Times (A1)
Author: John Markoff
Issue: Convergence
Description: A small start-up company, Worldgate Communications of Bensalem,
PA, is developing the cable industry's strategy to thwart Microsoft's bid to
blend the Internet and cable TV. The cable industry's plan may bring the
Internet to TV households much quicker than Microsoft envisions. Worldgate
plans to begin offering in the next few weeks Internet service through
set-top convertor boxes, existing TVs, remote control, and optional
keyboards. The suggested retail price is $12/month. The service data rate
would be four times faster than the fastest connections over conventional
phone lines. "Worldgate is Web TV and Microsoft's worst nightmare," says an
industry consultant.

Title: Can You Spell "Compliance," Boys and Girls?
Source: New York Times (B1)
Author: Lawrie Mifflin
Issue: Children's Television
Description: The fall television schedule begins this week and broadcasters
must provide three hours of educational programming for children. The
programming to fulfill this federal requirement is a mixed bag. CBS will
offer "The Weird Al Show" with Weird Al Yankovic who says an educational
message never entered his mind when he set out to do the show. ABC has
retooled "101 Dalmations" with sentimental lessons on friendship and
responsibility. Fox has no new programming for kids. And NBC, the most
watched network, continues to argue that "NBA Inside Stuff" doesn't just
promote basketball, its designed to teach "life lessons." "My concern is
that they'll use these little formulas and will not really try to improve
anything or try new things," says the Center for Media Education's Kathryn
Montgomery [see <>]. "I'm worried that they'll do the
bare minimum and hope the public complaints will eventually go away."
[See a
summary of the FCC's new rules on kidvid

Title: A Showdown In Texas On Money For the Arts
Source: New York Times (B1)
Author: Judith Dobrzynski
Issue: Arts
Description: Following similar battles in Charlotte and Greensboro, NC,
Anchorage AK, and Jackson Hole, WY, the San Antonio City Council will decide
the fate of the city's Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs (DACA) today.
DACA provides ~$2.7 million in grants annually to 39 cultural organizations,
from the San Antonio Symphony to urban mural projects. "It's an attack on
arts funding overall, the trickling down of the controversy surrounding the
National Endowment for the Arts," says DACA's director, Eduardo Diaz. "These
issues have been festering." Grass roots movements on both sides of the
battle have organized to decide San Antonio's arts funding.

Title: Persuading Young Minds to Buy
Source: Washington Post (9/9/97)
Author: Martha Hamilton
Issue: Advertising
Description: Children spend ~15 billion/year and they are probably
influential in another $160 billion/year of purchases. So, its no wonder
advertisers want to target youngsters. Marketers are looking for new venues
to reach young people -- vehicles like Disney's new children radio. Michael
Brody, a child psychiatrist, says a smaller and smaller number of
entertainment conglomerates are creating the stories that "suffuse
children's lives and are crowding out the ones they might make up for
themselves." Dr. Brody sees advertising aimed at children as an invasion of
children's fantasy life. The Center for Media Education
<> has studied Websites and found them to be an
invasion of children's privacy as well. A new model of one-to-one marketing
is emerging on the Internet, CME reports: "The goal is not to create
advertising to appeal to a general demographic group...but to create an
individual profile, to get to know a specific user and her likes and

Title: Format Makes Rental Films Disposable
Source: New York Times (D7)
Author: Associated Press
Issue: Encryption
Description: Circuit City Stores and major film studios have reached an
agreement with makers of digital video disk players on a technology that
would create disposable rental films. Divx, an encryption technology, is
designed to prevent movie piracy. Divx-formatted films would be sold for $5
each and would be playable for 48 hours after they are placed in a digital
videodisk player. Disks should be available in test markets next spring and
nationwide next summer.

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000