Making the switch from cord to cloud

Derek Swanson, News Editor

It may be hard to remember, but at one point in the not so distant past buying an expensive cable service was the only option for watching TV at home. Services like Dish Network, DirecTV and Comcast were staples in the majority of American households for most of the 2000s and 2010s. Around the same time, these cable services were hitting their peak, however, streaming TV services were starting to gain traction in the entertainment industry by offering a wider variety of choices for consumers at a fraction of the cost of cable.


In the early days of streaming, the options were few, with Netflix dominating the business. Only limited TV watchers would cancel their cable subscription for the collection of re-runs and movies that Netflix had to offer. Netflix is facing intense competition from other established streaming services, like Hulu, which offers original content as well as a live TV service, and Amazon Prime Video, whose original content is winning Emmy awards almost annually.


So the question arises, should consumers stick to their current cable packages or switch over to the new world of streaming? The answer is not as clear-cut as one might think with multiple factors including cost, the quality of internet and the devices used to stream video play a large part in the decision-making of consumers.


To start, anyone over the age of 65 is probably best off sticking to their cable service of which they are most familiar. There is a definite learning curve to switching services, and users who have come to expect the luxury of browsing through hundreds of channels might be disappointed. This preference is not strictly age based, a 2018 poll by CNBC showed 49% of people aged 50-65 prefer cable over streaming.


One other reason someone might want to stick with cable is the availability of sports channels. While streaming services that include live TV options like Hulu and DirecTV Now are also offering some sports programming, it is more limited than their cable competitors. Additionally, if the user does not have especially fast internet, the games can appear jittery and laggy, ultimately harming the viewing experience. 

Professor John Kilpatrick, director of television operations at Lewis, believes cable is likely on the way out. “I don’t see cable existing in five years,” said Kilpatrick. “That’s my professional guess. I think the content [on streaming services] is better. Consumers are able to see more content that cable would never touch.”


Even with the longevity of cable in question, Kilpatrick is wary of completely cutting the cord and buying into every streaming service. “I have Xfinity, and I only keep it because the bundle is as cheap as having a fiber optic internet plan. I totally would switch. The problem is you will ultimately spend more by buying all the streaming services, since most companies will offer their own service,” said Kilpatrick.


In most cases, getting rid of cable for every streaming service available will cost the consumer more in the long run. But if the user is set on cutting the cord completely and rely only on streaming, there are a few things they should know beforehand. First, having fast internet with reliable download speeds is an absolute must. Second, the device used to stream is nearly as important as the service itself. Accessories like Roku, Amazon Fire Stick  and Apple TV are updated regularly and host a variety of streaming options that can be downloaded directly to the device. If the user owns a smart TV, this can also be an acceptable option, as some new TVs come with Roku or Amazon installed from the factory.


Once the user has the internet and streaming player situation figured out, the next step is determining just what services they need. Netflix still comes out on top as the most popular service, with thousands of hours of re-runs, movies and exclusive content at a low entry price of $8.99 per month. Amazon Prime Video is included with all Prime memberships and allows the user to purchase subscriptions to HBO, Showtime and Starz to keep their premium channels, as well as gaining access to Prime originals, which have become a staple at the Emmy awards.


Hulu has been making a name for itself in recent years with the success of its flagship show “The Handmaids Tale” bringing serious attention to the original content of the service. Hulu starts at $5.99 a month for its commercials-included plan. Users who want to blend the world of cable with a streaming service should take a serious look at Hulu Live TV. This service, starting at $49.99 a month, includes all of the regular programing Hulu offers in combined with many popular live TV channels. While it is true that with add-ons like HBO and Showtime, the cost of the service can approach $90 per month, this is still considerably less than most traditional cable services.


Hulu is not the only player in the Live TV/streaming game. Services like DirecTV Now and YouTube TV offer similar options, with YouTube TV offering the largest selection of local channels compared to all other streaming services. To anyone who is holding on to cable for its access to local content, YouTube TV deserves some attention.


There is no universal rule in place for whether consumers should or should not switch from cable to streaming. While cable may indeed be on its way out, and new streaming services are popping up seemingly every month, it is up to the consumer to decide which services, if any, best fit their needs. With that in mind, consumers can rest assured that there is a solution out there to best satisfy their viewing habits, they may just have to make a switch.

    

image6

The 21st century classroom

Jake Volk, Editor-in-Chief

As streaming media continues to grow in popularity and functionality, educators and administrators debate its usefulness within the classroom. The main concerns of incorporating online instruction are the creation and maintenance of online formats, accessibility to learners and educators, tracking student performance, participation and assessment and determining pedagogical or educational soundness. Additionally, for current students, there is a growing database of streaming services already available with full instruction on a single subject and even entire discourses.


