Tag Archives: Channel 9

The Australian Catastrophic Colliding Canine

I tend to keep my eyes on Europe, mainly because what impacts the UK today will have an impact on Australia a week later; in addition to that, what happens in Japan today when it comes to consumer electronics and mobile events will get to Australia 3-5 years later. In that respect having a larger view on matters is essential to keep an eye on what could become an impact tomorrow.

Yesterday was different, with ‘Regulation needed to save Australian journalism from Facebook and Google, watchdog says‘ we see the impact for Australia now and to be honest, I can’t stop laughing at present. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/feb/11/regulation-needed-to-curb-facebook-and-google-competition-watchdog-says)

When I read: “Rod Sims, said the digital platforms inquiry, which delivered its preliminary report in December, reveals that the market power enjoyed by the digital behemoths is weakening Australian media“, the giggles increase. Especially when we consider ‘the platforms are not creating any original, quality Australian news’, well we could consider that the Australian media is for the most not doing that either. For the most Australian media is weakening Australian media plain and simple. To name but a one issue, October 2012, I alerted the media to an issue impacting 30 million gamers within the commonwealth. I directly alerted Channel 7, Channel 9 and the Sydney Morning Herald; the all ignored it to the largest degree. There were clear screenshots on how the impact was given, yet the left it on the left of what was important. A change by Sony for their gaming community 3 weeks before the PS4 was released, they all (except for the Australian Guardian) ignored it for the most, and perhaps it was not news? What they (as I personally see it) intentionally ignored is that the Sony Terms of Service is a legally binding contract, the mention of a memo is merely a piece of paper that could be ignored the very next directors meeting. The press needed advertisement dollars and Sony is high on that list of needs, PlayStation 4 was big bucks, plain and simple. In addition there were debatable reviews of Microsoft for the period of two years and the least said about Apple the better, as I see it Australian Media is its own worst enemy. It is my personally view to size up global media as a collection of prostitutes with a priority towards the shareholders, the stake holders and the advertisers, the audience comes in 4th position at best. So when I see: “However, while taking the lion’s share of advertising revenue, the platforms are not creating any original, quality Australian news“, we need to wonder where Australian quality news is found. I will agree that this is found at SBS and ABC, but they are the two exceptions to all this.

When the British Daily Mail gives us on the 9th of February “Respected Channel 7 news reporter Emily Angwin (pictured) was said to be furious at a number of work emails questioning the integrity of the newsroom in Melbourne” is anyone actually surprised? Is it true? We cannot tell because in many ways most of the Australian media is no longer that reliable. And from my vantage point it becomes worse when we go to https://au.news.yahoo.com/. Here we see above the fold ‘Hero pitbull breaks out of home to find help for owner during gas leak‘, ‘Restaurant blames waitress for ‘incredibly racist’ receipt‘, and ‘‘Whoah!’ Man’s breath test returns ‘biologically impossible’ result‘. This is the kind of emotional reporting that gives news a bad name. Compare that to abc.net.au where we see: ‘Global drug trafficking operation run out of Villawood detention centre, phone taps reveal‘, ‘Missing persons expert slams investigation of young mother’s suspected homicide‘, as well as ‘Why the AWU wants to question Michaelia Cash in court over union raids‘. So one is clearly about news, the other is about creating emotional events. I let you decide which is which, and as we take notice of: “Given all this, it is also vital that media businesses are not disadvantaged through the exercise of market power or other mechanisms that make it difficult for them to compete on their merits” We see that the there is another case in dispute. The dispute is ‘media businesses‘ versus ‘journalism‘, so I hope that the ACCC realises that not only are they not the same, they are at present mere dimensions apart.

And questions need to be asked at the Channel 9 address as well. We can agree that the headlines are better than those of Channel 7 when we see: ‘Exclusive: Vampire Killer Tracey Wigginton’s disturbing new posts‘, ‘Man found with gunshot wound to his stomach in Melbourne’s north-west‘, as well as ‘Snorkeller found dead on sea floor off Mornington Peninsula‘, yet there too we have issues as every news item gives us headers and banners of advertisement. News is news and the main players have resorted to self-indulgence of advertising, reloading at every page. The journalism is merely second best at best.

