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October 2008, Week 3 Marketing Archives

Friday, October 17, 2008

From Forbes to Letterman, Everybody Loves a Top 10 List

top ten logo

Most journalists don't enjoy working with numbers, and many joke that they chose it as a college major to avoid math courses (myself included). However, every writer knows the potential for a giant buzz they can simply create by compiling a Top 10 list. Lists, whether they're subjective or objective, have an amazing and uncanny ability create a wide-range of reactions from every social and economic group. In certain cases, such as the 10 Commandments, lists are followed religiously.

In the area of sports, passionate fans often engage in heated debates regarding which teams deserve to "crack the top ten". Historians and political publications often receive criticism for their rankings of former U.S. Presidents. ESPN Radio's popular host, Colin Cowherd is known for mixing mainstream topics into his daily show, and he believes some lists are solely created with the intention of causing a controversial (and therefore popular) topic for discussion reaction.I'll paraphrase what Cowherd said about a Top 10 U.S. Presidents List.

The latest list I saw for top U.S. Presidents didn't include George Washington in the top five. That's when you have to step up and say, 'Come on! That guy was dodging bullets in the battlefield.'

Each spring, High School seniors rely on guides such as U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review to gauge the colleges they want to attend. Everyone's familiar with the phrase "Fortune 500", but the names within the top 10 tend to be the most recognized and are often placed in the media's microscope.

Earlier today, Forbes listed America's Most Generous Corporations, and they produce similar rankings such as,the cities hit hardest by the mortgage crisis, etc.Some lists aren't based on qualitative rankings, but remain popular because of the format. For example, Bargain hunters head to Craigslist and Angies List provides consumers a guide to reputable and reliable companies.

A feature story in Time titled "The Power of 10", included its very own Top 10 list of reasons why we love lists.

10.God Made Us Do It.
9.Words Suck! Numbers Rule!
8.They're Web-Friendly. If anyone loves lists more than the mainstream media do, it's the non-mainstream media.
7.Branding, Branding, Branding!.... Businesses have discovered that a well-conceived list can be marketable.
6. Asserting authority.
5. Because We Crave Justice.
4.To Remember
3.Because the Universe Is Random and Senseless. They impose order without making false connections.
2.Because Life Is Short
1.Because If You Put Numbers on It, People Will Read Anything

How long will our infatuation for lists endure? There's no really no way to tell you, but maybe I should work on a list of reasons while it will never end. I just may have to give more than 10.

 

From Forbes to Letterman, Everybody Loves a Top 10 List By Matt O'Hern at 04:40 PM
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Animoto Offers Unique Editing Features for Slide shows

animoto logo

Animoto, is a new slide show program that boasts advanced controls and features not found on competitor's sites. Animoto was formed by an artistic group of developers that formerly produced shows for MTV, Comedy Central, & ABC, studied music in London, and played in indie rock bands in Seattle. The culmination of their creative minds is evident in the esoteric feel to the site,including the intro video.

For example, Animoto uses newly developed Cinematic Artificial Intelligence that analyzes your compilation of pictures and automatically orchestrates the presentation to synchronize with the song you choose for your soundtrack. Pictures are displayed in random,rotating manner in completely customized format. There's also a one-click remix feature to ensure that no two videos are ever the same. As the site says:

Each video is a fully customized orchestration of user-selected images and music. Produced on a widescreen format, Animoto videos have the visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer

Other perks users will appreciate include the option to automatically retrieve pics from your albums in Facebook,Flickr,Smug Mug,Picasa and Photobucket. Like most popular slideshow sites, you can add a soundtrack from your own collection of mp3s, but Animoto also provides an extensive library of music that includes many genres: top 40,indie rock,electronica,singer/songwriter,latin ,jazz,classical, but I didn't recognize most of the bands in rock or the singer songwriter genres.

I was disappointed by the fact that I couldn't upload a song from my Itune, but  pleasantly surprised by the view on iPhone feature, which emails the video to you Iphone and view the video via Quicktime format. You can also export to Youtube and upgrade to DVD quality for $5. You can also get the embed code for an extensive list of social networks and blogging sites,including Myspace, Facebook,Livejournal, WordPress and Blogger and others.

