American Film Scripts Online

Introducing a new addition to Penn Libraries e-resources: American Film Scripts Online. ASO contains over a thousand American movie scripts from 1903 to 2006. Many scripts carry additional detailed, fielded information on scenes and characters in the scripts. The database includes facsimile images for over half of the collection. Most of the scripts have never been published before and are available nowhere else online.

Scripts were selected by a team of film librarians and scholars. Selection factors include if the film or screenplay won a major award, if the film was critically acclaimed, or the screenplay has historical or sociological significance. The panel tried to build specific clusters based around genres such as Film Noir, Silent Movies of the 1920’s, and key writers. Where possible, shooting scripts selected rather than draft scripts.

There is advanced searching capability for this relatively small database so it’s easy to get around, including inside the scripts to search on words and phrases. My search on the the phrase “train robbery” turned up five scripts. You can try something more imaginative.

Tracking Telecom Issues

The Telecommunications Industry Association, TIA, has a very useful, information-packed website. Though this is a member-site of over 600 telecommunications companies from around the world, it also serves up a fair amount of free content to the general public. Look for the annual Standards and Technology Annual Report (STAR) (which they’ve been posting since 2001).
You can also follow what’s going on at the FCC with the TIA Legislative Tracker and the TIA Regulatory Tracker. The June 2011 Regulatory Tracker, for instance, boasts 198 pages of up to date information on regulatory policy.
And while TIA’s 2011 ICT Market Review & Forecast may be prohibitively expensive, the previous year’s report is free for download, as are older white papers and the like. So even at the TIA Store most items are free.

FCC on the Information Needs of Communities

The FCC Working group on the Information Needs of Communities has just released its eighteen-months-in-the-making Future of Media report—now called “The Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age.” The 365-page report thoroughly assesses the current news media landscape, including policy and regulation, and provides recommendations, some directed at the FCC, others to the broader community of policymakers, philanthropists, and citizens.

From the Report’s Overview:

Thomas Jefferson, who loathed many specific newspapers, nonetheless considered a free press so vital that he declared, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” If he were alive today, Jefferson would likely clarify that his dedication was not to “newspapers” per se but to their function: providing citizens the information they need to both pursue happiness and hold accountable government as well as other powerful institutions.

That sense of the vital link between informed citizens and a healthy democracy is why civic and media leaders grew alarmed a few years ago when the digital revolution began undercutting traditional media business models, leading to massive layoffs of journalists at newspapers, newsmagazines, and TV stations. Since then, experts in the media and information technology spheres have been debating whether the media is fulfilling the crucial role envisioned for it by the Founders. In 2008 and 2009, a group that was both bipartisan (Republicans and Democrats) and bi-generational (“new media” and “old media”) studied this issue at the behest of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The group, the Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, concluded: “America is at a critical juncture in the history of communications. Information technology is changing our lives in ways that we cannot easily foresee…The digital age is creating an information and communications renaissance. But it is not serving all Americans and their local communities equally. It is not yet serving democracy fully. How we react, individually and collectively, to this democratic shortfall will affect the quality of our lives and the very nature of our communities.”

The Knight Commission’s findings, as well as those of other blue-ribbon reports, posed a bipartisan challenge to the FCC, whose policies often affect the information health of communities. The chairman responded in December 2009 by initiating an effort at the FCC to answer two questions: 1) are citizens and communities getting the news, information, and reporting they want and need? and 2) is public policy in sync with the nature of modern media markets, especially when it comes to encouraging innovation and advancing local public interest goals?

A working group consisting of journalists, entrepreneurs, scholars, and government officials conducted an exploration of these questions. The group interviewed hundreds of people, reviewed scores of studies and reports, held hearings, initiated a process for public comment, and made site visits. We looked not only at the news media but, more broadly, at how citizens get local information in an age when the Internet has enabled consumers to access information without intermediaries.

This report is intended both to inform the broad public debate and help FCC Commissioners assess current rules.

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010

From the FCC’s October 8 press release on the signing of the 21ST CENTURY COMMUNICATIONS AND VIDEO ACCESSIBILITY ACT:

“The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act is the most significant disability law in two decades. The law’s provisions were endorsed in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. They will bring communication laws into the 21st Century, providing people with disabilities access to new broadband technologies and promoting new opportunities for innovation.

“Most importantly, the new law will ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind and can share fully in the economic and social benefits of broadband. The law will enable people with disabilities to participate in our 21st century economy.

“It is thanks to the bipartisan efforts of the legislation’s sponsors Representative Markey and Senator Pryor and the bipartisan commitment of Chairmen Representative Waxman and Senator Rockefeller and ranking members Representative Barton and Senator Hutchison that this update to our nation’s disability laws has become a reality. Subcommittee Chairmen Representative Boucher and Senator Kerry and ranking members Representative Stearns and Senator Ensign are also to be commended for their tireless work.”

See the Act and related materials here.

