Small Niche Sites Getting Big Ad Bucks

From the Washington Post -- Small niche sites like A Small World for the international elite geeks (they're looking for a computer programmer in Dubai!) are getting ad sponsorships because of they're ultra-targeting.


Radio it's Sound Salvation (Elvis Costello)

MTV is calling 2007 the year the music business broke.

The only aspect of the music business that's down are traditional album sales in a box and sold in stores. Everything else is up -- downloads, ring tones, ring backs, concerts, music & licensing,
Chris Anderson (Wired, The Long Tail)

We can make money on a release that only sells 2,000 copies, we don't have to sell 2 million.
Liz Hart
Head of A&R for XL Recordings

  • Save Net Radio -- is a coalition of online net radio stations set up to lobby for lower royalty fees.

iMeem, iLike, Pandora, LastFM, Snocap, Myspace

Record Lbl, Peter Rojas
Legal downloads.

Music News Web sites:

The Daily Swarm


Wired checks out 18 year old's new show

Michael Cera, 18, and his friend Clark Duke have inked a deal with CBS' new broadband channel, . The duo will write, produce, direct, and act in their own short-form comedy series called, succinctly, Clark and Michael. To speed up our interview, we've deleted the questions.


DUKE: It's about two guys who think they have this great idea for a TV show. But they're so wrapped up in acting like Hollywood hotshots that they're sort of oblivious to the fact that their project is going down the tubes.


CERA: We sort of modeled it after the stuff we enjoy on Adult Swim - especially shows like Tom Goes to the Mayor, which are really great at getting in a lot of jokes in a relatively small amount of time.


DUKE: Since we're producing for the Web, where you can't always expect people to stick around for an hour or even half an hour, 11-minute episodes seemed to make a lot of sense. Our budget is obviously a lot smaller than it would be if we were making the show for TV. But I think that will turn out to be a good thing, because we ended up hiring friends to operate cameras and do the lighting and stuff, which means we're working with people we really like.

CERA: Also, we traded in a larger budget for the ability to be a little more offbeat. We have the freedom to attract a different audience than CBS usually goes for. If the network can build a big business around selling ads on smaller, weirder projects, that will be pretty awesome.

WIRED: !!!

CERA: Yeah! We're the Web's great hope.
- Eric Steuer



Map of Online Communities

7 Steps to Better PPT Presentations (via Veen)

Jeffrey Veen is an author ("The Art & Science of Web Design", "HotWired Style") and a speaker who believes PPT presentations don't have to be bad to be good. He put together 7 steps to better presentations.
The List:

  1. Tell stories: Summarize key findings in easy to digest ways
  2. Show pictures: Illustrate your metaphors with colorful, fun pictures.
  3. Don't apologize: Commisserating is okay.
  4. Start strong: Introduce yourself, thank audience for coming and tell them what you're going to talk about.
  5. End strong too: Wrap up "and that's why I think social media is a powerful business tool", thank the audience for their attention.
  6. Stand away from the podium
  7. Pause after key points

The Power of the Link

Jason Calacanis wrote this detailed diagram of how to make him happy via a link to his blog. They include quotes, references, descriptions, and/or inclusions of the varied places he's got content throughout the web. These principles will probably work for most people as long as they're keeping track.

Calacanis link-baiting rules

I've developed some deep relationships over the past couple of years blogging and I realize that those relationships manifest themselves in the links I find when I do my 28x a daily ego search over at Technorati. The quickest way to develop a relationship with me isn't to twitter me, call me, email me, or skype me. Heck, even posting a comment here--the second best way to develop a relationship with me--is weak when compared to the power of the link.
*PLEASE NOTE: This does not refer to the single woman's guide to getting married which was popular in the late 1990's.


Top 20 Blog Usability Tips

Tom Johnson, the blogger behind the cool blog, I'd Rather Be Writing (great name!). Johnson researched dozens of blogs and came up with a list of the top 20 tips for bloggers. Be sure to read his original column with specific software suggestions and illustrations of each tip.

In summation they are:

  1. Pick a topic for your blog
  2. Encourage comments
  3. Make it easy to subscribe
  4. Include an About page
  5. Present your ideas visually
  6. Keep posts short and to the point
  7. Use subheadings for long posts
  8. Link abundantly
  9. Make headlines descriptive.
  10. Archive by topic
  11. Include a list of related posts under each post
  12. Allow users to contact you offline
  13. Present your real viewpoint
  14. Write for your future employer
  15. Include a top posts section
  16. Provide an index
  17. Get your own URL and match it to your blog's title
  18. Include a recent posts section in your sidebar
  19. Reward commenters for commenting
  20. Post often


Timely Marketing Info From Around the Web


Media Snackers

The above video is an example of a tasty media snack done by the aptly named MediaSnackers, it illustrates the fragmentation and segmentation of how web friendly folk consume their entertainment and information. The video stresses that 'the young' are media snackers but I'd qualify that and say 'young thinkers'.

Jeremiah Owyang started this conversation with his blog entry "Do you respect media snackers? Tell me why." He then tagged five people to respond, they in turn tagged others, and I was tagged by Jane Quigley who has an impressive online presence and is a 12 year veteran of online advertising / marketing. She used Utterz to answer the question in audio.


Of course I respect them, why wouldn't I? I post to twitter, and I blog. I love the 140 character limit because it seems that many writers are so enamored with their own words that they write long. Good writers get their point across quickly. The old model is that writers get paid by the word, so it was / is advantageous in some instances to write longer. About 80% of my online experience is with large online publishers and I know people will read good stuff but it's hard to engage readers.

And I'm being totally hypocritical and taking more room than needed to answer the question. I also use facebook and check in once or twice a day.

I have to admit to being a little ADD at the moment in my online life. I don't really respect myself as a micromedia consumer. I feel like I flit from blog to blog, video to video and don't spend nearly as much time as I'd like to creating rather than consuming. Twitter is great but it's real time -- evaporating from the front page minutes after it's created.

I now buy songs from iTunes, I can't remember the last CD I purchased. The easiest place I've found to listen to music is Myspace and learn about most of the music I want to buy from TV. On Myspace, I read blogs from Moby, Adrianne Cury, and Deepak Chopra among others. I found the following video, Shift Happens by Karl Fisch on Deepak's blog which emphasizes the profound population and information shifts this decade is experiencing. I find it a strong example of a short video with a high ratio of information to length.

One of my favorites is Doug Benson's very short, almost daily blog, with comments disabled.

Brian Solis has a very comprehensive wrap up of the list of people who have blogged on the meme and provided a menu of the different media options available to consume and create your own media snacks each and every day. The concept reminds me of the March 2007 Wired Magazine cover story, Snack Attack. (A report on the new world of one-minute media.)

I've tagged Cathryn Hrudicka aka CreativeSage.


Scoble, TechMeme, SlideShare, Seesmic, Twitter

I've been generating quite a collection of bookmarks and I currently have 15 tabs open. I'm just going to write about what I've been doing while cruising the web and what I'm thinking about. I primarily get my information from Twitter and click to links that the people I follow suggest.

