C3 Weekly Update

Editor's Note

We are in full conference planning mode here at the Consortium, getting ready for a big two days Friday and Saturday with Futures of Entertainment 2. As such, the opening note this week will be a final round-up of what's coming up this weekend. We are looking forward to seeing many subscribers here in Cambridge this weekend for the festivities, and we hope those of you who aren't members of one of the panels plan to join in on the discussion directly, both through the question-and-answers session and through the blogosphere. We really enjoyed the way discussion flowed online last year, and we hope this year will build upon that and push it a step further.

Research is moving forward, even as we are preparing for the conference. We have made some major moves forward in our content analysis of YouTube videos, and our graduate researchers are in the midst of each planning a substantial study on viral media. We hope to have more details on both projects here in the C3 Weekly Update in coming weeks.

On the blog, we've had some very interesting discussions over the past week. Florence Gallez, a journalist with CNN in Russia, contacted me and has started a great dialogue on my post on the YouTube video protection software from a few weeks back called Pragmatically Challenged. Meanwhile, some timely pieces on the site include re-running Jason Mittell's piece on the WGA strike, followed by a detailed look at some of these issues from Xiaochang Li. Li writes, "Part of the problem is that the studios, having dramatically underestimated the potential impact of cable and and pay-tv, were quick to jump on the internet video bandwagon without thinking carefully about where it might lead them. As a result, without a clear idea of what awaits them on the new media frontier and what the ultimate value of streaming programming or transmedia programming might be, they're extremely reluctant to commit to payment structures for the writers."

We also had a special post from C3 Consulting Researcher Ted Hovet of Western Kentucky University, focusing on new developments in an effort to develop a statement of fair use in the classroom.

The closing note will feature the first of a semi-regular series from C3 alum and the current communication director for the Program in Comparative Media Studies here at MIT, Geoffrey Long, who looks at fan tourism.

As usual, the newsletter this week features all the entries published during the week on the Convergence Culture Consortium Weblog. Also, please let me know as usual if you are having any trouble receiving the newsletter.

If you have any questions or comments or would like to request prior issues of the update, direct them to Sam Ford, Editor of the Weekly Update, at


In This Issue

Editor's Note

Opening Note: Sam Ford on Futures of Entertainment 2

Glancing at the C3 Blog

Closing Note: Geoffrey Long's Divergences: The City of Virtual Lights

Opening Note

A Final Preview of the Futures of Entertainment 2 Conference

As you all can see, our newsletter is coming out late this week, as we are all running in overdrive in preparation for the FoE2 conference, which is now about 24 hours away now. We're looking forward to seeing many of you here; please be in touch if you have any last-minute questions. After the reception on Friday evening of the conference, we are hosting a Consortium-only tour of our new office spaces. We invite any of you to join us, so please RSVP if you have not yet done so and would like to join us.

For those who won't be on the ground here in Cambridge for the conference, we will be live-blogging it through our Web site. We have a team of graduate students getting prepared to give comprehensive coverage of the event. We are also recording the event and hope to have podcasts available in the coming weeks.

The panels at the conference are each 2 1/2 hours, with a guided conversation beginning amongst the panelists and eventually opened to the audience as a whole. We found this approach to work quite well last year. For those who weren't able to join us at last year's conference, you can find a series of posts looking back to last year's event on our blog this week.

We have just confirmed a last-minute addition to our mobile panel. Francesco Cara from Nokia was unable to attend due to some last-minute conflicts, but Anmol Madan will now be taking part in the panel as well. Anmol is a doctoral candidate in the Human Dynamics Group at the MIT Media Lab, researching "perceptual, 'socially aware' mobile phones and wearables." We hope to add his bio to the conference page later today. Any other additions or changes will be announced through the site or at the outset of the conference.

