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Welcome to New York September 30, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Yikes. I live a block away.

The Times’ story is the most detailed, and has the biggest pictures online. The Daily News has the best subhead

    Hack & rider cheat death after piece’s 21-story fall

and more human drama, of course. Oddly, Murdoch’s Post comes up small. What, weren’t any of his numerous ex-pat Brit 20-something reporters hanging out in the East Village? Or do they get Friday afternoons off?

On the other hand, the Post’s re-design is terrific. It’s exactly the kind of great-looking, easy-to-use, promoting-the-good-stuff site a tabloid should have. Maybe a little less local — and attitude — than it should have, but Page Six and Sports are right up top.

MSM as Viral Connectors — Or Not September 29, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Let’s see, to make this entertainment buzz-promotion campaign “viral” and authentic, wait, I’ve got it – we’ll seed Mainstream Media!

Sometimes this works.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

The Future of TV and the Movies September 25, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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It’s a truism that big technology changes always take longer than we think, but then when they happen, they happen bigger than anyone expected. We’re still in that first phase — the takes longer than you think stage — regarding the impact of new platforms on the business of TV and filmed entertainment. But, oh man, when those changes kick in…

Based on forecasts from Jupiter and Kagan, and Jupiter consumer surveys, we think that the net near-term impact of things like DVRs, mobile video, and online video is pretty much a zero-sum game. The incremental $5 billion from new platforms in 2011 — practically chump change when consumers and advertisers spend $227 billion — may well be balanced by a scenario where, if the industry actually reacts, some $12 billion in ad spending is at risk due to DVRs. (That’s in the unlikely event marketers don’t figure out alternative ways to spend on TV, like product placement, targeted spots, and things like the TiVo Showcases.)

This is a big, important report, and clients should dive right in and call us to work on the best ways to tap into these platforms. And to figure out whether the over-hyped long tail is really all it’s cracked up to be. From the report:

    TV and filmed entertainment programmers and studios must treat new platforms and consumption models as relatively small revenue streams whose primary value is promotion. Advertisers should continue to refuse to pay for delayed viewing and experiment aggressively with new platforms, branded entertainment, and product placement. Milestones to watch for include: DVR critical mass (2008) and usage evolution, the first blockbuster day-and-date release, and any slowing of Netflix’s growth pace.

Amazon Showtimes Promo: Still a Work in Progress September 21, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I got an email from Amazon yesterday with a recommendation for a movie. Not a DVD, mind you, but a movie opening this weekend. Cool. It was a good recommendation: I probably will see the movie, and it was a clever pitch:

    As someone who has purchased war movies on DVD, we thought you’d like to know that Flyboys, the first World War I aviation film in over 30 years, opens in theaters on Friday, September 22.

The e-mail linked to the Flyboys site, and to a special promo page at Amazon. The page had a trailer (hosted by Seattle neighbor ScreenPlay Inc.) and lots of good info from the indispensable IMDB, which Amazon owns.

However, clicking on “movie showtimes” produces an empty search result. I can enter my zip code and get another email, but why can’t I just get a result? (AOL Moviefone has tomorrow’s schedules.) Oh, and Amazon should take a very well-educated guess at my zip code, not leave the slot blank. And Wednesday might be a bit early for the coming weekend. If I signed up for the email notification, it said I’d get my local listings Friday.

But all in all, a promising debut.

Facebook Courting Yahoo? September 21, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The Journal is rumoring that Yahoo is in serious talks to buy Facebook. Other interested — but seemingly jilted — parties named include Viacom and Microsoft. Yahoo would be a good home for Facebook:

– Good ad targeting infrastructure
– Lots of sponsorship potential
– Tons of entertainment advertising/promotion opportunity
– Lots of communications services integration potential

And Yahoo 360 doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for older teens and young adults.

But one could say all the same things about Microsoft. And of course, neither one has traditional media properties. But it sure seems like Time Warner and News Corp. will continue to be the only mainstream media congloms building online networks.

Yahoo Sneezes, but No Real Signs Online Has Cold September 19, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Yahoo said online ad spending by auto and financial service companies slowed a bit recently. I confess: I haven’t heard much from marketers or agencies one way or another, but I try to be big picture rather than quarterly. Typically, Wall Street is confused, contradictory, or clueless:

One analyst says Yahoo is “highly exposed to online advertising, ” while another says it has “more exposure to traditional advertisers.” Gee, stop the presses. And while you’re at it, hurt me with traditional advertisers. Please. Over at Piper Jaffrey, Safa Rashtchy, though generally a bit too infatuated with Google, actually talks to advertisers regularly, so I’d tend to trust his take:

    Our discussions with a major auto advertising services firm suggests that there was a slowdown in new car launches in [the first and second quarters], which could have a modest impact on Yahoo’s [third quarter revenue]. That said, our discussion indicated that there should be a significant increase in new car launches in [the fourth quarter and early 2007]… Hence, we believe the slowdown in auto advertising referenced by Yahoo is primarily a seasonal effect and we would expect a reacceleration in [the fourth quarter and first half of 2007]

The Journal’s news story mostly backs our big picture analysis that online advertising — both display and search — is fundamentally strong over the long term. I don’t have any faith whatsoever in the quoted “market research” firms’ ability to track anything on a quarterly basis. But that’s just me.

Cutting Through the Clutter, TV Edition September 19, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The debut episode of CBS’ heist series “Smith” is sponsored solo by Warners’ “The Departed,” a Scorcese true-life crime drama. Only two commercial breaks, and they’re trailers. Nice. Cutting through the clutter is a serious issue online, too.

Unfortunately, Ray Liotta standing around in shades to a soundtrack that sounds just a bit too much like boom chucka boom boom 70s porn music is a little less than captivating, even with Virginia Madsen. On the other hand, “The Unit” had a Mamet script tonight. Hooah.

How Not to Serve 50 Million Users September 19, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Music search result from MySpace tonight:

Server is too busy

Fellas, this is not a good thing. Performance scalability is one of the things that wrecked Friendster. I’m sure your “partner” Google can get you a really good deal on some Appliances. They’re cheap!

Happy Birthday, Hermione September 19, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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According to just about the coolest fansite ever, JK Rowling’s calendar says it’s my favorite Potter character’s birthday. Once again, now that’s a franchise.

Perspective, Please? Digital Music Edition September 18, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Since I’m dissing the LA Times — you only hurt the ones you love — let me attempt to illustrate why you get what you pay for, even with professional bloggers. Let alone my unedited ramblings.

– I’m with Jon Healy on the value of music industry price elasticity experiments, but not for digital products. How about for CDs? Now, that might show something. And defeat piracy, but nobody’s interested in that. 99 cents is fine for digital singles.

– He also thinks Zune’s most interesting feature is WiFi. (And that MusicGremlin is even more interesting. Yeah, right.) Ubiquitous WiFi is a pipe dream any time soon in the US, and the ability to share songs with other Zune users — there’ll be what, like, 450 of them, right? — is a non-starter. The coolest thing about Zune so far is try-before-you-buy: Once a buddy shared it with me, I could play that song a few times before I had to buy it or it disappeared. If you could do that with PCs, you’d really have something. Unfortunately, besides the lack of a critical-mass network of users, you can’t communicate with the sharer, other than by sharing, if you’re restricted to Zune to Zune. D’oh.

The communists at Weed are trying to do this, but who cares? A big company with big label support, now that’s interesting. What do you think, Apple? Or maybe Real Rhapsody or Napster could try this one on for size, atop their experiments in ad-supported on-demand music.