12/03/2007

Links to Info on Numbers, Opinions, New Business Models and the Reality that No One Owns the Internet

- "New Economic Partnership." NEP. Hmm. Sounds so familiar. Wasn't there another famous NEP somewhere? Some other exciting NEP cooked up by a really trustworthy and benevolent organization? Oh, now I remember.

- The lie that online content delivery is a risky bet crumbles more and more each day. Nikki posted information from the Financial Times estimating that online advertising is a $120 million market for the conglomerates. And Media Life Magazine reports that viewers are 44 percent more engaged by ads that appear in television programs they watch online than those they view on traditional television. And thus more valuable. And thus more profitable. And thus the writer who creates the content to draw them in should get the equivalent of two trips to Pavilions for doing so. Hey, wait...

- And naturally, the AMPTP's distortions and dodges are catching up with them. As of Tuesday, Americans were seven times more likely to support the writers as they were the all-devouring future-stealing machine. Meanwhile, big thanks to Daily Kos for the love.

- The Criminal Minds Fanatic website has been raising funds for the support staff and crew of the show as well as holding auctions with the help of the writing staff. Lately, they've held auctions on eBay. Webmaster Jill Davidson tells us, "All the proceeds minus the eBay fees are going directly to our Appreciation Fund." Check the site for more.

- Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.com spoke about the strike on C-Span. It's at about 3:49.

- This article by Patrick Goldstein has really made the rounds. I'm posting it now for anyone who might have missed it. Goldstein foresees the strike hastening rise of the "writer-entrepreneur" who ditches the studios for independent financing and distributes online. It's a vision that cuts the AMPTP out of the picture. This idea was raised earlier by Marc Andreessen, one of the founders of Netscape and currently of Ning, in his blog post "Rebuilding Hollywood in Silicon Valley's Image." This business model is clearly what Joss was alluding to in his post this weekend. The New York Times adds, "traditional television is being quickly superseded by the market chaos of a freewheeling and open digital network." And the longer the strike goes on, the more this idea gains steam. Even someone with no stake in the business, a Libertarian blogger named Mike Roberto, is intrigued by the idea and sent us his take.

- Jo of JOpinionated, writes: "I have interviewed Kevin Collins, a TV writer who is currently undergoing radiation treatment for a rare form of thyroid cancer and honoring 'Pencils Down' at the same time. He is very sweet guy and his story is quite compelling. He was nice enough to grant me an interview during his recovery."

- A VERY detailed account of the strike so far from ComicBookResources. Thanks to Emmett Furey for the analysis and for sending it our way.

- Just For Pickets and Giggles

Don't you just love that MTV reality show, "The Hills"? Judd Apatow and friends don't either.

A Flickr pool of picketers' feet titled "They Walked the Line"

Former "Raymond" and "Lucky Louie" scribe Mike Royce wrote a piece lampooning Variety's coverage of the strike by showing how they might have covered the Jets' victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III.

Aspiring screenwriter Brian Carroll sends us his comic strip "Genrezvous Point." Genres living together on a mountaintop. Complications ensue...

10 comments:

Sangemon said...

Let's just hope that the AMPTP doesn't see this, they might think that all they need is a little bit of Beethoven

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEhF-7suDsM

Tanja Barnes said...

I'm also publishing a daily podcast entitled the Writers' Strike Chronicles.

The show runs from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the guest. Most of my interviews take place right on the noisy, honking picket lines and give voice to not only writers, but members of IATSE, teamsters and fans as well.

It's free to download in iTunes.

James said...

Hey! he Canadian strike settled:

http://www.fia-actors.com/en/news_190-3107-6591.html

James said...

oops, ignore that last - old news

Rob said...

You might want to mention to Emmitt Furey/CBR that it's UNsharpened pencils...

lloyd said...

Saw this on the web. A CSI Writer's Blog:
"Becoming a TV Writer...
and living through the Writers' Strike..."

http://www.uber.com/mypage/?entity_id=243250509&flyer_id=1

Captain Obvious said...

I'm already heading down the writer/entrepreneur path. I'm disgusted by the Alliance and their mismanagement of the industry is putting the overall success of my latest project in jeopardy.

Frustrated Bystander said...

Hello Viewers and Entrepeneurs:

In just contemplating this new model of delivery that's finding its way into public consciousness, which has been percolating in Silicon Valley for a number of years, think about what this could mean to you and other internet content delivery people when you sell advertising/commercial space on your site as you deliver mainstream and commercial programming like the networks. A car site that specializes in the advertising of hi-end specialty cars develops programming for its sponsors like the "Fast and the Furious" or "Road Rage Warrior: The Reality Show" or whatever your advertisers might think would be cool to produce.

The other model to look at, with the new frontier of internet content delivery, is with various factions of the public being led to provide content delivery as if they are a theater owner or an affiliate station. Not hard to do when you see launches of sites like Jib Jab, personal networking sites, and sites like You Tube. The public can band together and create internet "networks" and the talent can band together and form "studios" of creative content and be providers for their "affiliate"/"theater" sites. It only takes some investors who have deep pockets to bring together this new model with the guilds, the talent and the crews to make the content.

As a result, the demise of the old time studio "net profit" participation structure will have to shift from inside accounting practices that charge you $10.00/pencil (kind of like Halliburton with their $25.00/plastic plate charges for food delivery to the military in Iraq) and a vertically integrated model that allows the studios to sell back to itself a licensing fee of a show worth 1 million for $100K. This will essentially take away the vertical integration that has occurred and open up more selling markets for "content" geared to catering to certain demographics. It cuts out the "bottleneck" of the studios holding some key pieces of production. It gives talent and production competitive and true prices for the renting of their sound stages, offices, and other production services in mounting a film or television. It kicks the studios back to being a landlord in only being able to rent sound stages and production facilities.

