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24 posts from September 2005

One-to-one TV on the Horizon

BroadstreamHere's why content providers like Bloomberg Television and the Food Network are now signing contracts to feed their programs to the phone companies (through companies like Broadstream), which can use their land lines for TV narrowcasting. You can get one from column A and two from column B, and don't forget to sign up for the high school graduation video feed.

MediaPost Publications: Scripps Television Inks IPTV Deal With Broadstream by Wayne Friedman

Unlike other technologies, IPTV can get to many more homes quickly. Many of the world's major telecommunications providers are exploring IPTV as a new revenue opportunity for their markets. Communications companies, like SBC and Verizon, are using IPTV to offer channels and personalized content.

TV Networks Court Influencers

DavisabcNow the TV networks are courting the people who love being influential, especially the people who want to be see the first airing of any show and spread the word to their friends. If trying to come up with the most creative advertisement is risky, then trying to control someone who prides themselves on being 'on top of things' seem to be even riskier.

LA Times: TV Networks Pursue the 'Super Fan' by Meg James

Johnson gives new meaning to the term TV evangelist, and lately reaching people like her has become the Holy Grail of network executives. As the 2005-06 television season officially kicks off today, the six major networks have rolled out multipronged marketing campaigns to create the buzz that drives viewership. But this year more than ever before, those campaigns have been aimed at "super fans" — a chatty, peer-influencing group that networks believe can help them win the ratings wars. "They are the fuse that lights the firecracker, and really sets things on fire," said Lewis Goldstein, co-president of marketing for the WB network, which after two lousy seasons desperately needs to scare up a new hit.

Michael Benson of ABC seems to have a clue:

"If you do things right, you get higher 'talk value,' " said Michael Benson, ABC's senior vice president for marketing. This season, he's at it again: to hype "Commander in Chief," a new drama starring Geena Davis as the first woman president, ABC got the U.S. Treasury to OK the circulation of an undisclosed number of dollar bills with stickers of Davis' face covering George Washington's.

"It's about creating something that you want to tell your friends about, and show your family members," Benson said, adding this caveat: "You've got to make sure it's organic to the show, original and unexpected."

Tracking Chat Room Chatter for Trends

InitiativeMarketing researchers, including those from Initiative Media, are struggling with how to use observations from chat rooms as a way to predict the popularity of launches for products and shows. It's not always as easy as it seems. For instance, competition between products, as well as competition among the influencers to be witty and hip, adds other currents to the flow.

NY Times: The Ad Industry Turns to the Web to Predict Hits by Bill Carter

...Initiative Media began looking at Internet chatter for the first time last year, adding a new element to the mix of methods of predicting early awareness of shows. Last year, when "Lost" defied all expectations by demonstrating a clatter of attention on the Web, Initiative began questioning whether the passive examination they were doing of the chat sites was simply not a proper way to measure advance audience interest in television shows, said Stacey Lynn Koerner, the executive vice president of global research for the agency, a unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

"I looked at the data for the show and it was No. 1 in terms of positive buzz," Ms. Koerner said. "I said, 'Ah, shoot, this thing doesn't work.' " But the consistency of the information forced Initiative to re-evaluate, to the point where just before the television season began, Ms. Koerner said, she began gingerly suggesting to advertising clients that they might want to take an extra look at "Lost."

Just-in-Time Marketing via Insider Information

The TrendCentral newsletter from Youth Intelligence reports a new type of branded entertainment. You have to sign up to find out where it's going to be!

FusionThe Cassandra Report: Flash Concerts

Ford Motors, Sony, and Cingular Wireless have created an interesting twist to the “flash mob” phenomenon. Capitalizing on the ultimate VIP desire, Fusion Flash Concerts stage ten free concerts in undisclosed locations around the country. The lineup includes big name artists like The Roots, Staind, Yellowcard, and Fat Joe, while other acts remain a surprise. Consumers register for free and receive vital concert information (ie: location) in e-mails and text messages. Fusion Flash Concerts also provide a blog about the concerts (“The Jermaine Dupri show in Atlanta was just plain nuts!”) and downloadable podcasts.

Email for Awareness

InsiderOver at the MediaPost newsletter Email Insider, Melinda Krueger shares her wisdom about putting links into your email. Net/net: it's a good thing when it's a good deal for your target, but don't do it just for tracking.

Email Insider: What I've Learned About Links, Part II by Melinda Krueger

Augie Ray, owner of a successful specialty e-commerce site and retail store, provides another important consideration. "If all I went on were CTRs, I wouldn't bother sending out e-mail. But people who come to the store mention them so often, it has become very apparent--even without clicks--that we are keeping ourselves top of mind via e-mail, and that our e-mail is an important relationship builder." Augie suggests that we ask ourselves: If there weren't a single link in this e-mail message, what impression would I leave with the reader?

Associated Press Evolves to New Formats, Perspectives

ApAssociated Press has added a new service called "asap" targeted to 18 to 34 year olds and featuring news and experiences in new formats including multimedia, blogs, and wireless text. More than 100 newspapers have already signed up. It's not just the same old news in a new format.

Somehow, I don't think an old fashioned press release is going to get their attention.

NY Times: A.P. Fashions a News Feed for the Young by Katharine Q. Seelye

A prototype also included a photo essay on vendors of street food in cities around the world, a piece that highlights The A.P.'s global reach.

While bloggers often write about domestic events, rarely do they venture out to report firsthand on the outside world. The A.P.'s ability to do this could underscore for readers the strength of traditional news organizations that can afford to base reporters around the world.

"We have that existing cadre of correspondents and local hires in many bureaus who have things to say and stories to tell," Mr. Anthony said. But the service will not merely offer a youth-oriented version of articles and does not consider itself an alternative wire. Both Mr. Anthony and Ms. Gersh said they learned through focus groups and prototypes that young readers want a sophisticated view of the world and they want to be engaged. They said asap would use the word "you" more in its articles but would maintain A.P. standards.

How Corporations can Manage Blog Contributions


Over at iMedia Connection, John Cass of Backbone Media has a terrific article on how large companies can effectively manage the blogging community, using Macromedia as an example. This article is stuffed full of good ideas, and I've only clipped the sensible policies they use to guide their decisions and actions. Read the whole article for the amazing benefits they've found from encouraging the right kind of blogging.

iMedia Connection: Case Study: Macromedia and Blogs by John Cass

    • Only those employees who have something useful to contribute -- with relevant and quality content in terms of product information -- blog.
    • It's okay to personalize, but only about as much as their employees would in a face-to-face meeting; employee bloggers stick to product info.
    • Product managers ask for feedback on products and request suggestions from customers.
    • If Macromedia cannot implement a product suggestion, then they explain why
    • The company actively watches online conversations about Macromedia, and when they see something that solicits a response, a Macromedia employee responds.