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Some Time Sites Go Behind AOL Wall March 28, 2003

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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Finally, Time Warner is making some Time Inc. magazine sites available only to AOL subscribers. According to reports, People and Entertainment Weekly go AOL-only on March 31. 12 others will follow by mid-May

Real Simple
In Style
Self
Teen People
SI for Kids
Time for Kids
Parenting
Cooking Light
Southern Living
Sunset
Coastal Living
Southern Accents

The sites of other high-circ pubs, including Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Money, Field & Stream, Golf Magazine, and Poplular Science, will remain open, at least for now.

This move is necessary, if not sufficient, to add value to AOL’s BYOA strategy. It’s a tough tradeoff for the individual magazine brands, although much of People’s and Entertainment Weekly’s online traffic is already driven by AOL promotions. Notably, no magazines with serious at-work audiences are affected. Time Warner is taking a somewhat less-risky mom and kids/teens approach.

AP story here.

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A Sign of H’wood Discipline? March 28, 2003

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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This story in the Journal sketches out how Paramount makes less risky, but profitable movies.

Paramount executives say the studio has been profitable every year since 1994 — a claim few, if any, other studios can make. Part of the reason is that Paramount has resisted films with super-high price tags. The studio has never invested more than $100 million of its own money to make a movie and caps at 25% the amount of a movie’s revenue that it shares with filmmakers or actors. By bringing in partners and selling certain international rights to apply against a movie’s cost, Paramount will spend the same on movie production this year as it did in 1994, even though the average total cost of making movies has doubled.

It also points out that budget scraps are coming close to alienating one of Paramount’s star producers.

Real Journalism March 27, 2003

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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Real journalism, as opposed to “embedded” reporters who call US Marines “we”, scores big: Richard N. Perle resigned today as chairman of an influential Pentagon advisory board in the wake of disclosures that his business dealings included a recent meeting with a Saudi arms dealer and a contract to advise a communications company that is seeking permission from the Defense Department to be sold to Chinese investors.

Of course, the Times doesn’t acknowledge the role of The New Yorker , who broke the story, until the 12th graf. Bravo, Sy Hersh. Bravo, New Yorker.

Wait! Tivo Doesn’t Affect Advertising! March 27, 2003

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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I’m a little slow. I just saw this . Recent internal research by Procter & Gamble Co. indicates that consumers who fast-forward through ads with digital personal video recorders such as TiVo still recall those ads at roughly the same rates as people who see them at normal speed in real time.

Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

At least AdAge has the good sense to quote a former P&G market researcher: “People hardly recall anything. So you’re dealing with low numbers anyway, and differences with low numbers take a lot to be significant. So I could see how statistically you could make that case.”

Oh my. I can’t wait till the Internet’s measurability standards are applied to TV advertising on a regular basis. Ad spending could go down by 50%!

Nah, it’ll never happen. There’s too much at stake.

Google Envy March 25, 2003

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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My key takeaway from Jupiter’s Online Media Conference & Expo : everyone is terrified of Google.

Honestly, I’m not sure why. Google is a great company for a number of reasons, but they’re not a real threat to mainstream media companies. They are anti-programming (in the editorial sense), single-media, and their vision of advertising, while expanding, is extremely narrow. I’m eager to see whether they can pull off being an ad network; I kind of doubt it, but I’ll be paying close attention.

I need to do some more homework on this, but I can report they are inspiring much fear and envy.

War News vs. Sports Really is Brand vs. Brand March 21, 2003

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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Interesting NYTimes piece on CBS’ decision to push basketball to ESPN in favor of war coverage. Leslie Moonves, the president of CBS, said during an interview at the CBS Broadcast Center: “As soon as the war began, we felt it was our obligation to go with wall-to-wall news coverage. Anyone who wanted to get the basketball games could get the basketball games.”

I disagree with this, but freely admit that my reasoning is extremist. CBS essentially made a brand decision: it deemed it was more important to support the CBS News brand (and Dan Rather, et al) than the CBS Sports brand. This might be legit – given that ESPN’s sports brand is pretty untouchable, and it’s conceivable that CBS News could regain some luster that would halo the whole network.

