Friday, March 30, 2007

David Lynch on product placement

Priceless. I bet lonelygirl15 is pretty happy about product placement though. I guess it depends on your point of view (and need for cash.)

Specific quote:

Full interview here.

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Sirius back seat TV for cars

Also via Lost Remote:

"Sirius Satellite Radio — which has figured out how to transmit limited TV signals over the radio airwaves — has teamed up with Chrysler to provide Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network to selected vehicles.

For example, people who buy the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee could choose to pay $470 for the satellite video receiver, antennas and video monitors (two in the back and one in the front. The front monitor switches off when the vehicle is moving.) The service costs $19.95 a month, although the first year of service is included in the package. Sirius said more TV channels may be coming soon, but there are bandwidth limitations."

From Variety:

"DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group on Thursday announced limited satellite television service for its 2008 Dodge and Chrysler minivans and several other models, continuing its plan to turn the vans into family rooms on wheels.

It's possible that in the future, more channels and even full satellite service could become available, but for now, it's limited by bandwidth allocated to satellite radio, said Frank Klegon, executive vice president of product development for Chrysler.

Klegon also said satellite TV is the latest step in a continuation of information technology moving from home to vehicle."

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Local TV and user generated video

Cory at Lost Remote asks the tough question:

"It seems to me that local TV sites that have been experimenting with user-generated video are not seeing a tremendous response of submitted clips. Anyone disagree with this comment?

YouTube and similar sites have won the first round, but how many rounds are left before it’s too late to catch up? I’m beginning to believe that the only reason people would submit video to a TV site would be to see it on TV."

From the comments:

"Our station tried it last fall and it was like pulling teeth! The viewers mostly misunderstood the idea and submitted story ideas, not videos. The effort was canceled after about 3 months…"

"couldn’t agree more Dave, ugv on the local tv level must be differentiated . the purpose of doing it shouldn’t be to compete with utube, because it will surely fail. local tv stations need to generate local buzz - contests - high school sports - what parent do you know of that wouldn’t want to submit video of their child to a tv station? the contests side of it, funniest videos - community videos - wedding contest videos, etc. it’s developing a ugv local product, not a national portal."

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Prom Queen

From TechCrunch:

"Prom Queen is coming, and it will be distributed on MySpace. Is the future of new media going to be a world where stories are told over eighty episodes that are each ninety seconds long? And advertising galore - pre rolls, post rolls, and product placements. This may be the highest advertising to content ratio ever seen. The budget for the show is just $100k, which is nothing more than a rounding error in Hollywood.

If enough MySpacers put up with the ads and watch Prom Queen, there will be literally thousands of these shows hitting the web. And all the big portals will gleefully pushing them to us, because they’ll get a revenue share from all those ads.

And if there’s a show that’s any good, users will strip out all those ads, mash those eighty episodes together into one 700 MB file and put it on bittorent. Then the lawsuits will start."

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Verizon does local TV

Another kick in the gut for local TV stations who are still living like its 1979!

From NewTeeVee:

"While a lot of what is planned for FiOS1 is what been traditionally called news — weather, traffic, local happenings — FiOS1’s plans also call for local sports (college, high school and even Major League Baseball) as well as… wait for it… USER-GENERATED CONTENT, from “trained” citizen video journalists Verizon has drafted and will send out into the streets with videocams, ready to film… not news, we guess.

It’s a local information channel,” said Verizon spokesperson Sharon Cohen-Hagar, who we spoke (and emailed) with Thursday afternoon. While Cohen-Hagar didn’t want to comment on our observation (also pointed out by Karl at BroadbandReports) that FiOS1 sounds an awful lot like cable TV local-access programming — the kind of thing that Verizon has lobbied heavily against — she did say that FiOS1 wouldn’t be “a place where someone spends two hours talking about something.” She did say it would offer “local content you can’t get anywhere else.”

From MultiChannel News:

"The D.C. channel, headed by former ABC news producer Michelle Webb, will provide “Traffic on the 1s” and "Weather on the 5s.” News content will be provided by WUSA9, the Gannett-owned local CBS affiliate.

Verizon’s first original local programming for FiOS1 is a show called Push-Pause, produced in collaboration with HyperLocal News Productions, which features segments by “trained citizen-video journalists.”

The channel also will feature 20 hours of sports programming per week, including some Georgetown University, George Mason University and high-school games. FiOS1 plans to develop a northern-Virginia high-school sports highlights show, Game Day TV, a 30-minute preview of the upcoming games and a wrap-up of the week's past ones.

Another FiOS1 program, Limbo Local, will let viewers bid on consumer electronics via their mobile phones, with the lowest unique bid at the close of the auction winning the prize. FiOS1 subscribers will also be able to play online, and Verizon Wireless will offer its own version of the game to V CAST subscribers. Prizes will include a 40-inch LCD HDTV and a Blu-ray progressive DVD player."

