December 8 - 14, 2005
MIT C3 Industry Update
In this issue:
- family guy to arrive to web
- games' photorealism is creepy
- fans resurrect star trek
- sandwich plays christmas carols
-------------- TRANSMEDIA ---------------
GOOGLE EYES VIDEO CONTENT SALES
Jennifer Feikin, who runs Google Video, spoke at the Digital Living Room conference in Foster City, Calif. She made some interesting quasi-announcements about the company's future plans for delivering video content - and charging for it. "The next step - in the near-term - is to have a service where users can pay to download content," she said. Content owners [can] set the price for their content. That will bring on a whole category of content owners who want to be paid for their content." She says that Google will test different price points.
ORIGINAL FAMILY GUY EPISODES TO COME ONLINE
Fox will produce original episodes of it's resurrected hit Family Guy exclusively for the Web. Ross Levinsohn, the president of Fox Interactive Media said that the original Family Guy episodes will be distributed on two of the company's recent high-profile Web acquisitions, MySpace.com and IGN.com, as well as Fox.com next year.
SODERBERGH'S "BUBBLE" TO BE RELEASED ACROSS CHANNELS
Steven Soderbergh's "Bubble", an all-digital thriller, is set in an Ohio doll factory, and all of the actors are completely unknown. On January 27, the movie goes out to theaters, DVD, and high-definition cable TV - all on the same day. It's an experiment that threatens to uproot the film industry's long-standing "release window" formula, which staggers a picture's release on various platforms to maximize profits.
VIACOM'S BET LAUNCHES MOBILE CHANNEL
BET, a subsidiary of Viacom catering to African-American audiences, has launched its mobile brand called BET Mobile. The company will start marketing ringtones, graphics, games, alerts and social networking features, and will develop it in conjunction with Motricity. BET says it is among the first mobile services to integrate downloadable ring tones into music videos as they play. The vision is to “start with ring tones and progress into other personalized entertainment such as full-track music and videos”.
NY TIMES OUTLINES FUTURE OF VIDEO ON DEMAND
Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research predicts TV shows available by video-on-demand will eventually be free, and that new interactive business models for advertising on demand will help pay the freight.
PHOTOREALISM IN GAMES CAUSES UNEASE
Increasingly detailed human character models in games may not produce the effects their creators intend. Due to an effect that Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori has dubbed "The Uncanny Valley", simulacra and cartoon caricatures of humans seem lively and convincing only so long as they're not too realistic. Once a certain threshold is crossed, however, the mind begins to focus on the details that aren't quite right (the luminescence of skin, tiny eye motions), and hyperdetailed 3-D models begin to look like corpses.
XBOX LIVE'S SOCIAL SYSTEM ALLOWS STALKING, ANONIMITY TO ABUSERS
In the wake of the launch of the Xbox 360, users of Xbox Live (Microsoft's online service) have become aware that while the service can be very handy, some of its features are less than ideal. For one thing, anyone who knows a player's gamertag can find out exactly what they're doing on their XBox (e.g. looking at pictures, playing music, downloading something) and check their score or game progress so long as they're online. For another thing, all the launch titles lack an on-screen indicator of which player is talking-- which has led some players to use racial slurs in multiplayer games because they feel immune from punishment. (It's hard to give negative feedback to a player and reduce their rep if you don't know which player is spewing hate.)
STUDENTS PROFILE "WORLD OF WARCRAFT"
Students at Trinity University used a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods to explore sociological issues associated with massively multiplayer virtual worlds. Their findings are available as blogs and pdf documents.
VCs INVEST IN ALTERNATE REALITY GAMES
A British company that is pioneering a new genre of online game, widely known as alternate reality games, has secured a $3 million round of venture capital funding. Mind Candy, a development house that operates a game called "Perplex City," said it received the funds from Index Ventures, an investor in Skype and other technology companies.
--------------- STATS ---------------
12-24 YOS PREFER IPOD OVER RADIO
A new Bridge Ratings study says that 12-24 year olds will take their iPods over traditional radio. The study interviewed 2000 persons around the country 12-24 years of age as part of a University of Southern California Media Lab analysis entitled "How to Make Music Radio Appealing to the Next Generation." 85% of the total sample would choose their MP3 player over traditional radio as a preferred option for music. The sample audience also preferred Internet radio over AM/FM.
LIFELIFE PROFILES MOBILE USAGE BY WOMEN
LimeLife predicts that the number of women ages 15-45 who download mobile content will grow to 20 million by 2007. Through its research, LimeLife uncovered new insights about women's use of their mobile phones and their fit within women's lifestyles as they move from high school toward college and full-time jobs, and then become focused on motherhood and their careers.
