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Not Exactly “Changing the World” December 30, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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How disappointing. There must be a better reason to work for Google than this:

“This is academic life all over again, but I’m getting paid. This is a 100 percent better option than graduate school.”

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WSJ Top Stories: Less Tech than ’05 December 28, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Always interesting pulse-taking exercise: the Journal’s top-read stories of the year. Last year, it was a heavy dose of tech news, with a big dollop of Google. In 2006, by my count, it’s only four — or five, depending on whether you count biometrics as “tech” — out of 15, though the sequel to Sergey’s and Larry’s jet story leads the list. A lot of politics and housing, too, and several media stories. So it seems it’s not so much about tech investment bubbling in 2006. Or is the Journal’s online audience just becoming a little more mainstream?

The Eagle Has Landed… December 21, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Well, not quite. We have a title for Potter 7. No delivery date, though.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Three-Screen Programming Means More Fragmentation December 21, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Colleague Joe Laszlo’s realistic take on three-screen programming is a must-read. Disintermediation? Maybe….

    While some programmers view broadband video as a chance to disintermediate historic network operators, broadband will lead to a more fragmented landscape of intermediaries, not disintermediation per se. This fragmentation will create significant complexity, but also opportunities for owners of desirable content to strike favorable deals.

Jaron Lanier Still Alive, and He Likes Human Editors December 20, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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This is kind of a hoot. As is the fact it runs in Time magazine. The creator of the dataglove doesn’t like bland mobs and the inherent meanness of anonymous posting…

    All too many entrepreneurs seem to think that if you reduce the human element, the scheme will become more efficient. Instead of asking people to create videos or avatars, which require creativity and commitment, just watch their clicks, have them take surveys, have them tweak collective works, add anonymous, unconsidered remarks, etc. This trend is lousy, in my opinion, because it encourages people to lose themsleves into groupthink.

Can’t say I disagree.

That Didn’t Take Long December 20, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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That didn’t take long.

    The new Internet video Website collaboration that has been discussed by media heavy hitters including NBC Universal, News Corp., CBS, and Viacom may be on the rocks after Viacom backed out Tuesday afternoon, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks.

I wasn’t too bullish, which doesn’t show any particular depth of insight. Smelled way too much like Pressplay. Or SDMI. Or Movielink. Or…you get the picture. Y’all remember how well those media company lovefests went. (MusicNet appears to be working, but working better now that it’s out from under its original ownership.)

More Day and Date Movie Release Experiments December 18, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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In a NY Times story on a Comcast day-and-date trial of VOD for new movies, a Warners exec says it’s all about pricing and release window experiments:

    The experiment, which will run on Comcast systems in Pittsburgh and Denver, would let customers pay $4 to see a movie the same day they could buy it at a neighborhood store for about $25, or rent it for about the same price as the on-demand service….“This is a sampling mechanism for the title,” said Andrew Mellett, vice president for the video-on-demand division of Warner Digital Distribution, which is offering “Superman Returns” and other movies via Comcast. “I don’t expect it to cannibalize sales on DVD. What we are really interested in seeing is whether this increases the buy rates.”

Cool. I’m eager to see the results. Preliminary JupiterResearch survey results suggest that, among online adults who actually see new movies, the theater is still the preferred medium for 64% of them, at least compared with relatively high pricing for rental, VOD, or DVD purchase. We suggested prices of $10-12 for VOD or DVD rental, and $30 for DVD purchase. Experiments like these are important now, even if actual revenues will be scarce and consumer behavior changes slow.

Another Great One Passes December 15, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Class acts are pretty rare in the music industry.

Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun died today (Dec. 14) at New York’s Weill Cornell Medical Center. He was 83.

Apocryphal quote: “You walk very slowly and maybe by chance you’ll bump into a genius and he’ll make you rich.”

Why Don’t They Just Call it “Jingles R Us” Records? December 15, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Why this story gets Wall St. Journal coverage is a bit beyond me. CBS is going to take 10 people and make a label out of songs it commissions for its shows; iTunes is primary distribution channel. CBS says it’s still going to buy from real artists, too.

    Reviving one of the most famous names in the music business — one that hasn’t been seen in nearly 20 years — CBS Corp. said it is launching a division called CBS Records. But the new venture has more to do with saving money on television production than becoming a music giant…the label will focus on signing singer-songwriters and other “self-contained” acts that can write and record quickly and inexpensively. The label launches with three signings: Singer-songwriters P.J. Olsson and Will Dailey, and a rock band called Señor Happy.

In its defense, CBS says any digital sales will be gravy.

UPDATED: Billboard has better coverage. And I can’t argue with this:

    “Its a unique moment in time,” (Jack) Sussman (executive VP of specials, music and live events for CBS Entertainment) says. “While record labels are shrinking, consolidating and dropping acts, television wants more music integrated in its programming and in a bigger way … In primetime television for one season on CBS, there were 2,200 unique song placements — and that’s not counting daytime or shows that air any other outlets. Digital sales are getting bigger and prime time television is still the best place to sell anything, even music.”

From the Department of Cluelessness December 11, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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If this ever happens, this is not a good omen of its success.

From WSJ
Four major media companies, including News Corp.’s Fox, Viacom Inc., CBS Corp. and General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal, are in talks about creating a video Web site to compete with Google Inc.’s YouTube, according to people close to the situation.

From NY Times
The comments on many of the videos posted by CBS (on YouTube) have now been moved to a separate page; instead of sample comments underneath the videos, a link to “view all comments” takes users to a separate Web page where they can read comments without watching the video at the same time…CBS began moving and filtering comments on some videos in mid-October, shortly after announcing its licensing agreement with YouTube…

I don’t have anything against filtering off-topic comments, spam, and even really offensive profanity. But moving the comments to a different section? Sigh.