DSL Forum post:

"As Verizon lobbyists work to eliminate the local video franchise system, consumer advocates point out that such moves can result in the death of public access. Instead of offering local access, Verizon is launching their own FiOS-branded TV channel (FiOS1), which will provide weather, traffic and news."

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

IBM's Colin Parris: 3D Web

Again from 3pointD at the Virtual Worlds Conference: Colin Parris, vice president of digital convergence at IBM Research, discusses IBM's vision for virtual worlds.

From the post:

"IBM is already working with clients and partners on applications that provide business value in virtual worlds. This is mainly in three categories:
  1. Commerce
  2. Education
  3. Coordination and Innovation
We can clearly see the beginning of an era in which we transform customers’ experiences across the whole value chain. The optimized improvement of business and government that can be obtained will clearly result in reduced cost.

Customization of commerce and transactions that can be garnered from the understanding and insights gained will result in increased profitability in these transactions. The ability to connect real world and virtual world experiences to reduce complexity and risk will result in reductions in cost, and an increase in effectiveness.

New understanding and insights into complex long standing business problems will support all the other implications and enable new implications that will soon arise."

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Virtual Worlds Conference: Trends and Numbers

3pointD reports from the field:

"Steve Prentice of Gartner Research: We’re pretty much where the Internet was in the mid-90s. People are interested, but they don’t quite know what to do. Describing it as a media channel is probably one of the most accurate ways of doing it.

Corporates are starting to understand that this is a channel that needs to be used along with everything else. But they’re still isolated islands. You can’t yet move your avatar or your assets from one world to another, That’s one of the constraints. There’s only one Internet. Once you can move from one to another, the growth you see today will look pretty stagnant.

There’s a great tendency to think about commerce, but one of the biggest opportunities for larger organizations is to create community within the organization. We see the VW not so much as a community space, which it is, but also as a collaboration space. Its an incredibly powerful tool.

When you’re actually having a meeting in a virtual environment, they can be much more involved. For a lot of large organizations, the opportunities lie to better improve their communications and sense presence. It’s like fooling people that they’re actually there.

Interesting thing about 3D space is you get to see what the other person sees. You get that sense of being there, it’s a very powerful attribute. Nothing to do with commerce, has to do with oiling the wheels inside large enterprises."


Google mobile review

ArsTechnica reviews the new Google mobile applications.

From the post:

"Based on an initial look at the app, the improvements are very welcome. I'm an avid mobile Googler (I get lost easily, so sue me) and have experienced many of the frustrations mentioned above: too many clicks, too many irrelevant results, and not enough immediately-available information.

The new version remembers my general location and last several locations (although if I go to a new zip code, I must enter it again). Searching for a particular bar in my area gives me several web results as well as the full name, address, and phone number of the bar I am looking for, all on the same search page.

One click on the "More Local & Map" link brings me to a listing for that bar, and presents me with a link to get driving directions with most of the address info already filled in. Very convenient."

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The coming golden age of TV

How's that for a contrarian headline?

From Micro Persuasion:

"The TV is undergoing a renaissance. In five year's time, 50% of what the most coveted audiences watch on their sets will come off the Internet. However, it goes beyond the changes in video content. Television will run widgets and other connected software applications. These will be different from, yet complementary to what runs on a PC desktop or webtop. That's just the beginning.

Who will create the de-facto OS for your TV? Right now that's anyone's guess. The leaders are all the stalwarts from the PC era - e.g. Microsoft and Apple. And we haven't heard from the leaders who program the web yet. Companies like Google, for example. In addition, there are the companies who make the boxes (the Tivos of the world) and the cable/telcos who re-sell their boxes. These will run software too.

What is certain, though, is that once again TV is a growth business thanks to the Internet and software. And therefore the Golden Age of Television may be a head of us, not in our rear-view mirror."

Don't forget about Joost!

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AT&T mobile payment and NFC

AT&T is planning to offer mobile payment solutions by the end of the year.

From RCR Wireless:

"AT&T Inc.’s wireless unit is busily exploring and trialing mobile payment systems, and expects to announce a mobile payments system later this year, according to Spencer White, director of mobile financial services and business development for the company.

“This is an emerging segment that we think very highly of,” White told an audience attending the Mobile Payments World seminar at CTIA Wireless 2007.

Some of the factors that have converged to make the nascent mobile payment business attractive, White said, are the replacement of cash by electronic funds sources, the availability of near-field communication technology, the elevation of data services to the mainstream and consumers’ increasingly common use of Internet banking services.

One of AT&T’s trials included a closed environment at Philips Arena in Atlanta, where people were loaned mobile devices preloaded with funds and could order concessions and access content on-site.

“It’s a natural extension of what people are doing online,” he said."