We look forward to hearing from several speakers from here in the Consortium. C3 Director Henry Jenkins and Research Manager Joshua Green will be handling tomorrow's opening address, while C3 Consulting Researcher Jason Mittell will be among the folks guiding discussion on the second day. MTV Networks' Alice Kim will be participating in our mobile panel, along with Turner Broadcasting's Bob Schukai and Yahoo!'s Marc Davis. Bill Fox from Fidelity Investments will be participating in our panel on advertising on Saturday morning. Maury Giles from GSD&M Idea City will be speaking on the metrics and measurement panel, along with Stacey Lynn Schulman, who is not only co-teaching a class here at MIT this term on the television industry with C3 Consulting Researcher Alex Chisholm but who is also now a member of the Turner Broadcasting team. I am looking forward to moderating a couple of the panels and participating in the discussion as well.

We're looking forward to meeting several of you all in person for the first time, and we hope this event will stimulate ideas and conversation within the Consortium and each of your companies or academic networks for some time to come.

The next couple of weeks will be dedicating to providing coverage of the conference. Next week's newsletter will provide a recap of some initial thoughts about the conference from some of the C3 team, and the newsletter after Thanksgiving will provide a final wrap-up including links to the live-blogging from the conference and some of our analysis here at the Consortium. We invite all of you who attend to share any of your thoughts with us as well, for inclusion in the next couple of editions of the C3 Weekly Update.

The full program is available here.

Sam Ford is the Project Manager of the Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT and a graduate of the Program in Comparative Media Studies. He is editor of the C3 Weekly Update and is currently doing further work on the soap opera industry, including preparing his thesis for publication, co-editing a collection of essays on the current state and future of the soap opera industry, and teaching a class in the spring on American soaps.

Glancing at the C3 Blog

Looking Back at FoE: Henry Jenkins' Opening Comments. In this first part of a multiple-piece look back at the Futures of Entertainment conference, this piece provides links to audio and video of Henry Jenkins' opening address at last year's conference.

WGA Strike in Context: A Brief History of Labor Conflicts within Changing Media Landscapes. C3 Graduate Researcher Xiaochang Li gives her take on the writer's strike, looking back to the almost-strike of 2001. She writes, "An Increase in the writer's residuals is a necessary step, but only a temporary solution."

"Best Practices in Fair Use" from The Society for Cinema and Media Studies. C3 Consulting Researcher Ted Hovet writes about the SCMS announcement of a statement of best practices in fair use, an issue which Hovet and Mittell have written about in the past on the C3 blog and here in the Weekly Update.

The Strike. Jason Mittell shares a recent piece from his blog, Just TV, on the launch of the WGA writer's strike and the most prevalent issues facing the television industry.

Delivering the Message: Interview with a Baptist Minister (5 of 5). In the final part of this interview, Sam Ford talks with Baptist minister Darrell Belcher about the possibility of using the Internet as a tool to deliver sermons and the art of preaching.

Delivering the Message: Interview with a Baptist Minister (4 of 5). In the fourth part of this interview, Sam Ford asks Baptist minister Darrell Belcher about what makes a "good" preacher and preaching across multiple media forms.


Delivering the Message: Interview with a Baptist Minister (3 of 5). In the third part of this interview with Baptist minister Darrell Belcher, Belcher discusses the experience of preaching on the radio in-depth and how it differs from preaching to a live congregation.

Delivering the Message: Interview with a Baptist Minister (2 of 5). In the second part of this interview with Baptist minister Darrell Belcher, Sam Ford discusses the nature of delivering a live sermon and how introducing the video camera changes that performance.

Delivering the Message: Interview with a Baptist Minster (1 of 5). In this first part of a five-part interview with Rev. Darrell Belcher, Sam Ford looks at how local uses of Christian media reveals key aspects of comparative media and the media industries.

Comics as Civic Media and Other Matters... Henry Jenkins includes notes about the new Center for Future Civic Media blog, an anecdote on an international story involving the U.S. getting more play on YoUTube than in the mainstream press, and a call for papers from Mark Deuze.

The Applebee's in Dillon, Texas. Sam Ford looks at what he considers best practice in terms of brand integration, as the Applebee's becomes a site of continuous action for Friday Night Lights.

