I have Apple TV, BBC iPlayer*and for a while there, I had Foxtel. That’s a lot of money to still not be able to get the shows I want to watch.
But the ABC is slowly trying to change that by offering the brand new season of Doctor Who on the iView player on Sunday September 8, just hours after it airs for the first time in the UK and a week before it will air on Aussie TV.
ABC1’s controller Brendan Dahill told me that the ABC decided to put Doctor Who online first to reduce piracy because it was clear that people downloading it was a sign that the ABC (and other providers) had not met consumer demand for the series. And he’s absolutely right.
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Have you ever thought about what consumers want from their shopping experience?
Well, identifying what consumers are looking for every time they go shopping is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, different consumers may want different things from their shopping experience.
Why would you shop at a bricks and mortar store or a shopping centre when you can buy the same product at a much lower price online? And online retailers don’t just have a considerable price advantage over bricks and mortar stores. Online retailers can offer a much broader range of products.
Have you ever stopped to think how online competition is so much more efficient than old bricks and mortar competition?
Anyone who has thought about the relentless onslaught of online retailing will know how easy and convenient it is to shop online. No queues at the checkout, no traffic jams to get to the shopping centre, no paid parking and no shortage of choice at the best possible price.
Now spare a thought for the poor old shopping centres. They are built on expensive land, people get cranky battling congested traffic on the way there, and then they have to search for a parking spot and pay for if they stay more than the “free” period.
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Here’s what I’m willing to be believe: a person can actually spend far too much time on the internet. That almost without knowing it we can grow accustomed to the sound of our smartphone going “ping” and scrolling through our Facebook and Twitter feeds before we even get out of bed in the morning.
That being on the Internet can makes us feel intelligent, in the loop and connected to our friends, family, colleagues and peers because we know instantly what everyone is talking about. And yet, by contrast, the Internet can make others feel so anxious that they must commit to periods of being completely offline for their own wellbeing.
Here’s what I’m not willing to believe: that the Internet creates mental illness or is responsible for a whole heap of people going mad.
If you’re in a Harvey Norman store right now preparing to buy a video game, put it down. Gerry has commanded you.
The CEO of electronics chain Harvey Norman Gerry Harvey has admitted defeat and will finally be opening an online store.
But he won’t be selling fridges. Oh no. Nor will he be selling fans, or air-conditioning units, or iPods, iPads, televisions or cameras.
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We keep hearing that retail sales are flat in the lead-up to Christmas. We also keep hearing that more and more people are shopping online. We are yet to understand just how much the latter is undermining the former - especially in Australia this Christmas.
You tell us. Are you spending a little less in the stores this Christmas. If so, why? Is it because you’re jittery about the global economy and how the effects may flow on down to Australia? Or are you just spending dollar for dollar online?
This we know. The cool weather in south eastern Australia is partly blamed for slow sales. Retailers are even offloading casual workers early, news.com.au reports. What else is on your mind this Thursday, Punchers?
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It’s the first rule of the playground: don’t pay attention to the bullies. So what do a bunch of highly intelligent, respected women bloggers think they will achieve by creating the Twitter hashtag #mensaybadthingsaboutme?
The hashtag highlights the derogatory and often violent comments female bloggers receive from anonymous online readers.
They claim to be “fighting back”. According to yesterday’s Age, the hashtag is the weapon for a campaign led by leading female Australian bloggers to highlight the “abusive misogyny of anonymous posters online”. It follows a similar movement by female British bloggers, started by Guardian journalist Laurie Penny. But more on that later.
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You may be surprised to learn that I’m in favour of an internet filter.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m a pretty wild kind of guy - I don’t always tuck my shirt in, cross one-way streets without looking both ways and occasionally don’t bother pre-heating the oven.
But despite my roguish charm, frequent viewings of Black Hawk Down and awkward attempts at skateboarding, I just can’t bring myself to support internet freedoms.
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Forget Iraq, Afghanistan and any other theatres of battle Australia has been involved in recent years. The Australian Defence Force is in the middle of a battle of its own - and the enemy is within.
