Friday, 28 May 2010


What part of World Wide Web doesn't register with some governments, sports organizations, entertainment sites and news outlets?

The joy of the Internet when it crept slowly onto the global landscape in the 1990s was the anticipation of watching and listening to foreign content without limitations and barriers.

But those freedoms are fading with roadblocks.

Headphones on, we were able to do our work while listening to Blue Jays baseball loud and clear instead of the radio. MLB has deep-sixed that convenient experience.

This season, we found a Halifax station online that was streaming Jays games but not recently, so MBL probably ejected them from the game.

CBS Radio recently axed availability of all of its online content beyond U.S. borders, depriving late-nighters around the world access to the popular Boston talk show host Steve Leveille.

Canadians can't access Hula for its impressive television and movie content.

Governments are dabbling in geo-blocking, limiting access to external influences.

In October 2006, George W. approved a bill outlawing the use of banking services by millions of online poker players in the United States. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 bars online gambling businesses from accepting credit cards and electronic transfers.

The Act does not apply to state lotteries, horse racing or fantasy sports. Go figure.

Governments and big business being what they are, it was inevitable that the Internet was destined to become too commercial and controlled for self-interests.

It is becoming the not so World Wide Web - for a price and if you have the right citizenship papers.


  1. F'n Bush. Screwing us still. Internet, oil leaks, Tennessee floods. What a bastard.

  2. With the exception of China and a few other countries in that part of the world, governments do not geo-block. The loss of radio, TV and sports broadcasts has nothing to do with any government but everything to do with corporate licensing or the lack thereof.

    They've learned from newspapers' mistakes: why give your content away for free? They're running a business and the number one reason for any business is to make money.

    Some sports/entertainment events have agreements with their paying broadcasters that the event cannot simulcast the event or otherwise "scoop" the broadcaster(s).

    Your missed content (CBS radio, Hulu) can be readily licensed for Canadian consumption. But no Canadian broadcasters or advertisers are stepping up. (Actually, you can get around geo-blocking with Firefox but don't tell anyone).

    Free lunch is coming to an end. How long should Canadian viewers ride on American viewers' coattails?

  3. If you Google "proxy servers" you'll discover the barriers to Pandora, Hulu, Comedy Central, etc. don't exist at all, or to be precise, are one click away from not being there at all. Just pick a proxy in the country the content is limited to. If you are tech savvy enough to send an email you can surf through a proxy.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to listening to Pandora.

  4. Nothing to do with this post but there seems to be no other way to comment.

    Notice the Toronto Sun's lack of NBA playoff coverage. I'm in downtown Toronto so I'm not getting an early edition paper.

    Nothing of Los Angeles winning the western championship yesterday to set up the dream classic Celtics-Lakers final.

    Minimal coverage (i.e. early first quarter picture and 1 sentence caption) of at least the last two Boston - Orlando games even though they were in the eastern time zone and no overtime involved. Nothing of Boston winning the eastern championship.

    It seems that there's no attempt to report evening sports outside of Toronto. Recall the lack of coverage from last year's World Series final game. Instead, the Sun just says, go the web site. If I have to go to the web site, why am I buying the paper?

  5. Print readers have become second-class citizens in the minds of Quebecor, with unrealistic, early deadlines for the morning Sun to accommodate all of the other products being printed in one plant. Concert reviews? Go to the Net or wait two days for the print review, if at all. Late night sports scores? Forgetaboutit. There are Sun Media features found only on the Net. If does get tiring and you do wonder why buy the paper when they are continually directing print readers to the Internet for fresh content? Print readers were on a pedestal pre-Quebecor. The Internet tunnel vision and cutback of staff and content have lost the tabloid tens of thousands of print readers. Acting like a true morning newspaper, with later deadlines for news, sports and entertainment, might help turn the tide.

  6. Yes there are strict deadlines and limited replates now that the paper is not printed at 333 King. However, the GTA gets the most up to date copies as the first papers printed go to the the towns outside the GTA.

  7. TSF:
    Print as a delivery system of "news" is on its last legs. You date yourself by referring to "internet tunnel vision."
    Quebecor's efforts are clumsy, but I'll give them credit for recognizing that the internet is the way to go.
    There will always be a place for "newsrooms" however. The internet - and the business model - is in its infancy. People crave content, clearly. Its just a matter of conditioning people to crave better content than the TMZ's of the world can provide.
    From the ashes of Heart's empire rose the greatest era in journalism we've ever seen. No reason to think that it can't happen again.
    You just have to be patient and let go of the "old-world" thinking you are clinging too.

  8. The Internet may, indeed, be the way to go but not at the expense of loyal print readers who are paying more for less and being treated as second-class citizens. Print readers made Sun Media, now they are being told they will soon be obsolete. The huge population of baby boomers raised on print might disagree. The point is, as long as Sun Media is offering print don't shortchange print customers.

  9. The Globe and Mail is putting its wallet into print. Over the past three weeks, the Globe's publisher and editor-in-chief have been talking about the Globe's future plans and the upcoming redesign.

    The long range plans include a $2-billion investment in printing presses. The short range plans include the new Globe to be debuted this fall: magazine-like with glossier colour and better paper stock; a print publication aimed at modern, digital-savvy readers; and no layoffs.

    The new Globe will not be a "delivery system for news" but rather a delivery system for insights. The Globe is betting that readers will pay for high quality content published in a high quality format.

    Quote: "... as long as Sun Media is offering print don't shortchange print customers."

    Exactly. About 94% of Sun Media profit comes from print.