FCC Chairman Wheeler: Focus on “New Network Realities” – Stats and Studies, 1/21/2014

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested that an open Internet, not broadcasting distribution, is more important to media opportunities and diversity. At the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Media and Social Justice Conference, Wheeler discussed potential ways to revamp the FCC’s Open Internet order, struck down last week by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, before diving into diversity issues. While he said that it was “outrageous” that there is “no minority ownership of television stations in America,” he also said that the focus should be on “new network realities” and the potential for Internet distribution mediums to become highly controlled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia has stayed portions of the Federal Communications Commission’s order that sets maximum rates for phone calls by prisoners. Securus Technologies challenged the rates of 25 cents per minute for debit calling and 21 cents per minute for collect calls, claiming the lower rates would cut off money used by prisons for victims’ assistance and could weaken security.

An upcoming TV ad buy will tout the dangers of smoking – and the messages will come from Big Tobacco itself. CBS, ABC and NBC are set to be part of the “remedial” advertising campaign by tobacco companies, part of Big Tobacco’s 2006 settlement regarding the omission of health warnings in prior cigarette ads. African Americans suffer disproportionately from smoking-related illnesses, particularly African American men.

This year’s update of San Diego State University’s Celluloid Ceiling study of women in television and film finds that, while women are making modest gains in behind-the-scenes TV jobs, the picture is bleaker for those working in movies. From 2012 to 2013, women made up 28 percent of creators, producers, directors, writers, editors and directors of photography on broadcast programs, an increase of two percentage points from the previous year and tied for the historical high. But women only made up 16 percent of those same positions for the top 250 grossing films in 2013. Further, 36 percent of films employed zero or one woman in the jobs surveyed, while only two percent employed 10 to 13 women in those capacities.

A National Bureau of Economic Research study finds that the MTV reality series 16 and Pregnant and its Teen Mom spinoffs led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births in the 18 months following the introduction of the programs. The shows were also linked to an increase in searches for pregnancy alternatives.

Point Topic data for Q4 2013 shows that the U.S. ranks 58th out of 90 countries in household broadband affordability, its $89 monthly average over twice as high as the average prices in Russia, Finland, and Belarus. North American countries also tend to pay more for lesser service, with higher costs than Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region for broadband upwards of 60 Mbps slower.

Tablet ownership and e-reading are on the rise – but so is print readership, according to the Pew Research Center. Half of American adults own either a tablet or an e-reader, up from 43 percent in September 2013, and the number of adults who have read an e-book in the past 12 months stands at 28 percent, up from 23 percent in 2012. However, the number of adults who have read a print book is up from 65 percent in 2012 to 69 percent in 2014, a rebound from a six percentage-point dive between 2011 and 2012.

Despite somewhat lower uptake among younger adults, nearly nine in ten adult broadband users subscribe to cable, satellite or telco-TV, according to new data from The Diffusion Group. Nearly 85 percent of adults between 18 and 24 and 81.9 percent of adults between 25 and 34 subscribe to a pay television service, compared with the average of 87.6%.

App use grew 115 percent in 2013 according to Flurry Analytics, led by a 203 percent increase in messaging and social applications.

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to include wireless phones as a LifeLine program option.

The rise of e-readers has led to an explosion of Spanish-language book availability.


Pew: Digital Divide Persists, Is More Inconsistent – Stats and Studies, 1/13/2014

Media and Technology Institute Stats and Studies – January 13, 2014

The digital divide between Blacks and whites continues to exist, but is not consistent among demographic groups or technological platforms, according to the Pew Research Center’s new study on African Americans and Technology Use. While African Americans still trail white Americans overall in Internet use (80 percent to 87 percent) and home broadband adoption (62 percent to 74 percent), Blacks between the ages of 18 and 29 were as likely to use the Internet (98 percent) and have home broadband (86 percent) as their white counterparts. Cell phone ownership, smartphone adoption and social media use were equally popular among both racial groups overall.

