TV Pursues Nichification or 1 + 1 = Barrels of Money

July 10, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

When an organization has a huge market like the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts? What do they do to remain relevant and have enough money to pay the overhead and salaries of the top dogs? They merge.

What does an old-school talking heads television channel do to remain relevant and have enough money to pay the overhead and salaries of the top dogs? They create niches.


A cheese maker who can’t sell his cheddar does some MBA-type thinking. Will his niche play work? Thanks, MSFT Copilot. How’s that Windows 11 update doing today?

Which path is the optimal one? I certainly don’t have a definitive answer. But if each “niche” is a new product, I remember hearing that the failure rate was of sufficient magnitude to make me a think in terms of a regular job. Call me risk averse, but I prefer the rational dinobaby moniker, thank you.

CNBC Launches Sports Vertical amid Broader Biz Shift” reports with “real” news seriousness:

The idea is to give sports business executives insights and reporting about sports similar to the data and analysis CNBC provides to financial professionals, CNBC President KC Sullivan said in a statement.

I admit. I am not a sports enthusiast. I know some people who are, but their love of sport is defined by gambling, gambling and drinking at the 19th hole, and dressing up in Little League outfits and hitting softballs in the Harrod’s Creek Park. Exciting.

The write up held one differentiator from the other seemingly endless sports programs like those featuring Pat McAfee-type personalities. Here’s the pivot upon which the nichification turns:

The idea is to give sports business executives insights and reporting about sports similar to the data and analysis CNBC provides to financial professionals…

Imagine the legions of viewers who are interested in dropping billions on a major sports franchise. For me, it is easier to visualize sports betting. One benefit of gambling is a source of “addicts” for rehabilitation centers.

I liked the wrap up for the article. Here it is:

Between the lines: CNBC has already been investing in live coverage of sports, and will double down as part of the new strategy.

  • CNBC produces an annual business of sports conference, Game Plan, in partnership with Boardroom.
  • Andrew Ross Sorkin, Carl Quintanilla and others will host coverage from the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

Zoom out: Cable news companies are scrambling to reimagine their businesses for a digital future.

  • CNBC already sells digital subscriptions that include access to its live TV feed.
  • In the future, it could charge professionals for niche insights around specific verticals, or beats.

Okay, I like the double down, a gambling term. I like the conference angle, but the named entities do not resonate with me. I am a dinobaby and nichification is not a tactic that an outfit with eyeballs going elsewhere makes sense to me. The subscription idea is common. Isn’t there something called “subscription fatigue”? And the plan to charge to access a sports portal is an interesting one. But if one has 1,000 people looking at content, the number who subscribe seems to be in the < one to two percent range based on my experience.

But what do I know? I am a dinobaby and I know about TikTok and other short form programming. Maybe that’s old hat too? Did CNBC talk to influencers?

Stephen E Arnold, July 10, 2024

Doom Scrolling Fixed by Watching Cheers Re-Runs

July 5, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I spotted an article which provided a new way to think about lying on a sofa watching reruns of “Cheers.” The estimable online news resource YourTango: Revolutionizing Your Relationships published “Man Admits he Uses TV to Heal His Brain from Endless Short-Form Content. And Experts Agree He’s onto Something.” Amazing. The vast wasteland of Newton Minnow has morphed into a brain healing solution. Does this sound like craziness? (I must admit the assertion seems wacky to me.) Many years ago in Washington, DC, there was a sports announcer who would say in a loud voice while on air, “Let’s go to the videotape.” Well, gentle reader, let’s go to the YourTango “real” news article.


Will some of those mobile addicts and doom scrolling lovers take the suggestions of the YouTango article? Unlikely. The fellow with lung cancer continues to fiddle around, ignoring the No Smoking sign. Thanks, MSFT Copilot. How’s that Windows 11 update going?

The write up states:

A Gen Z man said he uses TV to ‘unfry’ his brain from endless short-form content — ‘Maybe I’ll fix the damage.’ It all feels so incredibly ironic that this young man — and thousands of other Gen Zers and millennials online — are using TV as therapy.

