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MarketWatch on the Market October 28, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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The Times says Marketwatch is for sale. JupiterResearch surveys show that, among various information categories, there’s only one where the Internet ranks as the preferred medium. (The Internet is usually the number two or three choice behind television or newspapers.) That’s business/financial news.

The Times calls out the usual suspects as likely acquirers: Dow Jones, Yahoo!, itself. But wouldn’t it be interesting if one of the business magazines – who are relatively low in the comScore rankings – stepped up?

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Video iPods – Who Needs ‘Em? October 28, 2004

Posted by David Card in Digital Home & Personal Tech.
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Even though I poked fun at him the other day, Michael is soooo right.

One Day, Two Devices October 26, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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If it works, the XM Radio portable is a much bigger deal than the latest iPods . Think about it, just about everybody listens to the radio, while only about 60% of the US buys any music at all, and 25% of that total buys 75% of it. Remember, transistor radios preceded the Walkman, and achieved higher household penetration.

Of course, pay radio throws a humongous monkey wrench into the formula. But what if it were ad-supported?

All exaggeration-for-effect aside, Apple sold just about as many iPods last quarter as XM Radio has subscribers. And I bet cross-ownership across satellite radio and MP3 players is pretty high (we’ll have to look into that, but both side’s numbers are still mighty low.) And programmed radio is a distinct consumer experience from playing one’s own collection.

That said, eclectic programming and supporting a real music fan’s collection are totally complemenatry, but two devices are totally not. We’ll be keeping our eyes on this space.

Career Limiting Move Part XXVII October 25, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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My ultimate boss takes the Journal to task for favoring an online subscription business model over one based primarily on advertising, again. His evidence is the Journal’s announcement of a free trial. He sees that as desperation in the face of flattening subscriber growth.

Free trials are a good idea. JupiterResearch surveys show that people who have tried free trials for paid content are six times more likely to sign up than those that haven’t. This, plus the Journal’s experiments with bundled online subscriptions (with the Economist – a great package) strike me less as “desperation” than as “clever tactics.”

There’s no one right model for online publishers. Most publishers will see 60+% of their online revenue coming from ads, but that’s not the only way it works. NYTimes Digital was a profitable, $88M business last year, about 73% ads (including classifieds). That accounted for 3% of the NY Times Co’s corporate revenue. Dow Jones’ consumer electronic publishing was an unprofitable $69M business, about 60-70% subscription. (Accounting for 4% of Dow Jones’ total sales.) Oddly enough, both companies’ digital businesses grew 23% from 2002-2003.

The Journal has probably over-invested in site expenses, but it’s arguably more vulnerable to print cannibalization. Different strokes, as they say.

Define “Cool” October 22, 2004

Posted by David Card in Digital Home & Personal Tech.
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My colleague Michael says:

Wouldn’t it be cool to sync video to a PMC or Smartphone? Instead of just podcasting, it’s video-podcasting. PT just sent me an RSS feed to a video cast. Newsgator sends it to a monitored folder on the computer which auto syncs to any WM10 device. I can even play it back on MCE. Now what we need is to add channel nine and take it all on the go automatically.

Once I figured out what he was saying – at least I think I figured it out – I still had to scratch my head. Assuming there was any video content worth watching on a portable device, I guess it’s cool. But I seem to remember Michael being a proponent of single-function devices, and of music over video….

Define “Out of the Water” October 22, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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In the Journal’s story on The Polar Express, the author says the producers decided on a hybrid live action/CGI approach because “a live action version was out of the question: The story’s outlandish train scenes would have blown the budget out of the water.” Two paragraphs later, the solution produces a movie with a budget of $165 million.

I have to admit I’m not rooting for Polar – the trailers look creepy, although they’re a fair imitation of the book’s hyper-realist paintings. Not to mention that it’s the work of Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis, two of Hollywood’s most risk-free, ultraprofessional hacks. And, of course, I’m a closet fan of hand-drawn animation.

Welcome October 19, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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So, the Cambridge curmudgeons – SF division, anyway – are joining the 21st century. Saying this probably violates Michael’s corporate blogging principles, not to mention risks some kind of computer-industry marketshare curse, but what the heck. Live dangerously.

“Welcome, Forrester. Seriously.”

And thanks, Shayne, for the prop. (see first comment)

Hope for Mainstream Media? October 18, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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If there was any doubt that Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart is the most important commentator in current US politics, his Crossfire session this weekend should put it to rest. Watch the video, as he destroys the hypocrisy of Crossfire’s partisan hackery passing itself off as journalistic debate. It’s not funny; just true.

The New New Thing in Digital Marketing? October 14, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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Last night, I asked as the last question at a CPG marketing panel hosted by 212, “If email is the old thing, and search engine marketing is the new thing, what will be the new new thing in digital marketing?” Interesting responses:

– Ed Kim from Unilever thinks it’s wireless, but that wireless doesn’t necessarily mean cell phones.

– Scott Tannen from Kraft thinks wireless will be big, but rich media is closer. He was talking about sensibly using TV creative online. He noted that TV ads are a CPG brand’s best, and best-tested, creative. (He didn’t seem to buy into the “use the Internet to test offline creative” theory, at least not for TV ads.)

– Rob Kenney from Zihr (high-end men’s facial care) thinks what’s old is new again. Affiliate programs are commoditized but joint programs between related brands are getting big again. And he thinks loyalty programs will make a comeback.

Part of the Bidness October 13, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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“It’s an odd thing to do, but I think the sponsor is helping us out,” says Peter Tolan, an executive producer of the show. “I only feel like a minor whore, but when you are in the TV world, whoring is part of the business nowadays.”

– from WSJ story on Miller’s sponsorship of the FX show “Rescue Me.”