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What caught Drama 2.0's attention this week? Find out before you leave for the weekend in the latest installment of The Web Week in Review.

NBC builds online audience even as TV ratings soar

Who said television was dead?

NBC, which paid $900mn for broadcast rights to the 2008 Summer Games, has found its investment to be very worthwhile.

As reported by AFP, NBC has set all-time highs for Olympic television ratings and while there are a number of factors that have contributed to this, NBC executives are giving a lot of credit to their multi-platform strategy:

"The company has also cited its strategy of showing the Olympics on multiple platforms -- television, Internet, mobile, video-on-demand, mobile -- as helping to drive viewers to primetime shows."

Reuters' Paul Thomasch notes:

"Nearly 25 million people have visited NBCOlympics.com, viewing 456 million pages and watching close to 22 million video clips, NBC said on Thursday, recording more page views than for the entire 2004 Games in Athens."

NBC's efforts are not only notable, however, for their superb execution and results - they're also notable because of how complex they are.

Media observers have pointed out that NBC faces significant challenges - both strategy-wise and technology-wise.

In terms of strategy, NBC has done extremely well in protecting its broadcasting interests while at the same time dedicating enough to its internet interests - a tough balancing act.

NBC has managed to pull it off and as Bob Jeffrey, CEO of WPP Group's ad agency JWT, points out, marketers appear keen on leveraging both broadcast and internet.

Thomasch observes that NBC's success could have a lasting impact:

"NBC Universal's efforts could set the tone for how future sports or entertainment events are covered on the Internet, easing concerns that the Web would eat into TV ratings. The result could be more advertising deals that incorporate both broadcast and online elements."

Of course, none of this should come as a surprise. As I pointed out in July 2007 - "the future of media is integrated" and NBC is proving that Big Media is perfectly positioned to take advantage of integrated media.

Court says copyrights apply even for free software

The developers of open source software may be making their code available for "free" but a federal appeals court in the United States has ruled that this doesn't take away the rights to protect their copyrights when somebody violates open source licensing agreements.

This ruling means that a company, for instance, that misappropriates an open source application for use in a commercial product without making its modifications freely available to the "community" as is required by many open source licensing agreements, could be sued by the creator of the application even no money changed hands.

As expected, such a ruling has been welcomed by the open source community.


Judge keeps gag order in place in Boston subway hacking case, asks MIT students for more data

While it may not be as ambitious or as exciting as counting cards in Las Vegas, MIT students who discovered a way to hack into the Boston subway payment card system and were able to add money to their cards have become a thorn in the side of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) a headache.

A federal judge in Boston is keeping in place a restraining order that forbids the students from disclosing details about their exploit.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a notable copyright infringement apologist, is not surprisingly defending the students and claims that the restraining order is a violation of their free speech rights.

While a significant amount of information about the students' exploit is apparently already available, the fight over their ability to disclose information and reported reluctance to help the MBTA is disturbing to me and once again, I think the EFF again finds itself without a moral compass.

Human decency (if not civic duty) would seem to dictate that the students put aside their egos and desire to promote their ingenuity and do the organization that provides transportation to their city a favor - keep what they discovered under wraps and do what they can to help the MBTA fix it.


Yahoo adds Icahn-approved directors to board

Since I'm tired of the Yahoo drama, I'll make this update short and sweet: Yahoo has named Icahn-selected Frank Biondi Jr. and John Chapple to its board.

Biondi was formerly president and CEO of Universal Studios and Viacom and is currently a senior managing partner at Waterview Advisors, a boutique investment banking firm.

Chapple was formerly president and CEO of Nextel Partners and is also currently in private equity.

Will Biondi and Chapple add any value to Yahoo's board or help Icahn negotiate a possible deal with Microsoft? That remains to be seen.

Drama 2.0

Published 15 August, 2008 by Drama 2.0

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