As a member of Photobucket, Flickr, Slide and Remix America, I think Animoto can claim a few distinct features, but those features aren't app positive. The main downside to Animoto was the 15 picture, 30-second limit to each movie you create. There's a $3 fee for "extended play", which means, a movie that lasts more than the standard 15 picture 30 seconds. That's a major inconvenience if you're planning to showcase your favorite pics from the latest vacation, family reunion or a major occasion.

If you don't mind an annuual $30 fee, you can get the "All-Access Pass", which allows you to produce an unlimited amount  extended play movies. There's also specialized formats: Animoto for Business and Animoto for Education, available in different packages and fees.

Animoto Offers Unique Editing Features for Slide shows By Matt O'Hern at 02:16 PM
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Bloomberg Claims Search Ads Gave Google 3rd Quarter Boost

adwords logoDespite its recent stock slump, don't abandon your hope in Google. In the middle of yesterday's trading, the search engine leader slipped to a 52 week low at 310, but Google's third quarter profit was 26% higher than 2007 (1.35 billion, from $1.07 billion).

Analysts point to the advertising's continuous shift from TV and Print to Internet. An article at Bloomberg.com provided insightful numbers regarding the comprehensive transition by advertising agencies.

 The Internet will account for 8.7 percent of the $284 billion in U.S. ad spending this year, up from 7.2 percent in 2007, according to Barclays Capital. In the U.S., Google fielded 63 percent of online searches in August, double the market share of Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp. combined. That dominance has helped Google command higher prices for ads.

Jeff Lindsay, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York told Bloomberg that Google's third quarter news was "shot in the arm" investors need.

People lost a lot of faith in the Internet, but this is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Short-term investors may have grown weary of tech stocks, but the big picture still confirms that advertisers are searching, and finding, better solutions online. Long-term investors should keep that in mind. After yesterday's rollercoaster ride, It will be ineteresting to see how Google fare' s today,

Bloomberg Claims Search Ads Gave Google 3rd Quarter Boost By Matt O'Hern at 09:11 AM
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Google Plans Next Line of Android Models After G1

android logo

If you weren't impressed by the pics of the G1, Google's first Android phone, you'll have plenty of other choices in the future, according Rich Miner, Google's group manager of mobile platforms. Miner told Forbes that Google has been negotiating for more models through LG,Samsung and Motorola. 

Various shapes, colors and sizes will be offered to customers through different price plans and carriers,which is a stark contrast from Iphone's exclusive deal with AT&T.
Miner told Forbes that the abundance of choices and models should lead to lower prices for eager buyers.

Google is about the mass market. The lower the cost is for someone to get online, the happier Google is.


G1 sales begin Oct. 22, and the unofficial estimate for pre-ordered G1 units is around 400,000. A Beta Version of the Android Market, Google's answer to App Store,also debuts on Oct. 22, and more than 10,000 Android developers are already creating free apps to fill the Market. Priced apps won't appear until next year, and Google will compensate by running ads.
Miner also told Forbes:

Ads will come to Android once Google feels it has perfected the user experience on mobile devices, including finding a relevant and helpful way to present ads. We're not rushing to implement them, but they're part of our long-term vision


I'm a big believer in market competition and more choices for the consumer. Google's decision to offer its Android Platform through multiple carriers and manufacturers should please every party involved, especially the customer. Freedom of choice: Now there's a concept Apple is too stubborn to consider.

Google Plans Next Line of Android Models After G1 By Matt O'Hern at 03:32 PM
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What Killed the Electric Car? Tesla's Layoffs.

tesla model s on hold

When Tesla Motors revealed the prototype for the Roadster, they proved that a high-performance electric car was more than a feasible concept, it was a reality. With a range of 221 miles, an acceleration of 0-60 mph in less 4 seconds and top speed of 125 mph, the public release of the 2006 Roadster created a wave of enthusiasm in two niche markets- environmentalists and exotic car enthusiasts.Despite its $100,000 price tag, the demand for the Roadster reached a fever-pitch and the base models sold-out within months.Time magazine went to the length of naming it one of the best Inventions in 2006, in the transportation category. 

Tesla's second model, the S , was slated for release in 2009, but a bad economy and a recent round of layoffs pushed production up to mid-2011. Priced at $60,000 and designed for 200 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery, the Model S was considered as the reasonably affordable and practical model, compared to the Roadster. But two years later, $60 grand seems much higher to today's shopper.

