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Lessons from the Oscars

While the Oscars celebration has wrapped up, the annual awards show serves as a poignant reminder as to all of the qualities of a good production.  From lighting, to set design, audio, and effects the show showcases Hollywood's biggest productions, and at the same time offers perspective on the aspects that you need to keep in mind to produce and develop effective video content.  Now, while your video production may be for marketing purposes, or to educate an internal audience, demonstrate a product, or share insights from new research or the C-suite, there are still similarities and lessons you can take away from The Oscars.   Here are three lessons from the Oscars to keep in mind: Sometimes Less Is More: The Artist, winner of the Best Picture award, did something most of us would have thought impossible in 2012; they told their story with no spoken words.  Quite a remarkable feet in this technology charged and Twitter powered media environment. That is not to say you should go without sound for your production, but it's an important reminder of an old production 101 maxim Keep It Simple Stupid. The Devil is In The Details: Many of Oscars awards actually fall behind the scenes for directing, lighting, costume design and editing.  While these aren't the types of tasks that will energize your team about producing video for your organization (that's why we're here to help!) they're important parts of any production and all play a part in successfully telling your story. Everyone Has A Story: Gigi Causey and Andrew Bowler, a married couple, were nominated for their live-action short...

A Brief Reflection As We Celebrate Six Years

Six years ago today I took a leap.  Having worked in radio and television for some time, and then spent almost five years running a PR shop in New York, it was time for a new challenge.  Torn between heading to a larger firm, or going out on my own, I decided to start CityCast Media. Having started listening to some Podcasts, I quickly realized how nascent the medium was, and thought about the opportunity to communicate online and how this new medium could very well tie into many PR & Marketing plans.  So, I started spending my evenings putting my thoughts together and thinking about what a company could offer clients to leverage the new space.   While there was much to be determined, there were a few core beliefs that I held in the back of my mind: – I wanted to offer honest solutions; services that didn't require an advanced degree or calculus to determine their reach…coming from traditional PR I saw too many bogus audience numbers and I just didn't like the games.  Early on we realized that download numbers, or views, would be the simplest metric for us to deploy. – Service was key, if we tell you we are going to do something, then we do it. I didn't want our organization to tell clients one thing and do another (or as is often the case with some firms – do nothing).  – We would be all about professionalism – from our branding and presence to our solutions and service. We respect our clients not only as professionals, but as partners, and when we engage with them we are committed...

Why Apple Should Thank The Kindle & Nook

So, I just had a chance to try the Nook for the first time at Barnes & Noble, and I have previously used The Kindle, as well as Kindle for the iPhone. Actually, since Kindle came out with their App I have begun reading quite a bit more, since my books are so much more accessible. Well, anyway back to my point at hand the Nook – how haphazard and confusing. Do I press the arrows on the side or use the graphical icons on the touch screen, but I can’t touch the e-ink screen, right? Wow just poor UI development & implementation. But despite the design flaws – as early adopters; what have Amazon & Barnes & Noble done well? They have educated and primed the reading public for what e-books could be, offered us a taste of how accessible and easy it could be to have our favorite newspapers delivered electronically, or to immediatly download a best-seller. Well, if past experiances are anything to go on, then Apple owes the two retailers a huge Thank You. Why? Because they have done a tremendous job in letting the public know what the e-book is and how it works. And while Apple will have forgone any sort of first-mover advantage, when their iBooks store debuts in a few short days, the hard work will have been done and we’ll know what to expect. Further, we can bank on the fact that Apple will bring their signature touch to UI to books, which will ensure an ease of use for just about anyone. Coupled with the versatility of the iPad,...

The iPadization of Content is Upon Us

Both leading up to, and of course, after Apple’s January 27th iPad announcement the interwebs were, and have been, a buzz about the tablet device that will now debut in less than a week.  It’s certainly been an interesting development to observe, and follow, as the implications could potentially run far and wide – both for the computing industry, as well as those in the content creation business. Personally, I think the iPad taps into the power of the iPhone platform but serves it up in an even more tangible size and for that matter a size that will likely in time become more palatable to a wider breath of audiences.  The iPad unlike the iPhone will have no expensive cellular contract or service usage agreements, it will simply work on any WiFi connection, or those users that wish can opt in to a month-to-month data service with AT&T.  In terms of the interaction, since the web’s introduction it has been a point & click type of world, but the iPad will change that it, and it will morph into a hands-on environment.  We’ll be able to look past the device and become fully consumed with our music, movies, and of course text-based content – or more poignantly those delineations are going to continue to become harder to make.  We’ll see magazines with embeded Podcasts, and electronic books that offer videos about their subject matter, and newspapers that will strike us more as the local television channel than the traditional paper. In the process, this iPad-ization of content is going to further drive consumption, alter the media landscape, and...

How Fox Should Change Late Night

I have a plan for Fox to change the Late Night game – it extends beyond just hiring Conan – and in the process it would leverage their existing assets and create a significant stream of revenue for the Fox television network. This strategy would shake up the network TV landscape, and would offer Fox the opportunity to join the party at 11:35 PM. It wasn’t that long ago that Fox was as struggling start-up network, however today it is often ranked at the top of the ratings with blockbusters like American Idol, and 24, and yet after the local news at 10 PM the local affiliates transition to blocks of syndicated sitcoms. So, it’s time to shake things up and move past old Seinfeld repeats. Here’s the idea: build a national newscast to air at 11 PM using the resources of the Fox News Channel and then lead into Conan O’Brien at 11:35 PM. It’s the perfect opportunity to extend the Fox News Channel’s brand, to bring something new to the timeslot, and to set Conan up for a fair fight in late night. On the other Networks, the traditional 11 PM newscast has been produced by the local affiliates, however Fox already serves that niche at 10 PM and there is no other eleven o’clock National newscast on any of the broadcast networks. This would offer Fox the opportunity to differentiate its programming, showcase its news reporting talents, and to familiarize new audiences with the FNC brand, and then position them to lead into Conan at 11:35 PM. With that strategy, since Conan’s demos match up better...

The Shift: Syndication It’s Not a Dirty Word

Tear down those walls. In today’s social media infused PR & Marketing environment it’s no longer to your benefit to only publish content to your campaign website. No, in fact in today’s iPhone wielding, Twitter, & Facebook obsessed world it’s to your advantage to Syndicate your content to as many platforms as possible. Such a concept of sharing content used to be a dirty thought, as you wanted to control your content and simply drive audiences directly to your website. However, while that is still true today, the strategy for obtaining and reaching consumers of your content has shifted; and the focus is now on spreading your message as widely as possible and having the audience further disseminate your content and propel new eyeballs in your direction. As audiences become more and more fragmented it is increasingly important to share your content and extend its reach in order to help meet the increased diversity with which content is consumed. Sharing your content and syndicating it benefits your campaign in a number of innovative ways: By increasing the availability of the content, creating more pipes that lead back to your website & allowing you to reach broader audiences. Engaged audiences take ownership and will proactively share your news, and spread the message on their own to their own friends and contacts. Allows target audiences to opt-in and manage both when & where they interact with your information. Beyond these aspects, there are other advantages, not the least of which is having the opportunity to syndicate any type of content from the latest news release, to a Podcast interview with your...