From Miss Rogue aka Tara Hunt, I found this over the top incredible tool called Slide Share in a very open-source, Web 2.0 style this site encourages people to upload Power Point presentations on virtually (ha!) every subject. There is a whole group of the presentations from the Web 2.0 conference which took place in San Francisco last week. There are presentations on the obvious but also about topics outside of the bubble like nutrition, travel, and television. It is free to download the presentations. The ones I looked at seemed to be of high quality. Just so you know there are 323 presentation on SlideShare with Twitter in the name.

On Twitter this week there has been a lot of talk about TechMeme, Seesmic, and Robert Scoble. I recently posted a chart of compete numbers on the top Web 2.0 Business Blogs which got some attention and I know now to put my name and website directly on the chart itself. Brian Solis of Bubblicious was happy that he was on the list and put together a brief summary of each of the blogs I mentioned. I learned that Compete numbers are a little sketchy. Quantcast also has free stats but one needs to Quantify (i.e. put a pixel and a small piece of code on your site) to get accurate numbers, which I hope people do.

Seesmic is the hot new Video Blog software from Loic LeMeur who just moved here from France. He has distributed alpha codes to a few people who post video shows. It uses the camera inside a mac laptop, which works pretty well but the microphone is someone distorted which can be overcome by using a different microphone but it would be convenient if the mic worked. He posted shows / diaries / vlogs -- from Web 2.0 which I would have liked to have been able to hear. I don't have an alpha code and I don't have a Mac so it seems pretty pointless but I can easily watch the videos others post. I'm just not up on all the cool features.

Techmeme is an online company that aggregates news from different sources, like a mini Google News. There's been some questions about how the sources are culled and the lists developed (Besides Web Biz 2.0 sources, he's made an "influencer board" which means his top sources for politics and entertainment. If you're interested Robert Scoble did one of his famous white board demonstrations in a 40 minute Seesmic entry.

Techmeme Reverse Engineered Part I

Techmeme Reverse Engineered Part II


September Traffic Numbers for Web Biz Blogs

UPDATE: Please note these numbers are sketchy because apparently the Compete software is easily manipulated. I felt comfortable using it because Om Malik used it in his piece about Facebooks diminishing page views (see post below). I've learned that Quantcast numbers are actually much more accurate, the caveat being that one needs to "Quantify" which means they need to put a pixel on their site so that Quantcast can measure. Many of the blogs above are not followed by Quantcast but for the blogs that do, the numbers are usually larger, for example:

GigaOm: Global Uniques/Reach: 456,772, US, 279,336, Monthly Page Views: 840,342

Calacanis: Global Uniques/Reach: 137,981, US: 96,896, Monthly Page Views: 217,801

**Missing from the list: Chris Brogan: 33K Uniques (Compete), and Stowe Boyd: 13K Uniques (Compete)



This chart was made by me. I was trying to find if there was a correlation between Techmeme, Technorati, and traffic. I used the traffic numbers from Compete. I looked a few sites up on quantcast and they had dramatically different results. Many times quantcast reported less than half of the compete numbers which I'm sure is based on a difference in the panels and how they get their stats. One of them is probably more slanted toward computers used at work than home. Although in today's world of home = work and work = home I'm not sure how they balance that all out.

What I find interesting is that the numbers are very different than one would guess off the top of one's head. Scobleizer, Robert Scoble's personal blog is twice as popular as Podtech.net, and some blogs that people keep just as a hobby get more traffic than professional concerns. Personally I don't understand all the ins and outs of techmeme but would like to figure that out so that they would link to me once and a while. I know I'm new, but that shouldn't matter if the egalitaristic claims that many bloggers (who get linked to) are making right now.


The Sky is Falling (re Facebook)

Om Malik is very concerned because page views and unique users declined in the last month. He thinks they should have gone up because kids went back to school but a) the explosive growth in the Facebook audience comes from folks who don't go to school and b) hopefully most people use Facebook in their leisure time which they probably had more of in August. I think there is also a burn out period, when people first get into something they spend a lot of time setting up their profile and adding friends and then ease into a maintenance period where they spend less time at the site and primarily go there when they get a notice that someone wrote them a message, wrote on their wall, super poked them, blah, blah, blah.

When you're talking about such big numbers of unique users (rounding) the Compete data says 34 Million in August and 31 Million in September, it's not such a big variance. And to be fair Om calls it a small dip, but his headline says "Traffic Tanks". I would guess that they didn't have to turn any advertisers away and maybe people are just getting tired of Vampires, Zombies, gardens, fish tanks, and other free mini-applications that developers are lining up to get integrated onto the Facebook platform. I actually had one guy de-friend me because I had accepted an invitation to use the Vampire application and he was afraid I would bite him.

The relationship between internet development and the media is complicated. Internet development is fast but developing sustainable business models is slow. The media thrives on big dramatic developments that are basically just the frosting on the proverbial cupcake. Everyone loves a winner, especially in this case since most media and technology people turn up their noses at Myspace. Those who aren't in the tech bubble can get a critical mass of users on Myspace to listen to their music, buy their books, see their movies, etc.

Facebook is positioned as the grown ups Myspace which is ironic since it started our for college kids only. Basically fluctuations are expected, the sheer quantity of users does not a valuation make, numbers themselves can be sliced and diced and prove essentially whatever one wants to make of them. Facebook is fine. The interest group that we need to be most careful about panicking are the VC's. They are not engineers and rely on what media people say, i think before they read the coverage they should take a chill pill. Hopefully investors this time around are more conservative and in it for the long haul. Facebook is like a Television Network not a television program, Web 2.0 companies are building a strong foundation for the long haul and can't be as irrationally reactive as they were during Web 1.0 where essentially companies tried to become the VC's Flavor of the Week instead of focusing on their product.


2 Twit or not 2 Twit


Robert Scoble posted a picture of Twitter's door. Part of his day was spent visiting their offices. Biz sent out an email announcing new hires, the tracker function, and promoting the new PBS Show Wired Science who you can follow @ http://twitter.com/wiredscience. Here's a link to Anita Hamilton's Time article 'Why Everyone's Talking About Twitter' (from March '06, after SXSW).

I love Twitter, I'm addicted to it and I am completely voyeuristic when it comes to some people whom I've never met. It supplies a real time snapshot of developments in the Web 2.0, social media arena. It's just a place to post random thoughts that you think are worth sharing in less than 140 characters. The tired argument against Twitter is than everyone just posts "I'm eating a burrito". Which isn't true. Twitter is an easy way to discuss events, ideas, news stories, new photos.

The problem is that unless you have a blog or a web site that you are posting longer stories or you have a totally unrelated job it's easy to just post sentences as often as you want during the day and feel like you're really accomplishing something. Businesses that use twitter are smart but very few of them get it right. There are weird Twitter spammers who befriend you in the hope of getting you to friend them back.
The beauty of Twitter is that you can follow and unfollow whomever you want (as long as they're not locked into just people they know so you can test which Twits you find interesting and which you get very annoyed by.