The individual who discovered this therapeutic use of OTA and YouTubeTV-type TV asserts:

I’m trying to unfry my brain from this short-form destruction.”

I admit. I like the phrase “short-form destruction.”

The write up includes this statement:

Not only is it keeping people from reading books, watching movies, and engaging in conversation, but it is also impacting their ability to maintain healthy relationships, both personal and professional. The dopamine release resulting from watching short-form content is why people become addicted to or, at the very least, highly attached to their screens and devices.

My hunch is that YourTango is not an online publication intended for those who regularly read the Atlantic and New Yorker magazines. That’s what makes these statement compelling. An online service for a specific demographic known to paw their mobile devices a thousand times or more each day is calling attention to a “problem.”

Now YourTango’s write up veers into the best way to teach. The write up states:

For young minds, especially kids in preschool and kindergarten, excessive screen time isn’t healthy. Their minds are yearning for connection, mobility, and education, and substituting iPad time or TV time isn’t fulfilling that need. However, for teenagers and adults in their 20s and 30s, the negative effects of too much screen time can be combated with a more balanced lifestyle. Utilizing long-form content like movies, books, and even a YouTube video could help improve cognitive ability and concentration.

The idea that watching a “YouTube video” can undo what flowing social media has done in the last 20 years is amusing to me. Really. To remediate the TikTok-type of mental hammering, one should watch a 10 minute video about the Harsh Trust of Big Automotive YouTube Channels. Does that sound effective?

Let’s look at the final paragraph in the “report”:

If you can’t read a book without checking your phone, catch a film without dozing off, or hold a conversation on a first date without allowing your mind to wander, consider some new habits that help to train your brain — even if it’s watching TV.

I love that “even if it’s watching TV.”

Net net: I lost attention after reading the first few words of the write up. I am now going to recognize my problem and watch a YouTube video called ”Dubai Amazing Dubai Mall. Burj Khalifa, City Center Walking Tour.” I feel less flawed just reading the same word twice in the YouTube video’s title. Yes. Amazing.

Stephen E Arnold, July 5, 2024

More on TikTok Managing the News Streams

June 14, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

TikTok does not occupy much of my day. I don’t have an account, and I am blissfully unaware of the content on the system. I have heard from those on my research team and from people who attend my lectures at law enforcement / intelligence conferences that it is an influential information conduit. I am a dinobaby, and I am not “into” video. I don’t look up information using TikTok. I don’t follow fashion trends other than those popular among other 80-year-old dinobabies. I am hopeless.

However, I did note “TikTok Users Being Fed Misleading Election News, BBC Finds.” I am mostly unaffected by King Charles’s and his subjects activities. What snagged my attention was the presence of videos which were disseminated via TikTok. These videos delivered

content promoted by social media algorithms has found – alongside funny montages – young people on TikTok are being exposed to misleading and divisive content. It is being shared by everyone from students and political activists to comedians and anonymous bot-like accounts.

Tucked in the BBC write up weas this statement:

TikTok has boomed since the last [British] election. According to media regulator Ofcom, it was the fastest-growing source of news in the UK for the second year in a row in 2023 – used by 10% of adults in this way. One in 10 teenagers say it is their most important news source. TikTok is engaging a new generation in the democratic process. Whether you use the social media app or not, what is unfolding on its site could shape narratives about the election and its candidates – including in ways that may be unfounded.

Shortly after reading the BBC item I saw in my feed (June 3, 2024) this story: “Trump Joins TikTok, the App He Once Tried to Ban.” Interesting.

Several observations are warranted:

  1. Does the US have a similar video channel currently disseminating information into China, the home base of TikTok and its owner? If “No,” why not? Should the US have a similar policy regarding non-US information conduits?
  2. Why has education in Britain failed to educate young people about obtaining and vetting information? Does the US have a similar problem?
  3. Have other countries fallen into the scroll and swipe deserts?