The delayed release also means that Chevy will get a six-month head start with its electric sedan, the Volt, which will sell for half the price, but it offers only 40 miles of driving range after each charge. Tesla's timing reminds me of Google and T-Mobile's Android phone, which will try catch up with Apple's Iphone. However, it's safe to assume that Tesla's target market falls within the international,upper-income class category, while Chevy's largest base is middle-class Americans.

What caught my attention was Tesla's list of backers: Company chairman Mr.Elon Musk, who made his fortune as a co-founder of PayPal; Jeff Skoll, former president of eBay; and Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google. Unless you've been living in a submarine for the past three weeks, you're aware that eBay and Google have seen better days in the stock market. (Of course, so have most corporations)

Today's New York Times article revealed:

Tesla is trying to raise $100 million to add to the $146 million it has already raised. Backers include  Tesla is also waiting for a low-interest loan from the Energy Department, which the company cannot use until it passes an environmental review. Tesla will focus its efforts on making the Roadster, which has a one-year waiting list. It will also increase power-train sales to other car companies, a business that Mr. Musk said was profitable.

With no sign of an economic turnaround in the near future, Tesla's timing could prove to be more of an asset than a liability. By 2011, the world may have much more disposable income to throw around.

What Killed the Electric Car? Tesla's Layoffs. By Matt O'Hern at 01:50 PM
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Automattic Integrates PollDaddy to Enhance WordPress Services

As small businesses struggle to stay afloat in a suffocating economic environment, some will manage to survive, but the most efficient ones will thrive and leverage their most valuable assets to established developers and prominent corporations that are in expansion mode, not downsizing.
A perfect example of one of those efficient ones is PollDaddy. polldaddy logoautomattic logoPollDaddy was started by two entrepenuers in Ireland 2005. Since that time, they've grown to provide widgets to over 500,000 users.Automattic, (the developer of Wordpress), noticed PollDaddy's agility and exponential growth and added PollDaddy as one if its companies. PollDaddy is now integrated as the newest feature on WordPress.

How did PollDaddy attract Automattic's offer? By building its brand with distinguishing characteristics that separated them from the rest of the pack.
Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress, knew that an interactive poll was a feature WordPress needed to address, but he viewed it as an obvious problem with a complex solution.

There are probably a dozen companies addressing this space right now, but as we started to survey the space I was struck by how often I’d see this PollDaddy thing pop up.Two guys in Ireland with a quirky company name were cleaning up with some of the largest and most respected websites using their service on a daily basis. They weren’t the biggest, but they had the high end of the market. It seemed to be the WordPress of the polling space. I took a secret trip to Sligo and put back a few pints with the team and we decided to make things work. They went to bed every night and woke up every morning thinking about polls and surveys, and were iterating at a great pace....I knew we could take Polldaddy to an entirely new level in a relatively short amount of time.

One example is the PollDaddy Junior , a versatile widget that can be applied to a variety social networks, including MySpace and Friendster.Today, WordPress' homepage features a gleeful announcement about the addition of PollDaddy.

Now whenever you do a post you’ll be a few clicks away from having your own poll, and you can have as many as you like! We’re also going to be working on a lot more styles and customization of the polls, so you’ll be able to match it exactly to the look and feel of your blog.

WordPress showcased PollDaddy's feature with a poll on polls - "Do you like polls?" (How is that for redundancy>). As of 11 a.m., the results showed 85% yes, 17% no.

One of the latest innovations is PollDaddy answers, where you can analyze previous polls that have been created. It's still in the Beta stage of development will continue to add more features during the next few months.Now that PollDaddy is available on a blogging platform with 4.5 million subscribers, it's become an ideal model for small business that are searching for the best method to pitch their outstanding product or service.

Automattic Integrates PollDaddy to Enhance WordPress Services By Matt O'Hern at 11:43 AM
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coach Silo Webcasts Will Tutor Europeans on NFL

football for dummies

Europeans are known for staunchly supporting their soccer teams, but they're still learning the fine points of that tricky sport across the pond that they refer to as "American Football."
Most Europeans are unfamiliar with the concepts,strategy and rules of the sport, which led the demise of World League of American Football, NFL Europe and NFL Europa.

