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So That’s Journalism… March 12, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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In a 1,100 word story about the alleged prostitute who brought down NY governor Eliot Spitzer, the NY Times’ two bylined reporters (with help from three others) spend about 250 words on an interview with the subject and 425 quoting from her MySpace page. Three photos accompanying the story are sourced “MySpace.com”

That’s not how they did it back in the Dark Ages when I was a reporter.

In fairness, the Times did break the story — and outed her — while the Post and the Daily News both can only cite the Times’ story with teeth-gnashing envy.

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Plug.IN Webinar Today March 11, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Join me and Michael Gartenberg today for what will be a lively discussion on the future of the music bidness.

JupiterResearch’s Plug.IN Webinar
Digital Music Trends & Outlook
March 11th, 2008
1pm ET/10am PT

Digital music was a $1.3 billion business in 2007, but it still only comprised 10 percent of consumer music spending. Meanwhile, Apple continues to dominate both devices and downloads and Yahoo! became the third big player to drop out of on-demand subscription services.

Will digital music ever save the industry? Are downloaded singles replacing CD sales? Who are today’s customers, and how is that likely to change over time? What is the role of ad-supported services, and of P2P networks? Will there be a showdown between iPods and music phones? iPods and anybody? How do you compete with, or thrive alongside Apple?

Cynical Observations of the Month March 10, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I’ve been waiting all day for someone to comment on the NY Times wooo-scary ad-targeting-privacy story. (Regular readers know I’m a proponent of Scott McNealy’s theory of privacy.) After reading several hundred words penned by the author herself, explaining why the methodology probably doesn’t work, I’m still left with these thoughts:

– This is a great justification for why Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo
– If Yahoo was really using all this information to target advertising, it’d be making a lot more money
– Why on earth did comScore do all this work for a story that comes out saying its best clients are either not very good at what they do, or are evil? Is the PR really worth it? I mean, we’re in the analysis business. They’re in the ratings business.

Oh boy, am I going to hear it from the usual suspects. But hey, ya gotta do this every now and then to drive up your blog traffic.

Continuing Measurement Debate: Efficiency vs. Quality March 10, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Good piece in ClickZ. I’m with Jeff Einstein; Eric Picard from Microsoft is obsessing over technical details, sometimes at the expense of missing the main point. Einstein says:

    We’ve been obsessed with our own ability to measure performance (regardless of the metric) since day one online. Our obsession with efficiency and scale all but eliminates the quality of the message from the consideration set, largely because quality is much more difficult to measure and formulize. We can tinker all we want with metrics and formats, but as long as we remain fixated on efficiency and scale as the keys to the kingdom, performance will continue to decline.

Singing the Sad Song of Internet Radio March 9, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I’ve been listening to a Live365 online dixieland radio station for two and a half hours and have heard the same three ads — plus house ads for Live365’s premium service — for the whole time. (Needless to say, I minimized the player and so haven’t seen the banner ads.) I should probably say “Gawd bless you, Premier Inc., NAPA, and Colgate/Irish Spring,” but it’s a pretty sad state of online audio affairs. Goodness knows, I’m rooting for ya.

The promise of Internet radio:

– National, but target-able audience
– Potential for genres that couldn’t survive in terrestrial radio
– At-work audience who aren’t in their cars

The reality:

– Fragmented audiences
– Lack of interest from local advertisers (other than local simulcasts)
– Continuing knock-down, dragged-out fight between Webcasters (DiMA) and copyright board royalty mavens (and, of course, the record labels and music publishers)

Bug Report March 8, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Was it just me, or did anyone else do a Silverlight “upgrade” for Macs that resulted in constant browser crashes and forced me to re-install Adobe-Macromedia’s Flash player?

AOL Taking Another Shot at Building Out IM Platform March 5, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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AOL is opening up more of its core IM technology in an effort to establish it as a mash-upable platform. The Open AIM developer forum has the details, and TechCrunch offers its very positive early take. Here’s a couple of additional points, derived from my conversation with AOL.