From MocoNews:

"One interesting point is that White said AT&T doesn’t want to offer mobile payments for goods that will go onto the mobile phone bill. “Our customers are price-sensitive, and we have to compete in a very fierce market to keep costs as low as possible...We think there is significant risk in sticker shock,” he said. He’s got a point—it would only be a matter of time before stories came out about people buying whitegoods and getting surprised by bills of more than $1,000."

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Turner's Dennis Quinn on mobile content

From RCR Wireless News, Dennis Quinn talks about Turner's vision for mobile content.

From the interview:

"Q: What is your overall philosophy or approach to mobile entertainment?

The philosophy is that it’s a new technology with a lot of promise. We do not anticipate it’s going to be digested in the same way someone does in front of their television or in front of their broadband screen.

You can look to Adult Swim or Cartoon Network or PGA or NASCAR or CNN for that matter, one of the things that I think is consistent to our company’s philosophy, and you’ll find it when you look at the different brands and the different products across those platforms I just mentioned, all of them look at what does the technology offer and how do you make the experience better within the limits of your brand.

Q: What kind of response have you received from wireless carriers and content owners?

I think at the end of the day, what we in the content side have to remain focused on is that our platform partners, whether our cable operators on the television side or the video-on-demand side or on the broadband side or our telecommunications partners, whoever they might be, that the reason they’re using us is to drive ARPU at the end of the day and increase lifetime value of a subscriber.

So our brands are a big part of driving acquisition of subscribers, but to be able to retain those subscribers and to drive usage it’s as much about compelling content as integrated promotions about jointly marketing across all of our platforms and presenting real targeted content that we know is going to play across multiple platforms. "

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Second Life: 5 million

Broke 5 million:
  • "31,377 new signups bringing us to 5,011,608 signups total. The five-millionth signup took place between 2PM and 3PM today. Signup rates continue at their depressed level, and the six millionth signup is due in 28 days, on 24 May.
  • A peak concurrency of 37,765 at 1:49PM, and a minimum concurrency of 18,440 at 1:40AM. Average concurrency for the day was 26,598.


Clown Co.: DOA

Changes is Good thinks the new effort by everyone not Google is going to fail.

From the post:

"The three main reasons its sure to flop are:

1) Control. The networks are creating the site in the hopes of controlling how their content gets used, shared and distributed online. I’d guess that in a dank colorless conference room, a bunch of middle management MBA’s convinced a non-MBA executive that this was a good idea by boring her into submission using PowerPoint.

2) Content. Millions of people are uploading tons of content that stretches across the interest spectrum to GooTube. Of course they dont have a snowflakes chance in hell of generating the kind of serendipitous discovery, niche connection and mass appeal that GooTube can facilitate.

3) Cooks! Name one loosely knit media association, that doesnt involve ownership stakes or JV rules, that has been successful. These arent natural partners with complementary strength and weaknesses pairs. Its a an association Google hater getting together to drink their own haterade."

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CW: Web to TV

From B&C:

"YouTube may soon get a taste of its own medicine if The CW greenlights a reality pilot that would put the Web’s best user-generated content on weekly TV.

Ghen Maynard, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group’s alternative programming guru, whose company co-owns the young-adult network with Time Warner, has been spearheading the project under the working title of Viewsers.

The show, from Room 403 Prods., a traditional and new-media company headed by David Hurwitz (Fear Factor) and Paul Cockerill (Trigger Happy TV, Jimmy Kimmel Live), would air the best videos from countless Websites, blogs and user-generated materials. According to the logline, the viral videos capturing the most online attention make the cut."

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Brightcove: For pro users

Brightcove could be the Cold Fusion of video;)

From NewTeeVee:

"The content management features are quite robust, allowing for lots of control over media assets, meta information, broadcast and display mechanics such as home site linking and embedding, and a templating system that makes it relatively simple to pull together backgrounds, logos, multiple episodes and even user-generated content into cohesive branded viewing experience.

For those looking to make money off their video efforts, Brightcove shines admirably. Besides the standard ad-supported model, Brightcove also offers a new pay-per-view beta — something that only Brightcove and Veoh are offering, currently. This dovetails with Brightcove’s agreement to offer content to TiVo’s fledgling on-demand service, and long-form shows like Showtime’s The Tudors feel like a natural fit, making a la carte purchases of premium television network shows seem a natural trajectory.

On a scale of one to ten, I’d give this service an eight. Not what I’d recommend for up-and-coming vloggers, but definitely worth considering if you’re a publisher trying to decide between going third-party or developing a video solution in-house."

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Coke's loyalty program: Online and Mobile?

