Posts about Exploding_TV

Ballmer kills print

In an interview with the Washington Post, Steve Ballmer goes a bit farther than even I would go killing print. But that’s the problem; that’s the way print people look at it. What he’s really saying is that delivery over IP will have so much greater advantage over delivery via one-way media. Why? Interaction. He’s right.

In the next 10 years, the whole world of media, communications and advertising are going to be turned upside down — my opinion.

Here are the premises I have. Number one, there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form.

Yeah. If it’s 14 or if it’s 8, it’s immaterial to my fundamental point. . . . If we want TV to be more interactive, you’ll deliver it over an IP network. I mean, it’s sort of funny today. My son will stay up all night basically playing Xbox Live with friends that are in various parts of the world, and yet I can’t sit there in front of the TV and have the same kind of a social interaction around my favorite basketball game or golf match. It’s just because one of these things is delivered over an IP network and the other is not. . . .

Also in the world of 10 years from now, there are going to be far more producers of content than exist today. We’ve already started to see that certainly in the online world, but we’ve just scratched the surface. . . . I always take my favorite case: I grew up in Detroit. I went to a place called Detroit Country Day School. They’ve got a great basketball team. Why can’t I sit in front of my television and watch the Country Day basketball game when I know darn well it’s being video-recorded at all times? It’s there. It’s just not easy to navigate to.

In this video, he also talks about the future of advertising. Ballmer argues that it will be hard to distinguish between communication and entertainment and that advertising, commerce, and content will all blend.

Thinking big

A friend told me to go to the Washington Post home page immediately and when I did, here’s what I saw:

BigThink promo

Pleasant surprise for the morning. This is the fruit of BigThink’s partnership with the Post, adding quality video interviews with smart people (present company and excerpt excepted).

I’ve been impressed with BigThink and its founders. I see it as a video version of Comment Is Free or Huffington Post. They’ve managed to get an impressive list of interviewees and the format is compelling.

Here‘s the video on WaPo. For readers of this blog, there’s not much new from me. And if you can bear it, here’s more blather.

How they do it is kinda cool: You sit in a closet staring at a teleprompter but rather than text there, you see the face of your interviewer.

Diggnation in New York

Last night, son Jake and I went Diggnation’s first New York — first East Coast — show. It is amazing, just amazing what these guys have built. Jim Louderback, the nicest CEO I’ve met in media and the head of Revision3, which produces the show, said that 2,000 people showed up and hundreds of them waited outside in the rain for the chance to get in. For these guys, Jake included, I think it is their generational and geeky equivalent of getting into a small club when the Stones came to town for my generation.

And I am of a different generation. I was no doubt the oldest guy there, which either made me very hip or very out of place. I was also apparently the tallest guy there. White hair sticks out at 6’4″. Some illogical geek behind me kept poking my back until I turned around and he told me to move over so he could see, which of course would only block some other short geek’s view. And there was absolutely nowhere to move; it was jammed up there in the Digg mosh pit. But you’re tall, the complainer said. Genes, dude, I said.

But I didn’t feel out of place. I watch Diggnation and know enough of the shtick. I’m a fan.

Diggnation NY

Before the show, Jay Adelson, president of Digg and chairman of Diggnation, came on stage to talk about Digg, not for very long. They said they are getting (as I remember) 26 million uniques a month. There are one million Digg users in New York alone. Last night’s crowd was a tiny but enthusiastic fraction of them. Though, of course, the media and circumstances are quite different, for comparison’s sake, that’s about the circulation of the New York Post or Daily News, both of which are bigger in New York than the Times.

Rose and company have built a real media enterprise from nothing but technology. What’s notable to me, more than its size, is the passion and loyalty of its audience, which was what was most evident last night. Could you imagine 2,000 fans standing in the rain for the chance to watch your local anchorman or hear your local editor? Is it possible for old media to inspire this kind of passion? I’m not saying it’s impossible; indeed, I’ve suggested that the Guardian should hold meetups and events in the U.S. to demonstrate to other media and marketers just how loyal their audience is.

And beer helps.

On the ride to Brooklyn, Jake and I listened to the latest TWiT podcast. Louderback was also on that and he and host Leo Laporte reminisced about their days on TechTV and how, from the closet in his home, Laporte is also building a media enterprise that rivals their old company in audience and is certainly one helluva lot cheaper to produce. Louderback also talked about the economics of internet TV vs. basic cable and the ability to focus in on a smaller and better audience and serve them well. That’s what these shows do.

During last night’s show, Zadi Diaz and Steve Woolf also announced that they are moving their Epic Fu show from Next New Networks (which is still a long way from its goal of 100 networks) to Revision3. It’s turning into a media empire. And Kevin Rose is its Rupert Murdoch.

A web show

SkyNews makes a loose and cas’ half-hour show just for the web:

The coming battle over local, local news video

NBC is going to start a 24-hour local TV channel in New York, competing with lots of other players: Time Warner’s NY1 and Cablevision’s News12s, not to mention newspaper video — see Rachel Sterne’s argument that newspapers are starting to steal the beat on live video from TV — and lots of independent comers — see Josh Wolf’s experiment in a live video network covering the Olympics torch protests on the West Coast using mobile phones, Qik, Twitter, and more.

It’s crowded turf, local. But this is exactly where local broadcast must seek its future — its survival — while its value of a distributor diminishes to zero.

