Assemblog: November 30, 2012

Published on November 30th, 2012 in: Assemblog, Copyright/Piracy, Holidays, Horror, Music, The Internets, Trailers |

dark skies
Dark Skies

New this week on Popshifter: I give thanks and praise to “Echoes From The Sleep Room,” the last lecture in The Black Museum’s series and explain how shaking off the movie Excision is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

With all the brouhaha over the new Facebook privacy policy and the debunking of the copyright statement myth, I’d like to change the focus of the conversation a little and discuss Facebook and the concept of “reach.” Terry Heaton has written a blog post on “The Fallacy of Reach in the Network.” While this might sound a little too jargon-heavy for most readers, it’s definitely relevant to how we interact with social media, even on a casual level.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, wants to dump his team’s Facebook profile and head for the Twitter hills because new Facebook rules will require fan pages to pay for sponsored posts. Heaton argues that Cuban doesn’t like the term “reach” and explains the marketing term as:

. . . a one-to-many marketing term that describes the size of one’s audience. It also conveniently dehumanizes that audience by turning them into numbers for the serving of oneself. This is highly problematic in the 21st Century, because our culture is now a network, not a potential audience.

Heaton goes on to state the following:

I’ve been writing for years that the Web can be seen as a form of one-to-many—especially in times of crisis—but at its essence, the Web is a 3-way communications tool, the first of its kind in the history of humankind. It’s a network, not a playground for one-to-many manipulation.

How does this impact your average Facebook user, not just those who utilize Facebook to market their blog, product, or other business venture? Read this excerpt from Heaton below and see if you can relate to this idea:

When I agree to “follow” someone via social media, the presumption is that I wish them to engage with me, big brand or otherwise. I’m also hoping to engage with them, although I’m not naive. What I’m not doing is signing up for spam.

It’s a great article because it not only talks about the transformational qualities of the Internet, it also talks about how that medium is transforming communication with consumers as well.

On the subject of changes in the Internet, /Film has addressed the recent Megaupload shutdown as mentioned in a research paper which suggests that it may have had a negative affect on box office returns. The excerpt included in the article uses the word “exogenous” which is a little heavy (“Derived or developed from outside the body; originating externally”), but the basic premise is that file sharing actually helps spread the word and increase the buzz of a movie and thus, by extension, the box office returns.

Another report on piracy was produced by Dutch researchers recently and presents the idea that, “file-sharers tend to be more heavy entertainment consumers than those who don’t share anything.” Note that this English interpretation of a Dutch report (which was not available in English yet) appears on the website Torrent Freak, so take that with a grain of salt. The statistics are, however, interesting:

For example, file-sharers who “pirate” movies or TV-shows are three times more likely to pay for downloads and streams of films and TV-series. Music sharers on their turn are four times more likely to pay for music downloads and streams.

Putting it differently, the same data concludes that two-third of all music file-sharers does [sic] pay for music downloads or streams.

/Film commenter Strine makes a good point: “I’ve heard a lot of people quote that Dutch report and it kinda freaks me out that they can honestly say pirates are better consumers. Ok, consumers yea, but customers?”

As much as Dutch researcher Joost Poort seems to think that if the entertainment industry improved their “business model” piracy would be less likely, I tend to find this a specious argument as there are a lot of amazing movies in theaters these days. In all theaters? No. And even then, you have to contend with theater disruptions like cell phones, texting, talking, and other bad behavior. But the product itself is not creatively bankrupt in all cases.

Music piracy is another contentious issue and I’m not just talking about Spotify (haha, get it?). The Awl has posed questions to those who run music blogs specializing in more obscure, out of print, vinyl-only offerings and why these kinds of blogs seem to be a dying breed. It’s not just because of the crackdown on file sharing services like Megaupload; it’s also a case of oversaturation and a little bit of boredom. Read the whole thing for yourself here (H/T to Chelsea Spear for the link).

In case you haven’t heard, there is more than a bit of controversy surrounding the treatment of animals on and off the set of Peter Jackson’s soon-to-be-released The Hobbit. Rather than getting into an analysis of how many animals died, who said what, and who is lying or justifiably outraged, let’s talk about the core issue. Thankfully, Film Junk has addressed it and invited readers to chime in. One specific question they ask is: “Is it wrong to use live animals for movies and TV?”

For me personally? Yes. Animals, in my opinion, are not there for us to use without their consent. And since they are a different species and cannot voice their consent, then we should not assume they agree to be used. One only need to see the sad, sorry state of chimps utilized in the entertainment industry after they are no longer tiny and cute to understand how tragically they have been mistreated and abused. What about horses, dogs, cats, goats, or animals that are not even remotely domesticated, such as lions, tigers, and bears (oh my)? As much as I may want to see such changes happen, is it a realistic expectation in my lifetime? Commenter Maopheus has an interesting, reasoned response:

Here’s the difference I’d say. Imagine you are watching one of the usual nature documentaries that have been around forever. You are very familiar with how the animals look and feel, how they move. So imagine if one of the big CGI houses were to create a fake documentary where all the animals are CGI, but they didn’t tell you. I think you would not be able to tell real from CGI. However, a tiger in a rowboat (Like in Life Of Pi.—Ed.), I think your brain immediately tells you that this scenario is unrealistic and therefore you are instinctively looking to see how “they” did it. It’s all about context. Very familiar animals in their natural habitat are very easy to do with CGI. However, a lion walking down an abandoned New York City street like in “I Am Legend” just stands as unusual and your eye becomes more discerning. You have to start engaging your suspension of disbelief in this case.

Reading about the upcoming alien horror film Dark Skies didn’t pique my interest, but the trailer sure did. It doesn’t seem like your typical alien abduction film; it feels more like a horror movie about demonic possession. There are a couple of spots that actually gave me goosebumps. See what you think (H/T to Bloody Disgusting).

I think it’s finally time to admit that Halloween is over and the Christmas holiday season is upon us in full force. But fear not! has links to creepy wrapping paper that aren’t Nightmare Before Christmas-themed (not that there’s anything wrong with that). If you haven’t yet heard about Krampus, you are in for a treat. I’ll be sure to delve into it in a future Popshifter post.

Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor

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