To be clear, online learning has existed in academia for decades; however, it was mostly used in higher education in order to reach more learners, especially non-traditional college students. Even among higher educators, online learning would only be possible if the educator was familiar with programming languages, such as Basic or Python. However, in the contemporary classroom, the question focuses on how streaming media should be uses to reach the most learnersPedagogical researchers and scholars are exploring this latter question presently. Moreover, educators no longer need to understand programming to create and utilize streaming media. 


Before digging into the literature and research of the educational implications for using streaming media in the classroom, it must be understood there are three styles of instruction: internet-based, blended-learning and traditional. In internet-based, the teacher only instructs through an online outlet. In blended-learning, the students spend about half of the instructional time in face-to-face communication and the other half of instructional time is spent through an online format (either within or without the classroom). In traditional, the teacher offers information in an intensive lecture while students take notes followed by some discussion and then an assessment all within a classroom. Occasionally, traditionalist will incorporate basic audio-visual components.


With this understanding, researcher, technologist, and author Douglas Dixon, offers an insight into the creation and maintenance of online formats for blended-learning and internet-based instruction. Dixon notes the primary concern for either style is choosing the appropriate format: “consider your target population when selecting a format. For example, if most of your students use Apple computers, then you may want to select Apple’s QuickTime over Microsoft Windows media.” For Lewis, it was determined that Blackboard is the appropriate platform for all instructors.


Once a platform is chosen, the next concern is accessibility for students and teachers. Blackboard itself is easily accessed through any major search engine, most popularly through Google Chrome of Mozilla Firefox. Even if students do not have access to the internet at home (lack of internet access is almost a non-issue in contemporary society; however, there are groups of people in certain socio-economic categories who lack access), the university has several terminals around campus free to student use. The practice of providing students with access to the internet and even personal devices has become incredibly popular, most notably in one-to-one programs where each student, regardless of socio-economic status, receives a laptop or tablet with access to building-wide Wi-Fi.


As for teachers, they have access to faculty-only terminals and faculty Wi-Fi. Teachers can also visit a full-time staff member dedicated to instructing users on the features and function of Blackboard. Additionally, technology support is available 24-hours for students and faculty, which resulted for an increased use of streaming media.


With the question of accessibility answered, educators then must understand how to present their traditional lectures and instruction on the online platform. For blended-learning courses, educators can upload Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations and PDFs on Blackboard for students to access before, during, or after the face-to-face presentation. Another option for the blended-learning classroom is the professor can upload a pre-recorded lecture with associate material for students to view on their own.


According to Thomas Keefe, pre-recorded streaming media has “the means to transfer a message between a sender and receiver … with information richness.” Face-to-face lecture require much time of the instructor, and there is usually some concern that information will be forgotten. However, with a pre-recording, the instructor has the distinct advantage of manipulating the media. Additionally, pre-recording software often allows a user to overlay audio with visual, which is often a direct stream of the user’s screen.


For example, an instructor can, using a personal computer or university computer, present visual or video material on-screen while actively recording the movement his cursor and simultaneously record his voice. Through this instruction, students can then pause, replay and even mirror the instruction on their device. According to research Franklin Boster, et al, “teachers and students can access the video clips whenever and wherever they wish.” This, then, leads to further engagement and participation by students, which is priority for educators.


Moreover, this instructional strategy can be done through a live feed the simultaneously connects learners with the professor. Blackboard has such a feature, called Collaborate. In Collaborate, an educator can present visual information on-screen while speaking into the microphone. Students can then engage with the educator by responding orally through their microphone or by posting questions on the running discussion board, which can be viewed by everyone. The instructor can then track student participation and assign points.

Furthermore, using features like Collaborate, educators can design an online-based classroom that has the same functionality of a face-to-face class. Because of this streaming media, the questions of student engagement and assessment become non-issue, for the level of communication from professor to students and students to students is the same as traditional instruction. Again, as instructors and students run into issue of accessing and using the streaming media, there are available support services.


Keefe also mentions how streaming services have provided additional outlets for student participation that are all easily trackable. These services include e-mail, discussion boards/forums, chat rooms, online exams and surveys, research tools, search engines and even social media. From time-weathered e-mail to social media, such as Facebook and Snapchat, instructors can communicate with students more effectively. Students can also contact professors faster, which increases the efficiency of instructor.


Despite some pedagogical soundness for using streaming media in the classroom, there remains a concern among researchers and educators as to streaming media’s faults. One fault is students’ access to outside resources. These outside resources can be created and published by anyone, even people who lack the appropriate level or knowledge. As such, students and educators are accessing information that is logically and factually flawed.


Additionally, students and educators build a reliance on streaming media. For educators, they can use streaming media as a crutch or substitute for genuine instruction time; simply viewing a video does not constitute pedagogical soundness. Student, then, rely on streaming services to conduct the critical thinking for them.


For example, it is understood in literature and language classes students will need to read, analyze, interpret and respond to some written text, usually a canonical text such as Shakespeare. However, much of this process can be avoided by visiting certain streaming media outlets like Shmoop. In particular, Shmoop authors summarize entire texts, provide surface-level analyses and complete character sheets. By relying on this information, students by-pass genuine critical thinking, a necessary skill for employment and day-to-day activities.


