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Murdoch’s MySpace Moves to Movie Making with £1 Million Mashup Prize

mymoviemashupSocial network expected to launch biggest ever short film contest

MySpace are set to make a major marketing push to independent filmmakers in the next week with the a new short film prize. Provisionally titled ‘MyMovieMashup’ the contest will be open to short filmmakers, offering a £1m feature film budget to the winner and guaranteed distribution in 2008 through UK distributors Vertigo.

The MyMovieMashup page on MySpace is currently empty but asks people to come back January 19th for full details.According to FutureShorts the contest will be open until April 28th, and will have nine launch parties across the UK starting this Thursday.


As Skype and KaZaA founders move into TV, BBC begins filesharing

venice projectThe BBC has announced plans to start distributing its programmes for free across the filesharing network Azuerus. While the programmes available - which includes Red Dwarf, Little Britain, Doctor Who and possibly Monty Python - will be free, the files will still be DRM encrypted.

The news comes after the founders of one of the most popular filesharing programmes (KaZaA) and the Skype messaging software (sold to eBay for $2.6bn),  Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis have revealed further plans about their top secret Venice Project, which aims to be the webTV's killer-ap. The service will offer full screen video, with messaging and community services on top, and allow content producers to distribute globally directly to audiences.

"We think TV is one of the most powerful, engaging mass medias of all time. People love TV, but they also hate TV. They love the (sometimes…) amazing storytelling, the richness, the quality itself. But they hate the linearness, the lack of choice, the lack of basic things like being able to search. And wholly missing is everything that we are now accustomed to from the Internet: tagging, recommendations, choice, and so on… TV is 507 channels and nothing on and we want to help change that!" Janus Friis

In a year in which the Internet has become a significant broadcast platform, with both expansion and consolidation, the likelihood of a technology provider - rather than a media company - acting as gatekeeper has increased. With American companies driving technology uptake, the BBC is at risk of being marginalised as platform and channel provider, which has made the its closeness to Microsoft, and dependence on current DRM systems - which Bill Gates acknowledges are deeply flawed -  all the more questionable.


Time Magazine crowns YOU as Person of the Year 2006

"This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person."

time-magIn a somewhat gimmicky yet touching move, Time Magazine's famous (and sometimes infamous - see Hitler in 1938) Person of the Year awards has named us, the general blogging, vlogging, myspacing, youtubing, wikipding multitudes as their figure of the year. The award is given in response to those who most effect the news, last year naming Bill and Melinida Gates, and in 2005, the American Soldier.

A genuine reflection of this year's subtle yet unmistakable shift on the web from top down hierarchical media to bottom up social networks with the wisdom of crowds, or just easy flattery to the millions of net users who are deserting print and traditional media in droves (really, we like you! the magazines yell)? Either way, the acceptence of Cluetrain thinking at the top of media tree, perhaps brings any dispute about the shift to the close.

Time Magazine Editorial - Lev Grossman

The "Great Man" theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year....



After MySpace, Murdoch ties with Google

Google's first international partner for shared video, email and content provision is BSkyB, with whom the search giant is building a broadband platform for the UK. Days after BT announced its entry into the TV/Broadband area, the UK's largest pay-TV provider 39% owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and run by his son Lachlan has announced it will offer user-created video content on the platform.


3,000 human rights groups collaborate to develop web services and now search

hurisearchIn an impressive display of cooperation, over 3,000 human rights groups around the world have been working together to share resources and develop a catalogue of human rights abuses. Huridocs, the name of the collaboration, whose members include Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, this week announced it had set up a search engine - Hurisearch - to better explore the 2.5 million pages currently contained on the system.


Watch Aliens Attack Asia!

Watch Aliens Attack Asia at last using 21st century film distribution methods

THE ALIEN INVASION Digital Launch is a 21st century film distribution platform that will involve the free distribution and screening of Singapore's 1st and only Golden Horse Awards (The Chinese Oscar) nominated short film on all available major digital mediums, by capitalizing on the available technological infrastructure and proliferation of digital devices worldwide.


Current.TV turns a 'small profit', offers US filmmakers $100k prize, a pioneer of user-generated web content, unique in having an accompanying cable channel in the US has apparently turned a 'small profit' according to Derek Baine, a senior analyst with Monterey-based Kagan Research. The Al Gore backed network does not boast anywhere near the viewing figures of YouTube, but has an accompanying cable channel piped to 30 million US homes. Users of the site can vote on content to 'greenlight' for air, with the best being broadcast and paid for. The service has a much more socially engaged editorial focus than most video streaming sites; a competition this month, for example, offers US filmmakers the chance to win a $100,000 prize for short films about tolerance (deadline October 2nd). Submissions are normally open for filmmakers anyway in the world, however.


Disney expect to make $50m in year one from iTunes

After a strong first week on the new iTunes Movies service, with  over 125,000 paid downloads, Disney chief Bob Iger has said he expects the company to make at least $50m on the service in its first year. In the same week that a Disney subsidiary has begun to experiment with allowing unencrypted downloads of an upcoming artists' album as an MP3 (ie files without Digital Rights Management), the iTunes service (which uses Apples FairPlay DRM system) netted the studio over $1m.

“We’re extremely confident that we’ll easily be able to generate about $50 million in incremental revenue in the first year putting movies on this platform — at no marketing expense to us and very limited additional expense at all, the cost really of encoding the film.” Iger told investors and analysts.