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Hyping Like It’s 1996 March 31, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Are these geezers still rockstars? We’ll know tomorrow.


R.E.M. takes a shot at a more-rockin’-than-the-last-three comeback album. The U2 comparisons are somewhat unfair, even though, back in the day, all us music industry analysts wrote endlessly on their potential sell out to Warner Music for $80 million. Those were the days, huh?

Lately, R.E.M. have been playing at SXSW, and streaming the album on iLike, but only hosting a clip on MySpace. That, and doing interviews with NPR. Possibly, that’s wise, given their audience and iLike’s Facebook presence.

Photo swiped from the Boston Globe. Confession: I didn’t hate their last album, even though everybody else did.

Internet Video Syndication — What Are You Waiting For? March 28, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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We’re in stage three of Internet video: syndication. Embrace it.

    The Internet video market has expanded through three distinct but overlapping phases from a limited library of paid downloads to an expansive library of ad-supported content that is syndicated across the Internet. Yet, YouTube, whose product remains largely unchanged, has increased its audience share from three percent to 50 percent in two years.
    Online video advertising will make up the majority of the market, accounting for $2.3 billion by 2012. Companies will have to balance reach and revenue share in maximizing value captured for content.
    Networks and studios can take audience share from YouTube and begin to create viable revenue streams by moving beyond viral video into Internet television. That means offering branded, episodic, quality programming that taps into consumer desires around “chapterized” content, integrated video experiences, and unobtrusive advertising. Industry players must carefully monitor four emerging trends that could dynamically change the marketplace: streaming library size, YouTube content deals, exclusive distribution, and Web serials.

Teaser: Colleague Bobby Tulsiani’s next big report goes by the working title of “Competing with YouTube.” Clients can call us for early insights.

Stats for Music Marketers, Part XII March 25, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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As of this minute, Coldplay has 392,819 friends on MySpace and 43,156 fans on Facebook. MySpace’s Coldplay page has four songs on it; Facebook’s one. MySpace’s are embeddable on your page; Facebook’s are not, yet. MySpace supports for-pay downloads (they’re priced absurdly high, but that’s not MySpace’s fault); Facebook does not. MySpace’s page has some personality; but Facebook’s has a user video and a discography. They both have band info and touring info.

Don’t count the “old guy” out just yet.

Big Trend for 2008 Online Media: Re-Inventing the Network March 24, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I may have chickened out of making any annual predictions in January — recessions, big merger threats, etc. but who knows, maybe I’ll throw some out there one of these days. If I weren’t such a coward, one of my themes would have been Re-Inventing the Network Online. Colleague Barry Parr illustrates some best practices on Web 2.0 networks for news organizations. This one’s a must-read.

Among the key findings:

– News publishers must treat content creation and distribution as separate businesses. Their destination sites should strive to be category portals by aggregating and integrating content and services from other sources.

– Widgets should be a key distribution strategy: Widget users are two-thirds more likely to use online news sources on a weekly basis than are overall online users.

– Publishers must transform themselves into platforms, supplying core interfaces, services, and revenue sharing to support a distributed ecosystem of partners.

Trust Me, This Isn’t Political March 24, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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With many freedom of speech issues, you have to suck it up, hold your nose, and defend people’s rights to say unpleasant things. But this is painful. Especially since Fox is possibly just holding out for an administration change and statutes of limitations. The Journal perhaps, overplays its ironic coverage:

    Fox’s decision Monday to fight the FCC’s latest fine didn’t involve dirty words, but when and how its appropriate to show scantily clad women engaged in sexual activities…The episode in question featured scenes of contestants licking whipped cream off strippers whose body parts had been digitally obscured…In the past, broadcasters believed that digitally altering a performer’s naughty bits or bleeping out dirty words would protect them from FCC fines. The FCC’s “Married by America” decision blew that perception apart, however, because the agency found that the show was indecent despite efforts to obscure body parts.

Ugh, um, Go, Fox! (cough, cough, gag, gag)

Billy Bragg’s a Little Jealous of Bebo March 22, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Even socialists need to get paid.

A New England (LP Version)

This Is Getting Too Meta for Me, Part XXIII March 21, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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This is a rhetorical question, but why would plugging a fashion line showing the work on a reality show about the life of a budding fashion designer not be a good idea?

    Ms. Conrad says she is happy the line is not on the show because it would detract from her credibility as a designer.

This is one of the gems from a Wall Street Journal story on Lauren Conrad, MTV reality show “star” and wannabe designer. This is even better:

    “Playing yourself on reality television isn’t to our reader the level of accomplishment that you need to have on the cover of Cosmo,” says Kate White, the magazine’s editor in chief.

`I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir’ said Alice, `because I’m not myself, you see.’

Fuzzy Logic on Potential iPod Music “Subscriptions” March 19, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Much to my consternation, Silicon Alley Insider has become a must-read for me, but its analysis of a potential Apple digital music subscription service is a bit off the mark.

…But if that’s really the only thing keeping this from happening, then this is a done deal. Right now Apple sells about 20 iTunes tracks for each iPod or iPhone it sells. So the two sides just need to replace that revenue in a subscription model.

For argument’s sake, let’s say there’s a digital music boom coming, and the tracks-per-device number jumps 50% — to 30. How much would each side need to compensate for lost sales over the life of the device? Very little.

* Apple collects about a third of each 99 cent track sold: 30 x .33 = $9.90
* The labels keep the rest: 30 x .66 = $19.80

Two things — contrary to the headline, that’s not an “all you can eat model,” unless I’m missing something. And replacing potentially lost iTunes sales aren’t what the labels are trying to do. They’re trying to replace lost CD sales.

According to Jupiter surveys, somewhere between 5% and 15% of the songs on anyone’s iPod are purchased from a downloads store, the average user has 1500 songs on his iPod (though that’s skewed by big collections: only 20% have more than 1,000), and the average iPod user spends $20 to $35 per year — not over the lifetime of a device — on downloads. (The average paying downloader actually spends at least $10 more, but a lot of iPod users don’t buy any downloads.)

UPDATED: Oh, duh, I get it. SAI is focusing on the difference b/t all you can eat for $80 vs. $20. Apologies for being dense. Well, my other data is still useful for the calculations, and it shows why the labels would want a way bigger number than $20.

Democracy in Media at Work March 17, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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This is enough to bring tears to the eyes of a cynical, old-media apologist like myself. Even the Times, try as it might to be patronizing, has to admit:

    For almost six minutes — about a century in broadcast television years — Mr. Ashong, who has an immigrant’s love of democracy and the furrowed brow of a Brookings fellow, held forth on universal health care, single-payer approaches and public-private partnerships…Cute stuff. Highly informative. But not the kind of political discourse that generally captures a wider audience.

Here’s the healthcare debate which, indeed, is way more insightful than what you’re seeing on big-screen teevee. (And maybe even what you’re reading in the Times.) And I’ll link to the emotional bit, which is more fun. How awesome is democracy in media? Take back the mic, baby.

AOL to Acquire Bebo March 13, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Not bad. Bebo has a good youth focus with its social network, strong presence in the UK, and is doing smart things with more professional content. Not entirely clear what AOL brings to the picture these days. I’ll post again if there’s anything interesting on the concall.