MobHappy thinks about how it may work:

"So how would it work?
  1. Purchasers collect the currency, which would be some form of unique alphanumeric code. I think this would be possible in production terms and is probably how the online side of things would have to work anyway.
  2. Purchasers sms the code to a central server. Alternatives are a WAP interface and online. Do they need a postal option these days? Probably as much as they need to provide a telex entry point.
  3. They can see their balance via the wapsite or via an sms query to the server. Or, of course online, when they can get onto the family computer, as Dad is playing Solitaire, sis is playing Sims (deliciously retro) and older bro is WOWing like it’s going out of fashion - which it isn’t, of course.
  4. Maybe, this could also be enhanced via a Java magazine, where people can see their points balance and browse through some recommended purchases from the partners. Don’t forget to allow a lot of time and funds for porting the application across handsets though."


Yahoo Mobile

From MocoNews:
  • " Yahoo Mobile Ad Network: Network will allow mobile publishers to have syndicated advertising served on their mobile content and services. Publishers will be able to select the ad formats they want to have run, such as display, sponsored links, video or in-game placements.
  • Mobile Content Engine: Enable publishers to bring their content to Yahoo’s mobile audience. Publishers who do not have a mobile site or only have a limited mobile offering to quickly distribute their content to consumers on their mobile phones will be able to take advantage of the feature as well.
  • Mobile Media Directory: Publishers within the network can make their mobile content accessible directly through Yahoo oneSearch. Publishers could submit a catalog of their content such as ringtones, games, video and applications.
  • Mobile Site Submit: Provides information about publisher’s mobile sites, such as a description and relevant tags, to ensure that their sites are accurately indexed and available to consumers through Yahoo oneSearch.
  • Mobile advertising, while still small, has been pegged to grow fairly rapidly this year. While Yahoo has been playing catchup to Google in terms of online search advertising revenues, mobile is seen as up for grabs."


Monday, March 26, 2007

Coldwell Banker in Second Life

Coldwell Banker has entered Second Life to provide in-world residence a trusted name for buying and selling houses.

From CNN Money:

"Coldwell Banker has bought extensive tracts of property on the central "mainland" of Second Life. (Most companies own "islands" scattered all over.) It subdivided this digital land into 520 individual houses and living units, half of which it will sell and half it will rent.

"In the end this is about buying and selling homes in the real world," says Charlie Young, the company's senior vice president for marketing. "We're trying to figure out how to reach what we call the 'new consumer'." Executives insist that any profits will be reinvested in Second Life real estate.

Unlike almost every other big company, Coldwell's offices in the virtual world will be staffed with real people (in the form of avatars of course). They will not only sell virtual real estate, but also answer questions about real world transactions."

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Grind House in Second Life

Local TV audiance

Terry Heaton discusses a recent streaming video experiment by WKRN in Nashville. They got 11,000 concurrent viewers during a recent storm. In that market that equals more than a full rating point. Were all of those viewers regular WKRN viewers?

From the post:

"Ask yourself this question. Who am I talking to when I “drive traffic,” and are they the people I really want to serve online? If pushing our own viewers online is our mission and serving THEIR needs is what we’re after, then by all means, let’s push them to our branded web effort.

If, however, our online mission as a multi-media communications company is to expand our reach beyond that which our on-air brand can find, then we need to consider building new brands and playing by the rules of the web. This is how we “find” people who don’t watch TV anymore and aren’t loyal to any over-the-air brand."


Doubeclick: Video ads get more clicks than image ads

More good news for online video advertising.

From the press release:

"Video click rates are far higher than image format ads

Because of their ability to convey a story through sounds and motion, most advertisers think of online video ads as a format for driving brand awareness. When judged on the basic direct-response metric for online advertising - the click-through rate - online video ads perform extremely well.

Online video ads experience click-through rates ranging from 0.4 percent to 0.74 percent depending on the online video format. By comparison, the click-through rate for plain GIF or JPG image ads ranges between 0.1 and 0.2 percent, based on DoubleClick data.

"Online video ads are quickly becoming the medium of choice to drive both brand awareness and sales," said Rick Bruner, research director at DoubleClick. "The results show that there are clear ROI advantages to placing video ads. We expect to see strong growth in the number of companies reaping the benefits of online video advertising in the coming months and years."

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GigaOM 5 top trends at CTIA

From GigaOM:
  1. Mobile TV
  2. Mobile Ads
  3. iPhone and mobile UI
  4. Lack of compelling new handsets
  5. Mobile user generated content
Those are all fairly safe, it will be full of conference buzz, picks. I do think its a little strange that lack of compelling new handsets comes right after the iPhone. The iPhone is the only one on the list that I think is going to have a real impact outside of the conference walls.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Why Apple TV is a game changer

Sure there are a ton of posts about the Apple TV but here is a good one on why its going to make an impact.

