After a week of trying I finally got hold of Sky Player on the Xbox at the weekend. The thing that caught my eye (other than the lack of watchable programming) is the option of watching shows with friends through Xbox Live: You can sit your avatar down with friends in front of a big screen and gesture and chat about the onscreen goings on to your heart’s content.
I think the viewing room is a great feature but also a big jump forward in the trend of television becoming a much more sociable pass time which has been taking place over the past few years thanks to big event programmes and the recent boom in box sets, which making the latest twist in Lost and who went out on X Factor key conversation on a Monday morning.
Twitter has added another dimension to this allowing anyone to instantly see the always hilarious often outraged reactions to shows like X Factor instantly and discuss performances, twists and sartorial choices with friends as they happen. Fox in the US has tried to harness Twitter with ‘tweet-peats’ in which fans and cast members tweet their way through episodes of Fringe and the Tweets appear onscreen.
The Xbox Live viewing room is a step on from ‘tweet-peats’ allowing fans to get together and chat about the show they are watching, all they have to do is turn on their Sky Player.
As consoles increasingly move into the living room it seems clear television on demand through the console will proliferate and I think more viewing room type areas will begin to appear making television a much more social and interactive medium.
On top of the viewing room group screenings of cult shows like The Wire and Arrested Development (where apparently the audience often actually blue themselves) have become common events and Box set clubs are becoming as prevalent as book clubs. I think these are symptoms of television quickly losing its image as a lonely pass time for fat men in stained underwear in favour of that of a sociable and interactive medium.
From my post on the Wolfstar blog.
It was announced yesterday that Channel 4 lunchtime news and More4 news would be coming off the air at the end of this year. I don’t think too many people are going to mourn More4 News (the last remnant of any attempt to fulfil the channel’s ‘intelligent programming’ remit), but I’ll certainly be sad to see the back of the lunchtime news.
Apparently Channel 4 News was set up to cover the second Gulf war but it lived on and certainly became a staple part of my news diet as a student. It was a refreshing change from the bland impartiality of BBC News and the comic book news of ITV, so I’ll be sad to see it go.
On a larger scale the disappearance of a news programme coupled with this week’s revelations about the Observer’s apparently imminent closure are the worst omens we’ve seen yet for traditional media.
I’m not one of those social media people who scream about ‘the man’ being beaten down by citizen journalism. Every person has their own slim area of expertise where no journalist, no matter how good their research, can come near. Mine is Quentin Tarantino films; if someone writes an article about feminism in Pulp Fiction I’ve got plenty to add to the conversation that Krishnan Guru-Murphy probably doesn’t. If you’re writing an article about feminism in the work of Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg though you’ll have to go somewhere else for the Spielberg bit, my little corner of knowledge isn’t that big, and the same goes for every blogger on the planet, no one is that knowledgeable on everything. If you use the blogosphere for all your news and critique you’ll find pockets of knowledge like this for every angle of every story you find; it doesn’t work. And this is why we need mainstream media.
Television news and newspapers provide a high, if not perfect, level of expertise on every issue of the day. The only blog I can think of which provides that level of coverage online is Huffpo, the British blogosphere isn’t nearly that mature yet. The closest we have is Guido who strikes me as more of a gossip monger than reliable news source. If you do get all your news and comment from blogs, chances are that you’re going to the same ones every day and they’re the ones you tend to agree with; no one is challenging your view to any great extent, that leads to you become more militant in your views and can lead to some very scary politics. Mainstream news contains comment, columns, and reports from a range of sources meaning that on some level your ideas are challenged.
So, long story short; quick, everyone, start watching the News at 10 and BBC News 24, and buy three newspapers a day (not the Express) and listen to Radio 4 before it all disappears.
A couple of days ago Adam Lewis posted asking whether PR would attract more and better candidates if more PR agencies offered grad schemes. I’m of the opinion that too few agencies offer grad schemes and that does effect the quality of graduates coming in to the industry.
Jedh, however doesn’t think PR needs schemes because the industry gets all the grads it could ever want (proven by the low starting salaries) and having to jump through all the hoops makes sure only the grads who really want it get in.
Bollocks. the big financial grad schemes (PWC, Deloitte) claim to receive around 100 applications per place. Edelman’s grad scheme received 250 total; Competition for Grad places in PR is not that high. The low starting salaries are a symptom of the industry valuing experience over new grads. Where other industries relish the chance to train a grad to work exactly as the company needs them (Law firms often recruit students between university and law school so they can provide their own training alongside their law studies) Pr agencies prefer to take on employees with a proven track record who will not need the expense of extensive training.
In order to get in to PR most Grads have to do a string of unpaid work experience placements to show they have some modicum of experience and, apparently, a commitment to the industry. In reality what this does is bar entry to many people who live outside London: I was lucky enough to get in at Wolfstar but a friend who lives in the same area couldn’t get in at one of the handful of Leeds agencies and after 6 months of trying has been forced to give up. This drives away grads who simply can’t afford to spend months doing unpaid work and sends them to industries which pays them well and doesn’t demand they bankrupt themselves before they’ve even begun.
PR needs more companies offering grad schemes in order to pull in the best and brightest and give grads a chance at fighting their way into the industry; just because you can’t spend months doing unpaid work doesn’t mean you don’t care about working in the industry.