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WSJ Does Advertising Predictions 2005 December 30, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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Groan. It’s that time of year again. The Journal says the following are on tap for advertising in 2005:

– Wireless (too early)
– Addressable and spy-able set-tops (not deployed)
– Personalization vs. privacy (sure, why not)
– Direct to consumer pharma marketing backlash (of course)
– “Invitational” commercials (already here, probably won’t be used that widely)

Here’s what I said last year would be media/tech convergence issues in 2004. I think I nailed sponsored media, media measurement backlash, digital music and paid content, and the management stories. I was right on what wasn’t going to hit in 2004: DVRs, local search/YP showdown, online sports rights, online branding breakthrough.

I was premature in predicting a paid search backlash. And the industry still hasn’t figured out what new business broadband critical mass will launch.

I’ll make my 2005 picks tomorrow.

Bob Wright on Entertainment Mgmt December 22, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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NBC Universal’s Bob Wright talks to the Journal about one of my favorite topics: balancing creativity with discipline in the entertainment biz.

Wright: You try very hard to separate the economics from the creativity. On the business side, you pay very close attention to things like process and planning, because those are things you can control.

Creativity and discipline aren’t a perfect marriage.

Wright doesn’t give away any secrets, though he drops an interesting tidbit about marketing TV shows:

WSJ: Will movie marketing change?

Wright: Actually, I think we’ll see TV shows being marketed more like movies. Instead of promoting a whole schedule of shows, you really concentrate your marketing resources on one or two new shows that have a lot of promise and are highly promotable. We did that this year with “Joey” and ABC did it with “Desperate Housewives.” It worked.

WSJ Botches Jupiter Paid Content Forecast December 21, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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Thanks a lot, Carl. Well, at least the Journal spelled my name right. All publicity is good publicity, I guess. However, we haven’t dramatically lowered our paid content forecasts. When we cut forecasts, we say so.

Quoting (better than mis-quoting, I suppose): Accompanying these dire forecasts were projections that revenue from selling Web content and services would surge. In 2000, Jupiter Research predicted that online paid content would grow to $5.7 billion by 2005. Since then the market-research firm has dramatically scaled back its forecast; now Jupiter says the market will be $3.1 billion by 2009.

“If you talked to media companies 18 months ago, paid content was the business topic du jour,” says Jupiter analyst David Card. “At the same time, the online-ad business started to recover dramatically.”

If the Journal had bothered to ask me about actual numbers, it would have seen that it was comparing apples to oranges. The puported US 2005 $5.7B figure includes music and games, as well as a lot of services we’ve since broken out with more granularity.

In fact, we’re saying that paid content and services will be $5.5B in ’05. Not far off from our projections of four years ago. Pure content, counting music & games, will be $3.7B. Carl mistakenly refers to what we call “general content” which subtracts services, music and games, and should hit $2.3B in ’05 and $3.1B in ’09. Heck, I even outlined this on the public site. That’s the free site, (in contrast to the Journal’s $79/year site).

Although some online media companies have wildly swung between betting on paid content and on advertising, JupiterRessearch has been pretty consistent in our srategic advice: most online media businesses will be 60+% advertising.

Now That’s a Franchise December 21, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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Spare me the Halo 2 stories. Potter 6, that is, Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince, is number one on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, a few hours after its July 16 publication date is announced. I haven’t pre-ordered my copy. I had too much fun at the midnight release last time.

Slate Moves to WashPo December 21, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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I’m glad to see that Slate, one of my favorite online publications, has found a home with the Washington Post company. The editorial fit makes plenty of sense.

However, unless a component of the deal involve joint promotion from MSN & MSNBC, it will be tough to keep Slate’s traffic up. I imagine Slate already has a large audience overlap with the Post’s site. I expect joint promotion will continue, at least for a while. The Post owns Newsweek whose site has a joint venture with MSNBC which Microsoft still owns a piece of. You followed that, right? Welcome to new media, it’s just like old media….