From NewTeeVee:

"Technically, the Apple TV may be simple, but its effect on the TV industry will be anything but. Why? Because TV business models that have thrived for the past thirty to fifty years that relied on:
  • Advertising-supported TV.
  • Prime-time programming.
  • Bundled content.
Apple TV is about to attack the fundamental assumptions underpinning the TV business just as the iPod cut the legs out from under CDs and radio stations. How? Because with Apple TV combining the flexibility of the Internet with a living-room, big-screen experience, consumers now will:
  • Vote for programming with consumer dollars.
  • Watch what they want, when and where they want it.
  • Enjoy TV programming a la carte."
The interesting thing about this to me is that those fundamental changes are certainly valid for the Apple TV product but also describe the ground shifting change that other companies are bringing to the world of TV. Think Joost, Clown Co and Youtube.

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Clown Co. pile on

As you no doubt know, NBC and Fox ( and MySpace, Yahoo, MSN and AOL) announced the formation of a yet to be named company (ClownCo. for you Google people) to create the largest advertising platform ever.

From Bloomberg:

"NBC and News Corp. will create a new Web site that features full-length films and television shows, the companies said today. Yahoo! Inc., Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, Google's biggest rivals, will distribute the shows on their sites."

From PaidContent:

"Zucker: Within hours of word getting out yesterday they had five charter advertisers and two more came in this morning. (One is Royal Carribean.) There will be a separate ad sales force for Newco.

YouTube: Chernin: “This is obviously not a YouTube killer. It it were .. we’d obviously have a standalone site ... We’re obviously willing to meet with anybody” who meets business and copyright requirements. They have already talked to Google (CEO Eric Schmidt) this morning."

From WVfF:

"Based on Yahoo, AOL and MSN’s involvement I’m not sure this is an online video “site” at all. It sounds like a new distribution platform for NBC and Fox. This is motivated by the old “an enemy of my enemy is my friend” theory, but I do think it’s far more sustainable than previous attempts by networks to dethrone YouTube and others. For starters, it will have good content and a wide audience."

More PaidContent:

"Content partners coming in now will have “extraordinary content protection—IP protection that they hadn’t before. ... Any distribution partner is already signed up to protect your content.”

The executive said all of the partners committed to protection beyond the requirements. The deals include filtering of all user-uploaded video. “If you’re getting paid for Heroes on someone’s profile page why would you let the same clip be uploaded by someone?”

One more point: “The content-protection language was negotiated long into the night for the last three nights—no other (prospective) content partners know what we’ve got.”

-- a “really favorable rev share on the advertising” (We have confirmed independently that split is 90-10 for equity partners.)

-- “the opportunity to opt into a network that gives you immediate access to 96 percent of U.S. internet users”

Lost Remote 1:

"What about affiliates? “Potentially they could be distribution partners,” NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker said. “We’ll be looking at that in coming days.” But currently, no profit sharing for affiliates."

Lost Remote 2:

"NBC’s owned-and-operated stations division has shown interest in becoming a distribution partner for the new NBCU-News Corp. video site, a NBCU exec tells Lost Remote. As we’ve reported below, NBC and Fox affiliates currently aren’t partners in the new joint venture, but the exec said “there’s no reason why any of the affiliates can’t be distribution partners,” which would involve a revenue share of the advertising. “We want to talk to them.”

Lost Remote 3: round up of MSM comments

"USA Today: “NBC Universal and News Corp. … unveiled their splashiest effort yet to hang on to people who want to watch popular TV shows and movies on their computer screens.”

From Terry Heaton:

"While everybody’s whooping and hollering, it cannot go unnoticed that the affiliates take it in the shorts on this deal (again). Oh, they have protections built in (the delay window will be several hours after shows air in Hawaii), but this is certainly a play that by-passes the affiliate system. I suppose the next move would be for broadcast companies to get in on the deal and provide their locally produced content in a similar manner."

From Terry Heaton's comments:

"Terry I don’t really see what’s in this NBC/News proposal for broadcast companies like LIN and Belo. Why would a viewer click on a several hour old clip from Wichita Falls News@6? Most local affiliate produced content has the shelf life of a good French baguette — less than a day. Besides the Clownco/Newco revenue model doesn’t leave room for local advertisers. No, this is 110% bad news for the affiliates."

From TechCrunch:

"There will be no centralized site for the service. Instead, content will be available through distribution partners, who will also receive a small share of advertising revenue. The company also said they will be looking to add many more distribution partners, and users will also be able to embed content (along with advertising) directly into their sites.

The two key messages Chernin and Zucker were selling were (1) a focus on respecting copyright, and (2) the fact that they were creating what they called “the largest advertising platform on earth.” That may be good messaging to stockholders, but it isn’t what the public cares about.

First, the fact that only two networks joined is a really bad sign. Viacom at least should have been willing to join. Second, this group has little experience in creating web applications, and no experience building the kind of stuff, like YouTube, that users get seriously passionate about. Third, the track record of major media companies working together to deal with this kind of viral attack on their business is not good."