It becomes a different puppy when we look at the mention “The financial viability of these businesses is also not assured as demonstrated by BuzzFeed and Vice recently announcing redundancies in Australia, as well as worldwide“, you see from my point of visibility, we see the Wikipage part (for mere illustration) where the visible information is: “Originally known for online quizzes, “listicles”, and pop culture articles, the company has grown into a global media and technology company, providing coverage on a variety of topics including politics, DIY, animals, and business.” Now, I have seen those buzzfeeds on my Facebook page and I decided not to give them any consideration (as a news source). Even as we now see (I was honestly not aware) “In late 2011, Buzzfeed hired Ben Smith of Politico as editor-in-chief, to expand the site into serious journalism, long-form journalism, and reportage.” We can accept and appreciate that Buzzfeed was taking a serious gander into journalism, yet when people are not aware (or another part of them has created more awareness), we get the impact of consideration versus awareness and non-awareness loses clicks, it is that simple, and the same applies for Australian sources. For the most, the only Australian sources I give consideration to are: ABC, SBS, the Guardian (Australian edition) and that is pretty much it; the rest is too often a waste of time. When we are serious about news, we go to the places where they offer it, not where they claim to offer it. That is how I personally see it and I use the Guardian as a source (as it is free) and I neglect the Times (most often) as I am not a paid subscriber and I feel it is money not greatly spend when I am, like most others on a budget, as such it is not money I have available to do that. It is an important factor as I am merely one of many that need to get by on a budget, that too impacts the news and the ACCC is a little ignorant on that part as well.

They might want to strike out at Google and Facebook. Yet Google News gives us ALL the headlines, from almost every source and that links to the local news articles. So when we see “The preliminary report recommended a powerful new authority to oversee the commercial activities of Google and Facebook” My question becomes ‘How is that going to make a difference?‘ In the end this is not about journalism, but about media and they are not the same, if the ACCC wants to make an actual impact, looking at the quality of journalism we will see that Australia will be left with the Guardian, ABC and SBS. When we were introduced to: “The Turnbull government has announced a funding freeze for the ABC but a boost for the Special Broadcasting Service“, whilst the boost is a mere $14.6 million over two years, when we realise that this all reads like a joke, how useless is the ACCC in all this and whilst we see the decimated pool of journalists, what are they doing (apart from wasting our time on something that the seemingly see as a waste of effort and budget), it is from my point of view a mere article on the foundation that reads: “Australian media is seen as irrelevant, we do not know what to do“, and it is shown against the likes of Facebook and Google, where we need to realise that they are also two different dimensions. Facebook is a mass advertisement channel, a channel that assumes that they know what their granular population wants through scripted likes and the scripted likes of the connections of that person, and Google shows the news in directions that the people searched in, or searched for. One is budget based, the other is user keywords based and the ACCC is seemingly in the dark on the fact that for the most people no longer see Australian media as relevant. That is shown a mere 34 seconds ago when I searched for “Channel 7 News” in the News tab, I was treated to: ‘Channel 7 presenter makes heartbreaking plea‘, ‘Ripped bodybuilder ends TV interview on a wild note‘, as well as ‘Caesarean birth to be broadcast live on Channel 7‘. As I see it, when it comes to visibility is seems to me that Channel 7 has a lot to learn as to the bidding on keywords as well as their methodology on how to properly position news, as well as their approach on how they want to present the ‘news’ (https://7plus.com.au/seven-news-sydney), for most people a 44 minute newscast is not the way to go (having one is still important for many though).

In the end, as I see it, the ACCC is up against the image of certain channels, their digital policies, as well as the approach they have towards news and advertisers. It is becoming less about journalism and merely about the positioning of media which is done tremendously below average. If you want to see how it should be done, watch The Guardian (UK) and BBC News (also UK), for those with language skills, the Dutch Volkskrant (at https://www.volkskrant.nl/), as well as The Swedish SVT (at https://www.svt.se/). As I personally see it Australian media has a lot to learn and that lacking part is not up to the ACCC, apart from them bashing the Australian media from drowning people in advertisements to a level that is just making them irrelevant. It is merely my point of view and I might be wrong, yet I personally do not think so. The foreign amount of visitors to the Guardian, the NY Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, and the French Le Monde (at https://www.lemonde.fr/) are indicative of my views.