Stephen E Arnold, June 14, 2024

Legal Eagles Get Some Tail Feathers Plucked about BitTorrent

May 27, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

One Finnish law firm thinks it should be able to cut one party in out of the copyright enforcement process—the rightsholders themselves. The court disagrees. TorrentFreak reports, “Court Rejects Law Firm’s Bid to Directly Obtain BitTorrent Users’ Identities.” Writer Andy Maxwell explains:

“Requirements vary from region to region but when certain conditions are met, few courts deny genuine copyright holders the ability to enforce their rights under relevant law. One of the most fundamental requirements is that the entity making the claim has the necessary rights to do so. … In an application submitted to Finland’s Market Court on March 15, 2024, the law firm Hedman Partners Oy sought a court order to compel an unnamed internet service provider to provide the personal details of an unspecified number of subscribers. According to Hedman’s application, all are suspected of sharing copyrighted movies via BitTorrent, without first obtaining permission from two Danish rightsholders; Mis. Label ApS and Scanbox Entertainment A/S. Hedman Partners are well known for their work in the piracy settlement business in Scandinavia. The company fully understands the standards required before courts will issue a disclosure order. However, for reasons that aren’t made clear, the law firm would prefer to deal with these cases from a position of greater authority. This application appears to have served as the testing ground to determine whether that’s possible under Finland’s Copyright Act.”

The short answer: It is not possible. For the long, legalese-laced answer, see the article. Why did Hedman Partners try the move? Maxwell points out settlement efforts spearheaded by aggressive third-party legal teams tend to bring in more cash. Ah, there it is. A decision in favor of the firm would certainly not have benefitted the BitTorrent users, he notes. We may yet see whether that is correct—Hedman Partners has until June 18 to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Will law enforcement step in?

Cynthia Murrell, May 27, 2024

TikTok Rings the Alarm for Yelp

May 22, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Social media influencers have been making and breaking restaurants since MySpace was still a thing. GrubStreet, another bastion for foodies and restaurant owners, reported that TikTok now controls the Internet food scene over Yelp: “How TikTok Took Over The Menu.” TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube are how young diners are deciding where to eat. These are essential restaurant discovery tools. Aware of the power of these social media platforms, restaurants are adapting their venues to attract popular influencer food critics. These influencers replace the traditional newspaper food critic and become ad hoc publicists for the restaurants. They’re lured to venues with free food or even a hefty cash payment.

The new restaurant critic business created SOP for ideas business practices, and ingredients to appeal to the social media algorithms. Many influencers ask the businesses “collab” in exchange for a free meal. Established influencers with huge followings not only want a free lunch but also demand paychecks. There are entire companies established on connecting restaurants and other business with social media influencers. The services have an a la carte pricing menu.

Another problem from the new type of food critics are the LED lights required to shoot the food. LED lights are the equivalent of camera flashes and can disturb other diners. Many restaurants welcome filming with the lights while other places ban them. (Filming is still allowed though.)

Huge tactics to lure influencers is creating scarcity and create an experience with table side actions. Another important tactic is almost sinful:

“Above all, the goal is excess; the most unforgivable social-media sin for any restaurant is to project an image of austerity…The chef Eyal Shani knows how to generate this particular energy. His HaSalon restaurants serve 12-foot-long noodles and encourage diners to dance on their tables, waving white napkins over their heads while disco blares from speakers. “Thirty years ago, it was about the content” of a dish or an idea, says Shani, who runs 40 restaurants around the world and has seen trends ebb and flow over the decades. ‘People tried to understand the structure of your creation.’ Today, it’s much more visual: ‘It’s very flat — it’s not about going into depth.’”

If restaurants focus more on shallowness and showmanship, then quality is going to tank. It’s going to go the way of the American attention span. TikTok ruins another thing.

Whitney Grace, May 22, 2023

More on Intelligence and Social Media: Birds Versus Humans

May 10, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

I have zero clue if the two stories about which I will write a short essay are accurate. I don’t care because the two news items are in delicious tension. Do you feel the frisson? The first story is “Parrots in Captivity Seem to Enjoy Video-Chatting with Their Friends on Messenger.” The core of the story strikes me as:

A new (very small) study led by researchers at the University of Glasgow and Northeastern University compared parrots’ responses when given the option to video chat with other birds via Meta’s Messenger versus watching pre-recorded videos. And it seems they’ve got a preference for real-time conversations.


Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Is your security a type of deep fake?

Let me make this somewhat over-burdened sentence more direct. Birds like to talk to other birds, live, and in real time. The bird is not keen on the type of video humans gobble up.

Now the second story. It has the click–licious headline “Gen Z Mostly Doesn’t Care If Influencers Are Actual Humans, New Study Shows.” The main idea of this “real” news story is, in my opinion:

The report [from a Sprout Social report] notes that 46 percent of Gen Z respondents, specifically, said they would be more interested in a brand that worked with an influencer generated with AI.

The idea is that humans are okay with fake video which aims to influence them through fake humans.

My atrophied dinobaby brain interprets the information in each cited article this way: Birds prefer to interact with real birds. Humans are okay with fake humans. I will have to recalibrate my understanding of the bird brain.

Let’s assume both write ups are chock full of statistically-valid data. The assorted data processes conformed to the requirements of Statistics 101. The researchers suggest humans are okay with fake data. Birds, specifically parrots, prefer  the real doo-dah.


  1. Humans may not be able to differentiate real from fake. When presented with fakes, humans may prefer the bogus.
  2. I may need to reassess the meaning of the phrase “bird brain.”
  3. Researchers demonstrate the results of years of study in these findings.

Net net: The chills I  referenced in the first paragraph of this essay I now recognize as fear.

Stephen E Arnold, May 10, 2024

Another Cultural Milestone for Social Media

April 16, 2024

Well this is an interesting report. PsyPost reports, “Researchers Uncover ‘Pornification’ Trend Among Female Streamers on Twitch.” Authored by Kristel Anciones-Anguita and Mirian Checa-Romero, the study was published in the  Humanities and Social Sciences Communications journal. The team analyzed clips from 1,920 livestreams on, a platform with a global daily viewership of 3 million. They found women streamers sexualize their presentations much more often, and more intensely, than the men. Also, the number of sexy streams depends on the category. Not surprisingly, broadcasters in categories like ASMR and “Pools, Hot Tubs & Beaches” are more self-sexualized than, say, gamer girls. Shocking, we know.

The findings are of interest because Twitch broadcasters formulate their own images, as opposed to performers on traditional media. There is a longstanding debate, even among feminists, whether using sex to sell oneself is empowering or oppressive. Or maybe both. Writer Eric W. Dolan notes:

“Studies on traditional media (such as TV and movies) have extensively documented the sexualization of women and its consequences. However, the interactive and user-driven nature of new digital platforms like presents new dynamics that warrant exploration, especially as they become integral to daily entertainment and social interaction. … This autonomy raises questions about the factors driving self-sexualization, including societal pressures, the pursuit of popularity, and the platform’s economic incentives.”

Or maybe women are making fully informed choices and framing them as victims of outside pressure is condescending. Just a thought. The issue gets more murky when the subjects, or their audiences, are underage. The write-up observes:

“These patterns of self-sexualization also have potential implications for the shaping of audience attitudes towards gender and sexuality. … ‘Our long-term goals for this line of research include deepening our understanding of how online sexualized culture affects adolescent girls and boys and how we can work to create more inclusive and healthy online communities,’ Anciones-Anguita said. ‘This study is just the beginning, and there is much more to explore in terms of the pornification of culture and its psychological impact on users.”

Indeed there is. See the article for more details on what the study considered “sexualization” and what it found.

Cynthia Murrell, April 16, 2024

Google Mandates YouTube AI Content Be Labeled: Accurately? Hmmmm

April 2, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

The rules for proper use of AI-generated content are still up in the air, but big tech companies are already being pressured to induct regulations. Neowin reported that “Google Is Requiring YouTube Creators To Post Labels For Realistic AI-Created Content” on videos. This is a smart idea in the age of misinformation, especially when technology can realistically create images and sounds.