Steve Safran lectures broadcasters, telling them that their salvation is not technology but local. I think the mistake is for broadcasters to think media at all: It’s about real reporting (of which local TV news does precious little, let’s remember — nobody needs fires 24/7), real service, a real connection with the community across any and all media. It’s not about channels or even web sites or mobile. It’s about service and a meaningful connection with the community.

And it’s about finding ways to serve many more, much smaller advertisers in many ways. There, local broadcasters will battle with local newspapers and with local cable MSOs and there’s no way to predict the winner. The war is on.

The Wall Street Journal says of the NBC project:

NBC is investing several million dollars in the venture, building a “content center” that will house local TV staff and operations. NBC doesn’t plan to hire a new staff for the channel, but instead said it will retrain its existing staff to produce news for the regular affiliate broadcasts, the 24-hour network and a new version of WNBC’s Web site, to be called NBC New York.

If successful, the New York channel will serve as a model for other markets, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago, where NBC owns the NBC-branded local station. In most smaller markets, the NBC-branded affiliate is owned by another affiliate group.

“We think this will be better for advertisers,” said WNBC General Manager Tom O’Brien. “We’ll be able to aggregate different audiences and create a bigger audience, and that gives us a lot more opportunities to go to the advertising marketplace.”

And take your Tiffany box with you

More evidence — rumor, at least — that CBS is shuffling away from the news business: The Wall Street Journal says Katie Couric is likely to leave before her wildly expensive contract is up. The Journal speculates that she could replace Larry King.

CBS is leaving the news business

The signs have been adding up: CBSNews.com did major layoffs and an aggressive retreat from news online. CBS stations made news layoffs aplenty. And now CBS is said to be talking with CNN — again — about outsourcing news to CNN. One imagines a one-woman-thick news operation: Katie Couric reading intros to CNN reports. The pressure of being the Tiffany network is long over. I’ll bet they will finally have the guts to go out of the news business, apart from 60 Minutes. And if that happens, others will get the courage to do likewise. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Oh, we’ll hear wailing about public service and the public airwaves — that and a damned expensive contract is why they’ll keep Couric in a storefront operation. But what we have now is not public service. We don’t need three evening newscasts exactly alike except as a repository for erectile dysfunction commercials. So let one or two networks win the ratings. Let CBS put more resources into investigations on 60 Minutes. Let CNN cover breaking news — with more help from witnesses with cameras. I hope they let others take that news and curate it in different ways with different perspectives. There’ll be a new ecology of news on video and it’s about time.

CBS stations’ local ad network

It warms my cockles to see a local blog ad network start, especially from a company as big as CBS’ station group.

They just announced a new widget ad network in 13 of their local markets (the owned & operated stations with newsrooms). In a week and a half, they’ve put together 80 blogs in the network, many more to come. They are all local blogs around various content interests: news, politics, sports, real estate, entertainment. This is pretty much just an ad network rather than a curated ad-and-content network like Glam. CBS intends to send the blogs some traffic, but unlike Glam, it’s not aggregating and curating their content. They’re looking for decent blogs that are local and are updated regularly, but they’re not yet turning this into a contest where the best quality wins (that day will come, I hope). When I spoke with them, they did add that they’re delighted with the quality of the local blogs they’ve seen.

You can see an example of the ad unit here and here: a constant feed of content (video stills in most cases, text in others) over an ad unit. So far, they’ve sold AT&T, Liberty Mutual, and the Honda dealer group in Dallas. They will sell in both local and national ads; it’s too soon to know what that mix will be, but they anticipate about an even split.

This is a model I like and one I’ve been pushing with companies I know: You could look at this as an ad with content attached or as content with an ad attached. So the blogger gets an ad, revenue, a some small dollop of content, and an association with a major media brand (which some still value). The station gets to push its advertiser as well as its content and brand and gets an association with those cool bloggers and its gets new inventory and audience. The advertiser has a better idea of the environment because there’s content next to the ad and because the station picks the blogs. What’s not to love?

The CBS unit also carries the local station’s branding plus a link to a pitch to join the network. Here are examples of the units.

I spoke with Jonathan Leess, president and general manager of the CBS station digital group, and Aaron Radin, senior vp for their ad sales and biz dev. They understand that this is not just about driving traffic to CBS domains but about reaching audience they may not now serve in other places. That’s the attitude.

I had to pull numbers out of them like baby teeth. They’re telling the bloggers to expect an effective CPM of about 50 cents but they quickly acknowledge that they’re subsidizing and backfilling the network, which is brand new. That is, they’re not yet selling the high-value ads and they’re not selling out, so they are putting in lower-value advertising in some cases and throwing in a subsidy on top. So that’s the net-net bloggers can expect today. But that’s not the value they’re selling to advertisers. That, they said, is more like a $10 CPM (though all life is negotiable). Compare that with $8-20 CPMs on CBS domain banner ads and $16-25 on video inventory. If they can sell a CPM approaching a double digit for local blogs and sell through enough inventory, that could be healthy. In the end, I ask, what will the value of a network impression be relative to a CBS domain impression? Again, it’s too early to say, but Radin guesses one third to one half.

They hope to add 20 million incremental (that is, new) ad impressions per month per market, though they’re quick to add that their goal isn’t just ad impressions but also new audience. Amen. And note that they’re pushing not just web pages but also those high-value video views. Leess and Radin said they serve 20-25 million streams a month, about half of that from the stations’ sites and half from syndication to Yahoo.

By the way, Buzzmachine is not local so it won’t qualify. Drat. When will somebody start that media wonks’ network?