So in all that, how are regulations going to solve anything in any near future?

 

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No Press, No Facebook!

So, another day in the life of you, the reader, me the blogger and us, the victims of big business in a way that neither of us expected.

Why are we in a stage of No Press? Well, I cannot confirm this for the UK, Canada or Europe at large, yet in Australia it started last year, the second week of November.

Most did not ever bother to look at this, but one I found (at http://www.cinemablend.com/games/PS4-Doesn-t-Block-Used-Games-Game-Rentals-60480.html) wrote the following: “A new last minute reputation management troll-rumor has surfaced online in an attempt to curb Sony’s momentum leading up to their big launch later this week“.

This is a hilarious ‘sucking-up-to-Sony’ response! So what actually happened?

In the two weeks before the launch of the PS4, Sony decided to change the terms of service (at https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/legal/software-usage-terms). I gave the information to Channel 7, Channel 9, Channel 10 and the Sydney Morning Herald.

NONE!
I say again NONE of them did anything about it. There was a flaccid message (to follow shortly).

So what is so important?

Sony wanted to start putting in place several issues to enforce DRM and to end certain practices. As the PS4 had not launched yet, they could not be too vocal about it, which meant that those claiming to be journalists had a duty to look into it, especially as these changes affected well over 80 million consumers globally. So either journalists only care about the boobs of Rihanna and on how people prefer fake boobs (of course, the possible silicone in a chest is always more newsworthy then the silicon chip that holds an economy).

So what is the exact issue?

Two points from the terms of agreement

  1. 3. You must not lease, rent, sublicense, publish, modify, adapt, or translate any portion of the Software.
  2. 1. You must not resell either Disc-based Software or Software Downloads, unless expressly authorised by us and, if the publisher is another company, additionally by the publisher.

I will admit that 6.3 is badly phrased (a big no-no in any term of service agreement), but in this form it specifically targets one area of usage, which where at blockbusters one could rent a game for a week. An interesting try before you buy approach (not debating the validity or invalidity of this).

It is 7.1 that is the big issue, by agreeing to this (if you do not you lose your PSN account and online abilities) you confirm that you will not resell your games or buy second hand games. This was the big killer for Microsoft in the beginning in addition to the fact that this issue hits 80 million consumers. How is this not in EVERY newspaper? Perhaps their bosses where in the act of ‘hustle for advertisement coin’ (whoring seems like such a harsh word here).

When we look at Eurogamer (at http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-11-12-sony-reiterates-you-can-sell-and-share-your-ps4-games), we see the following: “Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida added on Twitter: ‘If you are concerned about our new European TOS, we confirm that you are able to sell or share your disc PS4 products, including in EU.’” This is the flaccid response I referred to. If this is the case, then WHY make it part of the terms of agreement? Because Sony lawyers are perhaps cheap? (They really are not!)

We do not doubt the words of the Sony CEO, yet his word can be changed in a simple board meeting, the terms of service is a legally binding document between the consumer and the corporation offering the device and the service. Why am I the one person explaining this ‘oversight’ to the press?

This is a massive issue! The impact on the software industry would be felt in several countries. The fact is that many shops are in business only because they make a few extra dollars of second hand games. If not, new games would have to rise in price. Also, there is, especially in these economic times a large group depending on cheaper game solutions. A pre-owned game, which is at times at least 50% cheaper than the new alternative is one way for some to play a few games. The simple truth is that many cannot afford a $120 game, more often; their parents also are not in possession of such spending sprees, which makes the pre-owned game market an essential part to cater for a sizeable chunk of these consumers.

The second issue is the one that we see evolving now.

I was confronted with this almost two weeks ago, but something about the list of changes seemed so horrifying that I decided not to upgrade. This is still evolving and there are genuine concerns. Yet, what is the actual truth?

