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300 Jed X Lego Z Slam Puts Me to Sleep, Too August 30, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Matt Hasselbeck — balding, cerebral — is my new favorite, non-Redskin NFL player. Even though he plays pansyball West Coast Offense for Seattle. The NFL is using Hasselbeck in an ad campaign to help clean up its mildly tarnished image, and he’s totally charming, and his kids are adorable.

As usual, I’ll howl about how hard it is to find the ads online. I found ’em at the New York Times (who misspells his name, for pete’s sake, even though it’s visible in the video — newspaper of record my @ss). Huh? I searched pretty diligently, including at NFL.com.

Of course, in this engaging ESPN.com story, Hasselbeck admits that when he’s watching film preparing for games, the kids are out with Mom.

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If There’s Lies, D@mned Lies, and Statistics, What Are Forecasts? August 30, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Especially Wall Street forecasts? Snort. Henry Blodget updates the the Morgan Stanley YouTube video ad revenue “forecast“:

    Morgan Stanley’s Mary Meeker and team rechecked their YouTube advertising calculations and produced a new set of estimates this morning. As expected, if Mary had stuck with the assumptions used yesterday, the correct math would have produced a ludicrously small estimate. So she changed the assumptions to boost the estimates.
    …And now that the math has been fixed–and the calculation has produced an immaterial revenue estimate–the assumptions have been changed. This is what’s known in the trade as “backing into the numbers.”

Or “making shi- stuff up.”

We call it “triangulating,” or “balancing a top-down against a bottom-up approach.”

The Journal’s Numbers Guy quotes the Morgan Stanley report: “In fixing the error, we also took the opportunity to dig deeper into our assumptions and … we provide an updated scenario analysis of the opportunity …”

Keep digging.

Big Burgers Come Up Small Online August 28, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I’m lovin’ the McDonald’s TV spots that beg us New Yorkers to eat lots of “Angus Third Pounders” so Mickey D’s will put them on menus everywhere. (Even if SoCal came first.) The ads feature bad Baahston accents! And kazoo solos from Texas! But do you think I can find the ads online? Heck no. I can find a lukewarm review (embedding disabled by request!!!! Huh?)

..and a negative one:

And a fairly positive, non-video review that lists the scary facts. Ummmm, 760 calories, 41 grams of fat, and 145mg of cholesterol. (And that’s without bacon.)

Sounds like the suits are afraid of the fans, and maybe they should be. But the ads are funny and should at least show up somewhere on the corporate site.

Oh, and the ads hooked me — I’ll post my review after I’ve actually sampled the goods.

South Park Digital Deal Raises Many Questions August 27, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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They like the promise “50-50” now, but didn’t they like big up-front checks better? (Oh, wait, there is an up-front payment.) What if there’s not that much digital video advertising (or syndication revenues, or consumer spending), or, more likely, LOTS of competition for a medium-sized pie? And what about the always notorious “Hollywood accounting?” Is it 50-50 after costs?

If this is indeed a trend, it might be a good thing for everybody, as programming development risks could be spread more evenly. (That’s one of the problems with music industry economics.) That is, as long as those up-front payments aren’t absurd. Perhaps this is a lesson on how to end-run Viacom-YouTube shenanigans. If so, it’s yet another example of more power to the artists and agents, and less to the studios/networks. Oh, so many variables. As usual, nobody knows anything.

The NY Times breaks the story on a digital deal for the South Park creators:

    Now, however, Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker and their bosses at Comedy Central, a unit of Viacom’s MTV Networks, are attempting to leapfrog to the vanguard of Hollywood’s transition into Web. In a joint venture that involves millions in up-front cash and a 50-50 split of ad revenues, the network and the two creative partners have agreed to create a hub to spread “South Park”-related material across the Net, mobile platforms, and video games.

And maybe it can’t be a trend, at least not for anybody with existing contracts:

    But even Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone would most likely not have been able to negotiate their new joint venture had they not years ago inserted into their contract what has proved to be a killer deal point. Comedy Central’s boilerplate reserved to the network any income generated by the show through other network divisions. But the pair’s lawyer, Kevin Morris, insisted that any “South Park” revenue not derived specifically from broadcast on the cable channel would go into the pot for calculating the men’s share of back-end profits.

