Previous month:
May 2005
Next month:
July 2005

38 posts from June 2005

New Competition for Hollywood: your Neighbor

John Markoff has a nice 'round up' article on the growing impact of self-publishing. Maybe we could call the movement: 'no more piracy, we'll make our own stuff.'

Web Content by and for the Masses - New York Times (registration required)

...the abundance of user-generated content - which includes online games, desktop video and citizen journalism sites - is reshaping the debate over file sharing. Many Internet industry executives think it poses a new kind of threat to Hollywood, the recording industry and other purveyors of proprietary content: not piracy of their work, but a compelling alternative. The new services offer a bottom-up creative process that is shifting the flow of information away from a one-way broadcast or publishing model, giving rise to a wave of new business ventures and touching off a scramble by media and technology companies to respond. "Sharing will be everywhere," said Jeff Weiner, a Yahoo senior vice president in charge of the company's search services. "It's the next chapter of the World Wide Web."...

While Hollywood studios have generally scoffed at competition from amateurs, the most striking example of user-generated content may come from Spore, an online game being developed by Will Wright, the developer of the Sims series of video games.

Spore, scheduled for release next year, will incorporate a variety of software tools that let users "evolve" a civilization. Rather than a massively multiplayer game, the current fashion in online role playing, it will be a "massively single player" game.

Although they will all be connected by the Internet, game players will not interact with one another, but rather with the civilizations that other players have evolved. The entertainment value will be in exploring civilizations created by other players and interacting with characters controlled by artificial-intelligence software.

Spore is intended to appeal to young game players who have no interest in being entertained passively. "We have a whole generation of kids who feel entitled to be game designers," Mr. Wright said.

Will the Cell Phone Screen become the Most Important Medium for Advertisers?

This remark just boggled my mind. If you are receiving all the shopping information and services you need over your cell phone, how will that change everything? Think of all the things you won't do any more... traveling from store to store comparison shopping, searching for prices and reviews in the evening, trips across town to the big box...

iMedia Connection: Strategy in the 21st Century (Part 2).

Mobile [phone messages] will become the new on-demand environment for content, and for commerce. I mean, in Japan already, you can walk into any store, you can point your phone at an SKU of a particular product, and it will tell you if you can buy it somewhere cheaper. And, if you can, you can even order on your phone there. You don’t even have to use the retail space to buy anything.

Changing Patterns of Media Usage

Over at ClickZ, Pete Lerma has an excellent article about a Yahoo conference on how broadband is changing people's lives. The whole article is fascinating, but this idea below explains many things I've been seeing lately. I just didn't know it had a name: media meshing.

Media Meshing: An Evolution in Media Consumption.

However, the Yahoo!/mediaedge:cia research shows people with broadband don't necessarily make big shifts in their media consumption in terms of time spent. Instead, they change how they use other forms of media in conjunction with the Internet. They use the Internet to maximize their engagement with other media. People read stories in magazines and newspapers, then go online to get multiple angles on the stories they just read. They watch a reality TV show, then go online to get character bios, behind-the-scenes information, and more. This type of behavior results in much deeper, richer experiences with print and TV....

TV networks and producers recognize the Internet's power. Networks refer to the Internet as the "second half" of the experience. Producers retain their shows interactive rights and integrate "experience triggers" into them.

Pontiac recently did a deal with the The Apprentice, highlighting its new Solstice. Viewers were encouraged to get more information on the show and the Solstice at Yahoo!'s Apprentice site. People got that deeper, richer experience not only with the show, but also with the car.

The Growing Science of Blog Tracking

One of my favorite companies, Intelliseek, got plenty of coverage in the Wall St. Journal this week, along with other companies that help marketers use blogs to track customer response to products and news. These companies put the blog postings into a more valuable context and the article shows several examples of product changes that were driven by blog-based research. - Marketers Scan Blogs For Brand Insights (free WSJ content!!!)

Now, a growing number of marketers are using new technology to analyze blogs and other "consumer-generated media" -- a category that includes chat groups, message boards and electronic forums -- to hear what is being said online about new products, old ad campaigns and aging brands. Purveyors of the new methodology and their clients say blog-watching can be cheaper, faster and less biased than such staples of consumer research as focus groups and surveys....