To be pedagogically sound, according to Dixon and Keefe, streaming media must be incorporated into traditional instruction. When used appropriately and with clear purpose, streaming media enhances the classroom experience. Researchers continue to explore the use of streaming media in the classroom at all levels of education. As of now, the only pure data shows that streaming media, when used effectively, provides different styles of instruction to reach even more learners than ever before.

image7

Making money in the new digital age

Andrew Munoz, Reporter

The video game industry has advanced beyond the Nintendo 64 of our childhood. “Paper Boy,” “Donkey Kong” and “Mario Kart” were all games considered to be the peak of performance during the 90s. My next console was the Nintendo GameCube, which laid stronger foundations for games like “Super Smash Brothers” and “Need for Speed.” My third console was an Xbox 360, a time when competitive gaming became increasingly more popular with the help of YouTube. The market has shifted again due to hardware like the PS4, Xbox One, custom built PCs all with the help of streaming; most importantly, Twitch.


When first generation consoles began to surface, the idea of livestreaming game play was unheard of; it simply did not exist yet. Since we now have this capability and it has grown to become immensely popular, game developers and marketers have been forced to adjust the way their companies market new games. The strategy is simple in explanation but difficult in execution: Get your game in front of as many eyes as possible at one time.


Even if you are given this opportunity, social media has made it so your game must meet the demands of the consumers based on their online critiques and suggestions regarding patches, updates and downloadable content. What exactly does this mean?


Since Twitch has the ability to determine what game is popular to play based on the number of people watching others play it, smaller communities have sprung up within; everything is transmitted live. Users chat and discuss everything about a game during a live stream: what works, what is broken and their positive and negative opinions regarding the developers and the game. 


However, the video game industry is not alone in this venture; music, television and movies must all be aware of how streaming services will impact their industries as well.


The days of music being available primarily through purchase of physical or digital copies has nearly vanished thanks to the ever-expanding streaming industry. Buying music is going out of style nearly as quickly as streaming music is rising. 


An article by Rolling Stone stated that in 2018, album sales fell 18.2 percent from the previous year, while song sales fell 28.8 percent. Total on-demand music streams, which included both audio and video, increased by 35.4 percent. Audio on-demand streams set a new record high in 2018, garnering in 534.6 billion streams, up 47 percent from 2017’s 376.9 billion streams. These numbers indicate how streaming is replacing physical sales and downloads in America.


Of all the music that U.S. fans listened to last year, 77 percent was through music-streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, while only 17.3 percent of that was through album sales and 5.7 percent singles sales.


What exactly does this mean for the artist? Get plays to get paid. For big names like Taylor Swift, Fleetwood Mac and Beyoncé, streaming services offer yet another source of revenue outside of digital and physical sales.


For the little guys, making income off streams can be a challenge, seeing as how platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music pay a small fraction of a penny per stream. An artist can truly cash out by making their music stream-friendly, meaning they ensure releases not only appeal to fans, but to the general public which heavily influences “mood” and genre playlists made by these streaming services. To end up on one of these playlists, listened to by millions of users, nearly guarantees a high profit. 


The impact of streaming doesn’t just stop at music, as it has, over the last few years, heavily changed television and movies as we know it.


With services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Showtime and HBO Now, television and movies as we were once accustomed to have transformed into on-demand viewing, wherever and whenever. With thousands of shows and films available across these platforms, gone are the days of cable providers and movie theatres being the sole controllers of what you get to watch and when you get to watch it. Now, your viewing preferences dictate your entertainment selections, which are all available with a service subscription and the click of a button.


The success of these services has not only influenced the culture of entertainment, but also has led to the development of hit series produced by these networks themselves (for example, “Game of Thrones” and “Stranger Things”).


With streaming being so easily accessible, there is some fear that its impact poses a threat to the television and movie industries. With the cost of streaming subscriptions being so affordable, it is understandable for audiences to prefer paying the small fee of a subscription as opposed to paying that same fee to view one movie in theatres, or the higher fee of paying for a cable subscription. This means that networks and theatres must find new ways to appeal to the modern day viewer.


The age of streaming has quickly changed the narrative on entertainment. As much as some may believe it to be a trend that is soon to wear out, it is evident that this era of streaming is here to stay.

    


image8

Digital age brings new health concerns

Emily Krivograd and Henrietta Eghan

With the constant availability of streaming services and the technological advancements in digital devices, technology users can be active on more devices than ever before, whether it be at home, school or work. With the incorporation of technology, however, adverse results on the human body are becoming more apparent as they can damage one’s long-term health and psychological well-being. 


Blue light, on the visible light spectrum with the shortest wavelengths and highest energy, is generated not only by sunlight, but also by fluorescent and LED lighting, and flat screen televisions, cell phone screens and most other digital devices. While the adult human eye is apt at blocking UV rays from the sun, which are on a separate wavelength, “virtually all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina,” according to allaboutvision.com.


