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Solution to Marketing Mysteries: the Real Revenge of the Nerds October 31, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Ahh, the naivete of academics. At a Washington symposium this month, the Times reports Cornell prof Jon Kleinberg waxing poetical on the power of computing to solve life’s mysteries:

    “We’re really witnessing a revolution in measurement,” Dr. Kleinberg said.

    The new social-and-technology networks that can be studied include e-mail patterns, buying recommendations on commercial Web sites like Amazon, messages and postings on community sites like MySpace and Facebook, and the diffusion of news, opinions, fads, urban myths, products and services over the Internet. Why do some online communities thrive, while others decline and perish? What forces or characteristics determine success? Can they be captured in a computing algorithm?…

    “This is the introduction of computing and algorithmic processes into the social sciences in a big way,” Dr. Kleinberg said, “and we’re just at the beginning.”

Riiiight. Let’s see, there’s a $16 billion US online advertising business trying to solve that measurement problem, not to mention the $280 billion spent off-line in the US. But no, it’s social science grants that’ll do the trick! Don’t tell Google, or their PhDs will all go back!

Random Thoughts While Watching Network Teevee October 30, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Friday Night Lights:


Yeah, the football scenes are cliche’d sports stories, and I could do with less of the crippled ath-a-lete plotline (tho the fact his girlfriend’s sleeping with his best bud, but not for romance, even tho that’s what he wants…is cool in a great soap operatic way). But the rest is just really, really good teevee. And fairly authentic, unpatronizing portrayals of working-class Texans, too. Heck, some of them are even religious. Whoulda thunk liberal media NBC could do that? Oh, and it’ll probably be canceled, so watch it while you can.

TV advertising:

Wow, it’s untargeted. Target (that looks like an M&Ms ad), then drugs for geezers, then Wal-Mart, then acne, then cars, then Claritan aren’t we good that we didn’t change the secret sauce so you still need a prescription, etc. etc. This is during a show at 10PM that should be on the CW (on teens night).

Wow, those untargeted ads are well-produced. They all have uniformly high production values — cinematography, editing, even acting. Way better than most shows. What a colossal waste.

Now I’ll go back and finish the ep of Galactica (…best…show…on cable) I had to download from iTunes because I’m, er, between providers.

Waiting for 24….

I Got a Rock October 27, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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You will be watching, right? Tonight on ABC. Assuming you don’t own it on DVD, of course.


Fun fan site.

New Jupiter Music Device Forecast October 25, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Apple’s iPod remains the dominant music device, but closed-loop ecosystems are back, Microsoft has debuted Zune, and music phones are on the horizon. As the market moves beyond early adopters who purchase multiple devices and upgrade regularly, the music player user base will steadily increase from 37 million in 2006 to over 100 million in 2011, even while the growth rate of device sales slows. Apple shows no sign of losing significant share in the next 12-18 months.

What does that mean for digital music?

Both iPod users and paying downloaders spend more on music — in total, for CDs and digital products — than the average music buyer. Currently, most music device owners spend between $10 and $50 a year on digital downloads. That’s an encouraging figure, but even with data-use fees, it’s hardly enough to entice a phone company or sustain a pure-play digital music retailer.

And impulse, over-the-air song downloads will be an even tougher challenge for both wireless devices and music phones, due to infrastructure limits, incompatibility, pricing tensions, and user interface issues. Most US carriers are underemphasizing or ignoring altogether the necessity of enabling users to “sideload” existing music collections onto a phone, because they can’t charge for it.

Our latest MP3 player forecast. Our press release for you freeloaders.

No, Sir, He Didn’t Invent the Internet October 25, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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It is an ancient running gag at Jupiter to refer to “the online,” “the Yahoo,” and “the American Online.” To longtime Jups, these are symbols of utter InterWeb cluelessness, dating from a pre-1998 employee who requested assistance “to get the Yahoo off my homepage.”

Link to the president who didn’t invent the Internet.

Lightning Progress in TV Ad Measurement October 25, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Nielsen Media tries to measure TV commercial viewing; cable nets opt out. I’m not sure whether to say:

– Poor old Nielsen, they try to do the right thing, and nobody listens. Or
– See how slow things move? Don’t worry too much about our worst-case scenario (Figure 7) on DVR ad-skipping and ad-spending decline. Or
– Uh oh, if the cable guys run for the hills, are they running away from the advertisers?

BTW, lest you think I only read the Journal, the reason I’m linking is because it has the best coverage. Neither the LA Times nor Hollywood Reporter have the story yet, and here are takes from Variety and Multichannel News. You be the judge.

New AOL Search Shows How to Add Value to Google October 24, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Today seems to be search day for me. (And I barely qualify as a search analyst.) If you want to see how to add value to Google search, check out AOL’s newest implementation. Lots of contextually cued results, drawn from AOL sources as well as the Web. Powered by Google, Singingfish, Truveo, and Shopzilla. Very nice. Try “Marie Antoinette,” you’ll get movie info and trailer from moviefone, videos, and images. “Madonna” gets artist bio, videos official and less so (YouTube results a little buried – grrrr), news, etc., all labeled and “federated” in the right hand column.

And if you have the option turned on, as you type a query it solves Google’s “apple” problem. (You know, front page results only on Apple Computer and iPod, no fruit or pie.) AOl does this by offering suggestions in various contexts in a pull-down menu as you type, like Google Suggest — still in beta — though with seemingly different results, or at least different sorting.

Google Shows Custom Search Engine October 24, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Going live last night, Google’s Custom Search Engine allows sites to add Google search and AdSense to their sites and, more important, specify a custom set of sites or sources for the engine to index, creating a vertical search engine. Here’s the ClickZ and New York Times coverage. (Funny, the Times gets Yahoo in its headline. Yahoo’s Search Builder has been out for some time, as has Rollyo’s partner program.)

Like a whole lot of Google initiatives, the Custom Search Engine is a cool idea with precious little support for anybody who wants to try to use it. When I asked how a site could figure out which sources to add, I was told a good way to get started would be to do a Google search on the topic I wanted to cover, and add the results to my custom index. Super-helpful, guys. Low-end sites can add their blogrolls, too!

A company like Intuit — who’s using the engine at its JumpUp small business community site — has the wherewithal and resources to know what to search, but most sites won’t be good at this. Google says it has a tool suite to help sites know if they’re actually delivering the goods. A set of templates and directories would be useful, fellas.

The Custom Search Engine concept is very mash-up-y, and like the all-time greatest mash-up platform, Google Maps, will no doubt produce some good products and some crappy ones. Engines that use the CSE won’t be Google branded, or very lightly, to protect Google from the crappy ones.

AdWord advertisers can opt out of showing their results on the coming hybrid engines.

21st Century TeeVee October 20, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Emily says she was duped. Heck, no. That’s 21st Century TeeVee! Come on in and join the party!

NBC Whackings: Perspective, Please? October 19, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The Journal says NBC is cutting 700 jobs, rearranging News, and foregoing dramas in the 8PM timeslot. Why?

    The rise of video-laden Web sites such as YouTube and portable devices is threatening the networks’ longtime business model of putting out programs with advertisements that people sit before a television set at home to watch. The networks are trying to ensure that people looking at a computer screen or carrying a video iPod from Apple Computer Inc. will still watch their programming.

Gee, last I checked, NBC’s ratings started to tank in 2002 and cratered in ’03, way before YouTube and iTunes videos even launched. Didn’t it have something to do with Seinfeld and Friends? And the arrival of Survivor and CSI on CBS? Oh yeah, and, as the article notes, Fox has been more or less doing this since, oh, 1989. Note overall broadcast vs. cable viewing (Figure 2).