Like most Americans, i thought football was an easy game to learn, until I tried to explain the "forward progress" rule to a friend of mine from Romania. That's when I realized how sophisticated and inconsistent the rules of football could appear too a new fan, and the NFL has realized that fact as well.
Mark Waller, the NFL's senior vice president for sales, marketing and international affairs, explained the league's global marketing dilemma to the Wall Street Journal:

We've struggled for a long time to work out how you get people engaged in our game when they don't play it and don't understand it. We've got to get people to a level of understanding so that when we play games abroad or broadcast them, people will actually pay attention.It's the most complicated team sport on the planet. If we can create an understanding, that will make a huge difference.

To educate an international audience, the NFL is producing a series of multi-lingual webisodes starring a fictional coach (Coach Stilo), who will lead an eight-chapter tutorial on the major points of football,including offensive and defensive strategy. The entire tutorial combines for a total time of three hours, and, according to Wall Street Journal, Stilo's supporting cast will include a talking dog and highlights narrated by NFL stars.
Even if the webisodes don't provide much entertainment, they shouldn't be as disappointing as the abysmal offensive display by New York Giants and Miami Dolphins during last year's 13-10 snore fest. At London's Wembley Stadium last year, tickets were snatched up like U2 was coming to town, with the first 40,000 sold in 90 minutes. However, during the broadcast, FOX's broadcasters remarked on the overall confusion among the fan base. The fans cheered during the obvious sections such as the starting lineup, touchdowns and field goals, but first downs and penalties didn't translate. For example,in soccer, a yellow flag indicates a foul committed by an individual, whereas in football, yellow flags can be issued to a team or an individual, and the consequences for each penalty are different.

Europe's learning curve comes as no surprise, because we're often confused by some of their favorite sports,such as Rugby and Cricket. According to the International Federation of American Football, only 300,000 people play the game in 51 countries. Compare that to another popular,American-made sport, which has exploded in popularity throughout the world, especially Europe. There's still plenty of room for football to grow, but if Europeans begin a grassroots effort to build fields and start youth leagues, the sport's popularity could take off faster than Landainian Tomlinson on a touchdown run.

Coach Silo Webcasts Will Tutor Europeans on NFL By Matt O'Hern at 04:16 PM
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Samsung Answers MacBook Buzz with New Notebooks

A new player entered the field of laptop competition, after Samsung introduced its own line of notebooks, which are available in seven versions:
NC10 Netbook,X360,X460,Q310,R610,P460 and P560.

Samsung's answer to the Apple Mac Book Pro comes in two models- the P460 and P560- which have intel AMT 4.0 and luxurious extra touches such as fingerprint readers, spill resistant keyboard, a shock resistant hard drive. Perhaps the only distinct advantage they have to Apple's MacBook Pro is the price-$1150 and $1400, compared to the two grand you'll have to throw down for the Macbook Pro.

The smallest model in the lineup is the, NC10, with 10.2-inch(1024 x 600 pixels) screen. Like the NC10's bigger brothers, its most appealing aspect may just be its price -$500. Features include a160GB hard drive and a built-in 1.3-megapixel camera.
Shoppers searching for a 13-inch screen can choose between the X360 and X460, which weigh less than three pounds and include Intel Centrino 2 processor technology with Intel Core 2 Duo processors, 3GB RAM, and a LED backlit LCD display. They both sell for about $1,600, which is actually a few hundred higher than Apple's alternative, the 13-inch Macbook.

Following yesterday's  buzz created by the new Macbook , Samsung's announcement could prove to be either brilliant timing or a costly mistake due to a short-sighted approach. Shoppers may be so mesmerized by Apple's new line that they don't even notice the Samsung line this week.Samsung's target market spans wider than just potential Apple converts. A new model release closer to the start of the holiday could have created a bigger splash in the media, and Samsung may just end up as a blip on the radar screen of the average consumer.

Samsung Answers MacBook Buzz with New Notebooks By Matt O'Hern at 12:57 PM
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Ruby Tuesday Viral Ad Campaign Could Backfire

ruby tuesday and homer simpson

While families stay home for dinner to save money, chain restaurants are desperate to overhaul their image, including Ruby Tuesday. Recently, the casual-dining chain  started a TV and web campaign to highlight their nation-wide renovation effort to enhance the atmosphere.

In an interesting twist, one of their web commercials showed an "accidental" implosion of "Chici's Bar and Grill" a rival restaurant that was next to their demolition site. It was followed by an "Apology" from Jim Robbins, Senior VP of marketing (fictional).