Due to the lack of protection from blue light, too much exposure can lead to the damage of light-sensitive cells in the retina of the eye, which converts light into neural signals to be sent to the brain. This kind of damage can lead to changes similar to those in macular degeneration, affecting one’s ability to read, recognize faces and perform most tasks which require vision.


Exposure to blue light can, however, have some health benefits. It is often used in treatment for seasonal affective disorder, and aids in regulating circadian rhythms during the daytime; however, this proves to have adverse effects in the night, as exposure to blue light can disrupt the body’s natural sleep cycle. 


After looking at screens which produce this kind of light for lengthy periods of time, users can start to experience digital eye strain, which according to thevisioncouncil.org, is “physical discomfort after screen use for longer than two hours at a time.” This strain affects adults, teenagers and children differently within the developmental stages of their eyesight. 


Adult technology users reported a variety of symptoms including eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision and neck and shoulder pain. According to thevisioncouncil.org, these effects come from about 80 percent of American adults using digital devices for more than two hours a day, with 67 percent reportedly looking at more than one device at once. 


Teenagers, who undoubtedly spend the same amount, if not more, time on their devices than adults, have experienced symptoms of digital eye strain as well, including headaches, neck and shoulder pain, eye strain, reduced attention span, poor behavior and irritability. 

Out of American adults who have reported on behalf of their teenagers, 70 percent said that their teenager experiences more than two hours of screen time per day; about 25 percent are unconcerned or unaware of the impact this can have to teenager’s eyes. This just shows that though the majority are aware of the intense use of social media, they lack knowledge of the true influence and destruction that social media does physically and psychologically. 


Children, whose developing eyes are exposed to more screen time than the children of the generations before them, experience the same symptoms of digital eye strain as teenagers do. The most popular activities for children, besides playing outside, include using a digital device. 


In an effort to reduce the intake of blue light and alleviate digital eye strain, blue light blocking glasses are available to the public. According to eyebuydirect.com, which sells these glasses, “a main source of HEV [high-energy visible] light in our lives is the harmful blue-violet light emitted by our digital screens. Digital screen protection glasses from EyeBuyDirect are specially designed to filter out a portion of harmful blue-violet light.” 


In addition to the damage to technology users’ vision, the constant use of digital devices can result in stiff joints and muscles. “Text neck,” or the injury of the neck due to the repetition of holding one’s head downwards toward a screen for long periods of time, has become increasingly common among both adolescents and adults. In a 2016 study by DQ Institute and Nanyang Technological University study, it was found that, “12-year-olds spend over six hours daily on electronic devices, while nine-year-olds spend over three hours a day looking at a screen”. 


These numbers have undoubtedly risen, as the use of personal laptops and tablets has become increasingly common in the education system. Additionally, the downward angle in which one looks at a screen can worsen already existing scoliosis. In order to alleviate the stiffness and soreness present when one experiences text neck, they can practice neck exercises and engage in physiotherapy to reduce the tension in the neck, shoulders and back muscles. However, in serious cases, medication and surgery may be necessary to correct the condition. 


Another health problem which may result from the constant usage of digital devices is carpal tunnel syndrome, a nerve-related condition which results in numbness and pain in the hand and wrist. The median nerve, a major nerve in the hand, is damaged in the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. The gliding motion of tendons surrounding this nerve when one uses a device such as a cell phone causes deformation and displacement of the nerve itself.


“Holding your phone the wrong way while using it can cause problems like ‘texting thumb,’ ‘trigger thumb,’ carpal tunnel, or more commonly, cubital tunnel,” said occupational therapy Professor Dr. Susan Charnley. “These problems are termed ‘cumulative trauma disorders’ and they occur through repetitive use and improper positioning. Texting thumb and trigger thumb are strains of soft tissue or inflammation of tendons, caused by excessive use in improper position. Carpal tunnel is due to improper positioning of the wrist causing pressure on the nerve in the wrist, while cubital tunnel is due to improper positioning of elbow causing pressure on the nerve in the elbow.”


According to researchers from Süleyman Demirel University, “smartphone overuse enlarges the median nerve, causes pain in the thumb and decreases pinch strength and hand functions.” According to the Muscle and Nerve Journal, of 48 college students ages 18 to 25, 50 percent use their electronic devices for a minimum of five hours each day. These excessive users are at high risk of developing carpal tunnel, if not developed already.


The repetitive actions of swiping and clicking on a screen of a tablet or smartphone and the pressing of game buttons on a video game controller and texting aggravate the tendons of the hands and wrists. To prevent the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, digital device users should practice appropriate postural habits, including keeping the wrists flat, loosening tight grips on gaming devices and avoiding keeping the thumb and index finger in a flexed position for long periods of time. Taking frequent breaks and stretching the fingers also assist in the prevention of this condition.