If we look at the Bull (at http://thebull.cbslocal.com/2014/08/07/facebook-crosses-the-line-with-new-facebook-messenger-app/) we see the following:

  • Facebook can change or alter your connection to the Internet or cell service without telling you.
  • Facebook can send text messages to your contacts on your behalf.
  • Facebook can record audio, and take pictures and videos, at any time
  • Facebook can read your phone’s call log, including info about incoming and outgoing calls
  • Facebook can read your contact data, including who you call and email and how often
  • Facebook can read personal profile information stored on your device
  • Facebook can get a list of accounts known by the phone, or other apps you use, it can connect all your accounts and Intel together.

It is in part the worry I had when I was looking through the rights I had to agree to when installing the Facebook Messenger app, which I decided against. If I lose my messenger history, so be it!

If we consider the Sydney Morning Herald (at http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/smartphone-apps/facebook-is-forcing-messenger-app-on-users-and-they-arent-happy-about-it-20140729-zycfb.html), we see the following quote “CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed during last week’s earnings call that the company eventually wants to monetise Messenger and the app will eventually ‘overlap’ with payments, though, as TechCrunch notes, he acknowledged the company still has a lot of work to do before users will see payments cropping up in the app“. It is fair enough that people will get to pay at some point. At that point people can return to the old Yahoo Messenger, which has forever been free!

My issue here is that there is a lot more visibility here, yet why this is not the lead with every news channel as this affects BILLIONS of people is also a little beyond me.

There is of course the other side. Is what ‘the Bull’ stated true? I am not stating that they were lying, but the android permissions are at times a little out there. This view is actually reinforced by CNBC (at http://www.cnbc.com/id/101911170).

The confusion seems to have stemmed from Android. “The app when you install it, it explains in a list what it needs permission to do, and this is the list that frightened a lot people initially,’ Simons said. ‘That doesn’t mean it sort of willy nilly goes about contacting friends or recording you as you go about your day using your phone camera,’ he added.

I cannot disagree with this view, yet the truth is that just like with Sony, we agreed on something, we made a binding pact and that what is and that what could be are now intertwined and as such it is not about handholding, it is about clarity! When Big Business forces you the consumer, they will be precise (example: ‘we hereby charge you $11,732.34 to be deposited within the next 10 days‘). Yet when they would like something from you, they hide in ambiguity (example: ‘we can change all your savings into a fortune, deposit all today and the larger returns could be yours quite soon’). So, how large a deposit, how much larger, how soon? These answers would not be forthcoming until AFTER the deposit I reckon.

So where do we stand?

When we consider the issues that have plagued the tech savvy population, like the TPP, Sony, even government spending seems to be missing on the glasses of those ‘considering’ themselves to be Journalists. Another bash of that seems to have missed the larger view in news (at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/08/05/federal-spending-transparency-money-missing/13485581/).

The first quote is “the data that does exist is wildly inaccurate, according to the Government Accountability Office, which looked at 2012 spending data. Only 2% to 7% of spending data on USASpending.gov is ‘fully consistent with agencies records,’ according to the report“, which makes me wonder who is keeping track of the deficit and how much larger could it be?

The second one is “The Department of Health and Human Services failed to report nearly $544 billion, mostly in direct assistance programs like Medicare. The department admitted that it should have reported aggregate numbers of spending on those programs“, which reads like, if we aggregate numbers, you are less likely to find anything and we can hide it under a total header. Failing to report on half a trillion is a big thing, it is well over $1000 for every resident in America.

So, does that mean that the deficit of the US is a lot larger? That would indeed be news as it would put the US in a peculiar financial position, or better a position they no longer hold. I am not stating that I am right or that I am wrong (both are an option). It seems that the papers and newscasts we get bombarded with every day seem to become more and more selective on what they consider important. One article affecting 80 million (the combined population of Australia and the UK) as well as the new issue which hits over a billion people does not seems to be important. The last news of last week is one that does bear scrutiny, yet to get something from USA Today and not the Guardian or any of the Australian news bringers does pose questions.

The Facebook issue will hit us for some time and it might result in something different. The issue linked to this is whether Android has a registration system that bears scrutiny. Android has its own faults (also not too overly reported on by journalists) and just pointing the finger at Facebook is also not entirely the right thing to do.

