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First, a reality check. How big and dangerous is the phenomenon? PageFair, a startup-based in Dublin, Ireland, comes up with some facts. Here are key elements drawn from a 17-pages PDF document available here.

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via The Rise of AdBlock Reveals A Serious Problem in the Advertising Ecosystem | Monday Note.

Comcast Wants to Monitor and Convert Pirating Subscribers | TorrentFreak.

Comcast Wants to Monitor and Convert Pirating Subscribers | TorrentFreak.

In May of this year, ClarityRay reported that the overall rate of ad blocking by users was 9.26% in the U.S. and Europe. The rate ranged from 6.11% for business and finance sites to 15.58% for news sites and 17.79% for tech sites. For some sites, ad blocking reached 50%. Ad blocking is highest in Europe, where Austria is tops with a 22.5% ad blocking rate. The U.S. is slightly below average at 8.72%. With 1% or less are Iran, Guyana, Kuwait, Myanmar and Qatar.

via The Future of Ad Blockers | ZEDO, Inc..

The beauty of P2P and BitTorrent is that it’s a distributed system. Indeed, as far as sites are concerned bandwidth between users (and of course content) are both available for free and running in basic mode requires only a few dollars a month on top to pay for a server. Trading in the big gas guzzler for a something a little more frugal should be a survival option.

Of course, in many cases this could potentially mean file-sharing backing up in sophistication to 2004, to what may as well be the stone age to many of today’s younger enthusiasts. That said, ask anyone who was around at the time if it was so bad. Yes, at times Suprnova required 30 refreshes until a page actually loaded and yes, initial seeders uploaded at a snail’s pace, but the scene was buzzing and people were having fun. And if it’s not about having fun anymore, something has gone wrong along the way.

Maybe a fresh start and a resurgence of some old fashioned non-monetary gain values is what is needed. The money can’t be targeted if there isn’t any.

via Bombing BitTorrent and File-Sharing Websites Back to the Stone Age | TorrentFreak.The beauty of P2P and BitTorrent is that it’s a distributed system. Indeed, as far as sites are concerned bandwidth between users (and of course content) are both available for free and running in basic mode requires only a few dollars a month on top to pay for a server. Trading in the big gas guzzler for a something a little more frugal should be a survival option.

Of course, in many cases this could potentially mean file-sharing backing up in sophistication to 2004, to what may as well be the stone age to many of today’s younger enthusiasts. That said, ask anyone who was around at the time if it was so bad. Yes, at times Suprnova required 30 refreshes until a page actually loaded and yes, initial seeders uploaded at a snail’s pace, but the scene was buzzing and people were having fun. And if it’s not about having fun anymore, something has gone wrong along the way.

Maybe a fresh start and a resurgence of some old fashioned non-monetary gain values is what is needed. The money can’t be targeted if there isn’t any.

via Bombing BitTorrent and File-Sharing Websites Back to the Stone Age | TorrentFreak.

Buffett is concentrating on small and medium papers in defensible markets, while steering clear of metro markets, where costs are high and competition is fierce. But he says he has no transformational ideas in mind.

“I do not have any secret sauce,” Buffett told the New York Times. “There are still 1,400 daily papers in the United States. The nice thing about it is that somebody can think about the best answer and we can copy him. Two or three years from now, you’ll see a much better-defined pattern of operations online and in print by papers.”

via Reflections of a Newsosaur: What’s next for newspapers?.Buffett is concentrating on small and medium papers in defensible markets, while steering clear of metro markets, where costs are high and competition is fierce. But he says he has no transformational ideas in mind.

“I do not have any secret sauce,” Buffett told the New York Times. “There are still 1,400 daily papers in the United States. The nice thing about it is that somebody can think about the best answer and we can copy him. Two or three years from now, you’ll see a much better-defined pattern of operations online and in print by papers.”

via Reflections of a Newsosaur: What’s next for newspapers?.

Fox sues Dish over ad-blocking feature; Dish fires back – latimes.com.

Fox Broadcasting Co. has sued Dish Network, becoming the first television network to fire a legal salvo over the satellite company’s controversial new ad-skipping device called AutoHop.

Dish, meanwhile, filed its own lawsuit, which asks a federal judge to declare that AutoHop violates no copyright laws. Dish sued not only Fox, but also CBS, Walt Disney-owned ABC, and Comcast Corp.controlled-NBC.

The television industry is grappling with new technologies that threaten to undercut the billions of dollars a year that the networks collect from advertisers to run 30- to 60-second television commercials. That advertising revenue underwrites the high cost of producing television shows.

Fox filed its copyright violation and breach-of-contract suit against Dish on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Dish filed its suit in U.S. District Court in New York.

“The suit asks for a declaratory judgment that the AutoHop feature does not infringe any copyrights that could be claimed by the major networks, and that Dish, while providing the AutoHop feature, remains in compliance with its agreements with the networks,” the Englewood, Colo., company said in a statement.

While consumers with digital video recorders can fast-forward through commercials of recorded shows, Dish’s AutoHop takes it a step further. The screen goes black when a commercial break appears. A few seconds later, the program returns. The service can’t be used on live programming, such as a sporting event, even after it has been recorded.

With more than 14 million subscribers, Dish Network Corp.’s new technology may threaten the networks’ ability to continue to charge premiums for their commercial time.

Dish Network’s new feature, launched earlier this month, comes at a particularly awkward time for broadcasters as they are beginning negotiations with advertisers over the sale of their commercial time for the 2012-2013 television season.

“We were given no choice but to file suit against one of our largest distributors, Dish Network, because of their surprising move to market a product with the clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem,” Fox said in a statement. “Their wrongheaded decision requires us to take swift action in order to aggressively defend the future of free, over-the-air television.”