It's frustrating that some of the people you want to communicate with have no interest in following you. You can still respond to them by starting off your Twit with @theirname. Interestingly some of the people using Twitter most effectively like Robert Scoble, Jason Calacanis, and Guy Kawasaki follow more people than follow them facilitating deeper relationships through two way communication. It's one thing to evangelize and it's another to listen. In a sense I wish there were groups, although I like the freedom to pick and choose. Personally I'm a tad more interested in TV than the average Twitterer and I would like to be able to communicate with the TV people without bothering the rest of my Twitter universe.

To twit or not to twit, that is the question. I vote yes.


Nicholas Carr writes about MSNBC buying Newsvine. Newsvine appears to be a web site where readers upload links to the stories they find most interesting. Right now the story that most readers find to be most interesting is from Slate, 'Why Americans Should Ingest More Excrement'. OMG.


Piper Jaffray Predicts Global Online Advertising Revenue to Reach $81.1 Billion by 2011

Report from February '07: 'The User Revolution'

12 Main Points

  1. Global online advertising revenue to reach $81.1 billion by 2011.

  2. Communitainment = Community + communication + entertainment
    This new type of activity is taking time away from traditional types of content consumption.

  3. Usites -- The increasing popular category of user generated sites take traffic away from other content destinations, a challenge to advertisers and publishers.

  4. The Internet is a mainstream medium: It is the leading medium at work and only second to television at home.

  5. Usage patterns changing: favoring Usites, communitainment sites, and search. Away from traditional portals.
User Generated Brands. The consumers are taking control of content consumption and branding.

Media Fragmentation: Advertisers increasingly will need to buy more inventory, from nearly all types of media, especially the Internet, to have the desired impact.

8. The Golden Search: search has become the new portal.

9. Google's dominance is likely to expand, partly fueled by a wide
variety of non-search related products that create a virtuous cycle
of brand affinity for Google.

10. Video ads will be the driver of the next major growth in brand
advertising and getting additional dollars shifted from traditional
media to online.

11. Ad networks are experiencing increased demand due to increasing
Internet fragmentation, desire for more targeted inventory,
increasing usage of networks for branding and increased site

12. Agencies are rapidly evolving into more sophisticated,
technology-savvy entities that combine best of breed offerings.

Online Video Up while TV Viewing Declining

From January 8th 2007, Piper Jaffray study via Businessweek Blog

A new report from Wall Street analyst Safa Rashtchy at Piper Jaffray outlines the rapid adoption of online video and the subsequent decline of TV viewing among online users. One of the interesting points is that TV network sites are increasingly popular and are the second most popular destinations, after YouTube.

But YouTube draws a younger crowd.

  • 60% of 25-34 year olds use YouTube, 43% use TV network sites, and 32% use Google Video.

  • Among 45-54 year olds, 47% use TV network sites, 22% use YouTube, 25% use Google Video, 26% use Yahoo! Video, and 28% use MSN video.
Safa says 2007 is the year for video, the year when companies have to make a place for themselves in online video distribution or bow out. And it’s important this year for traditional media to get a piece of the pie too: 40% of the people surveyed by Piper Jaffrey said they watch less TV now than two years ago.
  • News, Movie Previews, and Amateur Videos are the Most Popular.
  • Limited Ads Tolerable but Paid Online Videos Are Not.
Approximately 40% of our survey respondents indicated that they are willing to watch limited commercials before an online video (assuming that the online video is free), and approximately 80% indicated they are not willing to pay for online videos.” (not great news for companies betting on the pay per download model)

Update: It was a survey of 337 people who were recruited online. Piper Jaffray says that it was fairly representative but skewed a little older. So this isn’t a survey of the population overall, it was a survey of online habits of online people, which isn’t representative of the overall TV audience.

U.S. Viewers Watched an Average of 3 Hours of Online Video in July

ComScore Press Release


Interactive Ad Spends Up 23%

Overall ad spends are down .5% for first half '07 vs a year ago according to Nielsen. Local & national newspapers, B2B magazines, local magazines, Sunday supplements, spot TV, and network TV were all hit hard. Cable TV loss the least amount of ad money. Outdoor, national magazines, and product placement all grew along with interactive.


YouTube Rejecting Preroll Ads Not So Smart

In this Mediapost article , Alan Schulman, Executive Creative Director of imc2 suggests that YouTube's decision to use overlay advertising instead of pre-roll or mid-roll video was short sighted. YouTube said that the "roll" ads made viewer numbers decline. Schulman says, maybe the ads weren't any good and maybe they're too long. He advocates a :10 video spot and notes the creative options that can be exploited when the "roll" ads are timely, entertaining, and targeted to the viewer.

Personally, I welcome a shorter length but my biggest problem with the "roll" ads is that usually they keep playing the same one over and over again. Many times on high bandwidth sites the content gets stalled and you need to start over, or pause and press play to make it continue. I was watching "Anchorwoman" on the Fox demand site and I saw the same ad for a movie with Dane Cook and Jessica Alba over and over again. I've always believed that advertising doesn't have to be bad to be good. I think there is always going to be a combination of formats just as there is in non-video advertising.

Interestingly, on YouTube itself many of videos actually are advertisements in their own rite.

Does Online Video Advertising Work?

Doubleclick did this study in February, 2007

  • The top-line results are that, yes, a whopping 8% of viewers interact with video ads.
  • Users repeatedly watch the video ad much more than they click through on traditional banner ads.
  • On average video ads are watched 2/3 of the way through. Play-through rates do not vary between traditional video ads and expandable formats.
  • Video click rates are much, much higher than traditional image banner ads.
The primary measurement for video ads = Interaction Rate. "It includes the sum total of all interactions people have with the video ad units, including expansions, interactions with the video control button, and custom interactions and clicks – divided by the total impressions served.

In the Doubleclick study the smallest ads (120 x 90) had a huge Interaction Rate = 28.8%. They say that this isn't because of the size but because this size of video advertising appears in chat windows. It makes sense that while chatting people are more prone to click on an ad. The size of ads that they studied included 336 x 280 (IR = 11.8%), 300 x 250 (7.4%), 120 x 600 (7.1%), 160 x 600 (5.7%), and 728 x 90 (5.6%).

All Doubleclick video ads have a play, pause, stop and mute buttons. The ads in this study were autoplay silent ads so when someone pressed on play it was actually to replay the ad. At .32% viewers were 3x more likely to press play than they were to click through (CTR average = 0.1%) a standard banner gif or jpeg ad.

The ads in this study were in -page as opposed to in-stream, meaning they were embedded on a page rather than included in a video content stream. For those in-page units -- 30 seconds was the amount of time most viewers spent watching the ad. The second length in time was 15 seconds.