From TechCrunch comments:

"A DRM-ed video full of adverts. Man, how can I get myself some of those! (And this is coming from someone who runs a site that only features videos. You’d think I’d be excited by the prospect of a streaming episode of ‘Heroes’ but sadly no. Not in this format.)"

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Weather Channel in Second Life

The Weather Channel recently launched in Second Life to mostly positive reviews. The build was handled by Infinite Vision Media.

From Media Week:

"While initially Weather Island will provide additional distribution for The Weather Channel’s TV and broadband content, the plan is to eventually open up the virtual island to marketers. “With Second Life, we’re hopeful we can expose our brand in an original and meaningful way,” said Debora Wilson, president, The Weather Channel Companies.“ We also see Second Life as a potential advertising platform for brands currently partnering with us.”

From Kzero:

"What makes this venue work is the interaction and ability to ride and slide around the features. Understanding that giving is better than receiving, the free ‘kit’ takes the island to a level above many of the other major brands already in SL. The other element given a lot of thought is the terraforming.

Epic Conditions sets the benchmark for a company understanding its brand values and applying them precisely, fully and correctly into a new advertising and branding medium."

From Linda Zimmer:

"Epic Conditions sims employ – well, simulations for an experiential aspect of that storytelling – weather teamed with extreme biking, surfing and skiing. And thanks to the scripting, some of the most experienced in-world sports creators and the SL physics engine – it’s extremely fun. A lot of LOL heard about here.

More importantly, it is a very memorable way to introduce Second Lifers to the show, its purpose, and its content.

The growth of SL means more and more of the population is new and retention at both an individual sim and in SL in general is important to the return on the brand experiments here. The best way to do that is with people combined with engaging experiences such as Epic Conditions. People encourage others to try the experiences - and to stay and play. That said, there are avatars playing here.

The Weather Channel is as close as they come to using Second Life for what it is good for. "

From Phasing Grace:

"I stopped by The Weather Channel's new Second Life presence today to soak in what I thought might be a more spectacular weather-themed experience than the NOAA sim. My expecations were not met, and were probably misaligned anyway since NOAA is all about the science of weather, and The Weather Channel is about linear network broadcasting. I don't know what I was thinking.

The Weather Channel islands offer Residents three interactive experiences they've called "Epic",Extreme Skiing, Moab Desert Biking, and Big Wave Surfing. None of these really held any appeal for me personally, but you may find a few minutes to waste here."

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Joost in talks with Disney?

After the Viacom deal, this would be a huge win for Joost.

From NewTeeVee:

"A Disney exec speaking at a conference today spilled the beans that his company is impressed with Joost. Kevin Mayer, Disney’s EVP of corporate strategy, business development, and technology group, said in general he was skeptical about bringing the TV experience to the PC, but specifically he was interested in the promise of Joost, reports Digital Media Wire."

From Digital Media Wire:

"Though Mayer did acknowledge the importance of internet video outlets, he said, “Will forcing the TV experience to the PC resonate with our customers? That remains to be seen.” He did say, however, that the company is analyzing a potential relationship with internet TV provider Joost, which recently came to terms with Viacom on a content deal as well. He cited Joost’s “high quality format” and “excellent management team” as two reasons Disney might be interested in a deal."

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Mobile Game Outlook

More reports...

From the press release:

"According to a new report from DFC Intelligence, worldwide revenue from the portable game systems from Nintendo and Sony is expected to exceed $10 billion in 2007. The market is being led by the Nintendo DS, the hottest selling system of 2006. The DS has the potential to be the best-selling interactive entertainment platform ever, says David Cole, an analyst with DFC Intelligence.

DFC Intelligence also expects the Sony PSP to establish a solid position in the marketplace. However, a great deal will depend on the focus Sony Computer Entertainment decides to put on promoting the PSP platform over the next few years. The report contains two forecasting scenarios for not only the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, but also the possible future entrance of new portable systems by 2009. According to Cole, Under the right scenario, by 2011 the combined installed base of the DS and PSP could exceed that for the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360.


Amp'd up

Amp'd raises another round.

From GigaOm:

"Trying to create an upstart hipster cell phone company is utterly expensive. Peter Adderton and Sky Dayton, the CEOs of MVNOs Amp’d Mobile and Helio, know this all too well by now. Amp’d is adding another $107 million in funding, according to PEHub and VentureWire, which will bring the company’s funding to over $360 million.

Helio has the backing of two public companies that are shelling out a lot of money — $440 million — to get it on its feet. Helio says it will reach 100,000 subscribers by the second quarter of this year while Amp’d officially brought in over 100,000 subscribers by the end of 2006."

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Mobile Advertising Outlook

eMarketer has some number for mobile advertising.

From the post:

"eMarketer estimates that mobile ad spending in the US will reach $4.8 billion by 2011, up from $421 million in 2006."