Around the Consortium: Kinset, Netnography, Globe and Mail, and Podcasts. Ilya Vedrashko looks at 3D storefronts at The Advertising Lab, while Rob Kozinets writes about his work on online ethnography, Grant McCracken conducts an interview on his work on brands, and Henry Jenkins outlines some recent podcasts that might be of interest to the Consortium.

Follow the Blog

Don't forget – you can always post, read, and carry out online conversations with the C3 team at our blog.

Closing Note

DIVERGENCES: Future Irregularities
The City of Virtual Lights

PARIS, FRANCE, NOV. 1, 2012. The Parisian tourism board is enjoying a record-breaking season, according to reports from the Beijing Nano News. Tourism worldwide has been flagging for the last decade as would-be travelers, faced with a trifecta of escalating terrorist threats, ever-increasing security measures and skyrocketing ticket prices due to the scarcity of fuel, have opted instead to see the world through the eyes of their online avatars. It is no wonder, then, that this surprising new reversal is providing a glimmer of hope to cities around the globe.

What's France's secret? "We noticed that the most popular destinations in both Second Life 4 and World of WarCraft III were these beautiful, vast cities with twisty back alleys lit by flickering lanterns, lovely little shops and cafes, and beautiful rivers crisscrossed by magnificent bridges," says Jean-Luc De Gaulle, the head of the Parisian tourism board. "These were clearly inspired by Paris."

"All we did was embrace this digital celebration of our culture and reworked the original so tourists could recognize it," says Sanduie Segal, the developer in charge of the project. "We started with the City of Lights, which is far and away the most popular destination in Second Life 4. If you look closely at a map of the City of Lights, it lines up almost perfectly with a map of Paris, so we did a little massaging -- we knocked down a few buildings, rerouted a few roads, and it was perfect."

Tourists embarking on the City of Lights tour, which is estimated to have cost nearly 3B Euros, download the experience overlay software into Personal Area Network devices that close the last few remaining gaps between real life and Second Life. "There were a few places that the city council stubbornly refused to let us change, so the software apologetically reroutes certain paths to the closest approximate subsitute," Segal notes. "The Arc de Triomphe, for example, is about a quarter-mile to the north of where it's supposed to be according to the game. I was astonished by how short-sighted some of these conservatives turned out to be!"

"Adapting Paris to World of WarCraft III was more of a challenge," admits de Gaulle. "So we decided to use the catacombs instead. Recent studies have shown that most World of WarCraft players prefer being underground anyway -- something like 34% of them live in basement apartments in real life -- so this option made sense. Now visitors can enter the tunnels beneath Notre Dame and then explore the city just like their avatars do in the game. Plus, the archaeological discoveries we made while drilling the new tunnels beneath Versailles are priceless! It's some seriously phat lewt."

Of course, the alterations of real-world locations to accommodate fictional creations is nothing new. The actual 221B Baker Street in London has been a tourist attraction as the home of Sherlock Holmes since the 1930s, while the Sherlock Holmes Museum located down the road at 239 Baker Street in 1990, with period rooms and Holmes memorabilia. Multiple Harry Potter tours of the city have been offered over the past few years, from a variety of companies. Here in Boston, we have two tourist attractions centered around Cheers: the pub on which the show was based, and the replica of the bar from the set.

Cities from New York to Shanghai are reportedly considering similar programs, but not everyone is so enthusiastic. "I mean, just look at this place," grumbled Linden University sophomore Kathryn Herrera, 19, during a recent City of Lights tour. "Where are the time controls? I can't see this place as it was a hundred years ago, or a hundred years from now -- it's so 2011! Ugh!"

DIVERGENCES is an irregularly published column by writer, filmmaker, C3 alum and Comparative Media Studies Communications Director Geoffrey Long, a member of the 2007 Master's class at CMS. For more of his work, please visit

The Fine Print

Compiled and Edited by Sam Ford ( for the Convergence Culture Consortium.


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