Tag Archives: Piracy

If You Have News, It Will Be Aggregated and/or Curated

The Pew Research Center has come out with a massive new report on the state of media as part of its Project for Excellence in Journalism, and it comes to a number of conclusions about where the industry stands—including the fact that Twitter and Facebook are still driving a fairly small amount of traffic to media outlets (although this segment is growing quickly) and that such tech giants as Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft control almost 70 percent of online advertising. But one other thing that becomes clear from the Pew report is just how big a role aggregators of all kinds—both human and machine-powered—are playing in news consumption.

Despite the growing evidence to the contrary, many newspaper companies and other traditional media outlets still seem to think the vast majority of their audience comes to them directly and prefers to read their content above all other sources. More than anything else, this is the core philosophy behind the rise of paywalls—which more and more papers are implementing—and also the millions of dollars media companies have poured into developing iPad apps and other walled-garden-style approaches to news delivery. The assumption is that readers will want only the content that comes from that specific outlet.

For many consumers, however, aggregators of various kinds are the way they consume their news now, whether through Web-based portals like Yahoo News or Google News, or through a variety of newer aggregation-based apps and services, such as Flipboard, Pulse, or Zite for the iPad, as well as News.me, Summify (which was recently acquired by Twitter), and Percolate. According to the Pew report, almost 30 percent of consumers get their news from a “news organizing website or app,” compared with the 36 percent who go directly to a media company’s website or app.

In effect, many users seem to be looking to generate their own digital-newspaper-style overview of the world rather than accepting one from a single media outlet, and if the content they are looking for comes from an aggregator like the Huffington Post because the original is behind a paywall, then so be it. The problem for media companies is that this kind of behavior is in direct conflict with most of  the business models they’re relying on for revenue, whether it’s advertising or app- and paywall-based subscription services—which is why such media moguls as News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch continually accuse Google of “piracy.”

And the problem is actually even bigger than that, since the Huffington Post and Google News are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to aggregation and/or curation. Although Facebook and Twitter may not be huge factors in terms of news consumption at the moment—as my colleague Staci has pointed out at paidContent—with only 9 percent of users saying they get their news from those networks, that figure has grown almost 60 percent in the past year alone and is likely continuing to increase.

To some extent the curation phenomenon is helping mainstream news organizations, because people are sharing links that get clicked on and drive traffic back to news outlets. This is especially the case with Twitter, since the Pew report notes that a larger proportion of users follow official media sources there, while a majority of Facebook users get their news from friends and family members. But just as with aggregation apps and services, the content that any single media company produces just becomes part of the sea of content that is distributed through these networks.

On top of that, Facebook itself is becoming much more of an aggregator of news, through the “social reading” apps it offers from such outlets as the Washington Post and the Guardian. Although both newspapers have bragged about the number of people who have registered for their apps and shared content through them, the reality is that much of the benefit from that activity ultimately goes to Facebook—in terms of the time users spend on the site, the advertising they are exposed to, etc.—rather than the news outlet.

Emily Bell, the former Guardian digital editor who now runs the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, noted in a response to the Pew report on Twitter that social platforms like Facebook are becoming “frenemies” with media companies, since they generate traffic but also suck up much of the benefit in terms of advertising.



International Piracy costs $12bn per year, threatens climate change research says experts

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in Singapore has issued a warning on all ships cruising through the South China Sea  bordering Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore following the hijack of three tugboats and a barge late last May.