The United States is tops in broadband subscribers but seriously lagging in fiber connections, according to the latest data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. While the U.S. is home to 93 million broadband subscribers and trails only Japan in wireless penetration, it ranks 14th in overall fiber connections and below OECD average in fiber growth.

After a visit to Silicon Valley to discuss spectrum auctions and the open Internet, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler attended a town hall meeting in Oakland sponsored by Voices for Internet Freedom. There, he answered questions on concerns to communities of color, such as lack of high-speed broadband, minority access to the media, access to broadband by the poor and minorities and media consolidation.

After facing criticism for lack of diversity, Saturday Night Live has added two black women to its writing staff, as well as a black female cast member.

A study from technology company Ericsson, in cooperation with Arthur D. Little and Chalmers University of Technology, found that broadband speed may increase household income. This analysis of select OECD countries, along with Brazil, India and China, found that average broadband speed positively correlates with household income, with income leaps showing up at 2 Mbps for OECD countries and .5 Mbps for BIC countries. Potential reasons for this correlation include gaining technological services that allow for more productive work and exposure to the wealth of information that the Internet provides.

CBS News scores highest in journalistic quality and lack of bias according to a poll of news directors given by TVNewsCheck. CBS scored 3.16 on a four-point scale of overall quality and was considered to have “no bias” by 47.4 percent of directors surveyed. With the exception of CBS, all news networks declined in quality since the 2011 news directors poll. Meanwhile, Pew finds that Americans are less likely to recognize a top news anchor today than they were in 1985.

Forty-four percent of Americans use another electronic device while watching television, typically a smartphone, according to a report by the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Association of Television Program Executives. Of those using a second screen, 67 percent are searching for program-related content. Only 13 percent of second screen users report that using another device makes watching TV “much more enjoyable,” while 67 percent find it makes their viewing experience “somewhat more enjoyable.”

Digital media sales have doubled in the past year, becoming the fastest-growing source of home entertainment revenue. Despite remaining a fraction of total home entertainment spending, digital sales surpassed $1 billion in 2013 and are seen as part of an offset for slumping DVD sales.

December 2013 broadcast station numbers from the Federal Communications Commission listed 776 low-power radio stations, 15,358 full-power radio stations and 1,784 full-power television stations in the US. These numbers are up slightly for full-power radio and television and down slightly for low-power radio from September 2013 totals.

A bill on telehealth modernization aims to standardize the definition of telehealth and promote its use. Meanwhile, a report from the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services warns of flaws in the push for electronic health records adoption, mainly surrounding fraud.

PISA: U.S. Students Score Low in Math, Science – Stats and Studies, 12/9/2013

American 15-year-olds continue to score below their international peers in math, reading and science according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The results of their 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) looked at 510,000 students in 34 developed countries. Among those countries, the United States ranked 26th in math, 21st in science and 17th in reading, showing little change from previous PISA tests. Notably, Shanghai ranked first in math – an estimated three grade levels above average.

The International News Safety Institute and the International Women’s Media Foundation released a report that found 64% of female journalists experience “intimidation, threats or abuse” at work.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup: Education and the Gates Foundation will give a $9 million grant to San Francisco-based nonprofit EducationSuperHighway to improve Internet connectivity in schools by providing technical expertise and using competition to drive down the cost of broadband.

The Federal Communications Commission announced that over $255 million from the Connect America Fund will be used to provide broadband access to 400,000 homes and businesses in rural areas of 41 states.

With the launch of Health.gov providing a backdrop, Freedman Consulting, in a report commissioned by the MacArthur and Ford Foundations, released a set of policy recommendations for improving the caliber of tech expertise available to government and non-profit organizations. The report promotes tactics for improving the pipeline of workers with the appropriate skill sets, reducing barriers to retention and recruitment and other areas of improvement.

