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Reading Between the Lines; Movie Rentals Come to Facebook ** Updated **

After thinking about the news that movies are going to be available for sale and rent on Facebook, I think there's a new battle brewing in the content distribution business.  Sure this is just one announcement by one studio, but rest assured Facebook is seeking to identify and develop similar relationships with other movie studios and music labels.  For Facebook, this is a natural fit, because so many of today's social interactions about pop culture are held on the social networking site.  So, why not establish relationships with the content owners, and monetize those discussions.  The relationship between Warner Brothers and Facebook does just that, it places movies in close proximity to the dialogue by Facebook's users about them.  For example, a user can comment that they saw a movie and loved it; while another can disagree, but in-line with that discussion and available for all users can be a simple one-click option to purchase the content.  Gone are the barriers of now heading to a brick & mortar location, or searching for the content on another site.  This relationship provides for a simple integrated experience.  Further, Facebook can foster those conversations and extend it's relationship with it's users while keeping them on the site longer. In a sense, with this news Facebook is reverse engineering the immensely popular iTunes store…where Apple is trying to build-out a social network with it's Ping offering, instead Facebook is bringing the content purchasing experience right into their site.  In an age old chicken or the egg type of debate, we're left to wonder which will prove to be the winning strategy: first...

What @CharlieSheen Can Teach Communicators About #Winning

In looking beyond the circus that has surrounded Charlie Sheen's every waking move this past week, there are actually some lessons that communicators can take away.  Despite Sheen's unique and controversial tirades, his campaign was carried out via an on-slaught of traditional broadcast interviews, married with his adoption of Twitter, and then the use of online video technology.  The combination was uniquely powerful and successful in both engaging the audience and feeding today's never-ending news cycle.  Now, while these lessons don't include adding #tigerblood to your campaigns, they highlight the opportunities that can be leveraged for your campaigns & provide some strategies to consider as you plan your next outreach efforts… Go Social – It seems hard to turn in any direction these days without seeing a mention of Twitter or Facebook, Sheen's outbursts are a vivid reminder of both the importance and extent to which social tools can help disseminate a message and propel a story.  At one point over the weekend Sheen related hashtags took over 4 of the top 10 trending topics on Twitter.  While the initiatives that many work on day-to- day may not be as polarizing or generate this extraordinary level of traction, the lesson is still valuable and reminds of the importance of integrating and promoting social components to PR & marketing campaigns, as there is power in these avenues to disseminate our messaging and reach new eyes & ears along the way. Tell Your Story With Video – In broadcasting live on Saturday night, in what was dubbed Sheen's Korner, the actor was able to take the steering wheel and control the...

Understanding The Rules of Online Media

Here’s the long and short of it: there are no rules with online media. Sure, take a moment to digest that because it goes against just about everything we’re typically conditioned to think.  We’re used to “best practices” and guidelines.  Think about it in terms of traditional media where there are a wide variety of rules & guidelines.  For instance, typically newspaper articles are a few hundred words in length; for television outlets the news department always tries to find a local angle on a story; while in the land of radio stories are usually told these days by a reporter, often syndicated, that at best feature a quick sound bite.  And accordingly, with each of these different arenas there are certain rules of the game if you will for for gaining traction for your particular story; however in the online space we have a blank platform through which to tell our stories. This platform extends beyond the simple press release or website, but today expands into the mobile space and allows any organization to create rich media that is on-message and helps to tell its story.  This is vastly powerful space – organizations can now share video of their events, conversations with executives, and insights from their latest research with global audiences with ease.  A pretty powerful development that has come of age in the last few years, but as organization’s go to implement these types of tools they are often faced with questions in regard to the “right” way to do things…which is where we enter new & uncharted territory. That said, the online space brings with...

The Shift: From Pitching to Producing

The PR business is changing from an industry that once relied on traditional content producers, into a field that is leveraging new tools and crafting unique audio and video content itself. Prior to the internet boom, if you had a story you wanted to tell you had a variety of options from local & network television, to radio, newspapers, and a wide variety of periodicals.  So, your best bet was to craft a news release and start pitching to the respective outlets that you were targeting.  Along the way you would find a number of different reactions from the standard “We’ll get back to you…” to the “That’s not something we would be interested in,” or “Send me more information.”  Ultimately, if your story was accepted by an editor or a reporter, the final message was in their hands.  You could only provide them with the information and coordinate an interview – from there it was up to them what would make the final cut. While those were the rules of the game, for professionals who pride ourselves on helping our clients to tell their stories that created a pretty vulnerable and uncontrolled situation.  Now, before I go on, of course I recognize that that type of situation still exists and that there are many talented individuals that still pitch and provide great results for their clients.  However, with the advancement of the internet, the ubiquity of an internet connection from the PC to the cell phone and new gadgets such as the iPod and the iPad, a new channel to reach audiences has emerged. It is this new...

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...