Belgian broadcasters try kneecapping DVRs, demand compensation

Belgians are probably most interested in knowing whether their country will survive its strife between the French and Flemish-Dutch speaking groups, or whether it will break apart into separate nations. Here at Ars, however, we’re more interested in the country’s peculiarities with respect to copyright law and broadband technology (and, of course, Belgium’s wide variety of beers and chocolate). We recently wrote about Belgian bandwidth hogs, and in the past on ISPs having to filter P2P and newspapers suing Google News. This week it’s Belgian broadcasters seeking to cripple Digital Video Recorders and get compensation for their introduction.

Ars got hold of a letter addressed to cable provider Telenet, a letter in which compensation and technical crippling of the DVR were demanded. A similar letter went to Belgacom, another cable TV provider. This letter, kindly provided to us by Inside TV International, was jointly written by the CEOs of the three Flemish broadcasters.


Belgians are probably most interested in knowing whether their country will survive its strife between the French and Flemish-Dutch speaking groups, or whether it will break apart into separate nations. Here at Ars, however, we’re more interested in the country’s peculiarities with respect to copyright law and broadband technology (and, of course, Belgium’s wide variety of beers and chocolate). We recently wrote about Belgian bandwidth hogs, and in the past on ISPs having to filter P2P and newspapers suing Google News. This week it’s Belgian broadcasters seeking to cripple Digital Video Recorders and get compensation for their introduction.

Ars got hold of a letter addressed to cable provider Telenet, a letter in which compensation and technical crippling of the DVR were demanded. A similar letter went to Belgacom, another cable TV provider. This letter, kindly provided to us by Inside TV International, was jointly written by the CEOs of the three Flemish broadcasters. Leer más “Belgian broadcasters try kneecapping DVRs, demand compensation”

Star Turns

Emmy-winning actor Brian Baumgartner, best known as the lovable simpleton Kevin on NBC’s sitcom The Office, can play a mean game of golf. Sometimes. He’s in a rut right now though and needs to psyche himself up for a major charity tournament.

Enter elite athletes like L.A. Laker Pau Gasol, New York Yankee CC Sabathia and baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith to whip him into shape. Subway restaurants sponsor the action, and Hollywood-branded entertainment shop Content & Company wraps it all up into a TV special.

The result, a one-hour show dubbed Golf Therapy: Life, Lessons and the Pursuit of Par, will launch in the coming weeks online, on Subway’s in-store flat screens, across social media and cable TV channels. It also aired on NBC Sports prior to the U.S. Senior Open on Aug. 1.

Golf Therapy comes on the heels of a number of talent/marketer alliances that show how closely the two worlds have started working together on original, brand-backed entertainment. The brands themselves share top billing in some of the projects, and other times their only role is willing investor.

Stars like Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, who opened the advertiser-friendly production company DumbDumb, have made short videos for Wrigley’s Orbit gum. Fellow Arrested Development alum Tony Hale starred in a Web series backed by Nestea. And 90120’s AnnaLynn McCord popped up in AT&T story-based online vignettes. Eastbound and Down’s foul-mouthed star Kenny Powers, also known as comedian Danny McBride, recently launched a profane short on FunnyorDie for K-Swiss, and Lisa Kudrow’s Lexus-sponsored Web Therapy, now in its third season online, will soon become a TV series on Showtime.


– T.L. Stanley
Emmy-winning actor Brian Baumgartner, best known as the lovable simpleton Kevin on NBC‘s sitcom The Office, can play a mean game of golf. Sometimes. He’s in a rut right now though and needs to psyche himself up for a major charity tournament.

Enter elite athletes like L.A. Laker Pau Gasol, New York Yankee CC Sabathia and baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith to whip him into shape. Subway restaurants sponsor the action, and Hollywood-branded entertainment shop Content & Company wraps it all up into a TV special.

The result, a one-hour show dubbed Golf Therapy: Life, Lessons and the Pursuit of Par, will launch in the coming weeks online, on Subway’s in-store flat screens, across social media and cable TV channels. It also aired on NBC Sports prior to the U.S. Senior Open on Aug. 1.

Golf Therapy comes on the heels of a number of talent/marketer alliances that show how closely the two worlds have started working together on original, brand-backed entertainment. The brands themselves share top billing in some of the projects, and other times their only role is willing investor.

Stars like Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, who opened the advertiser-friendly production company DumbDumb, have made short videos for Wrigley’s Orbit gum. Fellow Arrested Development alum Tony Hale starred in a Web series backed by Nestea. And 90120’s AnnaLynn McCord popped up in AT&T story-based online vignettes. Eastbound and Down’s foul-mouthed star Kenny Powers, also known as comedian Danny McBride, recently launched a profane short on FunnyorDie for K-Swiss, and Lisa Kudrow’s Lexus-sponsored Web Therapy, now in its third season online, will soon become a TV series on Showtime. Leer más “Star Turns”

Who is easily manipulated?

Sometimes (and too often) marketers work to manipulate people. I define manipulation as working to spread an idea or generate an action that is not in a person’s long-term best interest.

The easiest people to manipulate are those that don’t demand a lot of information, are open to messages from authority figures and are willing to make decisions on a hunch, particularly if there’s a promise of short-term gains.

If you want to focus on the short run and sell something, get a vote or gather a mob, the easiest place to start is with populations that leave themselves open to manipulation.


Sometimes (and too often) marketers work to manipulate people. I define manipulation as working to spread an idea or generate an action that is not in a person’s long-term best interest.

The easiest people to manipulate are those that don’t demand a lot of information, are open to messages from authority figures and are willing to make decisions on a hunch, particularly if there’s a promise of short-term gains.

If you want to focus on the short run and sell something, get a vote or gather a mob, the easiest place to start is with populations that leave themselves open to manipulation. Leer más “Who is easily manipulated?”