“If you are texting a lot, avoid using both thumbs and holding your phone at the sides; this puts a lot of stress on your wrists and thumbs,” said Charnley. “You can avoid thumb strain by positioning your phone on table while texting, using just one hand to text or using voice to text. Also, avoid holding your phone for extended periods of time (for lots of texting or to watch streamed movies) with elbows bent. This can affect blood flow to fingers and also puts stress on nerves that run through your elbow. Either prop up your phone or incorporate regular stretches to elbows and wrists to alleviate this static stress.”


Many users tend to get their on-screen time while sitting; due to technology addiction, the average hours of sitting has increased. This has caused our health to deplete. In a University of South Carolina study, it was found that there is a “64 percent greater chance of heart disease mortality within 21 years for men who sat 23 hours or more behind the wheel or the TV screen compared to men who spent only 11 hours per week on those seated activities.”


When sitting for prolonged periods of time, even those who exercise regularly can be at risk for obesity, diabetes, heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cancer. Taking short, frequent breaks from sitting can reduce the probability of developing these health conditions. Sitting on a stability ball instead of a chair can burn more calories and exercises the core, creating a healthier option than sitting. 


Digital users also are affected by media psychologically, as seen through depletion of patience due to how fast-paced society is becoming. According to digitalresponsibility.org, “if a video or image does not load in two seconds, we skip to the next one.” These actions also impact not only our digital life, but other areas as well. Online expectations, such as a video loading in a split second, can spill into real life. When those expectation are not fulfilled, frustrations and anger ensue.


People afflicted with narcissistic tendencies have grown, as many social media users tend to self-promote. According to readwrite.com,“the third most frequently used hashtag used is #me.” Instagram used to be a place for families to unite and people from long distance to communicate, rather than self-advocate. Some even try to make a career based on their looks on social media. With the rise of narcissistic social media stars, and the “selfie,” grandiose exhibition, or using social media to show off, and exploitations are displayed. 


In a study examining these effects and Facebook use from the University of Western Illinois, those who scored highly on a test for grandiose (over excessive) exhibition tended to use Facebook for self-promoting activities, while those with high levels of exploitations reacted angrily to critical comments and expected support from friends without supporting them in return. In today’s society, social media platforms are now used as a form of self-promotion.


Despite the ease of consistently having technology at one’s finger tips, the consequences reflected in long-term health effects as well as psychological problems has already impacted many out of the millions of digital device users. Based on current trends, more health concerns will likely surface in the future, alongside the evolution of the online mind.

  

image9

Free streaming at the cost of security

Tori Foster, Sports Editor

Legitimate streaming services have expanded the way that people experience media at their fingertips, but not without a price. According to CNBC, over 55 percent of American households subscribe to a streaming service, and altogether these U.S. consumers spend around $2.1 billion a month on their services. However, it seems as though the average consumer has also found that a quick Google search for free movies online produces thousands of results at seemingly no price – that is until they weigh the price of their own security. 


Individuals who stream content online rather than downloading material or uploading content for others to view typically will not find authorities knocking at their door with copyright infringement lawsuits. If you are not paying for illegally acquired material or there is little-to-no way you could know how the movie got there, it becomes very difficult for authorities to press charges. But while it’s likely they won’t seek you out, there’s a good chance you’ve already let someone else in.


In a sample of 40 Lewis students, 67.5 percent admitted to knowingly streaming shows or movies online illegally. Multiple students also noted that they have specifically acquired free material from 123Movies, which, according to The High Tech Society, is one of the largest free streaming and download sites of its kind. While readily available to internet surfers, 123Movies has been targeted by the Motion Picture Association of America in multiple attempts to take the notorious streaming site offline. The site is also infamously known to host viruses and malware, typically through JavaScript, and the website’s app is difficult to distinguish from the multitude of viruses posing as fake downloads.


RiskIQ, a software company out of California, probed 800 sites similar to 123Movies that were known to distribute pirated TV shows and movies and found that a third of them contained and supported malware that opened up viewers to identity theft, banking information theft and computer hijackers. Of these sites, nearly half of them successfully delivered the malware without even requiring users to approve a download. “Simply visiting these sites puts the device you use and your personal information at risk from malware, adware and spyware,” said Elias Manousos, CEO of RiskIQ. 


Malware is software written with the intent of compromising a system and stealing available data. It often modifies core functions of the system and tracks victim’s activities. Some illegitimate streaming sites are built specifically by hackers attempting to bait victims for these purposes. Other streaming sites make money off their viewers by collecting millions of dollars a year from malware distributors to place malicious code on their websites. These distributors then in turn make money off of selling consumer information and exploiting access to hacked computers. 


The FTC warns against common consumer errors that can lead to malware installation and personal information theft such as staying away from free downloads, avoiding ads on illegitimate sites and never providing these sites with credit card information to process registration. While this information is certainly important, consumers need to be aware of all the more deceptive ways hackers are raking in confidential consumer information. 