We had intended to blow up our own restaurant to mark our departure from the sea of sameness within the casual dining industry. Ironically, the demolition crew mistook Chicis for the last of our old restaurants. Again to Chici's, our sincerest apologies.

To the discerning viewer, the message is clear- Ruby Tuesday is striving to renew its image, literally and figuratively, while competitors such as Chilis and TGI Fridays, are stuck in the past.On its surface Ruby's concept seems like a good idea, but judging from the flood of ignorant comments on Youtube , there were plenty of viewers who were duped into thinking that the "accident" was legit.

USA Today's article criticized the wasted effort.

It was a Web hit that was a Hail Mary attempt to shine lights on the fact that Ruby Tuesday just spent $70 million to reinvent itself with new décor, a new menu and even new duds on its servers.Even with the publicity bump, the chain's same-store sales are off.

I always appreciate satirical, symbolic and self-deprecating humor, but if your campaign's message backfires(get it?) it can create enough confusion to give your brand a reputation on par with Homer Simpson. Then again, maybe you don't want those viewers as your customer base.

The important lesson to remember- For every savvy viewer, there are just as many knuckle-heads who may interpret it literally, because the  average Youtube viewer may just move on totally unrelated video.

 

Ruby Tuesday Viral Ad Campaign Could Backfire By Matt O'Hern at 10:53 AM
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Apple Releases First Pics and Specs of New MacBook

Now we all know what the Apple Brick rumors were referring to- the unibody- a single piece of aluminium, which is how the new 15-inch MacBook Pro and 13-inch MacBook are made. The alumninum provides a light and thin product, without sacrificing strength.

Here's a quick rundown of the new features on the 15-inch MacBook Pro

  • Thin 15-inch LED-backlit display.
  • High-performance NVIDIA graphics by GeForce 9600M GT
  • Smooth glass Multi-Touch trackpad that's clickable from anywhere.

*It sells for $1,999

Features on the 13-inch MacBook.

  • 13.3-inch LED-backlit display.
  • Up to 5x faster NVIDIA graphics performance.
  • Smooth glass Multi-Touch trackpad.

*It sells for $1,299.

 We'll see how much of a boost this gives Apple's stock on Wednesday morning.

Apple Releases First Pics and Specs of New MacBook By Matt O'Hern at 04:55 PM
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Coors vs. Hottrix May Set Precedent for Developers

coors light silver bandit logoWelcome to a new world of lawsuits- where developers will battle in the arena known as intellectual property. Coors,known as "An American Original" is accused of copying an Iphone application. As a result,the Denver-based Brewing company is facing an expensive tab- a lawsuit for $12.5 million dollars from Hottrix. The independent developer created the popular "IBeer" application for Iphone on the same day that Coors launched iPint, but Hottrix claims iBeer was designed before Coors' version.

Jason Fisher, the attorney representing Hottrix, told Wired that attempts to reach an agreement with Coors were refuted, so they brought their complaint to Apple, which removed Ipint from the Apple Store. Fisher views the case as a David vs.Goliath scenario. In Wired's article, he explained:

My client is really a mom-and-pop company who just wants to protect their intellectual property rights.When iPint appeared in the App Store, it quickly climbed into the top 10 most downloaded free applications - essentially hurting iBeer's sales. After Apple removed iPint, iBeer made it onto the App Store's top 25 most popular paid applications list. It currently sits at No. 22 on that list.


Both applications launched on July 11, but Hottrix refers to its Youtube video from 2007, which displays the accelerometer technique (tilting the phone) for pouring virtual beer out of the virtual glass. Hottrix's suit comes only days after President Bush signed the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act , which enforces copyright laws.

Keep a close eye on this case, because the verdict may set precedent in a category where many more suits are sure to be filed in the near future.

Coors vs. Hottrix May Set Precedent for Developers By Matt O'Hern at 04:08 PM
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FCC's OK for Free WiFi Raises Telecom Conflict

FCC mock logo

When M2Z networks proposed free wireless Internet access for all Americans, the FCC gave them the green light. Following the FCC's "Let them eat cake." decision, many questions arise from the public and private sector, including.

  • Who will qualify for free the free WiFi?

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin's statement in the Washington Post free broadband is a neccessity for "lower-income" people.

We need to reserve some spectrum for free broadband services.This would be lifeline broadband service . . . that would be designed for lower-income people who may not otherwise have access to the Internet.

