December 16 - 23, 2005

MIT C3 Industry Update

In this issue:
- president bush shows off ipod
- students develop ipod fatigue
- happy meals to turn digital
- and so is packaging
- software blocks riaa spiders

--------------- TRANSMEDIA

Instead of shying away from the digital book revolution, News Corp. publisher HarperCollins is embracing it. The company announced it will make its books available to the search services offered by companies like Google, Microsoft, and, while maintaining possession of the digital files themselves.
-- WSJ (paid subscription required)

Last summer, one track was different: it had no chorus, no hook, no real beat even. In fact, it wasn't one song but five. It was R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet," a multipart urban operetta released to radio in "chapters" in anticipation of his 10th studio album, "TP.3: Reloaded." Each chapter is about three minutes long and has the same music, a nondescript slow groove, over which Kelly sings a tale of epic infidelity and improbable plot twists.

You only get the full programme by coming back to the restaurant a number of times to collect all the instalments. McDonalds could use the system instead of giving out toys with Happy Meals, suggests Disney's patent.

The people working at this clandestine locale are called "gold farmers." Every day, in 12-hour shifts, they kill monsters and harvest "gold coins" and other virtual goods that they can sell to other online gamers.

--------------- ADVERTISING

Coca-Cola UK has publicly stated for the first time that it views mobile as being a potentially more powerful medium than TV. The brand believes the growing importance of mobile as an advertising medium means it should be spending 50% of its marketing budget on mobile within decades.

-- MSNBC buys ads across 800 blogs.

-- Siemens is readying a paper-thin electronic-display technology so cheap it could replace conventional labels on disposable packaging, from milk cartons to boxes of Cheerios.,1282,69839,00.html

--------------- FANS

Ever wondered what the most powerful man in the world listens to in his spare time? In a rare departure from formal media interviews, George Bush has revealed what is on his personal IPod. Andrew Wilson reports on the President's favorite tunes (video).,,31200-bushipod_p4331,00.html

Previously, the Star Wars Galaxies, an online game with about 200,000 subscribers, was unabashedly complicated, appealing to mature, reflex-challenged gamers with its strategic combat style and deep skill system, which allowed players to carve out profitable, powerful niches as entertainers, architects and politicians. Now the game has become self-consciously simple, with a basic point-and-click combat system that is meant to evoke the frenetic firefights of the "Star Wars" films. Now many Galaxies players are canceling their accounts and migrating to other online games.


The various incarnations of the Flash Gordon hero are kept alive by fans across the world who collect and archive the various comic books/strips, films, and television shows dedicated to the character, even if Gordon is not a major character in today's media landscape. For these fans, the Flash Gordon character and universe is consistently kept alive, even when the property is not that actively in the public eye. These fan communities are important examples of ways fans should be seen as authors themselves, appropriating a property and keeping it alive, even when abandoned by producers. These fan communities often keep each other up-to-date of any uses of the character, airings or collections of past episodes, and references made about the property in the media.

A vibrant fan community also surrounds the yellow-suited detective Dick Tracy, who has been the longtime focus of a comic strip, comic books, radio shows, a series of films, and a 1990 film starring Warren Beatty. Yet, Dick Tracy fan sites can be found across the Web, keeping a property that has fallen out of the public eye alive again by archiving and tracing all of the existing stories of the detective and the various villains in his universe, as well as related memorabilia.

Online fan communities surrounding comic strips don't just include current comic strips but can include strips whose primary run began and ended before anyone still living today was even born. The Yellow Kid may have been a major part of the American conscience in the late 1800s, but there is still a vibrant online community who works to keep the character and the strips in the public eye, not just for history's sake (although that is certainly part of the appeal) but because the characters, artwork, and stories have some emotional resonance with its online community of fans who find some value in writing about and documenting these comic strips. Don't let academics fool you--you have to have some emotional connection to work if you make it the focus of years of your life.

--------------- STATS

-- A new study by Ball State University found that nearly one in three of the respondents reported receiving ads on their mobile phones, up from one in four in February. The recent study also found that about one-third of those who received mobile ads found them annoying, but that proportion was down from February, when 92 percent of recipients found the ads aggravating.

-- Emmis radio division president Rick Cummings told a group of Wall Street analysts Wednesday morning that his own research of college students is picking up what he called "iPod fatigue."

-- A major new survey found that the most explosive growth in online time was among low income Web surfers, who had previously been excluded from the Internet revolution.

-- In the report "Mobile Entertainment: The Rise of the Very Small Screen" eMarketer senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson claims that 3 million people in the US will watch mobile TV next year and the number will grow to 15 million by 2009, and this will result in a growth in mobile video ad revenues of $25 - $50 million in several years.

--------------- TOOLS & TECH

"I'm an open source developer and I've just finished a project I thought you might be interested in writing about, a php script that generates fake directory indexes for the purpose of slowing, and overloading with false positives the RIAA/MPAA's spider bots."

-- Ingenico says it has developed the world’s first terminal accepting a payment on an iPod.

-- Build your own macro lens with a Pringles can.

--------------- END NOTE

Intercultural Perspectives on Cellphone Cultures
by Parmesh Shahani

An interesting way to look at the cellphone cultures emerging in the U.S. would be through the prism of similarly emerging cellphone cultures in other countries. I've been tracking the cellphone scene in India and other parts of the world over the past two weeks and am amazed at the diversity that exists, as well as the business opportunities that are rising, and the entrepreneurs that are moving in fast to satisfy the emergent consumer demands.

The common theme seems to be that in a scenario where technology is ubiquitous, it will be the service, innovative brand-linked promotions and compelling content that will become the major product differentiators.

Let's start our journey from London.

Compiled by Ilya, Sam, Alec, Geoff, Ivan and Parmesh
Edited and signed off by Ilya (

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