Dish, for its part, said the new technology was simply making it easier for consumers to avoid commercials.

“Viewers have been skipping commercials since the advent of the remote control; we are giving them a feature they want and that gives them more control.”  David Shull, Dish senior vice president of programming, said in a statement. “We don’t believe AutoHop will substantially change established consumer behavior, but we do believe it makes the viewing experience better.”

Fox sues Dish over ad-blocking feature; Dish fires back – latimes.com.

“While the movie and music industries would have you think that torrents are a threat to their business, thousands of independent artists heartily disagree. Thats why more than 5,000 musicians, actors, writers, filmmakers and artists have signed up to be promoted by The Pirate Bay, the worlds largest torrent site. Earlier this year, following the seizures of many popular file-sharing domains like MegaUpload, The Pirate Bay introduced a new promotion platform for artists called The Promo Bay, which let independent artists reach tens of millions of people by offering favorable advertising spots on the The Pirate Bays homepage. The response to The Pirate Bays promotion platform has been overwhelming: the company announced on Thursday that it has already received more than 5,000 applications, and has managed to be a quality platform for driving significant interest to independent artists.”

via Pirate Bay Promotion Attracts Over 5000 Artists – Slashdot.“While the movie and music industries would have you think that torrents are a threat to their business, thousands of independent artists heartily disagree. Thats why more than 5,000 musicians, actors, writers, filmmakers and artists have signed up to be promoted by The Pirate Bay, the worlds largest torrent site. Earlier this year, following the seizures of many popular file-sharing domains like MegaUpload, The Pirate Bay introduced a new promotion platform for artists called The Promo Bay, which let independent artists reach tens of millions of people by offering favorable advertising spots on the The Pirate Bays homepage. The response to The Pirate Bays promotion platform has been overwhelming: the company announced on Thursday that it has already received more than 5,000 applications, and has managed to be a quality platform for driving significant interest to independent artists.”

via Pirate Bay Promotion Attracts Over 5000 Artists – Slashdot.

ars techica

YouTube will begin paying French artists when their works show up on the site, thanks to a new deal with three French royalty societies. The agreement only affects videos viewed in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, but it does cover clips and movies uploaded to YouTube from 2007 all the way through 2013.

Google’s new agreement affects screenwriters and filmmakers represented by Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD), Société Civile des Auteurs Multimedia, and the Société des auteurs dans les arts graphiques et plastiques, the company said during a press conference on Thursday (covered by the Wall Street Journal). The agreement follows a similar one made earlier this year between Google and France’s leading royalty society for musicians, SACEM.

Like other agreements made in other parts of Europe—as well as the US—the royalty societies will get a cut of YouTube’s ad revenues in exchange for permission to host the clips. Google didn’t disclose the terms of the deals, but it’s likely that the payments will vary depending on how many views each of the films gets from Internet users in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Whether the films will be viewable to users outside of those countries isn’t clear.

Making these agreements hasn’t always been easy for YouTube. The site had to block “premium” content in the UK in 2009 thanks to a disagreement over royalties. Warner Music made waves in 2008 for pulling all of its content in the US after licensing negotiations broke down. It’s a fine line to walk—content owners can definitely benefit from the exposure of their materials to a wider audience, but they want to make sure YouTube’s not getting a free ride either.

“This is a happy moment after nearly 10 years of misunderstanding,” said SACD director general Pascal Rogard. “It shows that there is a middle ground between protecting authors’ rights and making [content] available online.”

Media | The Guardian

The UK has become the first major economy where advertisers spend more on internet advertising than on television advertising, with a record £1.75bn online spend in the first six months of the year.

The milestone marks a watershed for the embattled TV industry, the leading ad medium in the UK for almost half a century. It has taken the internet little more than a decade to become the biggest advertising sector in the UK.

UK advertisers spent £1.75bn on internet advertising in the six months to the end of June, a 4.6% year-on-year increase, according to a report by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. To put this in perspective, in 1998, when the IAB first measured internet advertising, just £19.4m was spent online.

The internet now accounts for 23.5% of all advertising money spent in the UK, while TV ad spend accounts for 21.9% of marketing budgets.

The IAB originally predicted that internet ad spend would overtake TV at the end of 2009; however, the crippling advertising recession accelerated this by six months. TV advertising fell about 17% year on year in the first half, to about £1.6bn, according to the report.

The IAB’s figures show that of the total of £1.75bn spent on internet advertising, £1.05bn, or 60%, was spent on search advertising on websites including Google, up 6.8% year on year.

Online classified advertising grew by 10.6% year on year to £385m, about 22% of total internet ad spend. But online display advertising, such as banners on websites, fell by 5.2% year on year, to £316.5m. This was an 18% share of all internet ad spend.

Financial News – Yahoo! Finance

For newspapers, the news has swiftly gone from bad to worse. This year is taking shape as their worst on record, with a double-digit drop in advertising revenue, raising serious questions about the survival of some papers and the solvency of their parent companies.

Ad revenue, the primary source of newspaper income, began sliding two years ago, and as hiring freezes turned to buyouts and then to layoffs, the decline has only accelerated.

On top of long-term changes in the industry, the weak economy is also hurting ad sales, especially in Florida and California, where the severe contraction of the housing markets has cut deeply into real estate ads. Executives at the Hearst Corporation say that one of their biggest papers, The San Francisco Chronicle, is losing $1 million a week.

Over all, ad revenue fell almost 8 percent last year. This year, it is running about 12 percent below that dismal performance, and company reports issued last week suggested a 14 percent to 15 percent decline in May.

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