Users, however, have different ideas about mobile advertising.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lonelygirl15 gets Product Placement Sponsor

Lonelygirl15 breaks down another wall with a product placement by Hersheys.

From the Next Net:

"At least Hershey's, the sponsor, will be eating that scene up. Goodfried says that Loneygirl15 gets 1.5 million views per week, or 300,000 to 400,000 per episode. While he wouldn't say exactly how much Hershey's is dishing out for the product placement, he confirmed that it was in the same range as what Diggnation gets from its sponsors (which is as much at $10,000 per show per sponsor). Says Goodfried:

It won’t make us rich by any means, but it helps cover the production costs. It's cool for us because major brands are treating our show as a major media entertainment property. "

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Nielsen Monitor-Pulse US Ad Spending 2006

From a recent press release, Nielsen says US ad spending rose by 4.6%.

From the press release:

"Internet* 35.0%
Spot TV Top 100 mkts 9.1%
Span Lang National TV 8.1%
Outdoor 8.1%
National Sunday Supplement 5.6%
Local Sunday Supplement 4.6%
Network TV 4.2%
National Magazines 3.9%
Local Magazine 3.3%
National Newspaper 2.9%
National Cable TV 1.8%
Spot Radio 0.7%
B2B Magazines -0.2%
Coupon -0.6%
Spot TV Mkts 101-210 -0.9%
Network Radio -2.4%
Local Newspaper -3.6%
Total 4.6%"

From Lost Remote:

"Local TV stations in key larger markets experienced a bump from strong political spending, yet smaller market stations struggled. A big culprit: automotive dealer association spending dropped 1.4 percent and dealership spending fell 3.5 percent."


Video Ads get Clicked

eMarketer has some interesting findings about online video ad click through.

From the post:

"Click-through rates for online video ads range from 0.4% to 0.74% depending on the format, according to new DoubleClick data made available exclusively to eMarketer.

Less than 1% may not sound like much, but it is far higher than most display ads. Plain GIF and JPG image ads typically get about 0.1% click-through rates."

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MMOG Market Report

Screen Digest has a new study covering the MMOG market in the west.

  • "Market value for MMOGs in the West hit $1bn for the first time in 2006. Market growth has been helped by the introduction of more casual MMOG experiences and new business models.
  • The North American subscription market was worth $576m, while Europe was worth $299m.
  • By 2011 the MMOG subscription market will be worth over $1.5bn and Europe will enjoy the stronger growth between the two Western regions
  • Over the five year period, Germany will remain the largest subscription market in Europe, followed by the UK.
  • France will see the most significant value growth of over 16% CAGR over the term, whilst Spain and Italy will both experience subscription value CAGR of more than 15%.
  • World of Warcraft is by far the most popular subscription game, accounting for 54% of the subscription market in 2006, generating revenue of $471m. Its next nearest competitor was Runescape from UK developer/publisher Jagex."


Monday, March 19, 2007

Turbo's SXSW Re-cap

Turbo has a nice re-cap of SXSW.

From the post:

"The consumer is back in charge and has many options, most available at the tip of a search query. Understand that Web 2.0 features such as social bookmarking, ranking and filtering, tagging and the like are not simply new widgets – they are a line of demarcation that demonstrate a firm embrace of a more participatory business environment. In this brave new world, listening is as important as talking. If it makes it any easier, most of us have two ears and one mouth. Your organization should be no different."

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Google In-game Advertising: Adscape

Google has just purchased Adscape, an in-game advertising network like Massive/MSFT.

From the Google Adscape purchase FAQ:

"Q. Why did Google acquire Adscape Media?
A. In-game advertising is an area where we believe Google could add a lot of value to users, advertisers and publishers. Adscape Media's technology and talented team are a great addition to Google's current advertising solutions for advertisers and publishers."

From Bernie Stolar, Google Dean of Games:

"Games can be played anywhere and at anytime. In this mobile world, games have evolved to become a part of our lives. Unlike television, gamers can make games their own - customizing their experience in new ways—and we are helping them do that big time."

From Information Week:

"An acquisition of Adscape could pay for itself relatively soon. The in-game advertising market is poised for explosive growth, garnering more than five times the current market value to reach $732 million by 2010, according to an April 2006, the Yankee Group estimate.

Presumably, Google will integrate the ability to buy in-game ads to its online ad platforms (AdWords and AdSense), though Google said it had no plans to announce at this time.

Google is not alone in its interest in in-game advertising. Last May, Microsoft said it would acquire Massive Inc., another in-game advertising company for nearly $200 million."

Where is Sony? Now that MSFT and Google are monetizing in-game.


"There are three ways for Sony to approach in-game advertising. The purchase option is a touch dangerous in Sony’s current financial situation, so that’s not likely the way they’d want to go. Sony could try to develop their own ad system, but that would take quite a bit more work.

