Archive | January, 2006

AOLD Rush

When we ask for more content created specifically for the Web audience, the new Mark Burnett “reality” series Gold Rush! isn’t really what we mean.
It looks like it’s little more than a glorified ad campaign, designed solely to increase traffic to the various AOL websites that will host it, and while it very well may be a hit — after all, greed is a powerful motivator — it still shouldn’t be confused with actual, you know, content.

And while Burnett seems to get the future:

He believes that in a few years television and online sites will be widely available on the same screen, and viewers will be going back and forth between the two media seamlessly.

does anybody believe that he would be doing this if his most recent TV shows hadn’t been tanking?

Bucking The Month-Old Tradition

I think we can all agree that the old media is going to struggle with the new media model. Just redoing all those financial projections is going to be painful. Recalibrating the timing alone could take Excel experts months of work. The models are scary, there is no doubt about it.

That being said, one of the most ridiculous postures being taken is the “release to iTunes the day after the initial broadcast.” This is, frankly, a sop to advertisers who don’t want to dilute their viewing audience. But, at this point, the download audience is quite different from the watch-the-moment-it-airs audience. That’s not say there’s no overlap in viewership. But the audience who goes directly to download, do not pass go, is not the audience the advertisers will reach anyway. It’s time to erase the iTunes window and treat it as a primary, Day One source.

And it seems that Nickelodeon and Comedy Central are already going there — if not beating the appointment-broadcast schedule. Delaying availability makes no sense at all. The ipodbank.com post discusses certain financial issues; we’ll be back with more details of the money behind the iTunes product. If studios are smart, they’ll start thinking of the new media as an equal to traditional methods now.

Placeshifting

As the ability to watch anything, anytime, anywhere begins to filter down from the early adopters to the masses, we are going to see a lot more articles like this one in the Christian Science Monitor:  where a “real person” (whom is usually the tech or entertainment reporter) integrates the technology into her life for a period and reports the results.

She calls it “timeshifting,” which has been a familiar concept for a couple of decades now, but it’s really more “placeshifting” — the “anytime” factor is pretty much a given; the novelty is now the “anyplace” on multiple devices.

This Week In Media

Continuing a long-standing tradition* here at Medialoper, we bring you all the news we couldn’t bring ourselves to rant or rave about — despite the fact that this news will change your life. Also it gives me something to do while I wait to see what I’m getting when I download Battlestar Galactica Vignette 2. More on the Battlestar experience to come later — here’s the news.

  • Verizon to Start TV Service in N.Y., Mass.: Like all smart phone service providers, Verizon is rollilng out the fiber optic and obtaining television broadcast franchise licenses (good news for cities who need the bucks). Like ATT, Verizon started it FiOS services in Texas before rolling the service out to other locations. The broadband, hopefully lightning fast, fiber optic will bring the standard slew of HBO, Showtime, ESPN delights to the masses.
  • Vote of Confidence for S&S – CBS head Les Moonves must have taken a tour of the Simon & Schuster dungeon because he’s discovered thousands upon thousands of potential moneymakers. In addition to providing a vote of confidence to the publishing house, Moonves realizes that a giant backlist is just content waiting to be exploited. We agree.
  • BusinessWeek: More blogs, less ads – FishbowlNY notes that BusinessWeek has goen blog-happy in light of declining advertising. Clearly, they have seen the future, and realize that creating a strong online presence now will be the key to survival. Not only is online cheaper to produce and maintain, but creating go-to content areas will bring back the advertising bucks — maybe not to print edition prices, but it’s clear that print edition prices aren’t long for this world anyway.
  • Breaking News: AT&T reaches out and touches…Endeavor – Meanwhile, FishbowlLA uncovers a first-of-its-kind (we hope) alliance: AT&T has partnered with Endeavor. One can only assume the telecom giant isn’t looking to go on casting calls, and one can only guess as to what a talent agency brings to the table. We will officially begin the countdown to AT&T’s “original content” announcement.
  • Netflix looks to download arena – As company revenue soars for Q4, year – Despite exceeding growth targets in 2005, Netflix is talking all downloadable video all the time. Without getting specific of course. The question remains whether the studios and Netflix are nimble enough to change to a multi-delivery business model.
  • Google May Be Close To Developing iTunes Competitor – A Bear Stearns analyst is speculating that Google, coveting that iTunes demographic (and all those lovely consumer dollars), will roll out a music service. Said analyst doesn’t explain how Google will differentiate its service from the already-crowded music market or the dead services along the trail. It is expected that Google’s entry, should it happen, will hit the Internet within six months.
  • The Long Snout – O’Reilly, an early adopter of online technologies to deliver content, notably reducing really heavy books to bits and bytes, is now offer “Rough Cuts”. The new service will allow subscribers to access works-in-progress. Given that the publisher plays heavily to the programming and technology crowds, this approach will get usable information out to market much faster and more effectively than the traditional publishing model.
  • TimesSelect Draws About 156,000 Web-Only Subs in First 4 Months – Proving that the paid content model isn’t dead, the New York Times online subscription sevice, TimesSelect, has pulled in over 150,000 paid subscribers. The NYT continues to tinker with the model, but given this early success, it shows that people will pay for content they want.

* – Like a collection, a tradition is formed when we have more than one of something.

iTunes Expands Programming: SpongeBob and Cartman To Corrupt iPod Nation

The next time your grandmother downloads a copy of Monk from iTunes you can ask her to grab a classic episode of South Park for you while she’s at it. iTunes has just expanded it’s video programming, adding 14 new shows aimed squarely at a much younger audience than previous offerings.

Shows from Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central made their downloadable debuts this past friday. Individual programs are available for now standard $1.99.

Initial feedback to the new offerings has been mixed. A few comments on the site have questioned the pricing of the first two seasons of South Park, noting that the DVD’s are available from Amazon not much more. It’ll be interesting to see iTunes responds to this criticism or continues with a the flat pricing structure that has been so successful in their music store.

A full list of new programs:

  • South Park (seasons 1 and 2)
  • Drawn Together
  • Best of Comedy Central Standup
  • SponeBob SquarePants
  • Dora the Explorer
  • Zoey 101
  • Beavis and Butt-head (season 1)
  • Laguna Beach
  • Wonder Showzen
  • Gauntlet 2
  • My Super Sweet 16
  • Jackass
  • Punk’d
  • South of Nowhere