INTEREST IN MOBILE VIDEO WEAK
Only 1 in 8 mobile customers are even interested in video on handsets, according to In-Stat research, while in a similar survey, Parks Associates found that only 12 to 13 percent of consumers say video/TV functions are important on any mobile device.
ONLINE AD SPENDING TO REACH $55B
The shift of advertising budgets to the Internet is reaching a "tipping point" that will drive Web ad spending to $55 billion worldwide in five years, according to a Piper Jaffray analyst Safa Rashtchy.
IN-THEATER AD SPENDING GROWS
Ad forecasters at ZenithOptimedia said on Monday that spending on in-theater ads, usually shown before the trailers, rose by 18% this year to $400 million — and likely will go up by about 15% each year through 2008.
--------------- FANS ---------------
FANS RESURRECT STAR TREK
Fans have been making films about their favorite copyrighted characters for decades. But the combination of cheap video, easy desktop editing, and fast broadband distribution made fan films take off in the late '90s. Today the Internet teems with amateur movies by science fiction and comic book geeks, some as elaborate and meticulous as New Voyages. But the typical fan film is a parody (a camera crew follows stormtroopers at work at work, as on Cops) or a genre mash-up (Batman fights the Predator). Marshall and Cawley are attempting something far more audacious. They aren't satirizing or remixing Star Trek. They're resurrecting it.
GOSPEL FAN COMMUNITIES PROPEL BAND TO INTERNATIONAL STARDOM
Gospel music groups enjoy immense popularity but are often ignored by mainstream media. Nevertheless, the marketing power of these groups and their ability to attract emotional attachments from their fans and strong word-of-mouth support demonstrate the grassroots power of the gospel music industry, akin to the Christian following that led to such a success for "The Passion of the Christ." A good case example would be the Kentucky-based "Crabb Family," who are one of the most popular acts in gospel music. The group has gone from playing in a small church in Oak Grove to international acclaim within the gospel music industry. While the gospel music fan communities are not as strongly rooted online as some other fan communities, the following sites may give some idea as to how powerful this community's following is:
--------------- ADVERTISING ---------------
TARGET OFFERS ADS AS RSS FEED
In addition to an email newsletter, Target is now offering its Target Weekly Ad circular via an RSS feed adjusted to subscribers' locations.
UNUSUAL PROMO ITEMS
The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing marketing, advertising, creative and web professionals on a project basis, recently asked 250 U.S. advertising and marketing executives to describe the most distinctive premiums they've heard of a firm giving. The list includes live snakes, umbrellas with holes and toy outhouses.
TESCO LAUNCHES MUSICAL SANDWICH
Britain's largest retailer Tesco is launching the musical sandwich. Tesco will use technology similar to that used in singing greetings cards to sell musical sandwiches. Opening the top of the sandwich box will activate a tiny sound module that plays a selection of music. This season's offering will be a medley of Christmas tunes including "Jingle Bells," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
--------------- TOOLS, BOOKS & TECH ---------------
Adam Kelsey gives a few tips on how to incorporate advertising in RSS without feeding old posts that are marked new by aggregators with each change in the posting code and annoy readers.
Campaign Monitor offers guidelines on designing email marketing messages around functionality of particular email clients.
Multiverse is a commission-based platform for creating massively multiplayer online games designed for independent game developers who cannot afford the otherwise prohibitive costs of deploying a virtual world. The platform comes with a comprehensive, pre-coded client-server infrastructure and tools, a wide range of free content--including a complete game for modification--and a built-in market of consumers. The Multiverse Network will give video game players a single program--the Multiverse Client--that lets them play all of the MMOGs and visit all of the non-game virtual worlds built on the Multiverse platform.
WIRED'S PAGE COUNT CORRELATES TO NASDAQ FLUCTUATIONS
The Gadget Show releases an informal study that plots WIRED's page count against the fiscal fortunes of the technology industry.
--------------- QUOTE OF THE WEEK ---------------
"The bound universe has been divided, in recent discussions over the digitization of books, into works in the public domain on one side, works under active copyright on the other, and a vast sea of inactive titles drifting in between. For those who dream of a Universal Library, however, any such classification is deficient, because it neglects the most important sector of the literary universe — books that have not been written yet."
Compiled by Ilya, Sam, Alec, Geoff, Ivan and Parmesh
Edited and signed off by Ilya (email@example.com)
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