One of these ways is through phishing, or posing as a well-known organization through a site name or email address in order to collect passwords and banking info. Malware installers also take advantage of these sites using overlay ads that appear as “play” buttons and “close this ad” buttons, 93 percent of which break the guidelines of the online ad industry. According to The Economic Times, these ads can create back door trojans that let attackers monitor your activities remotely, keyloggers that can track commonly typed phrases such as passwords and spyware to track everything you do online, even taking over your device’s camera and microphone. 


In order to avoid falling victim to any of these attacks on online consumers, a good first rule of thumb is that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. The odds that it’s safe to stream a movie that is concurrently showing at the box office are likely slim. Secondly, follow FTC guidelines when internet surfing for free streaming services; avoid free downloads, stay away from strange ads and never provide banking info to illegitimate sites. If you choose to take your chances internet streaming, be sure to use a legitimate anti-virus software, keep your operating system updated and consider looking into AdBlock software to keep out unwanted pop-ups. Lastly, have good judgement and profoundly consider taking the legal and moral high road as the monthly options for most legitimate streaming apps today greatly outweigh the hefty costs of identity theft and malware crippled devices.

image10

Streaming isn't killing the movie industry. Here's why.

Serena Comfort and Stefano Sparano

The multitude of streaming services offered by Netflix, Apple, Amazon and other media services have led many people to question if movie theaters have been negatively impacted.


“I believe the movie industry is being hurt by online streaming. People can find new movies online instantly. I know a lot of people that stream movies instead of going to the theater,” said Shawn Jarmuz, adjunct psychology professor.


According to our research, the movie industry has been able to remain successful despite the influence of streaming. In 2018, box office sales in the United States and Canada exceeded $11 billion in record time. This is a stark contrast to 2017 sales, which plummeted 2.7% domestically due to box office flops and increasing ticket prices. Our research has led us to conclude the quality of films is one of the main reasons people are drawn to the theater.


According to a 2018 study by Ernst and Young, the movie industry has actually benefited from the rise of streaming media; 2,500 participants were polled on the frequency they attended movie theaters as well as their propensity to use streaming services. 


Researchers found that individuals who visited movie theaters nine times or more during the year used streaming more frequently than those who saw only one movie at the theater. Of the participants in the study who did not attend any movies during the year, 49% of them did not use streaming services at all.


“The message here is that there’s not a war between streaming and theatrical,” said Phil Contrino, director of media and research at National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO). “People who love content are watching it across platforms and all platforms have [a] place in consumers’ minds.” While movie theaters continue to thrive, the same cannot be said for broadcast television and cable; in 2018 alone, over 33 million customers canceled their cable services.


Like any industry faced with new technology that could overpower it, such as television or streaming, the movie industry has had to adapt to survive. Many of the changes have taken place during writing or production, long before movies hit the theater. Movies like “Avatar” or, more recently, “A Quiet Place” have taken into account the environment of the theater to pull people in.


A large part of what made “Avatar” the biggest box office hit ever was its heavy reliance on sweeping vistas and vibrant colors that simply cannot be fully experienced unless on the big screen. This difference is even more pronounced when viewing at-home is compared to viewing it as a 3D experience. 


While “A Quiet Place” can be enjoyed at home, it cannot put viewers on edge the way it can in theaters. The film took advantage of the discomfort brought about by a room packed with strangers sitting in total silence. 


Similarly, since the advent of 3D and IMAX technology, many movies are being released in this format. The picture and sound quality of these movies cannot be reproduced outside of a theater. It keeps people coming in and earns the theaters more money, as these showings cost a couple extra dollars per ticket.


However, raised ticket prices can be a turn-off to consumers on a budget. The movie industry, of course, has an answer for this too.

 MoviePass is a subscription service that allows moviegoers to see four movies a month for $9.95. This allows customers to essentially see three movies for free, as the average cost of a single movie ticket, as of 2018, is $9.11. 


MoviePass pays theaters full price for the tickets, so the system has a positive outcome for all involved. Some theaters opt to provide their own subscription services and deals, offering cheaper tickets at certain times or when bought in bundles.


“Our competition is not Netflix. It's not the internet. It is sporting events, it is bowling, it is nightclubs,” said Tim Richards, CEO of the leading U.K. movie theater chain, Vue Cinemas.


Because of this, theaters have also invested in making moviegoing an even bigger event with things like serving food and alcohol during showings or adding elements of live theater like choruses and role-playing.


Looking back, many people had the same doubts for radio’s longevity when cinema became popular. Television and streaming were seen as threats as well, but millions of people still tune in every single day.

image11

The ramifications of illegal streaming

Carly Styka, Opinions Editor

Alright, so here me out on this one. Commuters deserve the option of living in a dorm just like residents do. Like, hot take, but our News Editor really thought this one through last night on his 15-minute drive home. With all the empty dorms on campus with nobody else occupying them, why not let the commuters crash there?


