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Month Roundup: November 2009

Simon Pitt | News | Tuesday 1st December 2009

The month began with the news that ITV would produce three mini "webisodes" for bland mainstream soap opera Coronation Street. These will be unexpectedly sophisticated: each featuring the same script, but with sublte differences in action altering the meaning. They will also be more bleak and adventurous than the Street's usual affair (which mainly consists of affairs). They will explore three alterative conclusions for Weatherfield murderer Tony Gordon: will he hand himself into the police, will he kill again, or will he commit suicide. Blimey.

November really was the month of Television on the Internet. Sky Mobile launched their Mobile TV App for the iPhone and BBC released the iPlayer as a channel on the Wii. In quite an exciting move, online TV aggregator clicker was launched, combining TV programmes from legal sources into one searchable site. Unfortunately, YouTube did a massive shit on their parade by sticking a load of adverts up on the tube saying you could get full TV programmes on their website, and Channel 4 announced they would start putting programmes on YouTube as well. This followed on from YouTube's announcement that they would be upgrading video to full 1080p high definition - making YouTube the highest quality video streamer on the internet. The BBC's Radio Player also got the go ahead, and will go live in 2010. This will provide a single platform for all radio companies to host content online, and will allow listeners to search for programmes across all stations. The future for television set-top box, Canvas, however, isn't looking so bright. Erik Huggers has said that it may be delayed until 2011 if the BBC Trust don't get a move on. It's beginning to look increasingly likely that Canvas may go the way of Kangaroo. More worryingly for BBC fans, Mark Thomson suggested that the BBC would soon be axing some digital stations. The eagle eyed would notice that this announcement followed the news that Silver Street had been cancelled on the Asian Network.

There was good news, though, with the plugging of a few job holes. Channel 4 finally managed to get a new chairman. They persuaded Lord Burns, ex-head of Abbey National to take the job. Burns has gained the nickname "Lord Fixit", and has already sorted out a number of things. Most memorably, he was chairman of the enquiry into Fox Hunting where he concluded that fox hunting "compromises the welfare of the fox".

ITV managed to get a chairman as well: ex-Asda boss Archie Norman. According to an interview in the Observer, his interests include farming, opera, music, fishing, skiing and tennis, which might result in a few changes in the ITV schedule.

It was a bad month, though, if you were an idiot. First two identical tits, Jedward, were voted off the X Factor, and then other two other tits left I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here when Katie Price walked off. I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here returned on 15th November and is averaging around 10 million viewers a week, probably benefiting from the laziness of X Factor viewers who can't be bothered to change channel.

On the subject of breasts, Brooke Magnati revealed that she was Belle de Jour, the infamous prostitute-cum-blogger (see what I did there). Belle's antics were so popular that her blog was turned into a book, which was then made into a TV series with almost no plot at all. It did star Billie Piper, though, in various states of undress, so most males overlooked the lack of plot, characterisation or consistency. Books based on blogs are affectionately known as Blooks - I say affectionately, but in true internet-style an argument erupted almost immediately about who coined the phrase. If a book based on a blog is a book, and a film based on a book of a blog is a flook, then a TV series based on a book of a blog is unpronounceable.

But while blogs have turned into books and TV has started going onto the Internet, the news has started coming off it. First, with almost no notice, Broadcast magazine went subscription only. This was rather a change, since previously they had been publishing articles online before they had been in the magazine, leaving the magazine as nothing more than a hard copy roundup of everything on the website. Now the website has become a luxury for subscribers. A few days later, the Johnson Press made a similar announcement and started charging for their online articles. For those of you that don't know who the Johnson Press are you're in the majority. The Johnson Press controls around 80 regional newspapers throughout the country. Good luck to them, though, charging for access to the Lytham St Annes Express. Blowing a big raspberry in the face of commercial journalism was the BBC, which announced it wouldn't be charging for online news. This wasn't really a surprise since under the terms of the TV licence they're not really allowed to.

News Corp, too, has started floundering around looking for ways of getting people to give them money. Their most recent plan is to get Microsoft to pay them to take their stuff off Google and put in on Bing, the it-was-the-only-name-left Microsoft search engine. Biz Stone, creator of Twitter accused Murdoch of trying to "put the genie back in the bottle" by charging for online news. Murdoch struck back saying "there's no such thing as a free news story". A simple google search and 1,140 results suggests otherwise. On the subject of Internet giants, it was a bad month for Wikipedia, with the suggestion that nearly 50,000 editors have left over the last year due to too much bureaucracy. That and the fact that all the Pokemon characters now have articles about them.

Finally, the award for "humorous media story of the month" goes to Antony Sumara, of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS trust who said that TV medical dramas weren't very realistic. This shocked absolutely no one, except all of those readers who were amazed that i) this was in the papers and ii) anyone had bothered to say it.

SP



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