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Google Gmail Ads — Nice Work February 27, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The Wall Street Journal served up this ad for gmail on my front page today.

It’s a series. They’re nerdy-cute. They do a decent job explaining features without screen shots or demos. They’re distributed on MSM. They’re branded YouTube. They’re embed-able and e-mail-able. They’re clearly original creative not for TV.

And yes, they’re over a minute long. But otherwise, score!

Correction February 26, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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During an informative conversation with Ask today, I was told that under no circumstances did AOL ever license from Teoma. D’oh. I misspoke, and confused my search technology vendors. AOL used to use Vivissimo atop Google to contextualize its search results. Apologies for the error.

Hooray for Hollywood February 25, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I won the family Oscar pool running away. This is about as well as I’ve ever done, for all the talk that this was an “unpredictable” year. I went 17 for 24, missing only the following:

– Cinematography (Children of Men was robbed!)
– Editing
– Costumes
– Song
– Sound Editing
– and two of the shorts: animated and documentary (which I basically pick by random)

I usually do better on the technical ones than the big ones, but not this year. That must have been because it was a “technical” year with Scorcese finally winning, and some obvious acting choices.

I dipped into the Oscar Websites from the big portals, and the LA Times. They were all okay, but none really played up any real-time simul-viewing. Blogging on Yahoo, for instance, was really lame, and the photos were really repetitive. I guess nerds don’t obsess over the Oscars the way they do sports. Waitaminnit. That makes no sense whatsoever. Maybe they obsess more?

On teevee, Ellen DeGeneres was about as bad as I expected. I almost felt sorry for her during her opening monologue, which was truly awful. Chris Rock & David Letterman are heaving sighs of relief — they’ll no longer be the Worst Academy Awards Host Ever. Commercials? I liked the BofA ad a lot, and Microsoft’s Wow campaign for Vista continues to be solid. Apple’s iPhone ad was appropriately movie-themed, but you couldn’t even tell the thing is a phone during the glory shot — not iPod-iconic by a long shot. And Cadillac poached a Pogues song!

Sensory Disconnect: Lusting for Life February 25, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Iggy Pop with a glass of wine? That’s just wrong.

NYTIggy.jpg

(Pic swiped from an amusing NY Times story about the Stooges re-uniting.)

Presumably, Your Head Won’t Explode February 23, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Can Joost really be calling its pre-rolls “blipverts?” Excellent geek-chic reference. At least for geeks of a certain age.

MySpace Acquires Targeting Technology February 23, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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ClickZ has the best coverage I’ve seen yet on Fox Interactive’s purchase of Strategic Data Corp. Looks like MySpace is finally going to try to get payoff on the promise of targeting its users by the ton of info they enter in their profiles. I suppose that sounds a little creepy, but isn’t that what big social networks should deliver? If you’re a social network member — assuming you’re not some awful predator — you’re putting extremely accurate info into your profile, in the hopes of meeting like-minded people. And good targeting will deliver marketing you’d actually be interested in. We’ll be watching this one closely.

Why Is MTV Laying Off? February 22, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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It hasn’t lost touch with its audience, or fallen prey to the “disintegration of mass” as some might say. Actually, it’s pretty simple dollars and sense.

    This year, execs are expecting growth in the flat-to-5% range. For a network like MTV, which has been running a 24-hour rating in the .6 to .7 range, the implications of CPM growth expectations could be huge. It is currently garnering a CPM of about $10. Our tables show that cutting the CPM growth rate from 8% to 0% for a network with a CPM of $7 and a rating of .4 would result in $36 mil./year decrease in annual revenue.

According to colleague Derek Baine’s analysis, this situation might be even rougher on Nickelodeon, arguably an even stronger brand with deeper hooks into its audience than MTV’s.

I’m Sure I’ll Be Proved Wrong in Years to Come February 22, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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By far the most intriguing thing about Google’s office applications was that they were ad-supported. If the “enterprise” versions actually cost money, that makes them even less of a threat to the real Office. Creating a marketplace for small business services — including ad-supported software and services — is cool. Mediocre, Web-based, for-fee word processors and spreadsheets are pretty dull. This really feels like a premium e-mail service to me. And I thought Gmail killed those off. Oh, and you can pay for API access. Developers just love to do that.

This Isn’t Commentary, I’m Just Reporting Here February 21, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Page 2, which is the most self-indulgent, annoyingly fratboy section of notoriously fratboy-friendly ESPN’s website, has its self-outed lesbian columnist posting a series on tracking down, in “Where are they now” style, Page 2’s anointed “hottest female athletes.” This, I suppose, is regarded as “progressive” in media. As opposed to “exploitive.”

GooTube Backlash February 21, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Goodness knows, I’m enjoying it. Since the Journal did a page one story, all media are following, including this fairly wise opinion piece under the fairly silly headline of “Content Will Always Be King” in the same paper. At the risk of talking out of both sides of my mouth — hey, I’m an analyst, I contain multitudes — let me reiterate my belief in the power of hits (see Figure 3 and elsewhere), usually created by professionals, balanced against my belief that Viacom is being dumb by not using YouTube, at least for promotion. Some things to keep in mind:

– Content isn’t king. Audience is king. Sometimes distribution has some leverage, sometimes exclusive content ownership does. But if you own a good audience, you’re always in good shape.
– Google wasn’t even in the audience business the same way traditional media companies are, till it bought YouTube. Google is still learning how to play golf with media moguls.
– Viacom — or any of the other media congloms — has studio businesses and network businesses. They’re fundamentally different. The Journal columnist gets this; the page one story is fuzzier. Networks can’t bet the farm on one studio, and studios usually are best-served by multiple distribution channels (unless someone’s really willing to pay premium rates.)
– There’s more than one game in town, even online, in both the studio and distribution businesses. And it’s going to get more, not less fragmented, as colleague Joe Laszlo has analyzed.
– That said, YouTube’s the biggest game in online distribution right now, and Google’s got plenty of margin to share. But there’s no real money in online video yet. (Figure 9)
– Talking about Joost — a way to distribute full-length, high-quality video — and YouTube in the same breath is brain-dead way oversimplifying. As is equating the original Napster and YouTube.