There is negligible difference in the length of time viewers are exposed to the ad between expandable and non-expandable ads. On average both types run 2/3 of the way through before the viewer stops viewing it. Doubleclick think that people click away from the page itself after the ad runs 2/3 of the way through because less than 1% of the audience actually presses the stop button.

Video ads are excellent direct vehicles as well as branding tools because the click through rate is significantly higher than it is for picture ads. Average CTR for video ads ranged from .4% to .74% as opposed to 0.1% for picture ads.


62% of Respondents Watching Online Video

On August 28, 2007 Advertising.com released the results of a study based on a questionnaire results and video advertising performance data from it's online video network. The results are from the first six months of '07.

62% of participants watched video online and 69% of these were adults over age 35 who primarily watched news stories.

As for video advertisements, consumers accept them as part of the video experience – with 94 percent of respondents preferring ads to subscription fees. However, according to 63 percent of survey respondents, shorter ads would make the experience more pleasurable. Shorter spots also deliver higher percent-viewed rates, according to data from the Advertising.com network.

51 percent of survey respondents would watch a television episode online if they missed it on TV; but 80 percent of consumers say that online video usage does not cut into their TV time.


62% News clips
38% Movie trailers
36% Music videos (down 11% from second half of '06)



1) Prefer entertainment content like music videos and TV shows.
2) Create more online video content.
3) Viewing more movies, TV Shows and User generated vids than before.


1) More likely to view news.
2) Viewing more sports and user generated videos than last year.

Internet Advertising Hot Again

eMarketer recently predicted that online advertising will grow by 28.6% in 2007. Other ad forecasters, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Universal McCann's Robert Coen, have internet ad revenue growing in the mid 20% range. Search is the largest part of internet spending at 40%.

Radio is growing by less than 1% and eMarketer expects that this year internet spending at $21.7 billion will overtake radio at $20.4 billion. Radio is seeking to market itself as a complement to internet advertising rather than a competitor. For instance Clear Channel found a way to sell search terms on it's local radio web sites to community advertisers.

According to ZenithOptimedia, internet ad spending in China, growing at 70% a year. from AdAge

KateModern the Commercial Older Sis to LonelyGirl15

Microsoft Corp., Disney's Buena Vista International, France Telecom's Orange, plus Procter & Gamble (Gillette, Pantene, & Tampax), Hewlett-Packard and Paramount are all sponsorship partners for "KateModern". (this episode features placements by MSN, Orange Broadband, and Tampax. Plenty of room for a pizza delivery company, and a current movie title.

Microsoft has expanded it's partnership with Bebo (also mentioned). The producers are the same team that did LonelyGirl15, at that time they thought people would be turned off by commercialism but actually the audience wanted to know where she bought her clothes and what brands she consumed. (?!) The series launched on July 24th and is available on YouTube, Bebo, MSN in the UK, and the LonelyGirl15 site. In the first three weeks the has registered 3 million views and is building an audience quickly -- the first episode was seen by just 23,000 people.

The most popular episode so far is one that features the star of a Disney movie worked into the plot, Jamie Bell.

DailyCandy sticking with eMail

Bob Pittman's Pilot Ware, which owns DailyCandy.com, Thrillist.com, and the "light green" Ideal Brite, is sticking with it's core email strategy. Apparently Daily Candy gets a $250 CPM for it's Dedicated eMail product. Here is an example of one for Nike. Daily Candy and it's various city-specific offshoots has a subscription base of 2 million and cost Pittman $35 million in 2003. Thrillist, a Daily Candy for men was purchased for $250,000 in 2005 and currently has 110,000 subscribers. Last year Pittman tried to sell Daily Candy for $100 million but had no takers and the product is currently not for sale. While Pilot Ware focuses it's investments on affiliate TV stations it is also investing in some other online products such as music blog Stereogum and Facebook's popular social-music application iLike. from Adage


Online Video Advertising from (WSJ)

Online video has become the fastest-growing category of Internet ad spending in the past year, according to research firm eMarketer -- so much so that advertisers now frequently complain about the shortage of video content worthy of sponsorship.

Marketers are finding it hard to buy enough space on traditional TV networks' Web sites, which stream some network prime-time programs.

Ad space is available alongside the user-generated videos that draw millions of visitors to video-sharing sites like YouTube, but advertisers are wary about sponsoring videos that might be embarrassing or risqué. YouTube's new ad format, unveiled last week to intense advertiser interest, limits ads to videos from selected partners. While their audiences are tiny -- Geek Entertainment TV says it averages 10,000 to 20,000 viewers a show, though its most popular shows attract as many as 100,000 viewers -- their viewers are loyal.

Such programs also provide content of a consistent quality, in advertisers' eyes. "Marketers are very careful about their brands, and some of those user-created videos can be pretty raunchy...but brands are willing to experiment more with higher-quality videos," says Martin Reidy, chief executive of Publicis Modem and Publicis Dialog, digital-marketing units of ad holding company Publicis Groupe.

New York-based Next New Networks is planning to launch as many as 101 Web TV networks with shows that advertisers can sponsor, similar to the way ads work on traditional TV networks. The company now has 12 networks and recently sold its first major sponsorship, to Lionsgate for the Jet Li movie "War." In addition to banner ads that appear on the different networks' Web sites, promotions can be woven into plot lines or included as short commercial spots. During a show on the Jet Set network about Internet pop culture, the host mentions "War," a trailer for the movie plays and viewers are encouraged to upload videos showing their martial-arts skills. On the Indy Mogul network, which focuses on independent filmmaking, the host shows how to recreate special effects from a scene in the movie when a hand is stabbed.

These shows are an easier sell to advertisers when a single video site hosts several and can negotiate deals for all of them. The "Geek" ad deal with GoDaddy, for instance, was negotiated by blip.tv, a closely held New York video site that also hosts several other series, including "Alive in Baghdad," about Iraq, and "Break a Leg," about show business. Blip.tv splits the ad revenue with the program producers.

Traditional media companies are getting in on the action: In recent months, CBS acquired Wallstrip.com, a daily show about Wall Street culture and pop culture, and Discovery Communications bought Treehugger.com, an eco-lifestyle Web site that produces video segments.

Further adding to these niche programs' appeal for advertisers is that many of them offer customized sponsorships. Some are willing to produce a segment on an advertiser's product or have the program's host mention the sponsor. To promote its fall denim collection, clothing chain Express created a campaign with "Ford Models TV," a Web series produced by modeling agency Ford Models that features models talking about fashion and other subjects.

During two different videos, a male model and a female model talk about how they wear their jeans, each mentioning Express jeans during the segment. "We sent the models a few bags of clothes before the shoot, but we didn't send them a script with lines. We really wanted them telling the story," says Pam Seidman, director of communications for Express. Ms. Seidman says she is pleased so far with the campaign.

