Archive for September, 2008

New Marketing Architectures

Monday, 29 September 2008

Cory Doctorow presents a good discussion on storytelling (in Cinema and TV) and why it is formed and shaped the way it is (30 minute programs / 8 mins of ads).

I don’t know the detailed of history of how we struck up or evolved to this formula, but it is clear that the technology and economic models would have influenced this form.

With the Internet, do the options of storytelling change? Does the architecture change (check out Henry Jenkins‘ research of the architecture of storytelling)?

Of course storytelling changes. Cory points out 10 secs – 10 mins on YouTube clearly works, and no doubt the options for interactive formats and the direct and immediate influence of a community of viewers (or participants) can completey blow up the number of options available.

But, does the economic and technology architecture of advertising (and all marketing in fact) need to change in line with the storytelling? Ad formats, 8 mins of 30 second spots every 30 mins is the norm. Display ads on the internet are the norm. Does a non-inert platform like the internet blow up the number of options for advertising. Of course it does. Do the economics change when you have 100,000 people deeply interacting with your show vs 1,000,000 just watching? Of course it does.

So why on every video site out there, are we sticking with a fusion of the same 30 second spots and internet display advertising? Even shorter versions of spot ads running at 5 or 15 seconds are basically the same thing.

Although current broadcast formats show good CPMs, with sites like Hulu only showing 2 mins of ads every 30, the mistake producers and publishers are making is relying on previous marketing architectures. The model of distribution and thus the economics of internet video are not the same as broadcast TV. Relying on previous TV or Internet ad formats for new show formats is risky.

As the supply of video continues to explode (just adding YouTube increases Worldwide Video programming output by 1.4x)

Video Programming Output

Video Programming Output

we need to address the architecture of marketing to ensure we effectively and efficiently generate revenue from each viewer and participant.

SoundUnwound builds something…

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Amazon/IMDB just launched SoundUnwound and are opening up a deep set of music information to the public, and it is editable by the public.

It sounds good, and they are “mushing” together their own music info with MusicBrainz.  Some users at MusicBrainz are asking some pertinent questions about how contributions to the SU community will be reflected in the MB data.  MB data is maintained by the public and all factual data is dedicated to the Public Domain.  There’s no requirement on SU to push the data back, but will they?

Also boingboing and paidcontent reports the public can edit wiki-style, but this isn’t quite true.  Every edit a user makes goes through an approval process before being published.  This indicates to me an immediate untrust for community contribution.  In addition, if you make changes, and they are approved, the content copyright is owned by SU, not by the community.  Along with SU’s call to action on the home page and FAQs,

“See something wrong or missing? You can fix it! SoundUnwound pages are open for anyone to edit.”

“Go try some editing. It’s strangely addictive.”

this doesn’t seem like a very appealing social contract to me.  i.e.,

“Please, make changes, and if you do, we have the rights to profit from them”.

It is great that they have opened up a huge amount of information, but building a community around music this is not.  It simply feels like a front for sales on Amazon.

NB. I also had a look at their T&C’s which include a hyper linking guide that you must comply with, including the correct way of referencing the SU service.  Sorry, the correct way to reference the site just then should have been “Find out more about the Terms and Conditions of the service at SoundUnwound“.

Very strange, they seem a little over controlling with regards to their perception/branding.

Upfront commitment provides zero risk

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Cameron Death, talking of brand advertising [product placement and pre-roll] says “We won’t greenlight until we have brands lined up who want to be in the show”.

Looking at comments on NBC’s Gemini Division, regardless if you think the “brand integration was seamless” and “not ham handed and inoffensive“, this economic approach does not scale and create a sustainable market.

Removing upfront risk does a number of things;

1) Stifles creativity.  The ad deal process is labourious, and doesn’t scale efficiently.  If traditional TV or even banner advertising on the web worked this way, we would see a fraction of the shows (sites) we see today.

2) Puts the control firmly in the hands of the advertisers.  The studios are simply passing the investment risk onto the advertisers.  If the show doesn’t do well, how are the producers going to replace the brand advertisers?  They can’t, and after feeling burned, the advertisers will be even harder to sell to next time.

3) Limits revenue innovation.  Product placement and pre-roll advertising is exactly the same as traditional TV.  Seriously, we are 10+ years after the first online TV show, and this is the best they can do with the most interactive platform in existence to date, the Internet.

I don’t have the answers, but replicating TV on the web is not viable in the long term.  With an abundance of choice (prosumer content, indies, micro-studios, bittorrent), TV producers will have trouble driving demand for shows.  Just look at what is happening with music.

If the TV industry doesn’t start being serious about revenue innovation, the internet wont be anything more than a very risky disribution pipe.

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Update: A fantastic summary of the nuisance costs imposed on viewers through the advertising.  Also a great comment on the summary, “the whole series nonetheless feels like a giant marketing campaign for Intel.”

Revolution for online TV?  i don’t think so.

Topspin on the ball

Monday, 1 September 2008

What Topspin are doing sounds like the best idea I’ve seen in months.

Remember before I spoke about record labels not suffering from a shortage of talent.  Record labels suffer from a shortage of demandTopspin is all about providing a platform to enable artists to create demand.

Thinking about it some more, this is the only real idea I have seen in the media business all year.  Seriously.