September 6, 2007
Catching Up on C3 Stories: Micropayments, YouTube, and the Digital Deadline

There have also been a variety of stories floating around of late that are of direct interest to issues we write about regularly or have covered in the past here on the C3 blog. I thought I might also point out some quick updates to those stories.

First, Dan Mitchell had an interesting piece in the New York Times about the current state of micropayments, pointing out how "closed loop" micropayment systems like iTunes have been most successful and looking at issues of how systems like AdSense are based on the concept of micropayments. Thanks to Lynn Liccardo for bringing the article to my attention.

For those of you who may have followed our coverage here on the blog for a while now, you'll know that we spent quite a bit of time discussing these issues in our earlier days. Look, for instance, at this post from C3 Alum Alec Austin in December 2005, looking at Xbox Live Arcade's use of "Microsoft Points." He wrote, "Microsoft Points may well be the first step towards a viable and widespread micropayment system, as imagined by Scott McCloud."

A couple of times in 2006, Henry Jenkins wrote on this blog about micropayments as they relate to Web comics. See, for instance, this post from September 2006 on the history of micropayments in relation to comics content. Jenkins writes, "So far, content providers are using micropayments to set their own prices at a level they think their market will bear. In some cases, where consumers want to build an ongoing relationship with a particular content provider, subscriptions will represent a better alternative, whereas in others, we may prefer to pay for only the content we want to access. Most readers subscribe to some magazines and purchase others off the news stand when they have content which seems interesting or when they have time to read."

Also, see this podcast of Scott McCloud's visit to MIT, where the discussion of micropayments came up.

Meanwhile, issues arise about inappropriate speech on YouTube in the form of anti-Semetic content. Look here at an article by Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica for more. See my post from back in January about free speech issues in relation to user-generated video sites. Also of interest: Cheng's article about the latest mistake from Viacom in the lawsuit with Google over YouTube content. As regular readers know, we've been covering this issue for a while.

Finally, Phillip Swann at TV Predictions writes about how major problems are cropping up for the digital deadline for the conversion from analog to digital television signals, in relation to the lag time satellite companies say it will take them to convert local stations to digital once those local stations make the conversion. Since they deal with more than 1,000 local stations on a national basis, they say that they will need several months after the local stations make the transition to make the transition for the satellite version. See our latest post on these issues from last month.