Archive for January, 2006

This Just In: Advertising Wants In Your iPod

Posted on January 31, 2006

So I’m a bit skeptical on the issue because we’ve addressed it before on The Media Backpage.  The issue is how can the advertising community best utilize the latest craze of video iPods?  Advertisers are still navigating these unfamiliar waters with the further development of the video iPod and recently companies are trying to take their traditional 30-second spots for television and reformat them for your iPod.  This is the wrong approach.  Advertising executives need to think outside their traditional realm as video blogs and programs are their own medium and need to attract uniquely crafted messages.  The sooner companies learn how to capitalize on this new medium, the better chance they have of getting their product or service noticed by this ever-growing population. 

Keep monitoring the trend on The Media Backpage – we’re all over this trend.

The Old Media Model is Dead

Posted on January 30, 2006

As today’s media landscape continues yesterday’s business models are becoming history. 

Audiences are finding new and unique ways to consume media.  Instead of watching your favorite television program on Thursday’s at 8PM now you simply "TiVo" it and watch it when it’s convenient for you, or watch it at a later date on DVD.  The news is no longer at 11 – but rather when you’re ready at 11:07.  Your favorite radio station used to cover about a 100 square mile radius, now thanks to satellite radio it covers the entire country.  In the past, it took almost a year from the box-office to our dens, today movies are available with weeks. (Actually, with Steven Sodenberg’s latest release - Bubble – the movie was released in the theatre and on DVD on the same day.)  

As we explained in our introductory post, yesterday’s media business models are experiencing New York Magazinedynamic changes.  This recent article from New York Magazine does a great job of driving home the point about how technologies, such as the TiVo and the iPod, have changed how the media system works, and relegated the old media rules to the history books.

Sirius: STOP Pirating Howard

Posted on January 27, 2006
Yeah…that will work.  In a "shocking" statement from Sirius, cease-and-desist letters have been sent out to online pirates, and in a move to try and stop the "king of all media" from being heard for free.  After his satellite debut on January 9th, pirate radio stations around NY as well as other major markets began to retransmit the Sirius program on terrestrial (free) radio.  I can’t imagine who was more thrilled, Sirius (by losing potential consumers) or the FCC (with Stern uncensored roaming on the FM dial).  Pirating Howard is nothing new, it has been occurring for years.  However, the issue is about dollars and cents now.  With Sirius costing consumers $13 a month, if their is a free alternative, people will flock to it.  There is little doubt Sirius will do everything in their power to eliminate the free transmission of Howard Stern’s program with as much as $500 million invested in him.  Sirius spokesman Patrick Reilly said, "We don’t condone the stealing of Howard’s show, or any of the content on our more than 125 channels. We vigorously protect our intellectual property rights and we will actively prosecute those who attempt to steal it." put the scenario best: if water fountains started spraying free Coca-Cola. In that case, who’d want to part with four quarters for a bottle of Coke?

The Sopranos & the Genius of HBO

Posted on January 26, 2006

HBOWith The Sopranos next season slated to start on March 12, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at what makes HBO so unique.  While the networks fight to retain audience share, the cable network, HBO, retains paying viewers with relevant and unique content like Sex in the City, and Entourage. 

While HBO is often the subject of water cooler talk they program and operate under a different set of rules from the rest of the television industry.  Not only does HBO charge for their programming and keep subscribers locked in between seasons, they also tend to counter program the traditional November or February Sweeps periods.  Instead HBO runs their most popular shows during network TV’s off months such as January, March and July. This strategy allows HBO to capitalize on an unsaturated market for hype, to have few new network shows to compete against, and perhaps most importantly, by staggering their programming it ensures that subscribers keep doing just that, subscribing between and throughout seasons.

SopranosIn short, HBO seems to have developed its own paradigm that allows it to create a win-win solution for the network and its audience. Now, I’m glad that I never cancelled that HBO subscription, because in just a few short weeks everyone’s favorite mob family returns!

Updated: Disney Will Have an Extreme Makeover

Posted on January 24, 2006

There are a number of articles, like this one, from the Mercury News that are making the rounds these days about how through a series of actions Steve Jobs could rise to power to run Disney and what the implications would be for the media industry.

How does such a scenario develop?  Well, if Disney completes a deal to buy Pixar, the animation studio that created hits Toy Story and Finding Nemo, then Jobs, who is already Pixar’s CEO would obtain Disney stock as part of the deal.  In actuality, he would probably end up with enough stock to put him on Disney’s board and perhaps even the chairman’s seat.

So, how does that sit within the modern media landscape?  While, it may remind you of the failed AOL-Time Warner merger, which, was orchestrated to fuse AOL’s online portal with the Time Warner’s vast content library, the outcome will be much different.  While there could be questions as to why this mega-merger would have a different outcome.  Basically, there are two major differences between the AOL-TW merger and Disney and Pixar situation.  First, the AOL and Time Warner deal happened before broadband was widely deployed in American homes, which allows consumers to download larger media content such as songs and video content.  Secondly, there was no device nor the ability to mobilize AOL’s content whereas a Disney/Pixar deal would bring together not only two content behemoths but one of today’s hottest technology providers.

