"The Problem: specialist books in the Humanities and Social Sciences (including but not exclusively monographs) are under threat due to spiralling prices and reduced library funds.
Access is restricted: while academics could choose to bypass existing publishers and just post content on the Web, the general consensus within academia is that they would prefer to have their books professionally published.
Only a few hundred copies make it into the eight to twelve thousand research universities, and very few teaching universities have access to these materials. For many individuals private purchase is beyond their reach.
A Possible Solution: cover the costs of creating the first digital copy through a library consortium and make the titles open access. Publishers would continue to generate additional revenues from the sale of print, ePub and PDFs in bespoke formats."
(Frances Pinter, 2011)
"If the story of the Three Little Pigs broke today, how would a modern newspaper cover it? That's the concept behind a new TV ad for The Guardian, the newspaper's first major TV spot for 25 years.
The spot launches a campaign to promote the paper's 'open journalism' approach – its name for the way in which it is attempting to involve its readership in not just commenting on stories, but contributing to and even determining its news agenda. 'Open is our operating system, a way of doing things that is based on a belief in the open exchange of information, ideas and opinions and its power to bring about change,' said Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian and MediaGuardian publisher Guardian News & Media. 'The campaign is designed to bring that philosophy to life for new and existing readers.'
The launch ad examines the way in which the tale of the Three Little Pigs might be covered by The Guardian today, with all the different forms of content and different channels that implies. It also seeks to get over the way in which stories develop over time as new facts come to light and the effect of social media on switching the focus of coverage and debate.
An epic two-minute version (shown above) debuted on Channel 4 last night.
Comparisons will inevitably be made with 1986's classic Points of View by BMP (indeed the Guardian itself has said that the new ad is a 'nod' to the old one. They share an endline: The Whole Picture).
But while Points of View got over its message succintly and elegantly, Three Little Pigs is less focussed, less pithy. This can be seen as a reflection of the changing nature of media – newspapers are now less about relating THE story and more about acting as a platform for multiple strands around a topic to be explored by multiple participants, including the readers themselves, in real time. But it makes for a less memorable piece of advertising storytelling.
'The aim is to reach progressive audiences and show them why they should spend time with us,' according to Andrew Miller, chief executive of the Guardian's parent company Guardian Media Group. But you have to wonder whether such progressive types would not be aware of what the Guardian is doing anyway? The ad will probably make existing Guardian readers feel better about themselves, but will its slightly daunting complexity attract many new ones?"
(Patrick Burgoyne, 1 March 2012, Creative Review)
"Kickstarter is the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. Every week, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.
A new form of commerce and patronage. This is not about investment or lending. Project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work. Instead, they offer products and experiences that are unique to each project.
All or nothing funding.On Kickstarter, a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands. Why? It protects everyone involved. Creators aren’t expected to develop their project without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk.
Each and every project is the independent creation of someone like you.Projects are big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and experimental. They’re inspiring, entertaining and unbelievably diverse. We hope you agree... Welcome to Kickstarter!"
"LENIN is said to have sneered that a capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him. The quote may be spurious, but it contains a grain of truth. Capitalists quite often invent the technology that destroys their own business.
Eastman Kodak is a picture-perfect example. It built one of the first digital cameras in 1975. That technology, followed by the development of smartphones that double as cameras, has battered Kodak's old film- and camera-making business almost to death. ...
While Kodak suffers, its long-time rival Fujifilm is doing rather well. The two firms have much in common. Both enjoyed lucrative near-monopolies of their home markets: Kodak selling film in America, Fujifilm in Japan. A good deal of the trade friction during the 1990s between America and Japan sprang from Kodak's desire to keep cheap Japanese film off its patch.
Both firms saw their traditional business rendered obsolete. But whereas Kodak has so far failed to adapt adequately, Fujifilm has transformed itself into a solidly profitable business, with a market capitalisation, even after a rough year, of some $12.6 billion to Kodak's $220m. Why did these two firms fare so differently?
Both saw change coming. Larry Matteson, a former Kodak executive who now teaches at the University of Rochester's Simon School of Business, recalls writing a report in 1979 detailing, fairly accurately, how different parts of the market would switch from film to digital, starting with government reconnaissance, then professional photography and finally the mass market, all by 2010. He was only a few years out.
Fujifilm, too, saw omens of digital doom as early as the 1980s. It developed a three-pronged strategy: to squeeze as much money out of the film business as possible, to prepare for the switch to digital and to develop new business lines.
Both firms realised that digital photography itself would not be very profitable. 'Wise businesspeople concluded that it was best not to hurry to switch from making 70 cents on the dollar on film to maybe five cents at most in digital,' says Mr Matteson. But both firms had to adapt; Kodak was slower."
(The Economist, 14 January 2012)
Fig.1 John Terret (03 Nov 2011). "Kodak misses the moment", Al Jazeera.
Fig.2 Kodak (1922). "Kodachrome Film Test".
This video "discusses the Senate version of the PROTECT IP Act, but the House bill that was introduced TODAY is much much worse.
It'll give the government new powers to block Americans' access websites that corporations don't like. The bill would criminalize posting all sorts of standard web content -- music playing in the background of videos, footage of people dancing, kids playing video games, and posting video of people playing cover songs.
This legislation will stifle free speech and innovation, and even threaten popular web services like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
The bill was just introduced: We need to act now to let our lawmakers know just how terrible it is. Will you fill out the form above to ask your lawmakers to oppose the legislation?"
(Fight for the Future, 2011)
[Another naive effort by government & big media to re-conceptualise their economic models in the face of profound change.]