Sunday Links

As the public voting on proposed South by Southwest panels comes to a close on September 4, I just wanted to make a quick reminder to everyone that I have a proposed presentation on film blogging in the running for inclusion at this year’s festival.  Audience support counts for 33% of the overall score when the organizers weigh which panels to include, so your votes would be appreciated.  I’ve never been to South by Southwest, but given my research areas, I think it would be a valuable learning experience.  Now for some links:

  • Matt Dentler points to news that Blockbuster plans to open up a blue alternative to Redbox by placing kiosks  in Big Y grocery stores throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, creating a service they’ll call Blockbuster Express.  The price per rental will be $1, just like Redbox, and the service will also convert several hudred The New Realease kiosks in Publix stores throughout the south.  Probably no surprise here that other video rental services would try to elbow in on Redbox’s turf, but interesting news nonetheless.
  • Over at NewTeeVee, there is a discussion addressing why Netflix seems to be thriving while TiVo is faltering, at least as measured by a 146,000 net decline in subscribers over the last quarter. As usual, I’m less interested in what these stories mean for TiVo’s bottom line than I am in thinking about what they say about how we engage with media.  I’ve never really used TiVo, and with so many other media options out there, I’ll admit that I don’t feel strongly compelled to start now.  TiVo seems to serve those who are deeply invested in watching specific shows, and so I’m wondering whether, with so many other entertainment options, it has become an unnecessary luxury?
  • I’ve already mentioned it once before, but Kristin Thompson’s piece on the precarious state of 3D movies is worth reading. I think her skepticism about the future of 3D as a storytelling medium is certainly warranted.
  • Ted Hope has a pointer to a lecture by Brian Newman on “Moving beyond Free to ‘Free (with Fee).'”
  • Finally, Jason Sperb, citing work by Angela Ndalianis, has an insightful reading on “the afterlife of Song of the South,” taking note that transmedia texts take place in a variety of forms and often involve media conglomerates cannibalizing and/or reworking earlier texts.  As Jason points out, although the film has a number of racist elements, making it somewhat difficult to allow overt associations with the Disney brand, pieces of the film (including the classic “Zip-a-dee-do-dah” song) are recycled subtly in less visible media contexts.


  1. Jason Said,

    August 30, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

    You spoil me yet again, Chuck. Thanks. By the way, how Disney carefully negotiated and exploited SOS over the course of the last 60+ yrs is one of the two central strands running throughout my dissertation. The other is how and why audiences negotiated its politics at different points in its reception history.

    Thanks for the link on 3-D. I agree that Cameron’s ambition is in trouble, but considering filmmakers have been at this for 50 years, it seems unlikely to permanently “fail” anytime soon. Like CGI, its one of those technologies that they will keep reinventing.

  2. Chuck Said,

    August 30, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

    I knew you’d done work on SOS, but I’m intrigued by your assessment of how Disney dealt with the transmedia proliferation of a problematic text. It would be interesting to look at how Disney and other companies have juggled that problem with films whose politics might now be regarded as dubious.

    You’re right to cation aginst declaring 3D “dead.” Given that some theaters will continue to have the potential to project 3D films, some directors will likely still use it. Cameron’s deployment of it, however, may be in big trouble.

  3. Rob Rushing Said,

    August 30, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

    I love my TiVo, but it’s no longer quite so vital as it used to be in my life. And here’s my take on 3D:

  4. Chuck Said,

    August 30, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

    Hi, Rob. The above link is broken, so let me try again, with a direct link.

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