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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Weekend reading: Glickman stumbles, Cisco acquires, Consumers splurge

Glickman stumbles

The LA Times reports on MPAA chief Dan Glickman's visit to UCLA as part of a whistle-stop tour intended to send the message to college students that piracy is wrong. Unfortunately, the students were cracking jokes. Claire Hoffman writes:

    ...the outbreak of pirate jokes Wednesday night underscored the challenge that Glickman faced as he toured college campuses lecturing on the need to protect movies from Internet thieves. UCLA was his fifth stop and his first in California.

    Although downloading pirated films from the Internet is not nearly as rampant on college campuses as online copying of music, studios are alarmed that the numbers are growing. Research shows that young males are at the vanguard in downloading technology, and that pirating of movies tends to take place overwhelmingly on computers in college dorms.

One med school student, Mike Chen, may be indicative of how college students think about piracy. He asked, "Are there perhaps some benefits to piracy because more people now have access to the movies?" Uh, yeah, benefits to college students. Not really to movie makers. Later, Chen told the Times that Glickman's agenda "doesn't benefit the public, just the rich." Seems like Glickman's message may need some tinkering.

Cisco acquires

The NY Times reports on Cisco Systems' $7 billion purchase of Scientific Atlanta, a company that makes millions of set-top boxes. This lets Cisco, traditionally a data networking company, control an important gateway through which entertainment will enter the home.

Consumers splurge

This NY Times piece reports that "the average American spends more on entertainment than on gasoline, household furnishings and clothing and nearly the same amount as spent on dining out, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among the affluent, the 20 percent of households with more than $77,000 a year in pretax income, more money is spent on entertainment - $4,516 a year - than on health care, utilities, clothing or food eaten at home." Writer Damon Darlin continues:

    Over the last 10 years, outlays for entertainment outpaced overall expenditures. Spending on health care and education, which almost doubled in that period, grew faster.