Google first announced the new requirement for realistic AI-content in November 2023. The YouTube’s Creator Studio now has a tool in the features to label AI-content. The new tool is called “Altered content” and asks creators yes and no questions. Its simplicity is similar to YouTube’s question about whether a video is intended for children or not. The “Altered content” label applies to the following:

• “Makes a real person appear to say or do something they didn’t say or do

• Alters footage of a real event or place

• Generates a realistic-looking scene that didn’t actually occur”

The article goes on to say:

“The blog post states that YouTube creators don’t have to label content made by generative AI tools that do not look realistic. One example was “someone riding a unicorn through a fantastical world.” The same applies to the use of AI tools that simply make color or lighting changes to videos, along with effects like background blur and beauty video filters.”

Google says it will have enforcement measures if creators consistently don’t label their realistic AI videos, but the consequences are specified. YouTube will also reserve the right to place labels on videos. There will also be a reporting system viewers can use to notify YouTube of non-labeled videos. It’s not surprising that Google’s algorithms can’t detect realistic videos from fake. Perhaps the algorithms are outsmarting their creators.

Whitney Grace, April 2, 2024

AI to AI Program for March 12, 2024, Now Available

March 12, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Erik Arnold, with some assistance from Stephen E Arnold (the father) has produced another installment of AI to AI: Smart Software for Government Use Cases.” The program presents news and analysis about the use of artificial intelligence (smart software) in government agencies.


The ad-free program features Erik S. Arnold, Managing Director of Govwizely, a Washington, DC consulting and engineering services firm. Arnold has extensive experience working on technology projects for the US Congress, the Capitol Police, the Department of Commerce, and the White House. Stephen E Arnold, an adviser to Govwizely, also participates in the program. The current episode explores five topics in an father-and-son exploration of important, yet rarely discussed subjects. These include the analysis of law enforcement body camera video by smart software, the appointment of an AI information czar by the US Department of Justice, copyright issues faced by UK artificial intelligence projects, the role of the US Marines in the Department of Defense’s smart software projects, and the potential use of artificial intelligence in the US Patent Office.

The video is available on YouTube at The Apple audio podcast is at this link.

Stephen E Arnold, March 12, 2024

Forget the Words. Do Short-Form Video by Hiring a PR Professional

March 1, 2024

green-dino_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

I think “Everyone’s a Sellout Now” is about 4,000 words. The main idea is that traditional publishing is roached. Artists and writers must learn to do video editing or have enough of mommy and daddy’s money to pay someone to promote the creator’s output. The essay is well written; however, I am not sure it conveys a TikTok fact unknown or hiding in the world of BlueSky-type services.


This bright young student should have used a ChatGPT-type service. Thanks, MSFT Copilot. At least you are outputting which is more than I can say for your fierce but lagging competitor.

I noted this passage:

Because self-promotion sucks.

I think I agree, but why not hire an “output handler.” The OH does the PR.

Here’s another quote to note:

The problem is that America more or less runs on the concept of selling out.

Is there a fix for the gasoline of America? Yes. The essay asserts:

author-content creators succeed by making the visually uninteresting labor of typing on a laptop worthwhile to watch.

The essay concludes with this less-than-uplifting comment:

To achieve the current iteration of the American dream, you’ve got to shout into the digital void and tell everyone how great you are. All that matters is how many people believe you.

Downer? Yes, and what makes it fascinating is that the author gets paid for writing. I think this is a “real job.”

Several observations:

  1. I think smart software is going to do more than write wacko stuff for SmartNews-type publications.
  2. Readers of “downer” essays are likely to go more “down”; that is, become less positive and increasingly antagonistic to what makes the US of A tick
  3. The essay delivers the news about the importance of TikTok without pointing out that the service is China-affiliated and provides content not permitted for consumption in China.

Net net: Hire a gig worker to do the OH. Pay for PR. Quit complaining or complain in fewer words.

PS. The categorical affirmative of “everyone” is disproved with a single example. As I have pointed out in an essay about a grousing Xoogler, I operate differently. Therefore, the everyone is like fuzzy antecedents. Sloppy.

Stephen E Arnold, March 1, 2024

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