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On the Edge of My Seat, Waiting for Metro New York May 21, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Well, that’s a new strategy. From the NY Times story on how the two crap free tabloids are beefing up their online efforts. Remind me why an allegedly youth-targeted pub launched without a site?

    “They read the paper on the subway, and you give them something really substantial to go online for,” (Diane Goldie, the editorial director for amNew York) said.

In fairness, it’s the other one — Metro New York, owned by foreigners — that doesn’t have a site yet. (Tribune’s amNew York inherited one.) Uh, guys, better watch out, the URLs are all taken.


Feeling Foolish May 20, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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It turns out that I am a bumbling moron slave to habit. The NY Times had Virginia Heffernan on the TV upfronts all week, but I missed it because it’s in the Arts section, which I don’t read every day — does anybody read the Times’ Arts section any more? — under a different title, and she didn’t point to it from her Tech section blog. Grrr.

Lesson to readers: browse. Lesson to publishers: link, promote.

Strange Winds in Seattle? May 18, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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All I’m going to say right now is that over 60% of aQuantive’s $442M in 2006 revenues came from professional services (i.e., mostly Avenue A/Razorfish), and 12% came from its performance-based ad networks. That means less than 30% was tools and technology (Atlas). This ain’t your grandpa’s Microsoft.

Amazon Digital Music Second Take May 17, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Make no mistake, Amazon getting into digital music, and doing so without DRM, is a big deal. But let’s be clear:

– Amazon is doing unprotected MP3s because there is no copy-protected standard. And, more important, so it can sell songs to iPod users. This does not “level the playing field” for iPod competitors.

– If I’m a label other than EMI, I wait to see how iTunes does with premium-priced unprotected EMI files compared to 99-cent protected ones. Assuming I can get any data. The premium price is a bigger incentive to go MP3 than any so-called “opening up” of the market.

– I have no doubt Amazon will do a good job selling digital music. Someday. When it has a catalog. Its catalog is likely to be crippled initially.

– That said, Amazon could present an overall music retail experience that lessens the pain of that potential digital hole. Picture this. You search for an artist or record, and get the option to buy a CD, a digital album, and digital singles. The digital option won’t be available for everything. But that’s a way better experience than searching at a digital-only store and coming up zero. I have no idea whether Amazon will implement shopping this way, but it seems plausible.

– And yeah, in the US as well, more iPod owners (45%) have bought a CD online in the last 12 months than the average (28%), and they’re slightly bigger music spenders ($160/year) than the average music buyer ($100). But iPod ownership alone does not characterize the absolute best music buyers, online or otherwise. Music aficionados and CD purists spend the most. Music aficionados are three times more likely than average to have an iPod, but CD purists are below average in iPod ownership.

Other Shoe Drops: Amazon to Launch Digital Music Sales May 16, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Here’s the release. They wouldn’t tell me much more. Later this year, DRM-free MP3s from EMI (entire digital catalog) and 12,000 other labels. No word on pricing, but Amazon assured me they strive to offer low prices, and that careful observers will note that CDs have a lot of variety in their price points.

No comments on bit-rate/quality, preloaded devices, whether or not there will be Amazon software, discovery tools other than recommendations, which are a key part of the current CD offering, exclusives or in-house recordings, etc. They’ll sell songs and albums; no comment on playlists. They’re announcing what they’re doing so “other labels have a chance to get on board.”

Anyway, aside from lack of details, this is a big, big deal, and a critical entrant into the digital music space. Amazon knows how to sell music, what it sells will run on any PC or device — including iPods — without copying or burning restrictions, and it’s (presumably) laying down the law on DRM and formats. Of course its catalog will be crippled at least initially, and it will have a difficult time making money on $1 or thereabouts sales. However, Amazon’s a master of upselling, and has zero customer acquisition costs. It should do just as well as any other store, likely better.

I’d still like to see Amazon do an on-demand service, probably subscription rather than ad-based, someday…

Jupiter digital music surveys, and forecasts. A take on DRM-free MP3 distribution.

Interactive TV: Not Dead Yet! May 16, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Some howlers in the Journal’s coverage of NCTA hype on iTV ads:

    There is still another Web-like advantage for the new ad opportunities, said (president of media sales for Time Warner Cable Joan) Gillman. “The No. 1 value [advertisers] say is they get Internet-like data.”