DisneyIf the Disney-Pixar deal does take foot expect Steve Jobs – in whatever capacity he is in the corporate hierarchy – to use the newfound position to influence the organization’s strategy so that he can leverage the Disney’s large content library via the Apple’s iTunes store.  Not only will this help fully usher Disney into the new digital age, but it will monetize an extensive library that is not available yet in the digital world.  While Disney’s ABC and ESPN units have already debuted content in Apple’s iTunes Music Store, with Jobs on the Disney board, it would not be surprising to see old television shows and movies, as well as new releases make their way into the virtual shelves and available for download.  Jobs has built a platform that over 80 million Americans now use to manage their music libraries, and with the latest release of the company’s iPod supporting video, Jobs is looking for a way to tip the scales again for television and film properties and further drive traffic through iTunes and thus the sale of the iPod. 

Of course, on a larger scale, if Jobs is successful in this endeavor it will impact not only Disney, but the larger media community.

Update: Since we posted this earlier in the week, the deal has been completed and it has been announced that Jobs will be on the Disney board of directors.  Business Week has a good analysis of how Jobs will interact and help drive the direction of the Disney organization.

Do Two Netlets Equal One Network?

Posted on January 24, 2006

In a shocking move today, the newly formed CBS Corporation and Time Warner have agreed to shutdown their smaller TV networks, the WB and UPN.  Keeping their popular programming alive, the two major media corporations will launch the "CW" network in the fall season of 2006.  Network executives from UPN and WB will combine to run the new network, CW and will make decisions about which programs they will renew for the new network in the fall.  Often referred to as "Netlets" for their inability to crack the "big 4" ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX in the eyes of the viewers and the public, the folding of the WB and UPN is a significant move in the media marketplace. 

As cable television continues to dominate the marketplace with channels aimed at targeted "niche" audience, networks have been left scratching their heads to compete.  Cable has been grabbing ratings from the networks continuously for the past decade and is impacting the business-side of television.  The underlying point is that the television landscape is changing and this is just another large media merger within the entertainment industry.  The real winner is Time Warner who would earn a 50% stake in a possible 5th large network.      

Major outlets have already began to weigh in:

Wall Street Journal

Getting More out of RSS

Posted on January 24, 2006

This is a great list of uses of RSS feeds and how users can benefit from RSS beyond just receiving the news headlines.  The list was published by and we were lucky enough to learn about it via Steve Rubel’s Micro Persuasion.

HD Radio Tunes In

Posted on January 20, 2006

As part of a broader effort announced earlier this week by the HD Radio Alliance, the nation’s largerst radio broadcasters have begun unveiling their HD Radio roll-out plans.  As the announcements roll in many across the country are going to have the opportunity to experience new formats, as old ones will re-emerge.  For example, in New York, on one of Clear Channel’s HD signals New York gained its first country signal in several years, while many of CBS’s newly launched Free-FM outlets began providing modern rock on their HD channels.  Additionally, new formats for terrestrial radio are making their debut such as Clear Channel’s Hip Hop Raw and Uncut channel in San Francisco.

FMQB – HD Radio Rollout Begins

Terrestrial Radio Gets "Serious" About HD

Google Takes a Bite Out of Apple

Posted on January 19, 2006

Two weeks ago at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and Google all showcased their new online video portals, which were set to debut later this year.  The idea was to challenge the stranglehold Apple already has on the market for both free videos, but more importantly those that content providers are charging for including television shows and movies.  Google has already cut a major deal with the NBA, for consumers to download games and highlights from around the league for their viewing pleasure.

As we have covered on The Media Backpage, major content providers like Walt Disney and CBS have already cut deals with Apple.  However, this week Google snuck one past everyone by launching it’s service way ahead of schedule.  They have now officially launched their site, Google Video.

Everyone’s excited to have options for online video, especially those with video iPods and similar players, with that said though some are not thrilled with Google’s first offering, especially those at the New York Times ripped Google’s beta version.  The service leaves a lot to be desired and isn’t as comfortable as Apple’s iTunes, but it is still certain to have a huge impact on the emerging video-download world.

Check it out and let us know what you think…


Amazon Adds to Online Contet Mix; Wrong Strategy

Posted on January 19, 2006

On January 24th, Amazon hands the mic to Bill Maher, who will host a new on-line series of webcasts called, "Amazon Fishbowl." 

That’s correct, after over ten years on the web, Amazon is getting into the original content business.Amazon  Each week, on Thursday evenings, the company will host Maher’s program, which will feature various authors, artists, and directors.  As one might expect, most of the guests will have tie-ins with current or new products that are available through the e-retailer.  However, despite the move into the world of "Web 2.0," unlike the earlier moves by the traditional networks, Amazon will only stream the content live on their website and the shows will not be available for download.

I applaud Amazon for taking the step forward to offer original content, but the strategy is flawed.  Consumers are reaching out for alternatives from the traditional media venues but they want to do so on their own terms.  That is why there has been great success for products like TiVo, and on-line content like audio and video podcasts.  However, today’s audience wants to have the flexibility to catch programming when and where they want, which is why I would strongly recommended that they make these shows available for download.  Not only would Amazon would benefit further by making this content available for download through their own site, but they can also reach new audiences through other distribution channels such as iTunes, Yahoo, AOL, and the many independent media directories.