The Netherlands is to be the first European country to guarantee open and free access to the internet. Economic Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen has embraced an opposition bill about ‘net neutrality’. In future, telecom operators will no longer be allowed to charge extra for internet services like Skype en YouTube. The bill has the support of a parliamentary majority. If the bill is adopted on Tuesday, it would mean the end for the plans of various telecom providers to charge users extra for services like Skype, Youtube. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services and streaming video on mobile phones would also no longer fall under existing subscription packages. Telecom providers would really prefer to go back to the old system under which their clients paid per MB. 4G The telecommunications industry says it really has no choice because the widespread use of free services is costing them too much. Data traffic has grown exponentially in the past few years. At the same time, telecom providers have seen revenue from telephony (both via landlines and via mobile phones) and text messaging take a nose-dive. The telecommunications industry says that unless new sources of revenue are found they will have no money to pay for the new hyper-fast 4G mobile network
In conjunction with Twitter and the CFJ journalism school (Centre de Formation des Journalistes), the international newswire Agence France-Presse (APF) has launched a YouTube channel dedicated to covering the 2012 French presidential elections. The channel hosts videos posted by political parties and tracks candidate popularity, but its main feature is an interface in which viewers can submit questions to candidates. The questions are then posed in interviews held by journalism students from CFJ. According to an article in Le Point, the channel is based on the American original “YouTube YouChoose08” election channel, which allowed viewers to post videos asking questions and candidates to post responses as well as campaign videos. However, the American press did not run the American presidential channel- YouTube created it. The APF’s election channel is considerably more controlled. The interviews are organized in two-week intervals, and journalism students act as the mediator between the viewers’ questions and the candidates. Furthermore, Le Point reported that other videos on the channel are uploaded by the APF or other news partners of YouTube, including France 24, Euronews, and BFM TV. The channel’s role is informative with interactive elements, but its content remains controlled by the press rather than YouTube users
Leading health organisations have expressed alarm at how the internet is being used to promote smoking. Tobacco companies deny using the online world to market their brands, but there is mounting concern that social networking sites are glamorising smoking, especially among young people. British American Tobacco (BAT) has been forced to conduct a damage limitation exercise after it emerged that several of its employees had established fan sites on Facebook for the company’s Lucky Strike and Dunhill brands, apparently without the company’s knowledge. Ash, the anti-smoking group, has also established that BAT hired an online marketing firm, iKineo, to promote the Lucky Strike brand in South Africa. Other tobacco companies have also looked to the internet. Thousands of smokers – who had to confirm they were over 18 simply by clicking on an online box – have accessed a website allowing them to design packets for new blends of Camel cigarettes, manufactured by the American firm RJ Reynolds (RJR). The resulting exercise saw the launch of a range of new packets that extended the Camel brand and saw it climb up internet search engine rankings. CYouTube also carries old cigarette adverts that would fall foul of the comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, recognised by 168 countries if they were aired on television. An analysis of 163 YouTube tobacco brand-related videos, carried out by researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand, found that 71 percent featured “pro-tobacco content”.
YouTube is making its long expected foray into live streaming by launching an experimental trial with four new media partners. The new live streaming platform will be previewed in a two-day trial beginning Monday, but is expected to later grow considerably across the Google Inc.-owned website. Four YouTube partners will participate: the celebrity-focused Young Hollywood; the online television outlet Next New Networks; the how-to guide Howcast; and Rocketboom, the Internet culture vlog. For the last two years, YouTube has offered numerous events live, including a U2 concert, cricket matches in India and President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address. But for all of those events, YouTube relied on third-party technology to enable the live webcasts. YouTube, though, is far from the first company to step into the streaming video space. Startups such as Ustream.tv, Justin.tv and Livestream have already established themselves. But YouTube remains the largest video platform on the Web and is expected to quickly become a considerable force in the rapidly growing live streaming video business. ComScore recently announced the amount of time American audiences spent watching the major live video publishers grew by 648 percent in the last year. The advertising possibilities are also good, since the average live streamed video view is 7 percent longer than the average online video view, according to ComScore.
YouTube, a division of Google, is exploring a new way to get more high-quality clips on its site: financing amateur video creators.
On Friday morning at Vidcon, an inaugural gathering of the online video community, YouTube is announcing that it will create a $5 million Partner Grants Program, which will back emerging auteurs who are attracting growing audiences on its site.
YouTube, which recently turned 5, has been tremendously successful in capturing the homemade videos of the Flip-cam-armed filmmaker. But when it comes to more professionally produced video, apart from certain exceptions like music videos, far more material has gone to a rival, Hulu.com.
The grants program is designed to help change that. YouTube says it will reach out to creators whose work appeals to large audiences and mainstream advertisers, and who are adept at marketing their work across the Web. Average contributions will range from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars.
The program is similar to efforts at other Internet companies to forge direct relationships with content creators, bypassing the traditional gatekeepers of the media business. Amazon.com, for example, has introduced a number of self-publishing tools on its Kindle platform and set a high royalty rate for authors.
“Ultimately the game has changed and people are throwing the rules out the window,” said George Strompolos, the partner development manager at YouTube. “Folks who 10 years ago couldn’t even get their content shared to friends across the street are now connecting with audiences around the world. We see that not only as a cute thing, where someone has a viral hit, we see these people as the next content creators, the next brand in original programming. It’s where our roots have always been and we are doubling down on that type of programming.”
Social media such as Facebook and Twitter or blogging sites have become powerful tools that influence what people buy, online researcher Nielsen said Wednesday, urging business to embrace the trend. Nearly three in four people worldwide who use the Internet have visited a social networking or blog, spending an average of almost six hours a month on them, The Nielsen Company said in a report. Of the seven biggest brands online globally, three are social media networking sites – Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube – it said in its latest report on social media trends in the Asia Pacific region. According to Nielsen’s findings, online product reviews are the third most trusted source of information when consumers decide whether to purchase a product, coming after recommendations from friends and family. From China and India to Australia, online reviews are a major influence in buying electronics items, cosmetics, cars and food, among other things, it said.
Pakistani authorities on Friday put seven major websites, including Google and YouTube, under watch for containing material deemed offensive to Muslims, officials said. The Ministry of Information Technology is also blocking at least 17 links on Youtube and other websites for showing “blasphemous material.” “YouTube, Yahoo, Amazon, Bing, MSN, Hotmail and Google will be monitored with relation to anti-Islamic contents,” said Khurram Mehran, spokesman for the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. The companies that own the affected sites are Google Inc., Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon.com Inc.. But another official also made it clear the government had no intention of blocking major websites as they were important sources of education. The move to impose monitoring was undertaken three days after a court in the eastern city of Bahawalpur ordered the government to block YouTube and eight other sites in response to a petition arguing they were showing material “against the fundamental principles of Islam. The next hearing of the case is fixed for Monday. It is second time in a month that Pakistan has imposed such restrictions on internet. Last month, authorities acting on a court decision blocked social network Facebook, YouTube and others sites for almost two weeks amid anger over a page that encouraged users to post images of the Prophet Mohammad.