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A 'Fools' Day' quiz: Separating fact from fiction in media, communications

Opinions expressed in thispiece are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of SNLKagan.

Itis becoming increasingly more difficult to parse fact from fiction in the worldof media, entertainment and communications. But this being April 1st, it seemslike a good time for a pop quiz. When you are through, it's way OK to smile.

HappyApril Fools' Day.

Whichof the headlines below are true, and which are bogus? You will find the answerson the bottom of this post, but please do not peek before you tackle theheadlines below.

Quiz

* Themost-viewed content ever on HBO is John Oliver's 20-minute rant on Feb. 28about Donald Trump.

* Menare more likely to share their thoughts and feelings with strangers on socialmedia than with their significant others and real friends.

* A$2 million class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of fans of American rockband Creed who purchased tickets to a 2002 show, which was really bad.

* Laserpointers are the new weapon against inconsiderate theater goers who will notput their cell phones away.

* Pinterestusers post content in a very predictable pattern depending on the day of theweek.

* Sportsviewing as a share of top-rated live TV shows have increased nearly seven-foldin the last 10 years.

* Wemight be watching the Facebook and the Twitter channels someday soon.

* BellTelephone Co. was pretty much a failure when it started in 1877.

Answers

OK —time's up. They actually are all true. Here are the back stories.

John Oliver's "DonaldDrumpf" 20-minute segment on "Last Week Tonight" on Feb 28 is the most-watchedpiece of HBO content ever, according to HBO, with 85 million video viewsincluding 62 million on Facebook and 23 million on YouTube. "Game ofThrones" is still the most-watched HBO show ever with 18.4 million averageviews in 2014, topping "The Sopranos'" 18.2 million average viewerspeak of 2002. "Last Week Tonight" averages 4.7 million viewers.

Men tend to bottle up theirfeelings and thoughts in person, but are as digitally emotive as women on social media —especially on microblogs — according to a 2014 reportin Time.

The band Creed put on such a bad show in2002 at Chicago's Allstate Arena that a $2 million class-action lawsuitwas filed on behalf of the 15,000 fans in attendance. The suit was dismissed bythe judge who ruled it could proceed only on the basis of "frustratedcommercial expectations," which essentially reduced the recovery to $227for tickets and parking fees for just the four concert goers who initiallysued.

Phone-addicted audiencemembers are zapped with beams by laser pointer armed ushers at movie and performingtheaters in China. "Laser shaming" works, according to a recent articlein The New York Times.

Pinterest users tend to postcontent in categories depending on the day of the week, according to a 2014 post on Pinterest. Themost popular are fitness (Monday), technology (Tuesday), inspirational quotes(Wednesday), fashion (Thursday), humor (Friday), travel (Saturday) and food andcraft ideas (Sunday). Why? I have no clue, but it seems to make sense toPinterest's 100 million monthly actives.

Sports accounted for 93 ofthe top 100 live TV shows in 2015 versus only 14 in 2005, according to Nielsen's "YearIn Sports Media Report 2015." That helps explain why sportsprogramming costs per subscriber have risen 13% annually from 2001 through 2015for multiple system operators, according to a March 30 by SNL Kagan. I wonder if allthese high-rated political debates will make a dent in the dominance of sportsin the top 100 programs this year. Actually maybe not — the Olympics arecoming.

and Twitter Inc.want to stream live TV, reportsthe New York Post. Both social-mediaheavyweights have approached programmers about live TV distribution deals withFacebook looking to offer a "skinny bundle" to its base of 1billion-plus users. Facebook recently confirmedto Variety that it's in talks withthe NFL about live-streaming games. Both Twitter and Facebook have alsoexpanded into social live streaming, respectively, with Periscope and FacebookLive. My question is with all the streaming services here and coming, plus 4KTV adoption rates rising, will Wi-Fi infrastructure be able to handle the load?

"Ma Bell" could bethe greatest start up in communications history. There were only 778telephones in operation in August 1877 when the Bell Telephone Co. wasformed. The company soldonly six more phones it its first month. It was also running out of money,according to various historical accounts. It took 35 years to reach 25%penetration in the U.S. Other telecommunications startups grewfaster — wireless phones took 13 years and the Internet took only sevenyears to reach 25% penetration. Still, all the great communicationstechnologies stood on the shoulders of The Bell Co., including computers. Today'sphones are not only catching up, they are the leading edge of new technology.

I'mreminded of the prescient quip by Danish computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup,the father of C++ programming language. "I have always wished that mycomputer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I nolonger know how to use my telephone."