Netflix is gaining on cable in its popularity among young adults ages 18-36, according to Harris Interactive. While 46% of these consumers chose cable, 43% are Netflix subscribers. Nielsen’s Q3 cross-platform report also shows a slight decrease in live television viewing compared to Q3 2012, while time-shifted viewing, including DVR and video-on-demand, is up nearly 15 percent. However, traditional television still reigns supreme, occupying nearly 44 percent of overall video media viewing in the U.S.

Research firm IDC reports China surpassed Japan to become the world’s second largest IT company after the U.S. IT market, which is three times the size of China’s. “China’s overall IT spending is projected to hit $204 billion in 2014, versus $686 billion in the U.S., said Gens. U.S. IT spending grew 4.7 percent in 2013, and is forecast to rise by 3.8 percent next year. China’s IT spending will increase by $25 billion in 2014, the same dollar increase as in the U.S.”, infoWorld noted.

Adobe Systems, which tracks activity on more than 2,000 retail websites, reported a record year for so-called “Cyber Monday”, the Monday after Thanksgiving during which holiday shoppers take advantage of online sales. According to Adobe, Cyber Monday sales were up by 16% compared to last year, to $2.29 billion. In a pair of separate reports, Branding Brands data showed that visits to 46 mobile-optimized sites for major retailers saw a 69 percent increase in visits over Thanksgiving 2012, and a 258 percent increase in sales, as well as a 75.65 percent increase in visits and a 186.54 percent increase in sales over Black Friday 2012.

comScore reports that Apple remained the top U.S. smartphone manufacturer in October, with a 41% share of the market. However, Android still remained the top operating system, with a 52% share of the market. Apple’s iOS operating system came in second with a 41% share.

comScore and J.P. Morgan report that Twitter is the leading social media platform among young users ages 18-34.  The widest gap was among 18-24 year olds, with Twitter commanding an 18.2% share in that demographic, compared to 14.1% for second-place Facebook.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that they will be re-writing the Communications Act, created in 1934 and last updated in 1996.

The U.S. Department of Justice has approved a deal that will allow Microsoft to acquire Nokia’s mobile devices and services business.

Professors at Davidson College are developing online Advanced Placement course lessons for high school students.

Nickelodeon: Kids Watch 35 Hours of TV/Week – MTI Stats and Studies, 12/2/2013

Nickelodeon released a report showing children born after 2005 watch an average of 35 hours of TV per week, a 12% increase over the last nine years.  The report also found the same kids spent an estimated 10 hours per week using other devices, including gaming consoles. Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued revised standards limiting TV consumption to one to two hours per day for children over the age of 2.

In a blog post last week, Comcast NBC Universal reported it is on pace to complete the deployment of its iPv6 network by 2014. The company reports iPv6 is deployed to more than 75% of its broadband network.

SNL Kagan predicts retransmission fees TV station owners earn from MVPDs will increase from $3.3 billion this year to $7.6 billion in 2019.

The Foundation Center released a report showing a steep increase in the amount of funding for media-related projects. Between 2009 and 2011, 1,012 foundations made 12,040 media-related grants totaling $1.86 billion. The report also shows media-related grantmaking grew at a rate of 21% during the same time period, compared to just 5.8% of domestic grantmaking overall.


Media and Technology Institute Stats and Studies – November 11, 2013

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ Media and Technology Institute released a report entitled Broadband and Jobs: African Americans Rely on Mobile Access and Social Networking in Job Search, showing African Americans rely disproportionately on the Internet, as opposed to personal relationships, to find jobs. Among the report’s findings, 50% of African American Internet users said the Internet was very important to them in successfully finding a job, significantly higher than the 36% average for the entire sample. Further, 46% of African American Internet users used the Internet at some point when they were looking for a job, compared to 41% for all respondents. Thirty-six percent of African Americans said they applied for a job online the last time they were in the job market, compared with 26% for all respondents. Social networking sites were very important to African Americans as well, with 31% saying they are very important to job search, which is seven percentage points greater than the entire sample (24%).

