Notes from Media Minutes

Plugging the Analog Hole

Digitize your old records and cassette tapes while you still can. The recording and motion picture industries are teaming up to lobby Congress on legislation that would plug the so-called "analog hole." This term was coined three years ago by the Motion Picture Association of America. It refers to the ability to convert content from digital to analog and vice versa - like videotaping a movie or making an MP3 of something recorded off the radio. Converting digital content to analog strips it of any built-in content protection systems, which allow it to be re-copied at will. Movie studios and record labels would like Congress to require electronics manufacturers to embed special chips in all recording devices that would automatically shut them down if someone attempts to convert copyrighted content from analog to digital. This would make it impossible to transfer records and tapes you rightfully own to MP3 or other digital formats. A discussion draft of such legislation began circulating on Capitol Hill earlier this month.

Commercial Carpet Bombing

And now here's a Media Minutes Fast Fact: Prime time television content is shrinking to make way for more advertising. In any given hour, an average program contains 42 minutes of content and 18 minutes of ads. But if you combine the spot load with show promos, teasers, and recap clips, the actual content of any given week's program is closer to 40 minutes - meaning that for every two minutes of new content aired every week there's a minute of filler. TV networks are adding more filler by adding more commercial breaks - the industry standard for an hour-long primetime show a year ago used to be four breaks per hour, but now it's six.

Indexing the Web

And now, here's a Media Minutes Fast Fact: According to the experts at Google, to completely index all of the information on the Internet will take some 300 years. As of right now the Internet contains about 5 million terabytes of data - more than 36,000 times the amount of information contained in all the books housed in the Library of Congress. So far, Google has only indexed about 170 terabytes of the 'net - just three one- thousandths of a percent of what exists online.