Sometimes commuters get tired of driving home after a long day of classes and sleeping in the Den. It’s really too much to ask a college student to go to two classes a day and have to travel 20 minutes back to their parent’s house in rush hour traffic. It’s a travesty, man. Like take a second and think how much people hurt the environment by having to drive to and from campus that many times. That’s so much gas money being wasted, and think of the consequences! It’s pretty much a public health crisis, and Lewis is, like, totally responsible.


Another thing is that commuters have to pay for food on campus when residents don’t. All they do is swipe their card, and they have unlimited access to all the food available. Commuters have to pay with their hard-earned money, and you’ll pretty much have to spend an entire paycheck just on midnight snacks. For, like, when you’re that certain type of hungry.


We get that being able to live here, at least part-time, is more important than having the free food, but hear me out. We’re not saying commuters should live here full-time, because then they would be like, the same as residents. But commuters should have the option to crash in an empty dorm sometimes, just when they feel like it.  


Anyone who likes movies or TV shows has probably streamed them at some point. Streaming services have gained immense popularity over the years due to their convenience and volume of content. A subscription to Netflix gives you access to thousands of shows and films.


Students at Lewis certainly recognize the appeal of streaming. When students were asked about their streaming habits, 88 percent said they stream daily, while 38 percent stream over 2 hours a day. Half said they use someone else’s account. 


Unfortunately, illegal streaming sites share the same benefits as streaming services with one main difference: all the content is free. A quick Google search can bring up thousands of results for all sorts of movies and TV shows. 


In 2017, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was pirated 1.03 billion times, according to a report from the anti-piracy analyst firm MUSO. The season seven premiere had 16.1 million legal viewers, while the number of illegal downloads and streams was 187.4 million. That is more than 10 times the number of legal viewers. Streaming was the most common form of illegal viewership, making up 85 percent of views. 


The rate of digital piracy is increasing. According to Business Insider, there were 78.5 billion incidents of piracy across all American movies and TV shows in 2015. Nearly 190 billion visits were made to illegal piracy websites in 2018, according to MUSO.


Streaming websites are king when it comes to digital piracy. MUSO studied global traffic from 14,000 of the largest piracy sites in 2015. It found that 73.7 percent of 78.5 billion visits were made to streaming sites to view pirated content, while a mere 17.2 percent were made to torrent websites. 


“In addition to the scale of piracy when it comes to popular shows, these numbers demonstrate that unlicensed streaming can be a far more significant type of piracy than torrent downloads,” said MUSO CEO Andy Chatterley in a statement.


This large rate of piracy does not happen without consequences. 

In 2010, The Directors Guild of America found that global piracy cost American companies $25 billion in lost sales annually. This meant 375,000 jobs were lost each year as a result of the lost sales. 


A 2006 commissioned study from the Motion Picture Association of America found that film piracy cost the U.S. economy $20.5 billion in sales annually. 


These illegal streams rob the hard-working writers, actors and producers of their deserved income. The “Game of Thrones” crew never saw any profit from the billions of times their show was streamed. These people deserve to be paid for their work. 


Although many agree that digital piracy is bad for the film industry and economy, some have been a little more optimistic. 


Antino Kim, an assistant professor of operations and decision technologies at Indiana University, published a study of how piracy could be beneficial. His findings suggested that piracy stops the distributors from marking up the product (TV shows). It also stops TV networks from marking up the product because it knows distributors must deal with competition. As a result, the product gets as close to its “optimal retail price,” which protects consumers.


“Such a win-win-win situation is not only good for the supply chain but is also beneficial for the overall economy,” Kim wrote in the study. “Our results do not imply that the legal channel should, all of a sudden, start actively encouraging piracy.”


There are many reasons why illegal streaming is so prevalent. The main attractions are convenience and how easy the sites are to find and use. They have user-friendly interfaces and are easy to navigate, sometimes more so than paid platforms. 


Many people who pirate online content do not see it as a crime. It is much easier to justify stealing something intangible. This belief is partially encouraged by some streaming services’ policy of password sharing. Password sharing in this instance isn’t piracy, but it can lead to an indifferent attitude towards piracy. 


“The more digital services allow sharing of passwords, the more people think of it as they’re okay with me doing it, so I’ll just go download a piece of content,” said Frost & Sullivan streaming video analyst Dan Rayburn to Wired Magazine. 


The large amount of streaming services and the fragmentation of what shows they offer can lead consumers to piracy. If someone has two favorite shows that are offered on two different services, it would be easier for them to pirate them both online.


“It’s inevitable that people are not going to pay for four or five different subscriptions to four or five different platforms,” Chatterly told Wired. “If you can access everything with a single click, of course you’re going to do that.”


Digital piracy is never going to go away completely, despite its negative effects on the economy and the people who work on the content. There will always be someone unwilling to pay for something, whether that’s music or a video game. 


Streaming services can help by actively discouraging password sharing and by offering the same shows across all platforms. Although this would be hard to implement with rights being sold to certain platforms and with original content, it may help to change consumers’ view on streaming. Another solution would be to target the illegal streaming websites more aggressively.


