December 1 - 7, 2005
MIT C3 Industry Update
In this issue:
- worldwide vod market estimated
- podcasting embraced
- active gamer profiled
- disney mobile network promised
--------------- TRANSMEDIA ---------------
CBS IN TALKS WITH GOOGLE OVER SEARCHABLE VIDEO ON DEMAND
U.S. television network CBS is in discussions with Internet media company Google Inc. for video search and on-demand video, CBS chairman Leslie Moonves said on Tuesday.
In September, Viacom's UPN television network struck a deal with Google to offer exclusive video streams of its "Everybody Hates Chris" comedy show. The premier show was offered for four days at Google Video service.
STUDY: WORLDWIDE VOD MARKET TO NEAR $11B BY 2010
A new study predicts that 350 million homes will take VOD services by the end of the decade, with the US leading the market.
NETS ORDER MULTIPLE-ENDING SHOWS
At least two TV projects are following the "what-if" multiple-ending story path introduced in the 1998 film "Sliding Doors". UPN has ordered the hour dramedy Split Decision, about a teenage girl who gets to remake herself when she attends a new high school. The series will show what it would be like if the girl were to hang out both with the popular and artsy crowds. Fox has ordered the comedy "Chicken or Beef?", the series that will follow two versions of a plot, with what actually happened revealed at the end.
NEW BUSINESS MODELS FOR CANCELLED TV SHOWS
The question of off-network TV models (subscription TV, straight to DVD TV, and
so on) has been really hot in the last few weeks. Lost Remote proposes a multi-part model for off-network TV which seems to be getting some press:
Meanwhile, a bevy of screenwriters discuss the possible hang-ups of an
off-network model - namely the "Joss Paradox", or the fact that off-network models might work for the likes of Joss Wheedon, once he's gathered a bunch of fans, but how do new creators get to the point where they can do that?
NIELSEN PROFILES THE ACTIVE GAMER
Nielsen Entertainment announced partial results from two separate studies : Benchmarking the Active Gamer and Benchmarking Mobile Entertainment. Both reports surveyed over 2,000 respondents in North America during September 2005 who were "engaged actively in either video games or in their use of mobile services." According to Nielsen, an "active" gamer is one who owns a console and spends at least one hour per week playing it. A number of topics were covered in the studies, including purchase intent, spending and behavioral patterns, genre preferences and more. In the Benchmarking the Active Gamer study specifically, perhaps the most interesting discovery is that the demographic of game players is starting to expand. Nielsen found that males in the 25-34 range and Hispanics "represent the most valuable emerging market for video games." This group now has higher budgets for entertainment, and as such there is a greater potential for increased video game spending.
MOVIEGOING RITUAL NEARS TWILIGHT
The era of moviegoing as a mass audience ritual is slowly but inexorably drawing to a close, eroded by many of the same forces that have eviscerated the music industry, decimated network TV and, yes, are clobbering the newspaper business. Put simply, an explosion of new technology — the Internet, DVDs, video games, downloading, cellphones and iPods — now offers more compelling diversion than 90% of the movies in theaters, the exceptions being "Harry Potter"-style must-see events or the occasional youth-oriented comedy or thriller.
MIGNOLA'S HELLBOY ANIMATED ON WEBLOG
Another successful modern transmedia property, Mike Mignola's Hellboy has spawned a series of graphic novels, toys, a feature film from Guillermo del Toro and now a new cartoon, which has its very own behind-the-scenes official weblog up and running. Very cool insight into the creation of a new property.
THE SUBLIMINAL REASSURANCES OF PROCEDURAL DRAMAS
Derek Powazek (of The Fray) provides a deliciously snarky commentary on the real messages of the current crop of TV dramas -- and in so doing demonstrates a not-so-shacking lack of originality across the board.
THE RISE OF DARTH VADER CONTINUES IN NEW NOVEL
One of the classic transmedia properties continues as Del Rey Books releases Star Wars: Dark Lord -- The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno.
--------------- FANS ---------------
TV SHOWS ON DVD SITE CHANNELS FAN COMMUNITY FOCUS
This popular Web site has found a successful way to mediate the conversation between fan communities and entertainment producers. The site allows fans to organize behind and vote to support their favorite shows being released on DVD to provide marketers with some idea of the potential niche market behind a particular show. So far, groups feel that their movements have been successful, as most of the shows that reach the Top 10 are soon released on DVD.
--------------- ADVERTISING ---------------
RADIO EMBRACES PODCASTS AS REVENUE STREAM
Podcasting, which began as a reaction to corporate radio, is fast being embraced by the industry often cited as having the most to lose from the nascent medium in ad dollars and listeners. At first, radio business models for podcasting focused on providing convenience to listeners. But if radio’s latest forays into podcasting are any indication, the medium could provide a new incremental revenue stream.