Granted this is all grassroots thinking, but old models fall hard and fast...like the extinction of dinosaurs when the dinosaur doesn't keep up or decides to eat all the vegetation in the forest.

Merry Christmas AMPTP. Now you can listen to alternate deals being bandied about at your posh celebrity Holiday parties. I think this will be very interesting Holiday talk for this new generation of young executives, entrepeneurs and creative talent.

Tanja Barnes said...

I think Marc Andresson (founder of Netscape) nailed it when he blogged that Hollywood will be better off copying the business model of Silicon Valley.

He writes: "The writers' strike, and the studios' response to the strike, may radically accelerate a structural shift in the media industry -- a shift of power from studios and conglomerates towards creators and talent."

Read the entire posting here.

Take out the middle man (there's a word for it and it's called "disintermediation") and simply sell your art directly to your audience. Because the Internet is vast. It contains multitudes. Stop asking the AMPTP for a green light and forge ahead on your own. You guys don't need them. But they sure need you.

Frustrated Bystander said...

NBCU's Zucker Looking to Monetize Web Offerings

John Consoli

DECEMBER 03, 2007 -

NBC Universal president and CEO Jeff Zucker said today that the company, like all other content providers, is still trying to figure out how to monetize the content they offer online.

Speaking at the 35th annual UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York
today (Dec. 3), Zucker said, "I don't think anyone has figured it out," adding, that content providers must make sure they "are not replacing dollars with pennies" when it comes to making digital deals.

Zucker said dissolving NBCU's deal offering programming via Apple's iTunes earlier this
year cost the company about $15 million in profit, but said because NBCU shows were the most downloaded content on iTunes, he felt NBCU should have been able to have a say in how much Apple charged for them.

"All we asked for was to be able to set the price for our own content, even for one show," Zucker said. "Fifteen million dollars is nothing to sneeze at," he conceded, but "we did not feel like the deal was the game changer for us that we thought it would be."

Zucker acknowledged that the company has not found a way to totally replace all of that $15 million, but he cited the recent programming download deal NBC did with amazon.com as evidence that the company is still experimenting with ways to distribute and monetize its content.

NBC also is offering free program downloads online via NBC Direct and Hulu, its joint venture with News Corp. The later service is still in beta testing, with a full rollout expected sometime in January, Zucker said. While the online offerings are currently free, at
some point down the road, a downloading charge could be added.

Meanwhile, Hulu has seven charter advertisers, Zucker said, so some monetization will come from that.

None of the NBCU experiments on content downloads are on the scale of its dissolved deal
with Apple, Zucker said, "but we'll get there, maybe even [with another deal] with Apple."

Zucker said whatever deals NBCU does will be done with the NBC station group in mind. "We can't afford to not put programming online, but we realize that when we do, it will effect [viewership on] our stations," he said, adding that whatever strategy is followed will effect the parent company's bottom line the most, since the largest stations airing NBC programming are owned by the network itself.

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Fox's Barrett: MySpace Relying Less on Third Party Ad Nets to Drive Revenue

Mike Shields

DECEMBER 03, 2007 -

MySpace is relying less on third party ad networks and Google to drive advertising revenue as the company continues to make inroads into the traditional brand advertising business, said Michael Barrett, chief revenue officer, Fox Interactive Media.

During a session held Monday at the UBS 35th Annual Global Media & Communications Conference in New York, Barrett said that 40 percent of the social networking site's revenue comes from branded, CPM based advertising, up from less than 20 percent just 18 months ago. The company now has 110 people dedicated to growing this revenue
stream, twice the number employed just last year. Barrett added that MySpace has worked with 85 of the top 100 brands.

That group, coupled with MySpace's recently formed performance-based advertising team, will reel in for $10 million to $12 million in revenue this year, or roughly 60 percent of the site's total revenue. In the past, it was believed that MySpace has had to rely heavily on third party ad networks to unload much of its inventory, since the site regularly generates as many or more page views than any other site on the Web (the home page
alone produces 140 million impressions a day). When it comes to selling banner inventory
to top brands, "We've just scratched the surface," said Barrett.

MySpace does work with 20 different ad networks, Barrett said, which in aggregate produce 10 percent of its revenue. One of those ad networks is Google, which of course signed an exclusive agreement with the site to deliver its search advertising back in 2006. That partnership accounts for 30 percent of the site's revenue, according to Barrett.

Barrett said he expected major brands to up their commitment to MySpace as it rolls out its new Hypertargeting product, via which the site mines its vast database of user-reported preferences to produce better targeted ads (reaching self reported travel enthusiasts with travel ads, for example). Barrett reported that the new product had identified
549 specific, targetable groups on the site, and will yield over a thousand by the end of the year.

One area that has yet to be exploited on MySpace, or most sites, said Barrett, is user-generated video. "We haven't done anything to monetize it," he said. But MySpace plans to start experimenting with just that in early 2008. The plan, Barrett said, is to start
bucketing the site's most popular user-produced videos and screening them for advertiser-appropriateness. Then, rather than pre-roll ads, advertisers will be able to place "ticker" ads – ads that along the bottom of a video screen while a clip is playing.

Barrett acknowledged that targeting won't an easy trick to pull off with user-generated video, given the nature of some content (he joked that a pet advertiser might not want to advertise alongside a "stupid pet-trick").

"Relevance is hard in that area," he added. But Barrett said that MySpace will still be able to leverage its database of user-supplied information to sell targeted ads around video.