The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity released a report entitled Fast Food FACTS 2013 which focuses on fast food advertising targeting children and teens. Among the report’s findings, “children ages 6 to 11 saw 10% fewer TV ads for fast food, but children and teens continued to see three to five fast food ads on TV every day.” Further, only one quarter of fast food ads were for healthier kids’ meals. Nevertheless, only 1% of kids’ meals served at the top fast foods restaurants meet experts’ nutritional standardsSpanish language fast food advertising increased by 16%, and “fast food marketing via social media and mobile devices – media that are popular with teens – grew exponentially.

Dice.com released its third quarter tech employment snapshot showing 3.9% unemployment in the technology sector compared to 7.3% unemployment overall. The unemployment rate in September was 12.9% for blacks and 9% for Hispanics. According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), Asian women have the highest unemployment rate (7.4%) among all racial and ethnic groups within the technology sector. The NSF has also found that underrepresented minorities including African Americans, Latinos and American Indians are unemployed within the technology sector at a rate of 6.7% for men and 6.6% for women.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland released a study of federal longitudinal data since 1997 showing a high correlation between the level of math students completed in high school and their high school graduation, college attendance and unemployment rates. High level math (Algebra II or above) completion correlated more strongly with high school graduation rates than parental educational backgrounds, according to the report. Students who completed math above Algebra II attended college at a rate more than 20 points higher (over 90%) than those completing only Algebra II. High school graduates with Geometry or Algebra II were also more than 10 percentage points less likely to be unemployed than those with Pre-Algebra or Algebra I.

The U.S. is losing its advantage in spying and cybersecurity, according to a new report by the National Commission for the Review of the Research and Development Programs of the United States Intelligence Community, a congressional panel tasked with evaluating the nation’s cyber-defense capabilities.

The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) released a report recommending a shift, in researching the digital divide, away from access and more toward “the willingness and ability of citizens to use [broadband] for productive purposes”. Among other key findings, 64% of survey respondents cited affordability as the most significant obstacle to adoption, and 56% cited a lack of ability/skills to use ICTs.

A new Gallup poll shows Internet use “among seniors and Americans of lower socioeconomic status has surged since 2002, but still lags behind that of the rest of the public.”  In 2002, 33% of adults aged 65+ used the Internet, compared to 65% today. Further, in 2002, just 42% of U.S. adults earning less than $20,000 per year in annual household income used the Internet, compared to 73% today. In 2002, 69% of all U.S. adults used the Internet, compared to 87% in 2013.

Nielsen and CBS began a trial to “measure cross-media campaigns on local TV and radio.” The trial is part of an effort to provide more useful analytics to advertisers seeking to develop more effective and measurable cross-media advertising strategies that “address day-to-day and week-to-week reach” and deliver messaging to consumers close to their purchases and actions.

T-Mobile released its Q3 earnings report in which it stated that it has doubled the amount of spectrum used by its LTE networks in 40 of the top 50 U.S. metro markets. The company also plans to upgrade to 40 MHz networks in 22 of the top 25 markets by 2014.

A Brigham Young University study of 276 young adults’ relationship communication habits found excessive amounts of texting for serious conversations to be potentially harmful to relationships. Among the report’s findings, women using text messages “to apologize, work out differences or make decisions is associated with lower relationships quality,” and for men “too frequent texting is associated with lower relationship quality.” However, for both men and women, “expressing affection via text enhances the relationship.”

Eight percent of U.S. adults get their news via Twitter, compared to 30% who get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. Twitter’s users are also “younger, more mobile and more educated” according to the report. The report surveyed 5,000 U.S. adults comprised primarily of Facebook users, who made up 3,268 of the survey respondents.

Time Warner Cable released a report last month advocating for the need for the FCC to free up unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi.

Apple released its government request report showing law enforcement officials requested info on 2,000 to 3,000 accounts between January and June of this year.