WAL-MART CLAIMS IN-STORE TV MORE EFFECTIVE THAN IN-HOME
Armed with new consumer research, Wal-Mart now claims that its in-store TV network is more effective than broadcast and cable TV on the basis of an important marketing goal--the ability to generate sales. The research, conducted by the TNS Media and Entertainment Group, surveyed 5,630 people in 20 Wal-Mart locations installed with Wal-Mart TV, and found that commercials on the in-store network generated higher motivation levels than in-home television advertisements for comparable brands. The study found that 15 percent said they purchased advertised products "today," while 85 percent said they planned to purchase advertised products "in the future." The store claims that advertising renewals among Wal-Mart TV's blue chip advertisers are more than 80 percent.
DISNEY TO LAUNCH BRANDED CELL PHONE NETWORK
A new wireless phone service, Mobile ESPN, will offer sports fans news, scores, and highlights on their phones. A second service, Disney Mobile, attempts to capitalize on Disney's entertainment properties. These services join the ranks of a new breed of cell provider: mobile virtual network operators, which license cell network space from carriers (such as Sprint Nextel in the case of Disney) and then offer branded multimedia content.
DOMAIN NAMES RELIVE THE SECOND BUBBLE
You thought the domain grabbers vanished with the dotcom bust. The boom in Internet advertising and the success of the pay-per-click ad model are making the go-go ’90s look sluggish. Back then, buying a domain name was pure speculation: Snap up Whatever.com and sit back until some big company with a get-on-the-Internet-at-any-cost mentality offers you a set-for-life payday to buy it. Now it’s all about the income stream. A single good domain name -- Candy.com, Cellphones.com, Athletesfoot.com -- can bring in hundreds of dollars a day, in some cases while the owner hardly lifts a finger.
Following the success of Nielsen
Entertainment's first Video Game Benchmark Report, the first Benchmarking the
Active Gamer study and the first Benchmarking Mobile Entertainment report will
be released tomorrow, sizing each marketplace highlighting consumer-level data
on Video Game and Mobile Entertainment behavior and purchasing.
--------------- TOOLS, BOOKS & TECH ---------------
The Economist reviews freshly baked "Kellogg on Branding": The book is rich in stories, recounting, for example, how close the BlackBerry mobile communications device came to being prosaically called PocketLink, and how Procter & Gamble dangerously let go of its White Cloud brand of toilet tissue. It is also rich in insights: showing how companies that are successful at branding are either a house of brands—like Nestlé, which owns some 8,000 of them—or a “branded house”, like Dell or the Virgin Group, where everything produced by the firm carries the same name.
Lionhead Studios has released a new game that allows video players to create their own machinima--movies made by manipulating the characters in video games--and then export their work and upload it to the Web. "The Movies" positions the player as a Hollywood studio owner. In addition to the business management aspect of the game, players can shoot their own movies--designing costumes, choosing sets, adding subtitles, and dubbing audio. The finished product can be uploaded to a community site run by Lionhead, sent to friends, or posted online.
HOW-TO: Take an e-book and convert it into a giant wall-sized readable poster.
--------------- END NOTE ---------------
TiVo On The Roll
by Ilya Vedrashko
TiVo's been having a blast. The company has dominated the week's news in the way only Google and iPod can.
First, the device went compatible with video iPod and PlayStation Portable, a move that will let viewers transfer their recorded goodies onto the popular mobile platforms.
Then the company leaked screengrabs of the beta service add-ons that will take TiVo's partnership with Yahoo a leap forward. Podcasts, localized weather updates and Live365 online radio are coming to the screen in the living room near you. In the recent past, Yahoo has already agreed to place TiVo's remote recording functionality on its sites
Then, the company filed a patent that shows how TiVo is planning to personalize the viewing (and perhaps ad-serving) experience. The company is working on a technology that will recognize one of several individual users through personal radio frequency tag embedded in clothing or a piece of jewelry, for example, and the PVR's remote control would recognize the closest tag.
Finally, TiVo announced that it planed to offer television-based advertising search by Spring 2006. The company promised the new product would deliver "relevant, targeted advertising to subscribers that want to view particular advertising categories."
Context-sensitive. TV advertising. On demand. Maybe even cross-platform. This to the current TV ad model is what Google's AdSense was to web banners. This also means a popularity contest for the ads themselves. Maybe bad ads will finally get voted off the air. People will start forwarding ads they like to their friends. Whoa, TV virals. Maybe ads will become serialized and begin drawing audiences of their own.
One day people will fast-forward through shows to see the ads.
Compiled by Ilya, Sam, Alec, Geoff, Ivan and Parmesh
Edited and signed off by Ilya (email@example.com)
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