The latest flashpoint started just over a week ago after revelations that a young female cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy was allegedly secretly filmed having consensual sex with a male counterpart, and that he had allegedly broadcast the tryst to other soldiers via webcam.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith’s forthright and outspoken condemnation of the way the incident was handled and military culture in general blew the lid off a simmering internal dispute over incidences of bastardisation, bullying and the gender divide, and opened the wider question of whether women should be allowed to fight on the front-line.
Even cute babies have ugly mothers. That’s how it was in the Bonds Baby online beauty contest last week, when things got so nasty the police were called in.
Outraged by a computer glitch which interrupted voting for their precious widdle sweedies, spurned mums turned on other chubby-cheeked cherubs in the running.
“Bonds Australia not Asia” was the charming comment posted beside a photo of two-year-old contestant Lilli, who shares Asian and European heritage. One baby copped “a child only a mother could love” and another was labelled an “ugly duckling”.
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Harvey Norman boss Gerry Harvey has dramatically decided to step away from a campaign to regulate the purchase of goods online from overseas. Harvey has blamed a torrent of social media abuse as prime reason for his departure.
Harvey said the attacks were “vicious and hateful” and, as for the campaign, well, it was “bad timing”.
However, Harvey really bells the cat when he says ‘you might have got a nasty phone call or a letter back in the old days but now anything slightly controversial, these people, whoever they might be, they go for you zealously and with hatred all over Twitter”.
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Rather than go in to bat for Australian consumers, local retailers are supporting a campaign to reduce competition and make us pay more. With that attitude, it’s little wonder so many of us are looking online when we go shopping.
Electronics retailer Gerry Harvey kicked off the war against consumers last November when he called on the government to remove the GST exemption for goods purchased online from overseas.
He also revealed that lobbying of politicians to effect this outcome had been underway for some time.
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I’ve never been addicted to gambling, drugs or smoking. My drug of choice is Facebook, which I got hooked a few years ago and became obsessed.
Although I still visit the social networking site for a daily hit of notifications, my addiction has slowly lessened in its intensity overtime.
The breaking point for me was finally owning up to the realisation that too much of my time was wasted looking at pointless status updates and photos belonging to people I don’t ever see in real life or speak to.
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Dope, ignoramus, racist, communist, queen-kisser, Nazi, apologist, shill. Dunderhead, knucklebrain, fantasist, doofus, conspirator, idiot, and twit.
If you recognise these as terms applied to you before you’ve had breakfast on any given working day, then I hope your blog is going well.
The internet has turned insulting journalists into an art form. Now, why waste time on amateur, blunderbuss-style sprays of death threats and comparing a writer to animal genitalia, when you could make a cutting remark every time? In order to help make your sledging as effective as possible, The Punch asked some of Australia’s most widely-read online writers to share the one thing readers say in comments or feedback that makes them want to quit blogging. Their answers may surprise.
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Our website The Punch is banning reader comments which contain words typed in all capitals. Why? Because they’re REALLY ANNOYING.
They not only LOOK HORRIBLE but they’re often a substitute for REASONED ARGUMENT. This is because they are generally employed by people who, rather than fleshing out their point, resort to SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER.
The rise of the internet and the explosion in online discussion on social media and on news and opinion sites has, by and large, been a terrific thing for democracy. For far too long journalists were allowed to fancy their output as being as sacred and unchallengeable as the tablet brought down from upon high.
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We’re often keen to highlight the democratic benefits of social media, especially in bringing greater openness to a country such as Iran.
But this week, in Australia, we’ve seen a debate over online political censorship, with the banning of Facebook groups such as “KEVIN RUDD = EPIC FAIL”, that it makes you wonder if we’ve forgotten that the power of social media lies in its ability to embrace dissent and criticism.
In the online world, dissent is not just allowed. It is central to social media’s political power.
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A journalist has written a story complaining newspaper stories are too long.