Media and Technology Stats and Studies – October 7, 2013

Twenty-one percent of Americans without health insurance do not use the Internetaccording to Pew Research, complicating such Americans’ ability to participate in health insurance marketplaces. African Americans and Latinos are uninsured at a rate of 20.8% and 30.7%, respectively, compared to 11.7% for non-Hispanic whites, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  
The Chicago Police Department’s use of a tool called “network analysis” to map the relationships among 14,000 of Chicago’s most active gang members is credited by some to have reduced Chicago’s July 2013 crime rate by 76 homicides, compared to July 2012. The tool also found the homicide rate to be 900 percent higher for individuals within two degrees of separation of a homicide victim than it is for the average Chicagoan. The approach is seen by some as a more effective alternative to “stop and frisk” policies currently being implemented in many cities that target entire high crime areas rather than specific individuals most likely to engage in crime, resulting in disproportionate stops of African Americans and Hispanics.
Two reports paint a bleak picture for broadcasters as well as print, TV and radio news outlets seeking to reach younger audiences. The age demographic of viewers of broadcast TV networks is skewing slightly older than it was a year ago. According to Nielsen, “The median age for the five English-language broadcast networks is now 53.4 years – up from 53 years.” In separate research, Pew reported Generation Xers and Millennials (ages 31 to 47 years old) spend far less time watching, reading or listening to the news than their Silent Generation and Boomer generation counterparts (ages 48-84 years old).
The New York Times reports that, according to documents provided by former contractor Edward J. Snowden and interviews with government officials, the National Security Agency has, since 2010, been “exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information.” While NSA officials continue to maintain that its vast data collection and analysis programs are designed only to gather foreign intelligence, in 2011, one tool used to collect phone and email records – Mainway – was collecting as many as 700 million phone records per day. “In August 2011 [Mainway] began receiving an additional 1.1 billion cellphone records daily from an unnamed American service provider under Section 702 of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which allows for the collection of the data of Americans if at least one end of the communication is believed to be foreign.” At least some data not used immediately can be stored for later use.
The FCC released a list of tips for researchers seeking to use FCC public data. The FCC noted “the Federal Communications Commission publishes a large amount of information and data, much of it potentially useful for research projects. However, the FCC’s information is organized in ways that facilitate rulemakings, not research; and for those not directly involved in rulemakings, it can be difficult to find the most useful resources, even though the information is public.”

Media and Technology Stats and Studies – September 20, 2013

The International Telecommunications Union’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development released the 2013 edition of its State of Broadband report. The report found mobile broadband connections are “growing at a rate of 30% per year” and forecasts that, by the end of 2013, “there will be nearly three times as many mobile broadband connections as there are conventional fixed broadband subscriptions.” The New York Times notes that this trend is connecting millions in the developing world to broadband. For example, Oman and Kazakhstan rank ahead of the much wealthier Switzerland and Germany in mobile broadband penetration. Eight of the top 10 countries for Internet use are located in Europe, joining New Zealand (8th) and Qatar (10th). The United States ranks 24th.

The percentage of adults accessing the Internet on a smartphone is increasing at a rapid pace, according to new research from the Leichtman Research GroupThe data from a telephone survey of 1,304 households concludes that 83% “get an Internet service at home, and 55% of adults access the Internet on a Smartphone,” up from 44% last year. 

Pew reports that “15% of American adults ages 18 and older do not use the Internet at all, and another 9% use the Internet but not at home.” More than a third (34%) of the adults who do not use the Internet at all reported that the Internet is not relevant to them.  Thirty-two percent reported that the Internet is not easy enough to use. Nineteen percent reported that the cost of purchasing a computer or maintaining internet service was too high.

In a filing written on behalf of Verizon, Duke University economics professor and former FCC Chief Economist Leslie Marx outlined potential unintended consequences of imposing bidding restrictions against AT&T and Verizon in the upcoming Incentive Auction. Dr. Marx concludes that imposing the restrictions would harm the FCC’s stated twin priorities of raising revenue and reallocating spectrum.

The Writers Guild of America East reports that “nearly 90% of writers – more than half of whom wrote feature films – say they’ll be looking for TV work.”