My extremism is that I think network news is a relic of the 1960’s, and has limited value in branding a general-purpose network anymore. In my admittedly cynical view, CBS should have been more concerned with raw ratings (and the accompanying revenue and promotional opportunites), than illusory halo effects and “good citizenship.”

On top of that, news is over-supplied and too expensive. Finally, CBS News connotes old-school CBS, ie, as my former colleague Pat Keane used to say, “the network of the nearly dead.”

It’s a fragmented world; audiences go to specialist programmers. The mission of a general-purpose network is to gather audiences under an umbrella visible network , cross-promote, and offer exclusive event programming.

New Jupiter Weblog March 20, 2003

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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We’re aggregating our postings on the war’s impact on online businesses here .

Memo to Ted March 19, 2003

Posted by David Card in Digital Home & Personal Tech.
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Wall Street Journal story headline: War Threat Prompts Turner To Consider Staying at AOL

Mr. Turner, who announced earlier this year plans to quit his management position, said the threat of war with Iraq has prompted him to lean toward staying on the board. “I don’t want to leave them in the lurch, so maybe I’ll stay for a while,” he said. He added that he hasn’t made any “final decision.” A spokeswoman for AOL said the company’s chief executive, Richard Parsons, hopes Mr. Turner will stay on the company’s board.

…Mr. Turner also observed that he is one of the only AOL directors with extensive media experience, noting that he had recommended to the board’s nominating committee “that we should look for someone with media experience.” He added that “it’s good to know something about what you’re doing.”

Ted, please just quit the board, round up some friends, and buy back CNN and the Braves. Only bad result for Time Warner: no big national TV network. TBS, the WB, et al, just don’t cut it as promotional platforms. But then, neither does CNN.

Mr. Parsons, why don’t you really shake things up and start talking to NBC? Ha.

Misreading History March 14, 2003

Posted by David Card in Digital Home & Personal Tech.
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Matthew repeats the tired conventional wisdom: Apple blew it by not licensing MacOS. Why this isn’t true:

– There’s only room for one “standard” OS at a time, in any given market, that makes money on top of compatible hardware (DOS or Windows on PCs, IBM plug-compatible mainframes – where technology was originally stolen, not licensed, btw, but that’s another story – various LAN OSes beginning with NetWare but now owned by Microsoft)

– Multiple “standard” OSes on similar hardware fail (LAN Manager, OS/2, DRDOS, crappy Unix near-compatibles in the ’80s)

– Shrinkwrapped, ie, desktop, software compatibility means binary compatibility, means one hardware/one OS.

– Have you ever tried to run an emulated OS? Don’t bother.

– Apple is a hardware company, not a software company. See Filemaker and other efforts, ad nauseum. That’s a good thing. The Mac experience involves the aesthetic, ergonomics, and perfect plug and play.

Disclaimer: of the computers I’ve paid for in my life to-date, two were Wintel, and two were Macs. Spending: about $3K on Wintel hardware and OS, about $5-6K on Mac hardware and OS. The Macs are worth it. This is posted from my Cube. Yes, Cube.

Media Industry, Eat Your Own Dogfood March 14, 2003

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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When I logged on to MyYahoo tonight, these two articles were numbers 2 & 3 on my personalized entertainment headlines:

Dixie Chicks Pulled from Air After Bashing Bush

Country stations across the United States have pulled the Chicks from playlists following reports that lead singer Natalie Maines said in a concert in London earlier this week that she was “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.”

Station managers said their decisions were prompted by calls from irate listeners who thought criticism of the president was unpatriotic.

Miramax’s Oscar Campaign for Scorsese Causes Stir

Critics of Wise’s column, published initially as an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Daily News, said the director breached an unwritten but apparently sacred prohibition against academy members revealing how they were casting their Oscar ballots.

And they say Miramax, the film’s distributor, violated the spirit of Oscar-campaigning guidelines designed to maintain the “fairness and dignity” of the voting process.

Kinda tough to defend freedom of expression when you pull this kind of nonsense, eh, media industry? Guys, guys, stuff like this is like begging to be regulated.