That leaves one more option: choose an ad company to go with. Massive is out, of course, so who do they go with? There’s always Google, which has the added bonus of irritating Microsoft to no end. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an announcement along those lines in the next few months."

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Assignment Zero's Second Life Assignment

Assignment Zero has been getting some attention lately. They are working on a Second Life story.

From the site:

"Let’s talk to a Second Life journalist, covering this digital world as an avatar who resides inside it. Not only have Reuters, Wired and CNET set up virtual bureaus within Second Life in order to bring outside content in and in-world news out, but a host of Web sites, blogs and even an in-world newspaper—the Second Life Herald—are now devoted exclusively to covering the lives of avatars. Brian Howard got us started with his post on Second Life Journalists for NewAssignment.Net, but let's take it further."

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Susan Wu's Web3D

Susan's all keyed up after SXSW and has another great post today. Its a "part one" post so jump on board and follow along!

From the post:

"Here’s how I see the evolutionary arc of the online user experience:

Web 1.0: Information Sharing
Web 2.0: Interaction
Web 3.0: Immersion

What are the implications? We are moving from web pages to web places."

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Well it hasn't taken long for the wheels to start coming off

From The Hollywood Reporter:

"The beermaker's new 24/7 branded digital entertainment network has seen the fizz from its Super Bowl kickoff evaporate quickly, averaging just 253,000 visitors in February, its first month online, according to new data from Comscore Media Metrix. A-B marketing execs reportedly projected reaching 2 million-3 million visitors per month by year's end.

Tony Ponturo, vp global media and sports marketing at Anheuser-Busch, attributed the sluggish traffic to the controversial age-verification system necessary to access the site.

"The first week after Super Bowl, the site got an average of 20,000 visits a day, but only about 800-1,000 a day were registering -- we think because of the registration process," Ponturo said via e-mail.

From NewTeeVee:

"This isn’t to say A-B has been blameless. After all, the site breaks almost every accessibility rule, with pop-up windows, content wrapped completely in Flash, and poor use of screen real estate. You can’t embed videos and if you send your friends to the site, they have to register.

And there’s the lesson — unsexy, oft-repeated, but true — that A-B needs to take away from this. You can have good writers, good actors and good shows. But watching video online is all about ease of use. If you make it hard on your audience, your audience will make it hard on you."

From Lost Remote:

"I fear I’m coming close to writing the epitaph on Bud.TV and it will read as follows: “Good idea, badly executed.”

Someone else will take this concept and be successful with it. Don’t write off the concept - but it may be time to kick the keg."


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Importance of Avatars

Susan Wu was on a panel about Avatars at SXSW. She took good notes.

From the post:

"7. Why avatars are important:

There are going to be a bazillion virtual worlds coming online in the next several years. Every major media company is going to try to port all of their brands into some sort of virtual 3D environment.

These may be poorly designed, inferior products, but they are going to have the very real, very important impact of training the consumer to think about virtual worlds in a certain way. As product designers, we can help inform these big media brands who want to foray into virtual worlds."

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Metaweb Technologies'

Our old friend Danny Hillis is in the news again with a new company called Metaweb Technologies. Its first product is called Freebase.

From the Freebase site:

"We want to make it possible for you to add high quality structured information to your websites, mashups and applications without worrying about restrictive corporate licenses. All data is licensed Creative Commons Attribution."

From the New York Times:

"A new company founded by a longtime technologist is setting out to create a vast public database intended to be read by computers rather than people, paving the way for a more automated Internet in which machines will routinely share information."

From The Next Net:

"The idea behind Freebase, conceived by computer scientist Danny Hillis, is that the Web is too chaotic as it is and it would be easier to find things if there was more structure to it. That is, if every piece of information on the Web could be tagged and categorized, finding exactly what you want wouldn't be such a pain, especially for computers. "

From Techcrunch:

"Like Google Base, Freebase is a massive database. The purpose of the database is to centralize as much data as possible, and allow participants to freely add and access data - developers can extract information from Freebase via a set of APIs and add it to their web applications. It also builds relationships between highly structured pieces of data, something that can’t easily be done with distributed data controlled by different entities.

Freebase looks to be what Google Base is not: open and useful. I imagine there will be more than one forehead self-smacked at Google HQ tomorrow, as they think “We could have done this."

From O'Reily Radar:

"Metaweb has slurped in the contents of several of the web's freely accessible databases, including much of wikipedia, and song tracks from musicbrainz. It then turns its users loose on not just adding more data items but making connections between them by filling out meta tags that categorize or otherwise connect the data items, using a typology that can be extended by users, wiki-style.

Metaweb still has a long way to go, but it seems to me that they are pointing the way to a fascinating new chapter in the evolution of Web 2.0."

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