M2Z estimates 100 million residents (approximately 1/3 of the U.S. population) fall into the category of lower-income/no access category. *Martin's stat seems skewed, because according to the Center for American Progress, (an advocate for low-income families) the number is approximately 37 million.

  • How long will it take to create this network?

The answer to this question is a complicated one. According to Wired's article,the commissioners still must agree on how  the spectrum should be used, and how the spectrum auction should be set up. M2Z networks would be required to provide a service at 768 kbps and deploy the network on the fastest mandated timeline in the history of US wireless services, and serve 50 percent of the population  in four years' time and 95 percent of the population in ten years' time.

  • How will M2Z fund the effort?

M2Z claims advertising revenue will support the free service, using local geo-tagging for highly relevant non-intrusive search results (i.e. searching "pizza" will give you the local pizza place down the street and not a Pizza Hut in another city or state)
M2Z also earns money for a premium (unfiltered) service at speeds of 3 mbps (3,000 kbps). This offering will be competitive with cable modem services and will be provided through wholesale partners.

  • How will the major telecom corporations respond?

 With a third of their potential market threatened, major providers such as T-Mobile, AT&T contend the new spectrum would disrupt their own broadband services, but a field test by the FCC indicated there wouldn't be any interference.

T-Mobile has been a vocal opponent of the plan, and claimed M2Z will cause major disruptions for its customers, especially when it releases the new Google Android Phone.

A field-test by was conducted by FCC engineers in Seattle,and they  published the raw data of the tests, without offering their interpretation of the results. As a result, M2Z and T-Mobile disputed the data's indications.M2Z basically called T-Mobile a coward from competition and said T-Mobile's protection requests were exaggerated, because T-mobile's standards would show interference from bluetooth and even microwave ovens.T-Mobile's response boiled down to, "You're too inexperienced to understand and analyze the data."

 Personally, I like the idea of providing a vital service to the poor and increasing pressure on the telecom giants. Competition is almost ALWAYS  a good thing for the consumer.Typically, it provides incentive to improve product quality and lower product price. My only concerns are the same ones that arise with any Bureaucratic decision - Will there be enough oversight to ensure that the right people benefit from the plan? Will it prevent corruption that could lead to a M2Z monopoly?

 

FCC's OK for Free WiFi Raises Telecom Conflict By Matt O'Hern at 02:00 PM
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Youtube Adds Star Trek, Other Classics in Full-Length

An online video war has been unofficially waged between Youtube and Hulu. youtube vs. huluIn an ongoing effort to increase profitability, YouTube has partnered with CBS to provide Trekies full-length episodes of the American TV classic, Star Trek, as well as other pop-culture hits,such as Beverly Hills 90210 and MacGyver, (one of my personal favorites.) The deal will include advertisements before each show.

You may recall my post about the discussion between Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Jim Cramer, when Schmidt held his cards close to the vest regarding future plans for youtube and downplayed the pontential of bold moves in the future. Obviously, he didn't want to reveal the enhancements that were finalized within two weeks of his appearance on Mad Money.

In an interview with Mediaweek , YouTube’s director of content partnerships,Jordan Hoffner, wouldn't admit that the move was in response to rival site Hulu's recent growth. He said.

I’ve never seen Hulu’s books.This is just the right strategy for us. There is money in a lot of places. We’re making good on our pledge to give advertisers choice.This is about giving the community what they want. Plus, we’re not blind to the growth of long form on other sites. YouTube will announce several additional content partners in the coming weeks.


In the same article, YouTube product manager Shiva Rajaraman said the shows will be available on CBS' channel site, with a new, wide-screen player.

While YouTube has rolled out a new wide screen video player geared for long form content on, these shows will be accessible via CBS’ existing channel on the site. It’s important to merge this experience into the natural points of discovery on the site.While the CBS content will carry pre-roll ads - something that YouTube has shied from in the past, the ad model for short form content will not change. We’re very committed to overlay units.

What does this partnership mean for Youtube? At this point, it wont revolutionize the way people watch their favorite television episodes, but it could cut into sales for box DVD sets of those fore mentioned classic shows. Ultimately, this partnership with CBS could signify the first of many moves by Google to lure other major media networks to add their classic, and possibly contemporary hits, to help YouTube "live long and prosper."