To be sure, advertising on niche Web TV shows isn't for every marketer. Not only are audiences relatively small, but pricing models and measurement systems aren't yet established. Most advertisers view the outlets as a testing ground or as one piece of a bigger ad campaign. "I don't know that video sites like this are attractive across the board. They have to fit contextually," says Babs Rangaiah, director of media and entertainment at Unilever, which recently ran a campaign on a Web show hosted by blip.tv to promote a consumer-generated contest in which people were invited to submit ads for a new body wash, Dove Cream Oil.

The Sweet Spot of Online Media Promotion

Looking on YouTube though I noticed that if you go into the community section, many of the featured Groups are advertisers. I wonder if they pay for that. Today they have Rocawear "I Will Not Lose" campaign. Vids with celebrities like Ciarra, Three Six Mafia, and other's "A" list Hip Hop / R&B artists talking about not losing and perservering without obstacles. Which is cool, do gooder advertising.

They also have Listerine FreshBurst man on the street interviews which are not very entertaining and unabashedly self-serving.

YouTube offers deep opportunities for testing advertising production. These days it seems like online is partnering more and more with direct street teams, a mesh of the international and local.

Learn How 2 Do an Online Vid Show from Blip.tv

Blip.tv's Learning Center offers instructions on how to produce a video show from concept through ad sales. Blip.tv defines a show as a "series of online videos that are tied together by consistent branding, style, and release schedule." Many of the most popular online programming is offered by Blip.tv including Galacticast (Sci-fi Satire) and Geek Entertainment TV (recently featured in Wall Street Journal).


MySpace Could Lift Ban on Commerce

MySpace Could Lift Ban on Commerce
MySpace bans commerce between its members, because it doesn't want to jeopardize the corporate advertising that accounts for the vast majority of its profit. Allowing its members to promote their wares would only clutter up the place. But behind the scenes, the issue is being hotly discussed as Chris DeWolfe, MySpace's chief executive, and his team of top executives at the biggest property within News Corp.'s Beverly Hills-based Fox Interactive Media grapple with the imperative of squeezing more money out of MySpace. The Los Angeles Times reports. more »


Slate V: Review

Slate stepped into the video space in a big way by launching SlateV, a robust collection of videos created by Slate. The front page offers the newest of these videos like "Video Bushisms", "Grading Hillary's First Spot", and "Dear Prudence" an animation of their advice column.

The animation and special effects on the videos is incredible, creative and original. Unfortunately the editors themselves are boring, probably in comparison to the lively visuals. Understandably most of these editors are more comfortable in a text based context. "Editor's Choice", has some great, interesting vids such as examples of advertisements for soap made by Igmar Bergman when he was short on cash. Unfortunately, the tone of the narrative makes it feel like a classroom lecture. A blog page "Did You See This" is there roundup of the best in web video, pulling vids from YouTube, LiveLeak, CollegeHumor, etc.

Hopefully they'll figure out how to make the narrative as arresting as the visuals. The whole thing is sponsored by Infiniti whose banner ads are not video and while quite obvious, non-intrusive. They used Brightcove technology.

3 Spheres of Web Strategy from Owyang

Jeremiah Owyang is the Director of Corporate Media Strategy (serves as a Social Media Resource for Fortune 1000 clients) @ Podtech.net.

He notes that Web Strategy must take into account the goals, needs, and roadblocks of the three spheres, Community, Business, and Technology. In his blog entry he provides a description and the skills needed to represent each of the three groups.

Summer TV Season Summary

Scott Baio is 45 & Single
It's not that uncommon for 40 somethings to be single. For some reason when men are single it's a big issue while when woman are single it's not, it's understood.
Sunset Tan
Simple Life

Big Brother



Burn Notice

Mediaweek 8/21/07

USA also continued to bring the noise with its original series, snaring 4.54 million viewers Friday night at 9 p.m. with a new episode of Monk, while holding on to much of that audience in the 10 p.m. slot with Psych (3.81 million). On the previous night, USA’s summer hit Burn Notice delivered 4.23 million viewers. Prime time’s silver medalist was TNT, which averaged 2.2 million viewers, thanks to The Closer and Saving Grace. With 4.68 million viewers, the Holly Hunter drama retained 64 percent of its Closer lead-in. TNT also took second among adults 25-54 (945,000), while placing fourth among 18-49s (810,000).

MTV: averaging 3.69 million viewers on August 13 with a special one-hour season premiere of The Hills. The return of Lauren “L.C.” Conrad and her cabal of peroxide-tressed frenemies absolutely owned the younger adult demos last week, averaging 2.28 million viewers 18-34 and 2.64 million 18-49s. Back on the scripted side of the slate, Army Wives kept the home fires burning for Lifetime, averaging 3.81 million viewers in the penultimate episode of its first season. The show, which stands as the season’s most-watched original drama among women 18-34, also generated an impressive number among one of the general demos, finishing in the top 10 among adults 25-54 with 1.88 million.


Facebook: Is it an Ad or News from Friend

Facebook isn't a news source, it is a social networking tool and it is debatable on how differentiated advertisements need to be from the user generated content. Facebook is a multimedia tool with video and music but the majority of its content is text. If the company employed journalistic Editors there would be a big wall separating the business side from the editorial side. The business side would push for anything that made the ad more effective and the editorial side would push back to insure editorial integrity by completely differentiating advertising from content. Most Editors take this very seriously and don't want there to be a hint of conflict of interest.

Above is a screen shot of the news feed I receive from my friends on my Facebook account. The Army ad I circled is troublesome. It does not look different at all from the messages that I get from my friends which is accented by the fact that its from a very controversial advertiser. Should social web sites be held to editorial standards? Advertisers and media are still searching for the holy grail of online advertising aside from the crack cocaine of paid search text links. I wonder how effective this type of integrated advertising is and whether it costs more than a straight banner buy. To be fair there is a small, light grey "sponsored" tag adjacent to the header but my eyes passed right over it.

While philosophically the Army is an emotionally charged advertiser, it's also one with deep pockets and good agencies that make great ads. Advertising agency creative departments want to create good content to develop an intimate relationship with the consumer. The above ad has a video which is ultimately much more interesting than a banner ad so while I think its probably an effective sponsorship opportunity, I wonder if it's ethical.


PlayboyU, Bunnies got Bounce

PlayboyU announced the launch of a college only community on Ning. Owen Thomas of Valleywag told CNBC doesn't think the bunny has any bounce, but I disagree. Basically because there is a need for "gated communities" online especially among students as everyone essentially invades their Myspaces and Facebooks. The front page successfully conveys the sense of an exclusive club and Mashable has screenshots of inside pages which look very robust and uniquely designed. The front page also stresses that the visitor is "not allowed" and you have to apply with an ".edu" email address to get in. People respond well to being told that they can't have something, it makes them want it. And the fact that you have to be in college (or at least have an .edu email) makes it prone to socially desirables. Myspace and the dating sites have gotten so big that it's essentially impossible to trust the people you meet there and Facebook is being invaded by old (post 22) people including parents, employers, teachers and all the people a college student would like not to have access to their personal (fun) relationships.