He says people like their stories short. Punchy. That’s why newspapers are dying, he says. That’s why the internet is alive.
The story was written by Michael Kinsley. A columnist for The Atlantic. Mr Kinsley complains that a 1,456 word report in The New York Times, on Obama’s health reforms, was too long. Mr Kinsley’s article, complaining about journalistic “verbiage”, ran to 1,940 words.
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In “Network”, Sidney Lumet’s groundbreaking 1976 media satire, disgruntled TV anchor Howard Beale successfully urged his viewers to lean out of their windows and scream, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.
In the film, it caused a paradigm shift and Beale’s instant transition to overnight celebrity, a modern day shaman clown, a television messiah. Today, however, everyone is leaning out their windows, screeching to the heavens and the streets below.
But the verbal diarrhoea spewing forth from their many belching mouths isn’t anywhere near as poignant as Beale’s infamous phrase. It’s happening right here. It’s happening right now. It’s happening at the bottom of this very page.
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I regularly find myself chairing panels at writers’ festivals or in bookshops and I give a standard spiel at the beginning of every event.
‘We’ll have time for questions at the end,’ I say, ‘And let me emphasise that we want questions, not statements. If you stand up and make a statement, I will cut you off and publicly humiliate you.’
It usually gets a laugh ... until they realise I’m completely serious.
The Punch has won its second major award in as many months after being honoured with the Chairman’s Award at the annual News Awards in Sydney on Friday.
The award, which recognises editorial innovation across News Limited’s many media brands, follows the site’s recognition at last month’s PANPA Awards as Best Specialist Website.
“The Punch isn’t attracting people because it’s new. It’s because it’s refreshing, unpredictable, intelligent, informed, fun - and fun is infectious,” News Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan said on presenting the award.
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The above headline is a Vegemite-free reworking of Men At Work’s “Down Under”, shamelessly pilfered from Twitter as an example of the hundreds of negative and abusive comments being directed at Kraft over the iSnack2.0 debacle.
On current projections the iSnack2.0 disaster will be taught for years to come in marketing courses as a step-by-step example of how to upset everybody - the oldies who are fiercely loyal to Vegemite in its existing incarnation, and the youngsters who regard the internet-driven name of this (woeful) new brand as patronising gimmickry, akin to Sorbent trying to corner the youth market with a “hip and groovy” new toilet tissue called iShit.
AS any student of yeast-based food extracts can attest, the history of sandwich spreads is a volatile one where passions run high and careers, even entire companies, have risen and fallen on the back of their marketing campaigns.
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July and August have seen a lot of activity around the new National Broadband Network (NBN). Three Tasmanian towns will be the first linked in the network that will eventually stretch all the way around Australia. The Prime Minister has likened the NBN project to the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
The plan is for the NBN to bring 100 megabits of data, per second, to 90% of Australian homes - right to the front door - which is very different to today’s broadband experience. Actually, it’s a bit like trading up from a ride-on lawn mower to a sports car.
Politics and the economic and technical hurdles of building such a national network aside, super-fast broadband will deliver economic and social benefits. And risks.
So, as much as I hate admitting it, I’m the kind of guy who watches DVDs with the audio commentary on.
Turns out, some audio commentaries are actually pretty interesting if you’re into that kind of stuff, and I thought I’d share with you something I picked up when watching an episode of Family Guy the other day.
Seth MacFarlane, producer and actor on the show, stated that Family Guy was one of the first television series to reference an internet joke, something which had never before been done on a mainstream medium.
These things I remember.
I’m in a car, bumping along a stony track in the mountains, when suddenly, to the right, a big, sand-coloured helicopter rises up out of a valley. It’s close - close enough to see the eyes of the heavy-machine-gun operator flick contemptuously my way, before dismissing me as a potential target as the aircraft banks and flies off.
I’m in a sub-tropical rainforest in the rain. Suddenly, from my left, I see a flash of movement: a wolf, its fangs bared, charging towards me. I pull out a sword and defend myself.
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