All Thumbs (and I’m Not Talking About Texting) August 26, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Movie critic Roger Ebert claims it’s not his fault that that Thumbs™ have been missing lately from Disney-ABC’s syndicated “At the Movies…” review show. He’s in a contract fight and co-holds the trademark thumbs-up or -down with Gene Siskel’s estate.

Still, it’s hard to see how one could “own” such a thing since a thumbs-up as a positive sign is at least as old as WWII, and probably older. I can’t resist making a “prior art” gag:

300px-Jean-Leon_Gerome_Pollice_Verso.jpg

…Jean-Léon Gérôme’s 19th century painting is generally blamed for the current mis-interpretation. In all likelihood, the Romans actually used a thumbs-up for the kill sign.

I do hope Roger’s back on the show soon, to save us from the stream of lame guest-hosts, but this thumbs thing is pretty silly.

It’s Not Like We Never Made a Math Error August 24, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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…but still. From the Dept. of Schadenfreude: Somebody should tell Morgan Stanley that CPM means “cost per thousand” when calculating potential Google YouTube ad revenues. Hint, it’s Latin.

    What happens to Mary’s estimates when you do the math right? Well, that $4.8 billion of gross revenue becomes $4.8 million, and the $720 million of net revenue becomes $720 thousand.

I’m sure the poor schmuck jr analyst who botched the math is on the street today. But Mary Meeker and Morgan Stanley put their brands on the report.

Some Signs of Hope in Webcasting Royalty Negotiations August 24, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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To readers who remain baffled by music licensing arcana: don’t bother to try to figure out this latest stage in the webcasting negotiations. It’s a positive move but as Pandora founder Tim Westergren says: “But the real meat of this is the (royalty) rate, which has not been figured out yet.”

    SoundExchange, which collects royalties from Webcasters and distributes them to artists and record labels, said it would limit fees — at $50,000 a year — for online radio station companies that offer more than 100 channels to customers.

Trouble in “Paradise”? August 22, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Once the kid’s seen Paris, it’s tough to keep those near-monopoly margins at home.

    A memo circulated within IAC/InterActiveCorp’s Ticketmaster, which controls the ticket inventory to nearly all major concert and sporting events in the U.S., said the ticketing company no longer expects to renew its agreements to sell seats for events at buildings owned by Live Nation, its largest client. Events at venues owned by Live Nation and its House of Blues subsidiary generated 17% of Ticketmaster’s roughly $1 billion revenue last year.

Fad or Phenomenon, Green Is Hot August 22, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Put aside any doubt that Jupiter is the trendiest of Internet research firms. Presenting the Green Collection:

Banking Green Online
One-fifth of the online population are so-called green financial services consumers, i.e., consumers would buy more financial products from institutions that are committed to protecting the environment. Among the five major banks included in the survey, Bank of America’s customers express the highest satisfaction with the bank’s environmental efforts. Other institutions should raise their green profiles by launching both image-enhancing and sales-supporting initiatives.

Green Grown-Ups
Green adults (21 percent of all online adults) skew older than average and are not necessarily affluent. They are also more engaged with user-generated content (UGC) than are overall online users. Marketers must understand their usage of this content to avoid misplaced campaigns.

Green Teens
Green teens (15 percent of online teens) are popular, engaged in school activities, and a little artsy. Music and entertainment programming and social media will appeal to them, and they’re likely to respond positively to online marketing.

Euro-analysis coming soon. Zia’s on vacation or we’d have the podcast posted already. Stay tuned.

Google Video Comes Clean — Will Refund August 21, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Since I took ’em to task, I’m giving ’em credit where it’s due. Good job, fellas.

    * We’re giving a full refund — as a credit card refund — to everyone who ever bought a video. We’ll need you to make sure we have your most recent credit card information, but once we know where to send the money, you’ll get it.
    * You can still keep the Google Checkout credit that you’ve received already. Think of it as an additional ‘we’re sorry we goofed’ credit.
    * We’re going to continue to support playing your videos for another six months. We won’t be offering the ability to buy additional videos, but what you’ve already downloaded will remain playable on your computer.