 

Youtube Adds Star Trek, Other Classics in Full-Length By Matt O'Hern at 09:33 AM
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Monday, October 13, 2008

New Trade Economist Paul Krugman Wins Nobel Prize

During the past few days, I've mentioned certain people who had the foresight and wisdom to predict the fundamental changes to our national and international economy, and Paul Krugman was just awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics.

Krugman, the New York Times Columnist, author,economist and Princeton Professor, is no fan of national sovereignty and some of his harshest economic criticism is directed toward President Bush and the United States. Krugman's economic publications, which call for powerful and rich countries to subsidize the third-world, earned him sufficient international attention to win the Nobel.

Krugman's global-welfare stance should come as no surprise from the self-proclaimed liberal.His theories have been applauded by many scholars and foreign leaders. If you analyze Krugman's work, some of it is very similar to the to the statements of recognized international socialist leaders such as Hugo Chavez. I'm not a huge fan of Krugman or any form of a global currency/bailout model (even though we're already headed in that direction). I believe nations should be self-sufficient, but Krugman was correct when he warned that global economic interdependence is more fragile than we imagine and can be sustained only if all major governments act sensibly. He also warned that we could be nearing the next great depression.

On the surface, most of his work reads as innocent rhetoric, but if you read between the lines, you'll notice global welfare economic undertones. For example, he said:

As industry and modern economic activity spreads around the world, the question of what goes where and whether the world can get locked into production that is not the most efficient is going to become extremely important. Our grandfathers lived in a world of largely self-sufficient, inward-looking national economies - but our great-great grandfathers lived, as we do, in a world of large-scale international trade and investment, a world destroyed by nationalism.

By the end of World War II, the world was fragmented economically as well as politically....  War among the nations of Western Europe really does seem inconceivable now, not so much because of economic ties as because of shared democratic values

Judging from some of Krugman's  statements, he favors global redistribution of wealth over national heritage or independence. I think he would even go as far as to favor the gradual eradication of American capitalism and free trade. He went on to say:

.Much of the world, however, including nations that play a key role in the global economy, doesn’t share those values. Most of us have proceeded on the belief that, at least as far as economics goes, this doesn’t matter - that we can count on world trade continuing to flow freely simply because it’s so profitable. But that’s not a safe assumption.

There are no easy, quick-fix answers for America and the world right now, and for that reason alone, I hope that each nation carefully considers any radical new legislation or policy change. Otherwise, we might be paying an even steeper price down the road. After all, I think most of us would agree that the scariest words in the english language are "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."

New Trade Economist Paul Krugman Wins Nobel Prize By Matt O'Hern at 02:38 PM
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Wall Street Journal Graphic Shows Economic Domino Effect

As I was reading the headlines in today's Wall Street Journal, I clicked on a tempting link that read: Interactive Graphic: Economic Danger Zones.

Here is the sobering description:

A Crash Heard Around the World:Financial Danger Zones Emerge in Many Corners as Investors Feed Global Downturn by Trying to Flee It.In the tightly interwoven global financial system, countries large and small have been affected by the dramatic slow-down in economic growth. Click on a country to see how its major stock index and its currency have fared in the last three months.

A quick analysis of the graphic reminded me of a map by Thomas P.M. Barnett.economic domino effect map (Image above is a combination of two maps from WSJ and Thomas P.M. Barnett) You may recall my post from last Friday, when  I referred to his quote regarding the "league of capitalist partners" and the need to protect the middle and lower class.

 For the record, Barnett is a senior managing director at Enterra Solutions. He has worked in national security affairs since the end of the Cold War and has operated his own consulting practice, Barnett Consulting, since 1998. Each day, Barnett blogs about current global events and his readership consists of representatives from all the major U.S. military commands, virtually all U.S. federal departments, numerous foreign governments, and major research and corporate entities the world.

Anyway, I found interesting parallel between WSJ's graphic and  the "core" of a map Barnett drew in 2005, called "The Pentagon's New Map :A Grand Strategy revealed."

  Barnett's map illustrates his viewpoint on globalization, which claims the world is divided by the functioning core and the “non-integrated gap". The "core" consists of economically advanced or growing countries that are linked to the global economy and bound to the rule-sets of international trade. The remainder of the  world is the non-integrated gap – outside the global economy, not bound to the rule-sets of international trade. It also combines security, economic, political, and cultural factors to predict and explain the nature of war and peace in the twenty-first century.

