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Anything To Get “Jackass” in a Title December 13, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Gee, user-generated content turns pro. No, wait. Paramount and Johnny Knoxville and Blockbuster are pros already. Does this mean the Jackass franchise is turning amateur?

    In an experiment that tests consumer appetite for online movies, Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures movie, “Jackass 2.5,” is skipping traditional theatrical release in favor of online distribution…On Dec. 19, “Jackass 2.5” will be available exclusively on Blockbuster’s Web site for free streaming, meaning viewers can watch but not keep the movie. Starting Dec. 26, the movie will be available for purchase on DVD at all major DVD retailers, but for rentals the DVD will be available only at Blockbuster.

All kidding aside, Jackass content is made for the Web, but I’m thinking of clips of stunts, with lots of viral pass-along. Not so much as a full length (well, 64 minutes) feature film (term “feature film” used loosely). It’s an interesting experiment in exclusivity and, for Blockbuster, in ad-supported video, but I hope they do something to Internet-ize it.

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Ad-Supported Imeem Now Has All the Major Labels December 10, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Imeem signed up Universal Music Group, making it the first ad-supported on-demand streaming music service I’m aware of to line up all of the Big Four labels. Imeem feels more like a social network than a music service, which might be a good thing for some audiences. Imeem is dependent on what its members have uploaded, so its catalog is hit or miss — even with the big four — and its track information and quality a little sketchy. But you can often find stuff you probably wouldn’t find at iTunes or Rhapsody, which is one of the few things we identified as a P2P benefit.

The End of Syndication Fees? December 10, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Reuters replaces Bloomberg as the business news source for the Int’l Herald Tribune, but here’s the interesting twist:

    The Paris-based newspaper will share revenue with Reuters from advertising that appears adjacent to the articles in its print and Web editions instead of paying Reuters a subscription fee to run its news, which is the typical arrangement for newspapers and wires services.

I’ve been wondering for years when the Internet content value chain would “mature” and resemble traditional media, where audience aggregators pay syndication fees to content creators, instead of sharing revenues, ad inventory, or traffic. Looks like progress is going the other way.

More Macrovision TV Guide December 7, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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In a response to a question on the merger concall, Macrovision’s CEO made an observation about the PC’s role in home entertainment. He said there are several roles the PC plays:
– Screen you consume content on
– Mass storage
– Access to the Internet
– User interface

…and that all of them are better optimized on specialized devices. Hence lots of opportunities for specialized middleware as well as integration platforms.

I don’t disagree at all. I do think the IPG is potentially a huge discovery vehicle. I just don’t think it will hold an audience’s attention as long as real content and entertainment does.

Macrovision to Buy TV Guide December 7, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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DRM company Macrovision announced an agreement to buy Gemstar TV Guide, which is 41% owned by News Corp.

Gemstar-TV Guide is a slowly shrinking $600 million company (twice as big as Macrovision) with only approximately a quarter of its revenues in pure technology and patent licensing. Over half its revenue came from TV Guide magazine and various TV and online networks; and another quarter or so from on-air electronic or interactive program guides (EPG or IPG), which are a mix of ad sales and affiliate licensing (cable and satellite operators).

Macrovision execs see synergies between the companies — primarily with the IPG and technology/middleware licensing — and promise to learn the media business and evaluate whether to keep the magazine and TV network businesses over the coming months. They see a future of a customized IPG as the home entertainment discovery and management vehicle across all devices and platforms. Macrovision already owns AMG, which provides music data to just about everybody (at, apparently, a lower price than TVG licenses its DB), but didn’t have any TV and movie data. Macrovision reasons that with TV Guide, it has just as big a reach across digital consumers as anybody (it sounds like 80+ million to me) and relationships with just about every important content asset owner and distributor through one company or another (a reasonable assumption).

Jupiter has long been skeptical (see 2000 report) about comparing the market power of the IPG with that of the Internet portals. True, the discovery role is very similar, and Google shows you don’t have to have massive content assets or audience time-spent to get a lot of ad revenues. But you do have to have ad revenues. Technology licensing is not where it’s at — it has to be the means to the end, in this analyst’s opinion (but you know my biases).

This is a really intriguing match, but, you’d better learn that media business fast, guys.

Slacker: Another Music Delivery Model to Watch December 6, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Uncle Walt says Slacker’s not quite ready for prime-time, but he doesn’t hate it. I, too, am intrigued by Slacker’s approach. They’re jumping through all sorts of technology hoops to accommodate licensing arcana so they can deliver ad-supported, device-delivered “better radio than radio.” (That is, not quite on-demand, but customized, with a role for your own collection as well.) Slacker’s ultimate role may be in-car entertainment overseas — where satellite radio hasn’t caught on — but they’ve got some cool tricks up their sleeves already.

MSM: Take That, Facebook! December 5, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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High comedy. You’re right Josh, Who cares what the press thinks? This sounds suspiciously like the “insidery” MySpace backlash that Facebook itself helped create. MySpace is still doing okay, too, I hear.

    A lot of people say that Facebook has jumped the shark. Thatís flat out wrong. In fact, Facebook is now being devoured by the shark. Thereís so much blood in the water, itís attracting other sharks.

Facebook survived the initial newsfeed PR disaster. They’ll survive Beacon, too.

Reasons to Love Holiday TeeVee, Part XXIII December 4, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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…besides high camp, great songs, Rankin/Bass stop-motion animation, Burl Ives, and raw, unadulterated nostalgia:

Rudolph Hermie.jpg

Empowered Misfits! It’s so 60’s!

And yes, it does appear Rudolph was invented by Montgomery Ward. Happy Shopping!

Fox Buys Beliefnet — No, This Isn’t About the Simpsons, MySpace, or Roger Ailes December 4, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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This isn’t quite as counter-intuitive as you might think. News Corp. is buying Beliefnet, but it’s not Fox Interactive Media, the part of News Corp. that runs MySpace, IGN, Fox Sports, etc. (not that that would be nuts, either), but rather Fox Entertainment Group, the TV and filmed entertainment development and distribution arm.

I’ve always been a little skeptical about Beliefnet, partly because while you might think it’s about religion, it’s not about any single faith. Communities around faith can be very strong — and very good for targeted marketing — but Beliefnet’s really about spirituality and religious exploration. I suspect faith-based MySpace channels or communities would do just fine on their own, and who knows, maybe there’s some New Age synergies across properties. But News Corp. has other content that will appeal to Beliefnet users.