The big winner here is Ning, which sadly has a very forgettable and meaningless name. There is a need for targeted, customized smaller social networking sites and the PlayboyU community gives it a big jolt of credibility. And because they've launched many communities already they know what to watch out for. I belong to a few communities on Ning, the largest being and the Playboy pages look a million times slicker. Both Myspace and Facebook have group functions but it's secondary to the individual memberships. Ning makes it primary.

Kendra, the youngest of Hef's girlfriends and one of the stars of "Girls Next Door" has a huge presence on Myspace and has used it for a host of marketing opportunities. The strength of the brand offers a multitude of promotional rewards to being a member of PlayboyU.


'Anchorwoman' Cancelled After One Airing

The TV biz is on a crazy rollercoaster.

Fox cancelled 'Anchorwoman' after one airing. It was a cheesy premise: former swimsuit model becomes anchorwoman at a Texas TV station. Mmmm, let me think, kind of like the TV Guide show. Apparently only 2.5 million people tuned in (so-so cable numbers) which was a dramatic decrease from 'So You Think You Can Dance' numbers of the prior week. The unaired episodes will be available at Fox's nifty new Myspace page which called 'Fox On Demand.' Brownie points for synergizing.

Fox On Demand has a healthy selection of full episodes of Fox's programs on and off air. The promo page for the show hosted on the fox.com server although it looks like a Myspace page is full of glitz and cheescake. This show was described as a "scripted reality show" which means the characters didn't have enough entertaining things to say so someone else wrote the lines for them, which is sad and always looks fake. Kiss of death alert. They're going to run repeats of 'Til Death' in the time slot.

I just think it's mildly shocking that Fox has 6 shows in the can and is pulling the whole deal. It also surprised me when they pulled 'Drive' after two nights earlier this year. I enjoyed the back to back episodes when they aired and was very disappointed that they ran out of gas. I haven't yet gone back and watched the episodes I missed, available at Fox on Demand.

Related Stories:

YouTube's "New" Ads

In the past few days there has been a bunch of buzz surrounding online video advertising because Google's mega-mammoth brand in the space, YouTube, (which they bought 10 months ago for $1.65 billion) initiated "semi-transparent overlay ads". With room for variation it's a banner that appears at the bottom of the video screen and offers the option of linking to the advertiser's web site. YouTube calls them "In Video"

Above is a screenshot of an ad for the movie "Hairspray" on a Ford Models TV video. Hairspray, hairdresser, young women, that's targeting. Unfortunately the screenshot is one that appeared in the New York Times because I couldn't find an example of an ad on the YouTube site. Personally I think the web site for Hairspray the movie a much bigger brand than Ford Models TV but that's beside the point. FordModels.tv is one of about 1,000 large and small media partners that have licensed their videos to YouTube and will split the ad revenue.

The sponsorship model isn't new, look at blip.tv who split their advertising revenue 50/50 with the shows they host on their site. Nor is the creative, one of the online video advertising pioneers VideoEgg claims to have engineered it. VideoEgg is an ad network of varied video sites with a robust and impressive web presence. They offer much better samples of this type of advertising.

YouTube/Google charges the advertisers $20 for every 1,000 times the ads are displayed (CPM = cost per thousand). The revenues are then split with the media partners. Interesting that on YouTube unlike other online ad placements the amount of times each video has been viewed and how viewers feel about the video is public knowledge. The YouTube audience is incredibly fragmented, it's quite an accomplishment to be as popular as LonelyGirl for example.

This particular Ford Model TV video has been seen 304,661. So, if YouTube/Google the ad placement for the entire 304,661 times Hairspray would have only spent $6,093 but the video is 3 months old. So who knows how many people viewed it yesterday but there were 15 comments about the advertising itself. Many were upset that they couldn't see it. One commenter said there was t he possibility of interesting juxtapositions of advertising on content based on Google AdSense key words, like Nestle on Chocolate Rain (a viral video that made the rounds recently).

With 55.1 million unique visitors who spent an average of 49 minutes and 59 seconds on the site during July, YouTube is the most popular online video site, according to Nielsen/ NetRatings NetView. YouTube has spent months testing different ad formats to figure out which models wouldn't alienate its viewers. It found that viewers abandon videos that include pre-roll ads at a rate of more than 70%, so it ditched pre-roll commercials.


Consumers Switch to Digital (Mediaweek)

Katy Bachman

AUGUST 08, 2007 -

For the first time in a decade, consumers spent less time with media in 2006 than they did the prior year according to a study released Tuesday by Veronis Suhler Stevenson. Media usage per person declined 0.5 percent to 3,530 hours driven by “the continued migration of consumers to digital alternatives for news, information, and entertainment,” the study concluded. (So digital isn't media?)

“We are in the midst of a major shift in the media landscape that is being fueled by changes in technology, end-user behaviors and the response by brand marketers and communications companies,” said James Rutherfurd, executive vp and managing director at VSS. “We expect these shifts to continue over the next five years, as time and place shifting accelerate while consumers and businesses utilize more digital media alternatives, strengthening the new media pull model at the expense of the traditional media push model.”

As a result, spending on alternative advertising, including Internet, mobile, videogames and digital out-of-home, among others, grew 36.6 percent to $26.53 billion in 2006. Traditional advertising spending, however, grew only 2.4 percent to $183.21 billion.

“Leading national advertisers have accelerated their diversion of dollars from traditional print and broadcast media to alternative digital platforms to combat media and audience fragmentation, increased consumer control and multitasking, and the growing impact of advanced technology on conventional media models,” Rutherford said.
  • Compared to traditional media, digital alternatives require consumers to invest less time. Consumers typically watch broadcast or cable TV at least 30 minutes per session, compared to the five to seven minutes spent viewing video clips online.

  • Consumers are also migrating away from advertiser-supported media, such as broadcast TV and newspapers to subscription platforms, such as cable TV and videogames, the study found.

  • Time spent with consumer-supported media grew 19.8 percent in 2006, while time with ad-supported media fell 6.3 percent.
VSS forecasts the fastest-growing media segments over the next five years will be pure-play Internet and mobile services, branded entertainment, out-of-home media, outsourced custom publishing and public relations. Total Internet advertising is expected to reach $61.98 billion in 2011, surpassing newspapers as the nation’s largest ad medium.


Bizness & Marketing Blogs

eBiz MBA : Cool site, apparently in Beta. Divided into 4 main topic areas, Administration, Marketing, Products & Sales. Front page has relevant top tier articles (Wired, NYT, etc.) about social marketing, advertising, etc.


Blogging About Bloggers

As regular readers know (as if!) i have been struggling to come up with a focus for my blog but how about this? What are the most popular bloggers blogging about? Who are the most popular bloggers. Why should you care or not as the case might be.

First of all, what do I as a normal webizen end up reading?

#1) Yahoo News. Why? Because headlines show up on my mail. Personally I have Entertainment headlines selected because I'm such a shallow and apathetic individual.

#2) Links that I receive via Twitter.

These include, not in any particular order.