Intelliseek and most other blog-watching services combine technology with some human analysis. They say their full services provide more insight than a simple keyword count. Some companies have developed text-analysis techniques as the result of funding or contracts from the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence services that monitor newspapers and other media. The technologies make use of software technologies known as "natural-language processing" and "unstructured-data mining" to understand even ungrammatical writing....

Umbria, with clients including Sprint Corp. and Electronic Arts Inc., says its natural-language analysis can determine blogger demographics based on language, subject matter and acronyms. OMG ("oh my God!") or POS ("parent over shoulder") are expressions defining Generation Y girls, or those ages 10 to 25; FUBAR ("fouled up beyond all recognition") is often used by male baby boomers. Such analysis can be important. Umbria says Laker guard Kobe Bryant has lost his cachet with most bloggers, but he is still the No. 2 National Basketball Association personality, behind LeBron James, among the boys of Generation Y, important buyers of videogames, sneakers and basketball jerseys.

David Rabjohns, president of blog watcher MotiveQuest, calls the field "online anthropology" and says he regards his firm as "almost a mouthpiece for the consumer."

Not the Same Old at the Mall

As tastes continue to fracture, that bastion of sameness, the American shopping mall, starts to look for something different. Here's a sharp article by Amy Chozick. - As Malls Think Small, Boutiques Get Big Chance (subscription required)

America's megamalls, built in the 1970s to showcase big department stores and national specialty chains, have begun to embrace the little guys, a new crop of quirky independent fashion boutiques. As sales at their department-store anchors continue to sag, malls seeking to diversify and increase traffic have been courting these trendy start-ups, which offer intimate service and carefully edited collections from a variety of high-end designers. Some properties even offer leasing and marketing incentives to lure boutiques and the style-savvy clientele that follows them....

In an effort to lure shoppers ... General Growth Properties Inc., which owns and operates 209 malls in 44 states, is pushing temporary leasing programs that encourage new concepts, allowing merchants to test the retail waters by starting off with a three- to six-month lease on a booth or small store of around 2,000 square feet.

"Retail is about change, and if you don't bring in something unique, you're going to miss the boat," says Bob Michaels, president and chief operating officer of General Growth. He says the boutique trend has taken off over the past 12 to 15 months.

Web Influences Behavior: Enter the Publishing Revolution

Jeremy Wagstaff has a very insightful column in the Wall St. Journal on how the web has made available cheap, easy-to-use publishing tools which are caused a huge upswing in the number of people sharing their knowledge. If I know something or have an opinion--why not share it?

Link: - Loose Wire (subscription required)

I suspect there's another factor at play in podcasting's popularity. Users are beginning to look at the Internet and technology a little differently. Blogs -- online journals, or Web logs -- have made it really, really easy to build impressive looking Web sites with little or no knowledge of HTML, the fiddly code behind a Web page. Digital photography and video cameras have gotten cheaper, easier to use, and, perhaps most importantly, more closely tied to the Internet, so posting a photograph from, say, your cellphone to a Web page doesn't involve cables, complicated formatting or a degree in computer science.

All this multimedia dexterity has helped blur the distinction between consumer and producer: Now anybody who wants to can be a publisher. This is having another important effect. Before, during the boom, everyone was looking for the money. Everyone was thinking big scale. Nowadays, not everyone thinks like that. The buzzword du jour is "the long tail," shorthand for the idea that not every business needs to worry about finding a huge audience for its product, (the fat end of the long tail) but instead could find success in catering to smaller, more specialized or localized chunks of the audience (the thin end of the long tail).

More Useful Marketing

We don't have A.C. Moore stores in my area, but I'm thrilled to see their new web site takes a 'recipe-clipping' approach to helping people with craft projects. You browse the projects they suggest, click on one, and, in addition to instructions, you get a complete shopping list and a store locator query box. Very tightly designed!

MediaPost: Amy Corr's Out to Launch newlsetter (registration required)

A.C. Moore has redesigned its Web site. The Web site, designed specifically to drive traffic to the stores, includes: free projects that customers can create, as well as a printable shopping list for each project; a sign-up facility for in-store craft classes; and a store location search as well as access to weekly specials. Advance Design Interactive, Philadelphia created the site.