Barnett's "Core" Nations- (interconnected in the global economy) that correlate with the nations highlighted in the WSJ graphic for major index change in the past three months:

  • India: -24.40%
  • Japan -36.6%
  • U.S.: - 24.74
  • Canada: -34%
  • Russia: -61%
  • Brazil: -40.90 %

Some analysts blame America's collapse as the catalyst for the downfall of Canada, Asia and Russia's markets, but as we've all learned, even the best planners on Wall Street and Washington couldn't predict the magnitude of the fallout. As for China,its 3-month currency fell 30.43%, but its trade surplus reached a record high in September, up from 21.5%  to $136.4 billion. Last year, Barnett explained his version of grand strategy.

 Grand strategy is not clairvoyance. It is not predictive but prescriptive. Its plausibility in prescription must be based on a systematic approach to thinking about the future.To the extent grand strategy cites future trends, it does so to lessen or eliminate gross surprise, not to project infallibility..it's adaptive planning according to fundamental rule sets enunciated in said strategy...The grand strategist gets what he wants in the end because he consistently plays favorable angles revealed to him by systematic analysis of the future.....and he builds it incrementally and with care (save me from fads and the persistent rumors of X's demise!), taking what the opposition and the environment provide him--event by event.

I agree with Barnett in one main area: we, the United States should take an incremental approach to repairing the current mess we're in. It's too early to tell if the bailout will prove to be a good course, but I personally think we failed to attack the problem with an incremental solution. As a result, we may have overreacted and inflicted even more harm on our already fragile economic system.

Wall Street Journal Graphic Shows Economic Domino Effect By Matt O'Hern at 11:32 AM
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Toyota Line of Scrimmage Commercial Proves Silence is Golden

toyota line of scrimmage logo

Last night, I had the NBC Sunday Night Football game on my living room TV, while I was browsing with my laptop on the coffee table.One of the teams called a timeout, and I figured  a short commercial break was imminent, so I kept my eyes on my computer.

Then something caught my attention- silence. For the first time in my life, a car commercial got my full attention without making a sound. That's right, there was no screaming, no sirens, no cheesy graphics or corny jokes.

Instead, Toyota used silence to make a statement. I looked up and saw  a short ad about the football team at the Maryland School for the Deaf, in Frederick, MD. I read the subtitles as the Orioles' coach signed his story about the special bond he had with his team, which was followed by game footage with the team signing to call the next play and to celebrate after a touchdown. It concluded with a quick graphic that read: Toyota Line of Scrimmage.

Immediately, I Googled the phrase Toyota Line of Scrimmage and found the series' site, which contained links to its Myspace and Youtube profiles, and the premise behind the series:

This year, during NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecast, Toyota will feature the gutsiest high school football teams in America. Over the course of the season the Line of Scrimmage program will use a Toyota Tundra to visit eight different schools from around the country that exemplify true devotion to the game of football and the gridiron culture.Tune in to the NBC Sunday Night Football Halftime Show to see what high schools make the cut.


In addition Frederick, other featured high schools that have overcome adversity include Parkersburg, Iowa, where an F-5 tornado destroyed the Parkersburg-Applington Falcons' weight room, but local resident John Tuve, donated a building on his property as a temporary home for the team's  facility. Other schools in the series include Brophy Prep Cathedral, Fighting Irish from Phoenix Az, the E.E. Smith Golden Bulls from Fayetville, NC, the Sunshine Tigers of Newbern, AL, the Rough Riders in Boys Ranch, TX,and the Big Piney Punchers from Big Piney, WY.

Anyway, my main point about Toyota's ad is that it's a perfect example of how one auto company recognized the reverse affect that resulted from the traditional, in- your face approach that dealers have for decades. Toyota countered  with a subtle yet dramatic anecdote that leaves the viewer with a positive impression about the company's character. Now that's a great example of smart branding.

Toyota Line of Scrimmage Commercial Proves Silence is Golden By Matt O'Hern at 09:13 AM
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« October 2008 Week 2 October 2008 Week 4 »

  • Week 1 (10 entries) October 1-4
  • Week 2 (16 entries) October 5-11
  • Week 3 (16 entries) October 12-18
  • Week 4 (17 entries) October 19-25
  • Week 5 (12 entries) October 26-31

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