#a) Robert Scoble's Scobelizer: Today he reported on his own reading habits (wow!) he reads (judges) 772 feeds through his google reader, which represents thousands of bloggers because some feeds have multiple bloggers. He posted a list of his top 35.

#b) Techmeme

#c) New York Times

#4) Chris Brogan: A Conversation with a Community Regarding Digital Relationships

#5) Mashable

2 B continued.....


I <3 The Web!!!

I love the web. Web 1.0, web 2.0, web 33 and a 3rd, it don't matter to me. The problem is I love to get lost and jump from site to site, person to person, blog to blog, picture to picture, video to video, publication to publication and back again. I love (and i'm sorry for using that word too much) getting lost in research, learning and reading and I often forget what my original reason is for being on the Internet.

Usually my original reason is to accomplish something productive. Write in my blog for instance. Not that anyone is going to read it or that I have anything particularly important to say but because it is required that I actually write something down, complete a thought, voice an opinion, or simply point someone to a cool site, to justify my hours of random wandering. Currently I'm primarily on Twitter and Facebook and I have memberships on Ning, Bebo, Pownce, and about a dozen other social applications.

I have 2 myspace pages which originally were supposed to be for 2 different purposes, one more professional and one more social/artsy. I still like myspace a lot but not that many people do so it's kind of pointless for me to spend much time there. I started having "blogs" back in the late '90's when blogger first came along but I would get distracted and use them for real journaling that i'm not that interested in sharing or fiction. When a person has a difficult time with focusing they tend to try to do too much and give up and move on because since you have 12 little projects going on you don't really make a significant investment in just one idea.

In 2000, I was Director of Business Development for Upside.com and I made about 50 deals with different web applications which i just mention because there were so many ideas floating around and since i'm not an engineer or an designer that knows flash they all were somewhat abstract. Upside went in a different direction and tried to make a radio play and we parted company.

Blah, blah, blah...


Monitoring Word "Camp" Once Removed

Another day, another blog.

I seem to start blog after blog and they end up going nowhere because I turn them into a list of other people's stories that I want to read and save.

Currently I'm keeping on top of my membership on Twitter and Facebook which seems to be a full time busy making avocation without much accumulation of content / knowledge.

Right now I'm monitoring Stephanie Booth's real time blogs about Word Camp. Conferences in the Web 2.0 milieu all seem to be called "camps" which makes them seem than they're a lot more fun than they actually are.

Another development is applying the word "porn" to describe non traditional porn type items. Such as Stephanie does about stickers and chips they're offering abundantly at "camp" as seen in these pictures she uploaded to Flickr.


NYT Covers Mobile 2.0 Applications

Social Networking Leaves Confines of the Computer (key quotes)

  • Daniel Graf, a founder of Kyte, the mobile social networking service, sees cellphones as personal TV studios.

  • The social networking phenomenon is leaving the confines of the personal computer.
  • New online services, with names like Twitter, Radar and Jaiku, hope people will use their ever-present gadget to share (or, inevitably, to overshare) the details of their lives in the same way they have become accustomed to doing on Web sites like MySpace.

  • Mr. Graf said he was considering several approaches to making money from the service. They include charging companies that want to contribute promotional programming, or advertisements in or alongside the most popular channels. He said he would share that revenue with the channels’ creators.

  • Another company proving the potency of the sharing impulse is Twitter (www.twitter.com), which is also based in San Francisco and has lately captured the enthusiasm of bloggers and tech insiders.


Variety.com - Trump's 'Lady' comes to Fox

Variety.com - Trump's 'Lady' comes to Fox

Trump's 'Lady' comes to Fox

Party girls to get reality check

Donald Trump

Fox and Donald Trump are developing "Lady or a Tramp," a reality-competition series in which girls in love with the party life will be sent to a charm school where they will receive a stern course on debutante manners. Trump will exec produce the show and possibly come on air to evaluate contestants' progress, insiders said.

RDF USA will produce the show, with chief exec Chris Coelen and exec veep of development Greg Goldman, Bruce Toms ("Nanny 911") and Trump Prods. prexy Andy Litinsky joining Trump as exec producers.

If the show gets greenlit, it could be on the air as early as midseason.

Series, which will combine the competition and self-improvement aspects of reality television with the sizzle of the tabloids, is an adaptation of the British series "Ladette to Lady."

On that show, party girls are sent to the U.K. charm school Eggleston Hall, where they are taught "how to go from throwing a kegger to throwing a tea party," Goldman quipped.

Girls are required to wear tweed skirts and pearl necklaces, and taught the finer points of skills like flower arranging and needlework.


The Social Networking Universe?

Not. I'm spending more time building profiles than I am being social on these sites. Ken at KenRadio.com provides these snazzy IQ media reports daily. A couple of days ago he distributed " Social Network Marketing, the Sky is the Limit" (Note: You may have to login to view it, Ken is building his own social network complete with yet another profile to fill out, his numbers say he has 15,000 folks).

He did an amazingly comprehensive chart of 90 social networking sites with a brief description of their type and their user number. I don't know where he got these numbers you will have to ask him. I sorted them by user number and excluded the "unknowns" and networking sites exclusively for specific geographic or demographic users. I took off any sites with less than 1,000,000 members since that seems to be the magic number for advertising viability.

That seems to be his focus, not membership premiums which I'd just like to give a shout out to Flickr on setting up an easy and "safe" pro service unlike other Yahoo services.

KenRadio.com reports that " in 2007 marketers will spend $900 million on advertising and marketing on social network sites in the US, mostly to create profile pages and sponsored promotions. MySpace, still the largest player by far, is estimated to generate $525 million in the US this year. Facebook is expected to generate $125 million and both should continue to see healthy revenue increases. Combined, the two account for 72% of US social network ad spending in 2007 and 75% in 2008."

I understand the non sophisticated aura that a banner ad on Myspace represents to most advertisers and they want to build involvement and a "personality" for their brand but I think it's a huge wasted opportunity because it seems, at least 85% of the time, based on my faulty human memory a banner ad pops up with the fake celebrity rip offs or offers for "free" things. I'd like to know how many people actually received one of those free items. It leads to a survey site which provides direct spammers with information about the users.

Maybe they should do some barter ads with content sites to provide fodder for healthy discussion on myspace or is that completely unrealistic? I know there is intelligent life on myspace, it's just got such a bad rap that many people stay away.


NYT's Take on the Upfronts

This year’s television upfront presentations, where the networks open giant briefcases and introduce samples from their fall lineups to advertisers, came and went with whimpers.

But the entrance whimper and the exit whimper were different. The first, at NBC’s presentation Monday, was one of pain. It came through on the projection screen behind Kevin Reilly, the network’s entertainment president.

“Big fat disappointment,” the screen read, the acknowledgment saving Mr. Reilly from prolonged public penance by subtitling his subconscious. It had indeed been a horrible year for NBC, which, having long ago lost its first-place status, needed a brilliant one.