IMB piracy reporting chief Noel Choong said alerts have been sent to ships in the area amid a sudden rash of hijackings. “We are sending out this alert as these are the first three hijackings of vessels in the South China Sea this year,” he said. “Normally, pirates in the area are opportunistic as they rob a ship and flee but the hijacking of a vessel requires planning so, we believe a syndicate is involved,” Choong added. “As most bigger ships have transmitters on board that help authorities locate them, we believe that pirates in the area are hijacking tugboats which are small and so are not required to have such transmitters,” he said.    http://www.zambotimes.com/archives/34347-IMB-issues-piracy-warning-on-South-China-Sea.html
Attacks on the world’s seas are soaring as armed and dangerous pirates become increasingly emboldened, seizing more ships than before and taking even bigger risks, an international body said. In the first six months of 2011, there were 266 piracy attacks compared with 196 incidents over the same period last year, and 60 percent of them were carried out by Somali pirates, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said.  The report from the London-based IMB also said it was vital international forces off the east coast of Africa be kept in place and even boosted. IMB says the seas around Nigeria are more dangerous than the official reports suggest, and that it was aware of at least 11 other incidents that had not been reported. http://news.yahoo.com/pirate-attacks-rise-world-maritime-body-072126408.html;_ylc=X3oDMTU4czVvMThyBF9TAzIwMjMxNTI3MDIEYXBwaWQDd3ZHZEFPM1YzNEdHQ3paNG0yQXYzYnFVeG5KaWM0YnJFTDNpaVc1aW05MWhvQUpqbW1UTGVrWTBJM09sZ1owLQRjbGllbnQDYm9zcwRzZXJ2aWNlA0JPU1MEc2xrA3RpdGxlBHNyY3B2aWQDRk9POC5FZ2VBdTNvWkM3dzRDbUMzUlplVWlBcEIwNGtMMUVBQ1dYSw
An international group for seafarers’ concerns said the total costs of seafarer piracy in 2010 range from $7 to $12 billion. The One Earth Future Foundation’s (OEF) Oceans Beyond Piracy project did the estimates, with insurance premiums topping the list of costs in the range of $460 million to $3.2 billion. War risk and kidnap-and-ransom types of insurance made up the most significant premiums that shipowners purchase, especially if ships pass through the Gulf of Aden. OEF’s estimate for insurance was calculated by getting a low-bound estimates (of 10 percent of ships purchasing these insurance premiums) and an upper-bound estimates (70 percent of ships). The re-routing of ships provided the next highest excess costs of seafarer piracy at $2.4 to $3 billion — especially for low and slow-moving ships that were remarked to be avoiding risk zones (especially the Gulf of Aden) as a “safer or cheaper option,” OEF wrote. Purchasing security equipment cost an excess of $363 million to $2.5 billion, as ship owners prepare their ships with security equipment and having guards prior to transiting to a high-risk zone.  http://www.gmanews.tv/story/225202/pinoy-abroad/piracy-costs-shipping-industry-at-least-12b-in-2010
Piracy Preventing Monsoon and U.S. Rainfall Research – Piracy is stopping oceanographers and meteorologists from collecting data vital to understanding the Indian monsoon and rainfall patterns in the United States, researchers say. As a result, a long-running collection of wind data in the Indian Ocean now has a giant gap, says meteorologist Shawn Smith of Florida State University in Tallahassee. And a project aiming to install an array of buoys in the Indian Ocean is likely to remain unfinished. Meteorologists have long tracked the Somali low-level jet, also called the East African jet–a wind pattern that blows from the coast of Africa northeast across the Arabian Sea to India in summer. “It’s the primary source of moisture coming in to drive their summer monsoon,” says Smith. Earth-based wind data in this area come from merchant ships that take weather measurements as a matter of course. A map of ship reports from August 2008 reveals a steady stream of traffic along the Somali coast, right through the core of the Somali jet. But in August 2009, an area of about 2.5 million square kilometers is completely barren of observations thanks to ships moving to a recommended distance of more than 1,100 km offshore to avoid the pirates. ” Annual forecasts of the Indian monsoon are unlikely to be affected, scientists say, because there are alternative satellite data sources for that. But long-term studies of these climate systems will be affected. “A ‘data hole’ in such a dynamically important region is a big deal,” says Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, who studies climate systems in the tropical Pacific.  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=preventing-monsoon-and-us-rainfall-research

Viacom courted YouTube before launching $1bn piracy lawsuit

Faced with claims that it encourages piracy, YouTube accuses its rival of sour grapes – as well as claiming it ran covert operations to upload thousands of videos to the site

American media conglomerate Viacom considered buying YouTube just months before it launched a USD 1bn piracy lawsuit against the video sharing site, according to court documents. Files released Thursday by a US court suggest that the television giant – which owns channels including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central – had considered purchasing YouTube in 2006 in what executives said could prove a “transformative acquisition”. That deal was scotched when YouTube was bought later that year by internet leviathan Google for USD 1.65bn – shortly before Viacom launched its billion-dollar lawsuit accusing YouTube of “massive intentional copyright infringement”. The claims have come to light after the US court hearing the case unsealed hundreds of documents as it prepares to make a ruling on Viacom’s claims. Lawyers have been arguing the case, which experts say could redefine the relationship between media and internet companies, behind closed doors since 2007 – but the court’s move has made the astonishing revelations from both sides public for the first time