I read in May that the proportion of households in the US with television sets is now in decline. Some speculated that this was still an after-effect of the 2008 crash, but I suspect more likely is that people are substituting TV for online video services.
Personally, I don’t watch much television apart from football, (which actually means I watch rather a lot of television). And with a new season, comes a heightened appetite for footy-ogling restricted only partially by family obligations, my family’s generous but observably finite patience, and the fact that still most games are played concurrently.
But hope beats loud in the heart of this Fantasy League manager, and so I therefore enjoy services like the Guardian’s minute-by-minute and clock-watch, which enable me to keep abreast of all games at once.
But this season, those services are no longer auto-updating; as Jacob Steinberg explained in Saturday’s season-opening clock-watch:
3.32pm: A lot of you are asking about the absence of the auto-refresh tool. Basically we’re not allowed to use it due to the media’s disagreement with the leagues. You’ll have to press F5 instead. STOP FOOTBALL, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Got that? No more hands-free browsing of live football scores.
While this conjures up a rather fanciful image of today’s custodians of the sport, in some bizarre echo of the game’s founding purpose, being motivated still by a concern to preserve the eyesight of the nation’s youth, you might almost forget that these are live text updates of football scores we’re talking about.
So, yes, live text updates pushed to the browser now fall under some definition of broadcasting rights. And yes, we’re reminded yet again that a powerful and flexible browser remains a bulwark against some fairly crazy legality – in this case, the definition of what “broadcasting” a game means. But still, Firefox users can install an extension such as Reload Every and get on with enjoying automatic text updates.
It’s 2011. And by the time this season ends, it’s 2012. And yet, I’m reminded of something Asa wrote back in 2005:
the user is no longer just a spectator, he’s a participant.
…and that’s true even when he’s a spectator.
p.s. not all open web doom and gloom around the Guardian’s start to the season. I loved this css-powered kit guide.