How the mighty have fallen. And how the unmighty have risen: Fox, which after all these years is still not counted among the “big three” networks by some old-timers, now attracts the audiences advertisers desire more.


from dembot - pointed information : andrew michael baron

Why do Video Platforms Fail?

In online video, there is big interest in the entry point, the place where people go to discover and watch video and ultimately where payment is made, one way or another, for the watching. For some incredible reason that I can not fathom, an extraordinarily large number of people believe they can create the entry point in which the rest of the world will come to discover video. The competition is fierce and the success rate over the years has been a series of clockwork dead on arrivals.

This entry point offline used to be TV-Guide for TV content along with local newspapers for Movie listings, both "dead sources", so to speak. In music, a company called Sound Warehouse once dominated America as the entry point for musical recording sales, physically, and now it's completely gone.

Meanwhile, musicians only needed a cheap and clear signal-to-noise ratio to record sound with while the audience only needed dial-up to d/l the music with, to bring on the democratization of the music industry regardless of the pre-established industry's control.

The traditional TV/Movie/Film studios have not been as afraid of the internet recently, having had the opportunity to stand by and watch their music industry colleagues break down. Easily anticipating awhile back what has now become cheap and clear imaging to record and edit the world with, a new audience has now materialized only needing to click once to see anything by anyone.


25 Startups Watch (Biz 2.0)

Startups to watch

I can't find a date on this article from Biz 2.0 on the CNN/Money "channel". I'm assuming it was in late, late '06 or early, early '07 since the descriptions says "ones to watch in '07". They have a nifty little thumbnail description of pertinent facts about each one like date founded, funding, employees, why it exists and what it does, etc. The 25 are:

  1. Stumbleupon
  2. Slide
  3. Bebo
  4. Meebo
  5. Wikia
  6. Joost
  7. dabble
  8. Metacafe
  9. Revision 3
  10. Blip TV
  11. Fon
  12. Loopt
  13. Mobio
  14. Tiny Pictures
  15. Soonr
  16. Turn
  17. Adify
  18. AdMob
  19. SpotRunner
  20. Vitrue
  21. Success Factors
  22. JanRain
  23. LogoWorks
  24. Rearden Commerce
  25. Simulscribe

How 2 Make Sure Ads Get Seen on Network TV

The other reason the networks need viewers to keep watching ads is that Nielsen Media Research, the ratings arbiter, intends soon to begin measuring viewership of commercials as well as programs.

One way that many networks hope to engage viewers during commercial breaks is by wedging original content into the blocks of advertising time, so that viewers will anticipate seeing something fun if they sit through a few ads.

Fox Broadcasting, for instance, tried out a series of clips for two weeks last month about an animated character named Oleg, a New York cab driver, who popped up in eight-second vignettes during commercial breaks in series like “24.” CW has been running “content wraps,” which mix sponsor products into program snippets.

Some experiments involve the cast of the shows in which the commercials appear, serving as hosts for the breaks. That is a throwback to an era when “cast commercials” proliferated with the stars of series like “I Love Lucy,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” and even “The Flintstones.”


John Fugelsang: 'All the Wrong Reasons'

April 28, 2007 · The son of a former priest and a one-time nun, John Fugelsang says he wasn't sure if he should have been born. He's turned funny stories from his life into a one-man show, All the Wrong Reasons. It's at the New York Theater Workshop until May 6.


NYT on Murdoch

Tilting at a Digital Future

Published: May 13, 2007

IN Rupert Murdoch’s world, two things are certain: the sun never sets on the kingdom, and a TV is always on in the background.

Rupert Murdoch, from his office in Manhattan, oversees holdings that include television, film, satellite TV and newspapers.

On the evening of April 26, several large television monitors adorned the terrace of Mr. Murdoch’s Beverly Hills mansion for a dinner celebrating a special edition of “American Idol” that raised more than $70 million to fight poverty. An Asian noodle station was set out by the pool; nearby, sushi chefs busily sliced tuna for “Idol” co-hosts Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest, and seven, hyperactive “Idol” finalists who, when they weren’t clamoring around megastar Tom Cruise, dreamily watched themselves on the big screens. Wendi Deng, Mr. Murdoch’s wife, wore a billowy, green dress and introduced their 5-year-old daughter, Grace, to guests before sending her to bed.

Mr. Murdoch casually sipped wine and chatted with his daughter, Elisabeth, and other guests. He had planned for the event to be an early dinner party, but he finally headed to bed at 1 a.m., leaving music impresario Quincy Jones and others chatting on a sofa. After all, he had work to do.

Digital Culture

Exploring TV's Takeoff on the Internet

GoodNight Burbank, an award-winning comedy program about life behind the scenes of a local news show, airs exclusively on the Internet. GoodnightBurbank.com

All Things Considered, May 9, 2007 · People are already calling 2007 the year of Internet television, and within the past few months, TV networks have officially jumped into the business.

The founders of the popular web sites Kazaa and Skype are launching their latest project, an Internet TV venture called Joost. At the same time, indie web TV shows and programs with big backers are trying to make money.

Jeremy Allaire, founder and CEO of Brightcove, a company that has built thousands of Internet "channels" for its clients as well as runs its own, talks to Robert Siegel about the growing industry.

We also hear from Dan Rayburn, executive vice president of Streaming Media, an industry trade publication, and from Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom of Joost.

And Laura Sydell reports on the making of Goodnight Burbank, an independent, web-only comedy show that has received accolades.

NPR Covers VH-1 Flavor of Love Charm School ...


'Charm School' Teaches TV Manners

News & Notes, May 9, 2007 · Cable TV channel VH1's Flavor of Love girls are headed for Charm School, a new spin-off reality show that tries to teach manners to an unlikely group of young women.

Mikki Taylor is Charm School's dean of students, in addition to being the cover editor and beauty director for Essence. Taylor speaks with Farai Chideya about the show.

From Time Magazine's Most Influential People

Chris Anderson

All writers are in search of the Big Idea. A Big Idea has to matter. But you can have only one of them. Your Big Idea can't be that there are, say, 89 Rules of Power. E=mc(2) was, technically speaking, a Big Idea. But not really, because the best Big Ideas are also transparent. Truly Big Ideas are the rarest of phenomena, and when I first came upon Chris Anderson's The Long Tail last year, I knew this was one.

Born in 1961, Anderson became a physicist and conducted research at Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico. As editor in chief of Wired, he described the idea of The Long Tail in a 2004 article; the book came out in 2006.

Here is what the idea says: Many of us see the same movies and read the same books because the bookstore can store only so many books and the movie theater can play only so many movies. There isn't enough space to give us exactly what we want. So we all agree on something we kind of want. But what happens when the digital age comes along, allowing the bookstore to store all the books in the world? Now, it doesn't sell 1,000 copies of one book that we all kind of want; it sells one copy of 1,000 books each of us really wants.

Five sentences to explain something that, if you think about Amazon and Netflix and iTunes, will make you see the world a different way. That's a Truly Big Idea.

Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point and Blink