That would be this Internet-like data? Seriously, it is kinda silly that over $65 billion a year is spent using 30 year old measurement and planning techniques.

    On the advertising end, it remains unclear what kind of messages will work best, just as there is little consensus about the most effective advertising for online-video advertising and other new marketing forms….Observers say cable companies and the companies that produce TV content are likely to work through the problem together. Cable operators have long-standing ties with the TV companies, unlike Internet companies, which are perceived as a threat to the traditional TV business model…

I assume “TV companies” means “networks” and “Internet companies” means “Google.” (And AOL? that would be Time Warner’s AOL?) Oh yeah, awesome relationships on that front.

Still Searchin’ for a Search UI May 15, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Looks like there’s still a few more tricks to learn — from TiVo — on programming guides, UIs, and, for that matter, search. And “swivel” is much cooler than “pivot.”

I’ve got a report that should be posted soon on innovating in Web- and site-search. It’s going to continue to be haaaaard work to wean folks from the simple keywords first AOL and now Google have taught us so well.

But this might help. If a lot of people get exposed to faceted results and easy-to-use parametric search on Teevee, where you don’t have a keyboard, maybe they won’t go back. (As long as the results are good.) Microsoft studies show people will click, even if they won’t re-type. And, most times, they won’t even type anything sophisticated. MSN Live Search passes the “apple” test better than Google. I already praised Ask X.

I Guess There Are No Repeats on TV Anymore May 15, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Why is the NY Times’ Virginia Heffernan wasting her time on YouTube fat rants instead of blogging on the upfronts as she did so well the last couple years? This is no substitute. This is pretty good reporting, but no heart or humor.

Ouch May 15, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Can’t say I disagree. Can’t say we haven’t done ‘em.

    Newspaper journalists hate working weekends, so they keep a vigil all week for a special kind of crap that they can write up on Friday and bank for publication on Monday. The crap must be as nonperishable as a MoonPie, preferably linked to a “study” or “report” that won’t be “released” until Monday but one the press can get a sneak peek of by Friday.
    Serving a steaming heap of Monday crap today (May 14) are many of the nation’s top dailies. They report that for the first time since man dropped from the trees, scampered across the savannah, and started shopping for stuff online, clothing sales on the Web have eclipsed those of computer hardware and software. Aren’t you glad you know?

Summer Must Have’s, Courtesy of Product Placement Agency May 14, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Ogilvy PR’s B|W|R entertainment unit thinks it’s a good idea to post this on my blog. Who am I to argue? I’m certainly not cool enough to refer to any of the Jessica’s mentioned below as “Jess.”

    StarStyle Summer Must Have’s

    1 – The Mini Dress is a summer must have: They’re hip, they’re mod, they’re sexy. It’s this summer’s biggest and most versatile must have: the mini dress. Add flip flops for day and heels for night or try it in a punchy color like Cameron did on the Red Carpet. StarStyle tip: Keep hair and make up simple-give your legs the attention they deserve!

    2 – Metallic: Add a dash of glamour…to your feet! Jess Alba and Eva are flipping over metallic flip flops. Go from beach to night without having to change your shoes. Aren’t you glad it’s summer? StarStyle tip: When wearing gold pair it with green or white, silver looks best with black.

    3 – White: Nothing is a better match than a golden tan and a dash of white. J Lo and Katherine Heighl agree. Take white to a whole new level by wearing white head to toe, or simply adding white bangles or an oversized bag. StarStyle tip: A white clean buttondown is always fresh and never goes out of style!

    4 – Beach Wear-Celebs love a bright bikini! Maybe because this summer, bold is hot. Try something you typically wouldn’t: green, hot pink or yellow and you’ll be sure to make a statement on the beach. Jess Biel did…StarStyle tip: Mix and match your tops and bottoms-in size AND color!

    5 – Short Shorts: Who wears short shorts? Hollywood. If you want to look sexy yet casual this 4th of July, choose some Daisy Dukes (a ala Jess Simpson) or go a little more classic with a cuffed short (Charlize anyone?) Dress them up with heels and down with flip flops. StarStyle tip: please don’t go all Britney on us-cover up the top if you’re revealing the bottom.

Entertainment Media Works’ StarStyle.com does make some tentative connections between purchasing apparel and celebs, shows, and movies, even if the site is buggy and loaded with dead links. I’m not sure how firm the connection is between Showtime’s The Tudors and flowered shirts or ballerina cami tops, though, even after watching the video.