media Archives — Page 2 of 2


New public policy issues get resolved depending on which analogy wins. In one of the most significant lower-court decisions (this is likely to be appealed up) in recent times, the newspaper analogy won over the town square analogy. If this holds, Google and search engines become the new media. An interesting thought in light of the decline of old media. They move over to the content side, leaving only the telcos on the conduit side.
An old folk tale describes a tired traveler in the desert, where the nights are cold. His camel is outside the tent. The camel wants the warmth of the tent. The traveler permits him to bring in the snout. By morning, the camel is in the tent and the traveler outside.
Few days back I was asked to speak on the above subject at a workshop held at the Center for European Political Studies in Brussels. I discussed what effects the continuing efforts by ETNO and likeminded groups to introduce some form of government mandated rent extraction from Over the Top players such as Google and Facebook are likely to have on small alternative media using the Internet as a workaround or simply as a low-entry-cost publishing opportunity. The slideset that I used is Samarajiva_CEPS_Mar13.
I just listening to Eli Noam giving a talk that claimed that Google was the world’s largest media company. The big PDF appears to be the base presentation he was working off. The slide that he used showing Google to be the largest media company, had Time Warner and Telecom Italia in it. He made references to HHI, but it is not clear how he claims that Google (a search engine and advertising company), Time Warner (a media and cable company) and Telecom Italia (a telecom company) can be in the same market and how their market shares can be calculated. When I questioned this, I was advised that the methodology is in two books, one for the US and one for the rest of the world.
In most countries that we work in, the restrictions on foreign ownership are minimal. Bangladesh has become an exception in recent times. Bhutan had restrictions but they appear to be on the way out. Foreign investment and the refusal of foreign owned companies to play by the rules of the “club” resulted in the Thai market being transformed. We really do not see the point.

Thai media reports Teleuse@BOP4

Posted on January 14, 2012  /  0 Comments

It took a little time, but a comprehensive report on the Bangkok launch of teleuse@BOP4 results has been published in the Nation (Thailand). The survey found that Thai users spent more than any other nationality on mobile phones, $93 on average compared to $50 or less elsewhere. Most of the phones they bought had radio connections, while 14 per cent had a Web browser and 5 per cent had touch-screens. Ninety-one per cent of the Thais said they’d used a mobile phone in the previous three months, up from 77 per cent in 2008. More than 90 per cent of the urban users made regular calls, compared to 80 per cent in the rural areas.
Today is World Press Freedom Day, archaically named by UNESCO, an archaic organization. I was invited as one of the speakers by the Sri Lanka Press Institute for their event commemorating the World Press Freedom Day. I talked about ICTs and the Arab Spring. The most interesting part of the discussion was the attempt by various speakers to define new media. The moderator thought that LBO.
Policy windows are an important element of LIRNEasia’s work style. More than supply push we believe in demand pull. Does not give us optimal control over our time, but we live to work, not work to live. The period following the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami was clearly a media window, even if we can debate whether it was actually a policy window. LIRNEasia, which does not have ongoing research on disaster early warning was inundated by requests for interviews and articles.
When we do not push stories, but yet our research gets picked up by the media, that’s real success. Tahani Iqbal’s work on mobile number portability was completed in 2009, but was yesterday cited in a story on the launch of MNP in India. A study paper by LIRNEasia, a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank based in Sri Lanka, says that ARPUs in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and even Sri Lanka are at an all-time low, especially amongst prepaid users, ranging between just $ 2-5. “There is very little room then for MNP to drive price competition and push tariffs that are already at rock-bottom,” said the paper, authored by Tahani Iqbal. Iqbal says that MNP implementation is a costly venture, with high recurring costs due to the technology involved.
In the old days, you’d just take over the newspapers and the TV channels. Now you have to take over the phone company too. It is implanting 6,000 Basij militia centers in elementary schools across Iran to promote the ideals of the Islamic Revolution, and it has created a new police unit to sweep the Internet for dissident voices. A company affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards acquired a majority share in the nation’s telecommunications monopoly this year, giving the Guards de facto control of Iran’s land lines, Internet providers and two cellphone companies. And in the spring, the Revolutionary Guards plan to open a news agency with print, photo and television elements.
It appeared that convergence was high on the agenda of Sri Lanka’s telecom operators. SLT introduced IPTV and Dialog put together a whole set of services including a satellite TV service and purchased a terrestrial license as well. There was talk of mobile TV being introduced. The new TV regulatory regime introduced surreptitiously as regulations under an archaic 1982 Act will to put a stop to many of these plans, if the government manages to defend it from its many opponents and the difficult-to-predict Supreme Court. Dialog for example may have to exit the satellite and terrestrial TV businesses altogether, because only public companies with majority Sri Lankan ownership can even apply for these licenses.