Category Archives: video

Getting tough at hanging onto things that should be rolled over

I’ve spent the past few years living in a Comcast cable market.  Coming back to Austin, TX meant coming back to Time Warner Cable, so I’ve only recently been exposed to  This is TWC’s promise to fight hard for their subscribers in negotiating with those mean, old broadcast TV stations and cable networks.
I especially liked the following paragraph from the “How TV Works” section of the site:

“In addition, the growth of the Internet has brought countless new video options into consumers’ homes through services like Hulu, NetFlix, Amazon, and the programmers’ own websites. Right now, the broadcast TV networks generally offer that programming free over the Internet — and free over the air to any household with an antenna — but believe that customers who receive the exact same programming from their cable, satellite, or telephone company should pay a fee for it. That’s like putting a tax on the customers who get it from cable, in order to subsidize the viewers who get it for free online or over the air. We just don’t think that’s fair.” (TWC’s emphasis)

Checking my bill, it seems I’m paying my protector, Time Warner Cable, to get access to the Internet as well as cable TV.  So, I’m paying to get cable from TWC to subsidize the Internet that I’m also paying TWC for?  I’m a bit confused on what, exactly, is free here.
As it pertains to broadcast and cable networks feeling like people should pay a fee to get programming over TV but not over the Internet, is TWC saying they’d like to go to the model currently used on TV where those broadcast and cable networks charge TWC (and other cable, satellite and telcos) for the right to carry their programming – carriage fees, that 40% of their costs in the TV world?  I’m sure the broadcast and cable networks would be happy to have that discussion…
(Actually, they’d probably like to flip the model and have these “network hogs” – i.e. video providers on the Internet – pay extra to ensure better experiences – more on network neutrality soon, stay tuned.)
I’d posted over a year and a half ago on the issue that was brewing at that time between TWC and Viacom as it related to carriage fees and the “not fair”-ness TWC was claiming over video content Viacom was providing for “free” online.  There have been more than a few subsequent issues between cable companies and media companies since then, but the song remains the same.  Here was my summation then that still seems to be the case now:

“New distribution of programming doesn’t run so well under old monetization systems. In the process of improving the infrastructure of media delivery, access providers and media companies did a short-sighted job of determining the value of the shifts in media usage that they caused by improving the infrastructure. They never developed a model that appropriately valued media usage that is more driven by people’s schedules of desired use via two way cables than their schedules of distribution through one way cables.

So they are left to squabble over which antiquated levers and buttons they can pull and push to make a buck, ultimately, at the expense – in terms of money and, perhaps more importantly, time and convenience – of their most valuable assets: people who pay for access and are fans of programming (not pipes).

Kinda makes all the talk of “if the content is good, people will come” irrelevant, really. If the content is good and people come and no one makes sufficient money to produce more good content it really doesn’t matter.”

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Filed under bad media, digital distribution, future of media, monetizing media, TV, video

Nielsen says people who use Internet alot watch TV alot; Jerry says welcome to the late 20th century

I recently scolded some former team members of mine about their negative attitude towards people in this industry who are not technically inclined and thus suffer from minute cases of not understanding the digital media world in which we live. I quoted Gandhi. I reminded them this ignorance keeps those of us who are savvy in the digital media world in jobs. I will attempt to practice what I preach. I’m guessing I won’t be terribly successful. I expect a rebuke or two from those who know who they are…

When I saw this headline touted as if it’s new, ground-breaking news, all I can see pulsating in my brain is WTF?!?!?! Though I can’t quite put my finger on when I first saw this type of info reported, I’m relatively certain it was in the late 20th, or very early on 21st century.

Is this news because that holy grail of media measurement Nielsen is releasing this information because, obviously, their media measurement is the quintessential best (sarcasm, folks, pure and simple…how about a little more)? Yeah, that probably is news since, per Gandhi, Nielsen has done the ignore, laugh, fight and is now realizing in order to win (or at least reach parity) they need to change what they’re doing. Glad it took them roughly 10 years from the first time I saw this kind of data reported.

SERENITY NOW! (oh, look at me, quoting from a TV show even though I’m a heavy Internet user…Nielsen is so right…)

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Filed under analytics, bad media, future of media, measurement, video

(Lack of) Political Media Strategery

As mentioned, I’ve had more than five calls in five days from the Republican Party of Minnesota imploring me to vote for McCain/Palin and Norm Coleman (non-Minnesotans: the dude that was mayor of St. Paul, brought professional hockey back to MN, has been a senator for 6 years, and is running against Al Franken).

This fine Sunday morning, I had a wonderful flier in the handle of my storm door, not the first of those either in the past 5 days.

If I’m undecided and you call me five times in five days when my number is on the Do Not Call list (yeah, I know politicians get special status, but I’m in this industry…if I’m Joe Insert Name Here, I may not be as in the know w/ such things), then paper my front porch w/ your fliers when the “No Soliciting” sign is roughly a foot from my door handle, you’re not really getting credit for listening to my needs. And most likely not getting my vote as two things I remember vividly less than a week before voting are things that PISS ME OFF!

