I thought I would round out my catchup flurry of posts with links to a variety of recent interesting stories that I haven't covered here in full but which I think might be of interest to C3 readers:
1.) Comcast has launched its own island in Second Life. A variety of bloggers have posted their own takes on it, including Aleister Kronos. (See more at MindBlizzard.) Of course, there are some heavy critics, such as this review from Kzero which calls the island cliche and is criticized from a branding level for not adding a lot new to the equation to make Comcastic! feel that much differently than other online destinations. See more here.
2.) CNN will be allowing user-generated questions via YouTube as part of the Democratic and Republican forums for 2008 presidential hopefuls. That's not to say the announcement wasn't without its problems. However, some bloggers feel that such a format could introduce much less staged questions to the mix, even if the editorial hand of moderators will be involved. The idea does bring a town hall format to national politics in a way that hasn't really been achieved in the past. Jeff Jarvis has more.
3.) Bravo is transforming into Bravo Media, including digital and radio channels, as well as merchandising and publishing, linked in with a talent agency as well. It will be a combination of six separate divisions, headlined by the television show. Some are questioning whether what was considered a home for quality television by many might be compromised in the name of synergy--and especially what might happen to Television Without Pity.
5.) Variety's Michael Learmonth has a story on NBC Universal's $1 billion deal from the upfronts with Group M, the first significant deal from the upfronts with the new commercial ratings in the mix. Jon Lafayette with TelevisionWeek notes that "Group M was one of the most aggressive agencies in promoting commercial ratings, and the deal for both broadcast and cable was done on the basis of live commercial ratings plus three days' worth of playback on digital video recorders."
6.) TNS Media Intelligence has been reporting a 1.7 percent growth in advertising rates. Some interesting takes on it, such as this from Organized Chaos--"This must be the problem that ad agencies and media companies are dealing with: By riding on the hype of driving accountability, ROI, and measurements (ARMs) - without thinking through the entire thing - it has resulted to this: More efficient ad spending. More returns. Bigger bang for every buck spent." Ad Rants links the study to this interesting piece from Advertising Age entitled "Networks Ask for STeep Increases to Make Up for Ratings Shortfall." Now there's an interesting idea.
7.) From The Guardian: YouTube will be starting a copyright protection tool in trial soon to be available across the site later in the year. More available from Kenneth Li and Eric Auchard at Reuters.
8.) Also, despite the best of intentions to, I never posted anything regarding the fight to keep Jericho alive on CBS. I love this image from Nancy Baym. She links to this letter from CBS Entertainment's president announcing that the show will get seven more episodes ordered and that it is then up to fans to rally around it and prove they mean what they say in supporting the show. Now the question is will that mean anything to the Nielsen measurement system?