– This is not the strategy to integrate the other big two IM players, Yahoo and Microsoft. There’s still some talking about working together to integrate those products into a “multi-headed” network, but that’s deep talking, not SDKs and APIs.

– On the other hand, AOL feels this strategy could accomodate just about anybody else, including Google, any social networks who might be trying to do their own IM, and all of the other multi-headed products (think Trillian). And contrary to what some are saying, while this is a lot better than suing and shutting people down, it’s a pretty heavy embrace if you join the party.

– The embrace, though, has its positive elements. I’ve criticized Facebook for its widget platform strategy of “you can monetize it any way you want” (because Facebook sure isn’t going to help you do so). But this is no AdSense, either. To build on services like AIM’s presence management and buddy list, would-be partners have to agree to take along two of the following five options AOL calls value-added features: the buddy list ad banner, the AIM toolbar (promotion, not integration), AIM expressions (ie buddy icons), the buddy info page, or the AIM dashboard. All of these generate potential ad revenues for AOL, but AOL will share revenues only if you take the banner ad. Otherwise, access to the APIs, SDKs, and the services themselves are free. Not a bad trade.

– Other than the extra revenue, and potentially preventing some would-be competitors, it’s a little unclear what AOL’s objectives are if the platform actually creates an ecosystem of partner companies. Either that, or they’re playing pretty close to the vest.

It’s definitely a good sign of the old dog learning new tricks. AOL’s opening up in a pretty Web 2.0 way one of the original social platforms, and is ahead of Microsoft and Yahoo on this front. (Gtalk’s quite open, but doesn’t have much of a user base.) Now let’s see if any interesting apps or hybrid services emerge.

You Just Can’t Trust Those Rich WASP Gang-Banger Authors March 3, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Honestly, it doesn’t really bother me when “memoirs” are faked, as long as they’re good literature reading. But this is too funny. Yeah, it’s probably a good idea to cancel the author’s book tour.

    In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods….Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood.

Umm. Oops?

    Ms. Seltzer’s story started unraveling last Thursday after she was profiled in the House & Home section of The New York Times. The article appeared alongside a photograph of Ms. Seltzer and her 8-year-old daughter, Rya. Ms. Seltzer’s older sister, Cyndi Hoffman, saw the article and called Riverhead to tell editors that Ms. Seltzer’s story was untrue.

Her editor, who has some distant connection with the Times, appears equally foolish.

Aren’t, Like, “Brian’s Song” and “Hoosiers” the Best Sports Movies Ever? March 3, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I’ve said several times in this forum, that ESPN is the very model of a modern media company (since the Times is using that headline elsewhere today, I’ll steal it back). However, I dunno about this one. Aren’t sports movies by definition corny? How does that fit with the ESPN brand and audience demo — i.e., tongue-in-cheek insider commentary for 14-24 year-old boys of all ages? Maybe these should be branded Disney after all…

    ESPN said it would collaborate with Creative Artists Agency and Walt Disney Studios to produce and distribute theatrical films with sports themes. As part of the network’s expansion in filmed entertainment, ESPN is also hiring 30 filmmakers to produce one-hour mini-movies to appear on the channel starting in September 2009.

Digital Music Futures Webinar March 3, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Come hear colleague Michael Gartenberg and me debate the future of digital music. We’re hosting a Plug.IN webinar next week.

    JupiterResearch’s Plug.IN Webinar

      Digital Music Trends & Outlook

        March 11th, 2008
        1pm ET/10am PT

Digital music was a $1.3 billion business in 2007, but it still only comprised 10 percent of consumer music spending. Meanwhile, Apple continues to dominate both devices and downloads and Yahoo! became the third big player to drop out of on-demand subscription services.

Will digital music ever save the industry? Are downloaded singles replacing CD sales? Who are today’s customers, and how is that likely to change over time? What is the role of ad-supported services, and of P2P networks? Will there be a showdown between iPods and music phones? iPods and anybody? How do you compete with, or thrive alongside Apple?