Snapshot of Television Use in the US (Nielsen)

Nielsen data comes at a high price for advertisers and academics alike. The former group can pay; the later group in most cases has to wait under the table for the crumbs to fall as general ratings and rankings are reported in secondary sources. Then there are the occasional reports Nielsen releases such as Snapshot of Television Use in the US (September 2010). It’s not very big but there is some good info packed into it. Besides list of top ten shows for 2009-2010 which you can get a lot of places, you’ll find comparisons of the size of the broadcast season audience over the last few years; viewing by genre; viewing by source (broadcast, public, ad-cable, premium cable, and other cable); and HD and DVR penetration.

2010 Leisure Market Research Handbook

I just discovered that The 2010 Leisure Market Research Handbook (Richard K. Miller & Associates) is available in Business Source Complete, an EBSCO database that resides in the same suite of databases as Communication & Mass Media Complete (tell me you aren’t forgetting when you go in to CMMC to select other appropriate databases!).

The book is broken up into chapters but they all look to be there. So what kind of data is in the Leisure Market Research Handbook? Demographics on leisure activities which includes lots of media usage (along with bird watching and sport card collecting) details. Special sections include film viewing, home entertainment, photography, radio listening, television viewing, video games, and online activities. There is also city-by-city breakdowns so you can compare rock concert attendance or video gaming from Akron, Ohio to Wilmington, Delaware.

I like not having to buy the book since it’s available in this handy format, the trick it to remember it’s here!

Business Source Complete can be entered directly into the Find It box on the ASC homepage, or just click into the first Communication database listed in the center column, Communication & Mass Media Complete (you may want other things in there), then be sure to click on “Select databases” to add Business Source Complete.

TALKERS Magazine

The ASC Library has just opened a subscription to TALKERS Magazine, a broadcasting industry trade publication which bills itself “the Bible of Talk Radio and the New Talk Media.”

Launched during the summer of 1990 by Michael Harrison, a radio broadcasting innovator and trade journalist, “TALKERS Magazine features news stories about the non-stop happenings in talk radio and the new talk media including articles about top hosts and stations, developments at the networks, interviews with movers and shakers, the opinions of industry participants and leaders, and fast-breaking developments in technology. The publication also conducts ongoing research of the topics and opinions discussed and expressed on hundreds of talk stations and programs across America and compiles them into surveys and graphs which have become the standard of the industry.”

Excepts from current stories in each monthly print edition of the magazine can be accessed at available at the Talkers website. Current issues are available at the ASC Library. In addition to our subscription start-up, I purchased back issues from 2004-2009 so we have a little bit of a research cushion for this title.

Benton Foundation

The Benton Foundation is a private foundation in existence since 1948 that works in the areas of public policy, specifically serving the public interest in the media and telecommunications arena.
Current priorities include Current priorities include: “promoting a vision and policy alternatives for the digital age in which the benefit to the public is paramount; raising awareness among funders and nonprofits on their stake in critical policy issues; enabling communities and nonprofits to produce diverse and locally responsive media content.”

They are worth pointing out on a library resource blog because their site is resource rich. Homepage sections includes Recent Headlines (free, daily summaries of articles on telecommunications policy), Policy Initiatives (on such topics as media ownership, affordable broadband, and other communication legislation), digital Beat Blog (Charles Benton and others’ take on communications policy), and Community Media (the foundations work in educating nonprofits in this area) and more.

The Library and Topics sections are full of annual reports, research papers, news articles, and postings on a variety of topics in the areas of advertising, broadcasting, cable, children and media, community media, cyberwarfare and cybersecurity, digital content, digital divide, diversity, elections and media, emergency communication, energy and climate, FCC reform, health and media, indecency regulation, internet/broadband, journalism, labor, localism, media ownership, satellite, spectrum, telecom, violence, and wireless.

International Communications Market Report 2008

The International Communications Market Report 2008, published by Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, is now available.

From the report’s forward:

This is Ofcom’s third report on developments in international communications markets. Putting the UK market into an international context is becoming increasingly important, as communications service provision globalises and as technological innovation breaks down traditional national market boundaries.

This report sets out the availability, take-up and use of communications services among seven main comparator countries (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the US, Canada and Japan). Where data are available, we have included a further five European countries (Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland). We also consider separately the development of communications markets in the large emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

This year, we have put yet more emphasis on the importance of convergence by setting out a number of converging market themes. These demonstrate that as content and services are distributed to consumers over a variety of digital networks, and to many different devices, consumer behaviour towards communications services is changing – for example, their concurrent use of different media such as the internet and television. We have also included more time-series data this year on how, across our larger comparator countries, consumer attitudes towards communications services are evolving.

We are publishing this report to help fulfil our commitment to continually research markets, to inform our policy thinking and to fulfil the commitment we made in our 2008/09 annual plan. It complements the other research that has been published by Ofcom in 2008, and forms part of the Communications Market trilogy – together with The UK Communications Market (published in August 2008) and The Communications Market: Nations and Regions (May 2008). [These reports can be found at the Research and Market Data section of the website.]

The reference period of this report is the five years to the end of 2007. Consequently, our analysis does not fully take account of changing economic conditions over the past twelve months.