Communications-related Headlines for 5/20/99

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Mon, 24 May 1999 12:19:56 -0700 (PDT)

>
>FCC SEEKS GOOD WAY TO SEPARATE CABLE, INTERNET
>Issue: Broadband
>On Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman William Kennard said
>the commission has the right to impose regulations on cable companies
offering
>Internet service, but added that he has yet to hear an effective proposal
>prevent discrimination by operators of cable broadband services. AOL Chairman
>Steve Case, who also spoke at the congressional briefing, argued for a law
that
>prohibits cable companies from bundling content with high-speed Internet
>connections for consumers. Many Internet services providers and consumer
groups
>are concerned that cable companies will soon dominate the high-speed lines
into
>American households since they are not subject to the same regulations as are
>telephone companies that offer Internet access. "We have a disparity --
that's
>clear," agrees Chairman Kennard. "The more difficult question, in my view, is
>if we assert jurisdiction what do we do?"
>[SOURCE: San Jose Mercury News, AUTHOR:(Reuters)]
>(http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/merc/docs/026102.htm)
>TELVESION
>
>TAKING A CRITICAL LOOK AT TV
>Issue: TV Violence
>High schools students at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda recently
>participated in a "media session" to discuss the Littleton (CO) tragedy
and its
>relationship to media violence. They also addressed general issues on
violence
>and sports and violence and television news. The reactions varied from
>amazement to in-depth self-reflection, "Normally you might just block the
>violence out because it goes on all the time. But this really made you pay
>attention," said William While, 15. "It just showed you what's out there, and
>how inundated we are." Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Education and
>Discovery Communications, the forums provide opportunities for elementary to
>high school students to critically analyze not only the content shown on
>television, but their own perceptions of it. Feedback from the sessions in
>Maryland will be used for nationwide forums to be presented next year.
>[SOURCE: Washington Post (B2), AUTHOR: Manuel Perez-Rivas]
>(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-05/20/196l-052099-idx.html)
>
>STUDY FINDS TV TRIMS FIJI GIRLS' BODY IMAGE AND EATING HABITS
>Issue: Media & Society
>A new study from the American Psychiatric Association finds that eating
>disorders are on the rise in Fiji where they were virtually unheard of
>before. The research began one month after satellite television became
>available in the region. Girls who said they watched television three or
>more nights/wk in the 1998 survey were 50% more likely to describe
>themselves as "too big or fat" and 30% more likely to diet than girls who
>watched television less frequently, Goode reports. Before television became
>available, there was little talk of dieting in Fiji where "You've gained
>weight" is a traditional compliment.
>[SOURCE: New York Times (A13), AUTHOR: Erica Goode]
>see (http://www.nytimes.com/yr/mo/day/world/) URL below was not available
>this morning
>(http://www.nytimes.com/yr/mo/day/news/national/science/hth-fiji-diet.html)
>
>NBC IS CONSIDERSINF QUITING THE NAB
>Issue: Television
>Indicative of the growing schism between the television networks and their
>affiliate stations, NBC is considering withdrawal from the major lobbying and
>trade association of local stations, the National Association of
Broadcasters.
>NBC does not agree with the NAB's opposition to lifting station ownership
>limits. Current rules limit companies to owning a number of stations that
reach
>no more 35% of the nation's homes. While the network are eager to have these
>restrictions lifted or erased altogether, most affiliate stations fear that
>relaxed ownership rules would only give greater market share to the ABC, CBS,
>NBC, and Fox. NBC claims that the desire to save costs would responsible for
>any defection from the trade association.
>[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B2), AUTHOR: John Lippman]
>(http://wsj.com/)
>
>CBS SHELVES FALL MOB SERIES AS TOO VIOLENT
>Issue: Television/Content
>As a result of growing concern about the role of violence in the media,
CBS has
>decided to cut one of the most talked about shows to debut this fall. The
>program, "Falcone," is a TV version of an organized crime movie staring Al
>Pacino. "It's not the right time to have people whacked in the streets of New
>York."
>said CBS Television President Leslie Moonves, who screened the pilot just
days
>after the shooting in Littleton (CO). "It just didn't feel right." The show
>might still appear at a later date, according CBS, who stands to make large
>profits if it became a hit. In general, crime dramas are seemingly absent
from
>the networks new fall lineup.
>[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B1), AUTHOR: Kyle Pope]
>(http://wsj.com/)
>
>DTV RECEIVER COMPATABILITY WITH CABLE TELEVISION SERVICE
>Issue: Digital Television/Cable
>The Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology, in cooperation with
>the Office of Plans and Policy, will host a roundtable to discuss technical
>issues and progress towards development of standards related to
>compatibility between digital television (DTV) services provided by cable
>and other video distribution services and consumer electronics equipment. **
>Thursday, May 20, 1999 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (eastern) ** Available on the
>FCC Internet Audio Broadcast Home Page at www.fcc.gov/realaudio. See topics
>and speakers at
>(http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Public_Notices/1999/pnet9
>009.html).
>[SOURCE: FCC]
>(http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Public_Notices/1999/pnet9
>008.html)
>
>TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR TV ON WEB
Issue: Broadband
Producers, directors, and other creatives are increasingly working with
digital technology to create programming they hope will be distributed
nationwide as high-speed cable modems and digital subscriber phones become
more accessible. One such creative is film director Randal Kleiser (director
of Grease and Blue Lagoon) who has just created the drama "Royal Standard"
for the new Digital Entertainment Network -- an Internet hub of TV-type
programming. Kleiser says despite the quality of viewing that is not unlike
flipping through a book of stills, he is enthralled with the new way of
distributing imagery. Jupiter Communications estimates that by 2002, 6.8
million homes will have cable modems -- up from 1.2 million this year -- and
half a million homes will have digital phone lines by 2002. Digital
programmers hope to garner an audience early in order to gain "prime
positioning" when high-speed delivery services are controlled by a small
number of companies. American Interactive Media (AIM) will launch "a real
life action hub" called CrimeBeat next month. AIM president Mark Graff says
as more bandwidth becomes available, AIM will have an audience and marketing
in place. The Independent Film Channel, a subsidiary of cable's Bravo
Network, plans to offer digital video movies via a cable modem and also air
the movies on cable TV. Bravo's Joe Cantwell says their target audience is
not being served by analog or digital TV and they hope to be able to do more
for a smaller audience.
[SOURCE: USA Today (D6), AUTHOR: Bruce Haring]
(http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/ctf201.htm)

FILMS ILLEGALLY HIT NET, BUT IT'S SLOW GOING
Issue: Intellectual Property
Over the past few weeks, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has
referred a dozen movie piracy cases to the FBI. With a high powered computer
and the patience to download, major film titles, including The Matrix, Saving
Private Ryan, Antz and Shakespeare in Love are available on the Internet. The
MPAA fears the anonymity of the Internet will make piracy more likely.
Internet
piracy is a fairly simple process of using a digital camcorder to record a
film
and upload the film onto the Internet. Larry Iser, a Los Angeles lawyer who
deals with intellectual property issues, says the problem is not so
widespread.
Few individuals have the computer power to download a feature length film
and the
picture is appears jerky on most home computers. But, as digital distribution
technologies improve, Hollywood expects Internet sites will start making deals
with filmmakers.
[SOURCE: USA Today (D1), AUTHOR: Bruce Haring]
(http://www.usatoday.com/)

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley 94720-6000
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"Everything wants to become television" (James Ulmer -- Teletheory)