There is also the difference on what some will do and what some could do. It is the ambiguity that is slowly getting to more and more people.

So what should the journalists be doing and what should Facebook not be doing?

 

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Protecting Consumers!

I am still on the Sony horse! It is interesting to see how consumers are do not seem to be protected and how little visibility some cases seem to get. I seem to have found what I consider to be severe consumer injustice!

This injustice is on two levels. The first level is on the side of ‘the small print approach’, the second side is on the consumer side through the shops. So as discussed in my previous blog (pricing a Sony game), where they changed the user agreement to make illegal the reselling of games and on the other side the TPP will allow them big companies to charge us more.

At the DPP, no one was willing to take any calls (they apparently do not take any calls ever). They referred me to the ASIC and the Law society of NSW. They were little help, however the Law Society did what it service minded does, and they would be able to refer me to private solicitors. This is what they do (and what they are supposed to do), so there is no case here, other that they were willing to give all the assistance they could. From there I ended up with the fair trades commission who listened and explained on how I had to go to the ACCC.

The ACCC logged the issue and it is now investigated internally.

I also talked to Channel 7, Channel 9 as well as the Sydney Morning Herald. They were all interested, but seemingly unaware to the issues that are going on at present. In my view I have always be loudly outspoken against this and I did so against the acts of Don Mattrick when he was with Microsoft. It seems hypocrite not to speak out against Sony when they try to hide in the weeds not quaking!

I am all for protecting gamers, if the little time I have left on this earth is to get some protection for them against injustice and greed, then this is a fight worth fighting. The gamers are now swiftly placed between the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact), raising the price of entertainment even further and the forces crushing the options of pre-owned games for those not being able to afford full priced games, something must clearly be done.

It is also interesting how the government and the Fair Trade commission remain silent on these matters. Shops rely on pre-owned games to survive after the margins of new games are reduced to an absolute minimum. The pre-owned games keep them into business. As large companies are paying less and less corporate tax as their offers go to downloaded revenue (which often goes via non-commonwealth tax shelters). We see that they are paying less and they are the cause of shutting down local shops with these new arrangements. I believe in fairness and at present there is no fairness in any of this.

Too squeeze a population already in hardship, to hurt them even further with these events is beyond acceptable!

In case you see some response on ‘generic’ or some party line response how this is not the intent of the Sony User agreement, then consider one other piece of information. PlayStation Home offered an amazing private space for sale. It was by loot and it is a graphic and technological highlight. You buy the private space where you can walk around. It is so amazing as this is a new form of private space. Not only is it graphically superior on many levels, it has a new level of interactivity. The private space allows you to monitor twitter via a light bar in your apartment. It offers LOOT™ Radios (music) and EOD TV (movies, TV shows). This is a new era in entertainment, yet not everywhere available. They were very clear in communicating that part. I get that part! Yet, consider that Loot is part of Sony, and that the TPP is about to limit retransmissions of broadcasts even further, how long until consumers ‘lose’ those options? In addition some places cost US$2.99, whilst in Australia the same places cost AU$4.99 and in the UK GBP 2.39. So, when we set this all to the same (US) currency we see:

United States $2.99, Australia $4.61 (+54%), United Kingdom $4.19 (+40%). So not only do we pay on average a lot more, we get less for the overall package. Interesting how this lacks the visibility it deserves!

I wonder how much visibility the press and the news casts will give all this in the coming days. In my eyes it might be an interesting stretch to see how much power they have over the press, in case of the UK we should look at how much visibility they give all this. They claim that they could regulate themselves? Well, if this is true, how come that NO ONE (of the big newspapers in the UK) has had any visibly outspoken view on these matters by Sony? I saw a few sources like ‘reddit’ and other bloggers pick this up, but that is about it. If you are wondering on the size of these matters, I am not a journalist, I am not some high powered media mogul, I am just a blogger who knows games. The gaming industry encompasses a market in extent of 20 billion dollars a year. That is a market big enough for ALL newspapers to keep one eagle eye on any news that impacts it. No visibility seems to have been given at present. A questionable turn of events!

Who is looking out for the consumers, especially those who do not have that much to spend?

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