Last week’s On the Medina reported a new angle on ebook technology. Now, when you’re reading an ebook, it’s taking notes on you. “Ebooks that Read You” explained about technologies built into ereaders which record our reading habits.
Combining the data of individual readers, publishers now know how long it takes people to read specific books, which parts they get stuck on, and passages they highlight. Before, these things were all done in relative privacy. No one knew that I read To Kill a Mockingbird until the pages fell out. Or that I, admittedly, skipped the Moby Dick chapters about dolphin behavior. My marginalia was for me and me alone – or for the unfortunate soul who asked to borrow one of my books. Continue reading
Or, In Defense of Binge Watching
Yesterday Jim Pagels published an invective on Slate’s BrowBeat blog urging us all to stop binge watching TV. Pagels argued that binging on TV – watching, say, a whole season in a few days or a series in a few weeks – ruins the TV viewing experience. He argued that TV shows have multi-layered structures, each of which must be respected.
TV series must constantly sustain two narrative arcs at once: that of the individual episode—which has its own beginning, middle, and end—and that of the season as a whole. (Some shows, like Breaking Bad and The Wire, operate on a third: that of the entire series.) To fully appreciate a show, you must pay attention to each of these arcs. This is one of the defining features of television as a medium and one of the things that makes it great. Continue reading
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Wills and Kate’s wedding is expected to be the most viewed event in television history. (And presumably in human history, since there was no mass viewership before TV.)
They’re predicting the numbers like this:
An estimated two billion TV viewers will see all or part of the coverage of Prince William and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton exchanging vows at Westminster Abbey. Add an expected 400 million for online streaming and radio and the number swells to nearly 35% of the world’s population. An additional 800,000 observers likely will crowd outside Buckingham Palace the day of the event, many of them tweeting and Facebook posting and shooting video with their phones.
And to think that most people are nervous at their weddings in front of a few hundred people. Let’s hope no one trips!
Jezebel picked up on the story and tried to put the numbers in context.
But just to give you an idea of how epic this will be, “only” 715 million folks watched the 2006 World Cup final game (Italy vs. France) and “only” one billion people watched the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing.
This inspired me to look up some other top TV events to see how high other things rank. Thankfully, Wikipedia obliged with the article “List of most-watched television broadcasts.” (God, I love Wikipedia.) Unfortunately, they broke theirs down by country rather than the world as a whole, so it wasn’t comparative. But, I was happy to learn that the #6 most watched Special Event in America was “XVII Winter Olympics: Women’s figure skating – short program featuring Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding“. I remember watching this as a kid. It was so exciting. My brother and I would pretend that we were Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, not in a “let’s pretend to be ice skaters way”, but in an “arch enemies battle to the death” sort of way. (Maybe we didn’t quite get the main point of the program — but we loved it!)
I also learned that the “Law and Order” series finale had almost the same level of viewership as the “Drake and Josh” series finale. Now that’s just disappointing!