As long as piracy continues to be a convenient and easy way to view content, it will continue to be a problem. 

image12

Sports and Streaming Media

Matt Vogrin, Assistant Sports Editor

In the 2012 Summer Olympics, there was a major fail by NBC when they decided to tape delay the games. This led to a lot of criticism from viewers, and in response, people started to just stream the games off of the internet. As the years went on, more and more sports have received streaming deals. It started with one or two games for each sport and eventually began to grow into a beast that the broadcast stations are struggling to find ways to combat

Streaming was once viewed as a piracy issue and not something illegal, and anyone could have access if they paid a monthly fee. According to the article “Extending the Broadcast: Streaming Culture and the Problems of Digital Geographies” by Benjamin Burroughs and Adam Rugg, they state, “If we suspend this judgment and move streaming beyond the sole context of piracy we might think of streaming as a tactic.” This sums up the reason why streaming services are starting to take on sports because it is a good method to get sports fans to want to watch games where ever they are and not have to be on their couch at home. Streaming sports has also allowed services to get people to buy their services and then get hooked on the other amenities it may offer. 


According to the article, “2017 YEAR IN SPORTS MEDIA” by Richard Deitsch and Jon Wertheim, in 2011 the NFL signed a 10 year, $15.2 billion deal with ESPN. The next year they signed a 12 year, $7.3 billion deal for the rights to college football. This was a great deal for ESPN at the time, but they have been slowly losing viewers and have went  from 100 million subscribers to 87 million, and this led to a loss of $1 billion in revenue. The biggest problem for ESPN is that viewers of ages 18-34 it is fine for them to just watch sports on a phone and a streaming service. This again shows how streaming is slowly taken over the sports industry and is now costing big sports networks, like ESPN, a lot of money. 


Streaming has grown at an incredible rate. It has even reached a point where major sports networks such as ESPN have joined the movement. According to “2017 YEAR IN SPORTS MEDIA” ESPN has streamed three times as many games. ESPN has even added to their app so you can pay to stream games straight from a smartphone. The growth of streaming has become so popular that it now has a share in the world of live sports. This was once dominated by major sports networks, and primarily it still is, but the gap is shirking. 


Amazon and Facebook are two companies that have dominated the sports streaming market. In 2017 Amazon, started streaming Thursday Night Football through its Prime Video service. Amazon was also the lead streaming service for soccer in 2017. According to the article “Sports Media Rights in 2018,” Amazon only charges $99 a year for their streaming services. In order for Amazon to break even on the deal they made with the NFL, they would only need 500,000 subscriptions to start making a profit. Facebook, on the other hand, took a different approach to stream live sports. Facebook struck a $610 million deal with the Indian Premier Cricket league according to “Sports Media Rights in 2018.” Facebook reached a deal with a sport that is not dominated by mainstream sports networks. This separates them from the rest of sports media, and they stand alone as the only platform to stream cricket. 


As an alternative solution, some sports organizations are turning to running their own broadcast network. The Chicago Cubs have announced a new network in conjunction with Sinclair Broadcast Group that is set to launch in 2020. The new network is projected to be the ultimate fan service and will be subscription based. As a consequence of the new service however, the Cubs will no longer be broadcasted on WGN or ABC, and the only nationally televised games will be through one of the MLB’s national partners, like ESPN. While the effort is a step in the direction of streaming as an app will also be available to stream Cubs content, the additional cost of the service could turn off long term fans.


Streaming is no longer a secret and the phenomenon on pace to continue its rapid growth. Facebook and Amazon hit incredible deals in 2017 and 2018. This should only continue. With the advent of new services and inventive ways to stream sports content, the world of sports media is becoming more exciting with each passing season. 


image13

The Wifi Chronicles

Jada Hoffman

The most frequently asked question at Lewis is: What’s the wifi password? Following that question would be: Why is the wifi so trash?


Freshman, Nora Basket, described it as being “slower than a 500 lbs. person running on a good day.”


Students wonder why the wifi is so bad and there are several reasons as to why, but the main reason is that Lewis is is keeping the best Wifi password a secret.


Lewis is spying on students and faculty who use LewisWifi, just like our government. They monitor what students can and cannot use and if they’re against it, they either slow it down or it never loads.


Back in October, students using the LewisWifi could not access the Nike website. Lewis claimed “Nike was blocking access to their site due to network configuration”, but the reality of the matter is, Lewis did not want their students using the Nike website for a reason.


Students just want the best and fastest Wifi connection, but Lewis wants to keep it to themselves and expects students to settle for less.


Several meetings have been held with ResLife and the technology department to determine how the issue can be fixed. They claimed it’s the usage of personal hotspots, but there’s no way five people’s hotspots is controlling the entire campus connection!


Lewis is finding other reasons to hide the fact that they are protecting the best and fastest connection for themselves. It’s time for the students to wake up and demand the best wifi Lewis has to offer.