Fwd: Communications-related Headlines for 9/21/98

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Mon, 21 Sep 1998 15:12:28 -0700

>Issue: Digital TV
>FCC Chairman Bill Kennard sees a limited role for government in the
>introduction and acceptance of digital television. Speaking last week to
>the International Radio and Television Society, he said the FCC still has
>some major decisions in the field, including must-carry rules for cable.
>Other areas of federal involvement he included were work with TV set
>manufacturers and cable companies on how DTV signals will be sent via cable,
>providing consumer information on DTV, working on international
>interference, and dealing with local authorities on DTV construction issues.
>[SOURCE: Broadcasting & Cable (22), AUTHOR: Harry A. Jessell]
>Issue: Digital TV
>Bud Paxson said digital television's success requires partnerships between
>broadcasters and cable, satellite and computer industries. Speaking at a
>Broadcasting & Cable conference he also criticized the FCC for its lack of
>help on DTV. He stated his support for must-carry rules for cable services
>to provide carriage of digital signals. Paxson, the head of the new Pax TV
>network, also recommended the loosening of restrictions on TV station
>[SOURCE: Broadcasting & Cable (18), AUTHOR: Harry A. Jessell]
>Issue: Television Economics
>Network executives committed $6.5 billion to the new prime time season which
>begins tonight. That's no more than last year, but seen as a positive
>considering expectations for the networks: ever-decreasing ratings as
>audience is lost to cable channels. One senior network executive, speaking
>on condition of anonymity, said: "I've told people at the network that the
>next 18 months will be the ugliest in the history of this business. What
>there is in the air is desperation." The desperation is reflected, the
>executive continued, in the record-breaking deal for "E.R."
>[SOURCE: New York Times (C7), AUTHOR: Bill Carter]
>Issue: Old vs New Media
>Discovery Communications, the operator of science-oriented cable channels,
>will release today a new study on the effects of Internet use on television
>viewing habits. Looking at Nielsen Media Research numbers used for America
>Online last month, Discovery will report that teen-agers that use the
>Internet watch less TV, for all other age groups, Internet use increases
>time spent watching television. "We see media consumption leading to more
>media consumption," said Betsy Frank, executive vice president for research
>at MTV Networks. "People don't quit watching television because they go
>online. They do more of both."
>[SOURCE: New York Times (C2), AUTHOR: Saul Hansell]
>Issue: Television Economics
>Cable networks and cable operators should see continued revenue growth for
>the next five years, according to a panel at a Broadcasting & Cable
>conference last week. With developing technology, the capacity for dual and
>alternate streams of revenue will fuel cable services' expansion while
>broadcast TV networks, lacking those opportunities, will continue a downward
>[SOURCE: Broadcasting & Cable (15), AUTHOR: Donna Petrozzello]

>Issue: Telecommunications Act/Regulation
>In a 30-page section devoted entirely to telecommunications, the WSJ looks
>back at the last 2-1/2 years since passage of the Telecommunications Act.
>Recalling claims that the local service market would be opened to
>competition between the Baby Bells and the long distance companies, the
>series of articles review why competition hasn't occurred. Topics covered
>in seventeen articles include why cable-TV firms haven't gone anywhere, why
>the promise of deregulation is yet to be fulfilled, why wireless technology
>might provide a detour around the Bells' grip. At the time of this writing,
>free online access to this special report was not available; hard copy
>reprints, however, are available from Telecommunications, Dow Jones &
>Company, Inc., Attn: Anita Deragon, 84 Second Avenue, Chicopee, MA 01020.
>$4 for one copy; $2 each for each additional copy. Check or money order
>(payable to Dow Jones & Co.) only.
>[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (Section R), AUTHOR: (various); edited by Bart

>Issue: Satellite TV
>Congress may pass legislation in this session that would permit satellite TV
>companies to provide local broadcast signals. Bills are being introduced in
>both the House and Senate. Because of a recent court decision and agreement
>in the industry the bills are being given a last minute push. Under the
>bills must-carry rules for local station service by DBS providers would take
>effect in the future.
>[SOURCE: Broadcasting & Cable (10,11), AUTHOR: Paige Albiniak]


Issue: Copyright
A look at the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, legislation that
would set rules for information flo across the Internet. The proponents of
the bill are movie studios, record companies, book publishers and the
software industry -- with a combined total worth around $300 billion.
Opponents include 40,000 librarians, colleges and universities, some
consumer groups and academic experts. The proponents believe that the
legislation will unleash digital commerce by tightening prohibitions against
pirating movies and other data from the Internet. Critics don't argue with
that, but claim the new rules would restrict the free flow of information
and create a "pay-for-use" world.
[SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (Sec 1, p.29), AUTHOR: Robert Samuelson, Washington
Post Writers Group]


Issue: Arts
Bill Ivey, chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, said that he
needs more money to "fund the creative genius that is America" by reviving
support for individual artists. "There's no more important investment in our
nation than fostering individual creativity," said Ivey in his first
national speech since he took leadership of the NEA in June. In the early
1990s, while the agency was under extreme fire, Congress eliminated most of
its ability to fund individual artists. But now, with the Senate on the
verge of approving the first increase in NEA funding in over 8 years, Ivey
is hopeful that the agency can "get back to the business of supporting those
living artists who have demonstrated excellence in their work."
[SOURCE: Washington Post (C7), AUTHOR: Jacquline Trescott]

Issue: Arts
"One of my goals as chairman is to work with Congress and other interested
parties to move the agency back into funding individual artists more
completely than we do now," Bill Ivey, new chairman of the National
Endowment of the Arts <http://arts.endow.gov/> said. "We certainly need to
find a way to get back into supporting individual visual artists. And I
think that, in supporting the individual artist, you tend to get a quicker
handle on new technologies because the individual artist tends to take on
these things more quickly than organizations do." In 1996 NEA grants to
individual artists were curtailed as controversial works had some in
Congress calling for the end of the agency. The NEA's guidelines have been
changed so that most grants now go to arts institutions, not-for-profit
organizations and regional arts agencies. Mirapaul reports: The NEA does
subsidize Open Studio <http://www.openstudio.org/>, a national program to
provide technology tools and Internet access to nonprofit arts organizations
and the artists they serve. Last Friday, [Chairman] Ivey visited Space One
Eleven <http://www.bham.net/soe/>, an arts center in Birmingham, Ala., that
has received Open Studio grants. While there, he viewed Piotr Szyhalski's
Web-based Ding an sich project, commissioned by the Walker Art Center in
Minneapolis. [Chairman] Ivey described the work as "pretty interesting and
pretty exciting." [Open Studio is a joint project of the NEA and the Benton
[SOURCE: New York Times (CyberTimes), AUTHOR: Matthew Mirapaul

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

"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is aimless,
it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld