Thursday News: Death comes to Archie Comics, Comcast’s anti-trust challenge, Kobo’s new president, and Denmark’s Yahya Hassan
Comic book icon Archie to ‘die heroically’ – I have to admit that this is pretty clever, although I’m guessing it’s going to make some readers feel manipulated. Although the Archie comics that continue to feature Archie, Veronica, and Betty as teenagers continue to keep all its main characters alive, the series “Life with Archie,” which represents Archie’s grown-up life, will be portraying his death this July. Pretty tricky, Archie Comics.
“Archie dies as he lived — heroically. He dies saving the life of a friend, and does it in his usual selfless way. Archie has always been a representation of us — the best of us. Our strengths and our faults,” Goldwater said. –New York Post
Antitrust issues abound as Comcast explains Time Warner Cable deal in the Senate – This is a really interesting analysis of the case Comcast is trying to make to Congress about why it should be allowed to purchase Time Warner. Comcast is currently the largest cable tv company in the US, and Time Warner is the second largest. Comcast claims that horizontal competition will not be affected by the merger, and the government is interested in making the harder-to-support case that there are vertical antitrust issues that weight against the merger. However, as this piece points out, the issue is much larger than that of cable tv providers — it goes back to that fundamental question of who controls the broadband market. This potential deal also directly implicates net neutrality.
As my colleague Stacey Higginbotham explained yesterday, this deal isn’t really about cable, but about broadband services. It is not about a choice of cable company, but instead about deciding who will control the the pipe of information that comes into our home alongside our gas and electricity.
And it is on this front that the antitrust issues are most profound. If Comcast and Time Warner Cable merge, the combined company could control at least 40 percent of the country’s broadband market. –Gigaom
London Book Fair 2014: PW Talks with Kobo President Michael Tamblyn – This interview with Kobo’s new President and CCO Michael Tamblyn may be of particular interest to those whose content was transferred from the now-defunct Sony Reader Store to the Kobo Store, who lays out some of his strategy for Kobo and his perceptions of the ebook and e-device market. Not surprisingly, Kobo is looking at the self-publishing market, which Tamblyn claims account for about 10% of daily unit sales. He also seems to be pretty focused on keeping Kobo centered in the e-reader business, not branching out to tablets.
If you look at the development of Kobo over time, we started as an apps only company which then figured out that devices were a great way to acquire customers, so we succeeded in building a lot of devices and released them into a lot of markets, and then figured out how to get partners selling those devices, in a lot of different territories. Now, we’re coming back with a greater focus on the content side of the business. Now that we have all of our partners putting devices on shelves and putting them in customers hands, how do we get those partners more engaged in the promotion of the digital titles that go on those devices? How do we get bricks and mortar locations promoting more digital in more ways? So I’ve been spending a lot of my time looking at the publisher, author, and title side of the business. –Publishers Weekly
Lashing Out in Verse – I have to admit that I’ve been a little bit obsessed with this story for the past week, seeking out videos of Hassan’s poetry readings, even though I don’t understand much Danish, the language in which he produces his work. For despite Denmark’s reputation as the happiest country in the world, Hassan provides a much different view, one that suggests much more complexity and social stratification than is often perceived by or presented to outsiders. At only 18 years of age, the Danish-Palestinian poet is making a controversial name for himself as both an artist to be reckoned with, and a force of political and social rebellion that has earned him both substantial popularity and criticism.
A rapper before he became a poet, Mr. Hassan caught the attention of Johannes Riis, the literary director of the Gyldendal publishing house, who met him through other Danish literary figures. Mr. Hassan then wrote some 170 pages of poetry over the course of several months before publishing the first 800 copies of “Yahya Hassan” on Oct. 19. Sales took off after an interview in the Danish daily Politiken whose headline, containing an expletive, quoting him on his hate for his parents’ generation. He describes a disciplinarian father who hits him and his siblings and eventually leaves to marry a second Muslim wife, and he criticizes his mother and other relatives.
He finds particular fault with the ways their lives in Denmark are circumscribed — as are those of so many modern immigrants — by clinging to the remote control that brings satellite TV, in this case Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera, to their living rooms. The images of life in the poorer parts of Aarhus, the port city where Mr. Hassan lived with his family, are bare and dirty. The language used to describe his various brushes with state institutions is rife with expletives. –New York Times