Privacy or Primitive Metrics? December 21, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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The odd thing about this Journal story about in-store retail “video-mining” is not the topic but the tone. The story is done as a privacy-scare piece. (Although the last graf wonders whether shoppers will be bothered by store trackers for market research more than spy cams for “security”:

It isn’t clear whether the American public will be as tolerant of secret market research using videotape as they are of security cameras. There are 29 million cameras videotaping people in airports, government buildings, offices, schools, stores and elsewhere, according to one widely cited estimate in the security industry.)

What surprised me is that the bastion of capitalist reporting doesn’t take the retail industry to task for its primitive metrics. You’re telling me this is new? That physical stores don’t track conversion rates? (And why do they need video cameras – can’t a greeter stand out front with a clicker to count traffic? If Wal-Mart’s not doing this, I’m baffled.)

It’s enough to make me consider easing up on the boneheadedness of Nielsen ratings.

The REAL Power of Blogs December 17, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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The NY Observer, of all pubs, nails the real influence of blogs. Gossip rags, beware!

Quoting:

For New York, controlling information—especially about celebrities!—has long meant controlling the world. And for the masters of that universe, a little democracy is a dangerous thing.

Welcome to 2004, the year in which gossip got out of the hands of the powerful Hollywood publicists and Manhattan lawyers and was dumped in the lap of the average New Yorker. Power to the people!

Shut Up, Please December 16, 2004

Posted by David Card in Digital Home & Personal Tech.
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Dear lord, say it isn’t so. The Washington Post says the FCC may allow in-flight cell phone calls. Fortunately, the FAA may not. Saddest – truest? – quote:

“We here at the commission need to determine precisely what jurisdiction the FCC has over the annoying seatmate issue,” Commissioner Michael J. Copps said.

As Joe points out, compared to the Japanese, Americans have no mobile etiquette.

iTunes Song Sales Update December 16, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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Just got off the phone with Apple, who’s announcing today that it sold its 200 millionth digital song at the iTunes store. Apple previously announced its 50 millionth in March, and crossed the 10 million songs/month run-rate in May. It passed the 15M/month rate in August, and now seems to be well above 20, although that figure may be getting a seasonal boost.

If you divide the total number of songs sold versus the number of iPods sold, you get a number right around 22-23. That’s a decent proxy for actual usage (it doesn’t account for multiple-pod ownership or for global variations or for folks that buy a few singles even though they don’t have a device). And it’s in line with our supposedly way-conservative forecasts for music downloads. I think our projected $160M US revenues for 2004 will be about 15% low.

As usual, Apple is pretty close-mouthed on details. The mix of songs that are sold as part of albums has remained pretty steady, at 45%, and that’s true for the majority of buyers – there’s not that many singles-only buyers, Apple claims. Gift cards are going well, especially for customer acquisition, with over half cashed in at first-time accounts. Prepaid allowances seem to be less successful.

Apple wouldn’t say anything about the latest volleys in the Harmony wars. In fact just as we were signing off after my pathetic attempt to get Apple to detail just what it would take to invite RealNetworks to the iPod party, my PC crashed. First time I’ve gotten a blue screen with XP. Touched by the Hand of Jobs?

Semi-Pros Go to The Show December 14, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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This is as good as it gets, bloggers. The Journal writes of cellphone geek sites that are attracting attention, selling a few ads, and getting co-opted by the man. I think the story answers Michael’s question on “what do bloggers want?”

Oddly, although the story gives way too much credit to moviecitynews, it doesn’t mention aintitcoolnews, and totally avoids poltical- and business-journalism blogs. Perhaps it feels the heat? Ha.

No, the only “media” that need fear this grassroots phenomenon are commentariat hacks and geek pundits.

Um, that is, uh, rather: commentators who don’t use data and a solid analysis methodology to back their pontifications…