Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, March 12, 2021

Not even two weeks into my Twittering adventure, and it’s already gotten me into BusinessWeek!

Well, only sorta. The BW exposure is in the form of this guest op-ed piece by Paul Armstrong, the founder of @themediaisdying. Armstrong offered up his theory “behind the incredibly shrinking media”, helped along with a little tweet-delivered input:

In true Web 2.0 (crowdsourcing) style, I asked the 12,000-plus @themediaisdying network members to opine on the most influential reason for the current radical decline. Many of the usual suspects turned up: the Internet, technology, delayed reaction to change, fixed costs… the list goes on.

And I contributed to that list thusly:

the effortless cut-and-paste/syndicated dissemination (and, following that, proliferation) of content, via Web

In exchange, I got the first mention under the article’s “thanks to” postscript. Of course, it was only my Twitter profile (@popstat), unhyperlinked — visually pleasing, but not optimal for drawing in the online eyeballs. And by extension, it does almost nothing to drive traffic to this blog, which is my primary intent for jumping onto Twitter in the first place.

Not that I’m complaining. Much. Just glad to have contributed, however meagerly.

As for my response: Something that deserves a deeper examination. I tweeted Armstrong that, while his argument that newspapers and magazines need to deliver their unique content to readers more effectively was sound, it ultimately missed the point: As long as the content is being delivered through a channel that’s underpinned by an interface that allows copying and re-distribution of that content with minimal effort, monetization efforts are going to be limited. Basically, the challenge isn’t the Web itself as a medium — it’s the digital environment that propagates it. In short, the way most people access Web content undermines efforts to exclusivize that content.

Which means that, ultimately, the computer operating systems that the mass-audience users rely upon to interact with Web media need to be drastically modified. Tall order, but not impossible. Every medium undergoes a proliferation of outlets, followed by a maturation where barriers to entry are erected — publishing costs, broadcast licenses, etc. I imagine that, at some point, access to Web content creation will become restricted, probably via the imposition of server/bandwith fees. I couldn’t tell you what the impetus of this will be, but at some point, it’ll come together, and a “mature” Web media landscape will emerge.

Leading to self-imposed online shrinkage, and the germination of the next-stage emerging media (telepathy? molecular transference?). Not to get ahead of ourselves…

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/12/2021 11:29:58 PM
Category: Internet, Media, Tech
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The “sit” in sitcom stands for “situation”, which this Great Recession certainly qualifies as.

“Sit” also stands for “sitting”, which I presume more people will have time to do while watching these economically-inspired television funny-shows coming down the pike:

Networks are even considering entire series based on the recession. Fox is developing a comedy titled “Two-Dollar Beer” that features a group of friends living in Detroit who are trying to weather that city’s worsening financial condition, and ABC Studios is developing “Canned,” a situation comedy about a group of friends who all get fired on the same day.

So much for using TV to escape reality. Of course, if you have to cancel cable and sell your set to stretch out unemployment funds, you’ll escape this mess appropriately enough.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/12/2021 01:46:04 PM
Category: Business, Comedy, Society, TV
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train to the game
Despite grousing over allowing a bailed-out bank to spend millions on sports naming rights, Citigroup is still going to see its brandname atop Citi Field, new home of the New York Mets.

But they won’t see that name at the subway/train station stops:

Instead, the station, on the No. 7 line, will be called simply Mets/Willets Point. New signs will go up soon replacing the old signs, which say Willets Point/Shea Stadium. The nearby Long Island Rail Road station will be renamed in the same way.

“We’re willing, as we have said, to entertain corporate names on stations, but only for a fee,” said Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

This civic shakedown only works if the stadium/arena in question actually has a for-sale nameplate, though:

Across town, the Yankees will also open a new stadium, but they are keeping the old name. Mr. Soffin said that the names of the 161st Street/Yankee Stadium stations on the B, D and No. 4 lines would not change.

A new Metro-North Railroad station at Yankee Stadium, built with $52 million in authority money and $39 million from the city, will have a slightly different name. It will be called Yankees/E. 153rd Street.

So the Yankees are exempt. As for the Metropolitans, the MTA went after the second-hand dollars — they hit up the baseball team for a fee, rather than Citigroup. It’s a novel approach, and I wonder if other metro areas around the country shouldn’t try the same tack with their local teams.

Or else… millions of fans, especially out-of-towners, will get lost on the way to the ballpark? Actually, by making the destination-designator as dead-simple as the name of the team tenant, I’d think this would be preferred — you might not know the current name of the barn, but you’d surely know the name of the team you’re going to watch. On the flip side, it could get hairy for concerts and other non-sports events.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/12/2021 01:22:12 PM
Category: Baseball, Business, New Yorkin', Politics, SportsBiz
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Unless there’s an unusually high concentration of “Diff’rent Strokes” fans in Chicago, I’m thinking that the plan to rename the landmark Sears Tower to “Willis Tower” is going to unleash a big ball of hatin’ in the Windy City.

Nevermind that the building’s naming-rights holder, insurance agency Willis Group Holdings, is backing up its branding play by moving a bunch of its offices into the Tower. Or that Sears vacated the joint six years ago.

I find it interesting that one corporate tag is more cherished than another. I think that’s mostly due to sheer longevity: Sears’ name has been attached to the hemisphere’s tallest structure for nearly 40 years, so any change would be reviled, regardless of quality issues. This does prove out the effectiveness of grabbing the naming rights of major construction projects (chiefly sports arenas and other mass-market magnets) before they go up: Mindshare-wise, people form an instant attachment to the “birthname”. In fact, the association with the sponsoring brand tends to blur — I know that, for instance, Buffalo’s former Rich Stadium, the granddaddy of named-rights stadia, rarely ever conjured up the food-processing company that it was supposed to be promoting.

In any case, maybe Willis Group should hire Todd Bridges for the presumed renaming ribbon-cutting ceremony…

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/12/2021 12:27:08 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Pop Culture, SportsBiz, TV
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This can’t bode well for reestablishing the historical supremacy of the British Royal Navy: The UK’s nuclear submersibles are now running on a modified version of Windows XP (cheekily dubbed “Microsoft Windows for Submarines”).

Given the operating system’s propensity for crashing on sea-level computers, this assessment was inevitable:

All right, who’s that in the back row snickering about the Blue Screen of Depth?

(And yes, this post’s title would have fit better had it been the German Navy…)

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/12/2021 11:51:11 AM
Category: Movies, Politics, Tech
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