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MTV Soundtrack: Lots of Experiments Going On Here July 16, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I’m still trying to get my mind around MTV’s Soundtrack, in alpha as of today. It’s a site that will try to blend artist and fan communities (with some social networking features from Flux) with editorial content and listening and discovery and, well, you see what I mean.

For one thing, Soundtrack’s arguably most innovative feature is literally a soundtrack, that is, a navigation/programming music experience that’s sync’d to what songs are playing on MTV shows in real time. Take a look, it’s weird, but it’s not much like anything you’ve seen before.

Jupiter surveys show that hearing a song on a TV show is a powerful discovery tool. MTV shows “The Hills” features 12 to 15 song cues a show, and “Parental Controls” up to 50. MTV will be steering viewers to Soundtrack with on-air pop-up prompts.

Soundtrack is all over the place, and it’s definitely an alpha-release product right now. Playback without volume control? C’mon, guys. And there’s some weird disconnects between 30 second clips and full-track streams. But I’m intrigued – intrigued, not convinced – by the idea of a network-centric, rather than show-centric (compare the CW) music programming approach.

MTV claims cred by emphasizing indie – read “unsigned” – bands, but hey, they’re cheaper to license, too. The voting system is supposed to be, at least in part, a way for new bands to get the attention of the MTV “Music Supervisors” who program the music across all the MTV-owned shows. That’s another interesting idea.

I’ve been impressed by MTV Networks’s online strategy lately, particularly its embrace of syndication and modern network thinking. But when colleague Bobby Tulsiani asked the MTV execs if Soundtrack could be a platform for other networks or shows, MTV’s attitude was no, its job is to support MTV. No revenue model yet, but it’ll be way more about advertising than about Rhapsody song sales.

PaidContent’s take.


Gratuitous Plug for Possibly Dying Sport July 15, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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This has nothing to do with anything, except that:

a) my Mom’s a Canajun, and my dad was raised in T’ronta
b) my sportswriter buddy assures me hockey players really are regular guys, which makes them a pleasant contrast to the other Big Jocks of Pro Sports:

Quoting Sports Illustrated’s Peter King – a football writer – (btw, anybody noticed that SI.com is now a must-read, giving ESPN.com a run for the money?):

    …gritty Pittsburgh Penguin Ryan Malone (who took a slapshot in the face, breaking his nose and badly bruising the orbital bone just below his eye, and missed only two shifts), his agent called me to see if I wanted to talk with him. Sure do, I said; I’ve rarely seen such an act of cold, stark bravery in any sports event. And a few days later, while I was in Athens to give the commencement speech at my alma mater, the phone rang, and it was Malone. “What did it feel like?” I asked. He said, “Like my face got broken. Luckily, I didn’t get, I guess, a broken face, or whatever you would call it. I just got six stitches. And I’d already broken my nose a few days before, so it wasn’t really like a broken nose.”

Playoff hockey really is the best – not that anyone witnessed it. (Well, best after amuhrican football, day for day.) Jupiter report on sports guys online.

Rhinos and Wolves July 14, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I have been known to say the TV industry is a little more “disciplined” – code word for less ego-driven – than movies or music. I should have known better. Must-read blow-by-blow story in the Journal of NBC’s and Dick Wolf’s squabbles over licensing Law & Order.

    “…He is a rhinoceros, and he attacks with his horn ready for combat,” says Tom Fontana, the executive producer of a number of hit television shows, including NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street,” and a close friend of Mr. Wolf. “What makes it difficult to work for NBC is that they’re like a pack of wolves, always nipping at the rhinoceros’s heels.”

Premature Death-Reporting? July 10, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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“He said, ‘If you have old media, you should sell,’” according to one attendee, who spoke anonymously because the sessions are off-the-record. “If you own newspapers, sell. If you own TV stations, sell. If you own a movie studio, sell.”

If you own a social media start-up that isn’t Facebook, sell?

It’s not new media or old media, Marc, it’s multi-media.

Fashion Froward July 10, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Not sure I’m ready for this:

    Changing hemlines have long been a hallmark of women’s fashion. But this summer, it’s men’s hems that are rising. Brooks Brothers has raised pant hems about half an inch in its top-of-the-line Golden Fleece suits and is leaning toward a slightly shorter pant length across its more moderately priced collection.

Far as I can tell, Don Draper’s pants still break at shoetop.

Getty and Flickr: Sounds Good; Details Sketchy July 9, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Flickr and Getty Images are definitely two great brands that should go great together, but it was pretty difficult getting any details out of the two when they briefed me the other day. Under the arrangement — money does change hands but no one’s talking — Getty editors will pore over Flickr photos to fill out a collection of stock images they think will number in the “tens of thousands in a reasonable amount of time” with a bias towards “authenticity” and underserved regions. Getty will do individual deals with the would-be pros by contacting them via Yahoo communications.

The two talked about tools beyond Flickr tagging to help the editors find the good stuff, but wouldn’t reveal any secret formulae. Getty claims its editors process 7,000 to 10,000 images a day already, but aren’t those submitted with pretty strict guidelines and metadata? In any event, Getty isn’t planning on hiring any extra staff to handle the newbies, nor re-writing its contracts.

So snap away, Flickrs, you could be a star.

MSM Google Backlash Continues July 9, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Gee, first it was a juicy daycare mini-scandal, now the Journal shows just how screwed up Google’s YouTube ad efforts are. Hint, fixing ad operations was codenamed “project spaghetti.” Chinks in the armor?

From a Jupiter report on Competing with YouTube.

According to consumers, YouTube excels across all criteria, including the three core video experiences. However, it scores its highest marks in easy sharing, user-generated content (UGC), and effective search. Through these strengths, YouTube has carved out a dominant position and mind share in the viral video market.

YouTube has linked its core strengths to an activity system for users that competitors will have an extremely hard time matching. JupiterResearch’s second-mover framework identifies and evaluates competitive options: fast-follower, niche-segment, profit-margin advantage, and disruptive strategies.

Sign of the Apocalypse? July 8, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Unless I’m mistaken, that’s a decidedly lukewarm review of the iPhone 3G from Uncle Walt.

Now *That’s* Authentic July 8, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Quoting the Times story on brand-supported music: Caress, the body-care line owned by Unilever, commissioned the Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger to record a version of Duran Duran’s “Rio” that it gave away on its Web site to promote its “Brazilian body wash” product.

Just think: a manufactured artist doing a cover of an 80s standard by Birmingham new romantics that, while the actress in the video looks vaguely Brazilian (she’s actually English-Lebanese), was really filmed in Antigua and is about a girl named after the Rio Grande.

Although it does have the nice throwaway metaphor: “Cherry ice cream smile I suppose it’s very nice…”

Happy 232nd July 4, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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This year’s patriotic plug, even it disparages a few Virginians.

Happy Fourth. Throw another burger on the grill for me.