I guess the irony is that at this point in the game it’s usually the Dems reaching for high frequency desperation tactics. Regardless, do these people not have media/advertising strategists working for them? Or have they not learned from Dem failures of the past 8 years and the media strategies they used to get there. Oh, wait, they probably do and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

And let’s not forget 30 minute infomercials. Personally, I was asking myself where the foamboard charts were. “We’re in deep doo doo, folks.” Now that’s how you connect w/ Joe Insert Name Here.

My only comment is HRP used his own money to buy two 30 minute blocks of time, which came off as a bit pretentious and showy but he was a 3rd wheel looking to shake things up.

BHO, a major party candidate, used the funds he raised by not adhering to policies of fund raising that he said he would adhere to before he became the nominee. I get that he more than any other modern candidate accumulated a ridiculous amount of minimal contributions from a ridiculous number of people by activating the true base, in the trenches, part of the electorate to get the money. And I greatly applaud that because that is a sound use and activation of strategy that understands that all politics is indeed local.

However, he is now the candidate talking about spreading the wealth around who is buying 30 minutes on three major broadcast networks on the mass-est of mass media.

A thought: How about you finish strategically where you started? Produce the video for straight to digital distribution to re-ignite the base and get them passing said video around to their undecided friends vs. wasting dollars on the committed base and the competition’s committed base. Polls right now show a huge advantage in electoral votes, but most agree that the 10 million or so undecided voters are the key. If you buy into the promise of social media, as you seem to based on how you’ve used it throughout, then the best way to persuade the undecided is via their friends and family who aren’t undecided.

Just a thought. After all, you were the man who advocated using a scalpel vs. a hatchet in the 2nd debate. You can apply that analogy a bit more easily to media strategy than trillions of dollars of debt. At least I think so…

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Filed under advertising effectiveness, bad media, communication platforms, competition, election 08, media usage, push vs. pull, video

Don’t be alarmed – The Boomers have all that disposable income

OK, so let’s pretend you’re a programmer of broadcast TV shows. You consider your “sweet spot” the 18-49 demographic. You see that your audience’s median age is 50 – i.e out of your “sweet spot” – yet the median age of US households is 38. Additionally, your smaller, nimbler rivals in cable have recently passed you up in terms of total viewing and appear to not be looking back, primarily based on the fact that they more effectively speak to and deliver younger viewers. What do you do? Let’s just say in this theoretical scenario, you’re not allowed to lead with the words “Television is stronger than ever” and rate increases.

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Filed under bad media, media on media, media usage, video

I’m over this, too

OH, NO! SAG might strike now! The horrors! That whole writers strike diversion really did in the media industry, didn’t it? Joe and Jane Public wringed their hands in agony about the dearth of new “scripted” programming whilst watching American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and The Hills, not to mention catching up on months of missed viewing of “scripted” programming via Tivos, DVRs and the Internet. Or just spending more time w/ their laptops, gaming consoles and other neat-o electronic devices instead (hopefully their families, too). Oh, yeah, that’s right, that whole strike thingy was about not being paid fairly for distribution via “other” means.

Some of you are now mentally pointing out this will affect that ever popular TV commercial, too. Joe and Jane Public stopped wringing their hands long enough to zip through those, check their email/IM/ social network of choice when they came on, or were more old school and just headed to the kitchen or bathroom instead.

I’ve already posted about the fact that means of distribution are ch-ch-ch-changing and the former arbiters of things that all think good on TV, radio and movie screens are losing their grip. So, add this to the list of things I’m over – apparently my vitriol was not sufficiently relieved. I’m hoping the day progresses with no more incidents.

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Filed under digital distribution, entertainment industry, media usage, monetizing media, pop culture, video

Video Killed the (insert media and/or distribution model here) Star

If you’ve ever heard people talk about non-linear vs. linear media use (or distribution) and scratched your head, read this.

Then get used to the fact that all good and wonderful video does not have to flow from and/or through the channels that have been defined by studios and networks and executive producers and Steven Spielberg in the form of a “movie” or “television show”.

Get used to the fact that a lot of it can’t be found w/in your cable provider’s or Tivo’s channel line up or “at a theater near you” – and if it does end up at any of those places, it very well didn’t start there and then go into distribution in “other” media.

What to do when the “other” media become the places where trends develop w/o concern for what type of screen they show up on first?

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Filed under digital distribution, future of media, media usage, monetizing media, TV, video

My Favorite Web Series

A web-only series before web-only series were cool. Before fancy video players and interactive pre-roll and choose your commercial viewings – though some of these do contain some pretty flashy Flash pre-rolls from back in the day (late 20th century, early 21st for a point of reference).

Here is Fishbar. I’m particularly partial to “Ham on the Run” (Episode 8) and “Rudolph’s Deadly Gallop” (Episode 13), but it’s all good. Talking fish and frogs and canned hams that can walk and even run? Come on, what’s not to like?

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Filed under digital distribution, video