October 20, 2006


- Editor's Note
- Opening Note: Geoffrey Long Looks at the Google Purchase of YouTube, Part II
- Looking Forward: C3's The Futures of Entertainment Conference at MIT in Nov.
- Glancing at the C3 Blog
- Closing Note: Ilya Vedrashko Presents an Overview of His Latest Work on Advertising in Video Games

--------------- EDITOR'S NOTE ---------------

Welcome to this week's Weekly Update from C3.This week's update features an opening note from second-year CMS graduate student at C3 media analyst Geoffrey Long, who finishes up his look at the Google purchase of YouTube by presenting other interesting Web 2.0 models for video creation and distribution.

The closing note is from one of our first media analysts here at C3 who now works in advertising, Ilya Vedrashko. Ilya was a formative part of the consortium and provided key early work in the realm of advertising, including a white paper on advertising in video games. He has continued research in that area and shares some of that work with us today.

As usual, the update also includes links to all the entries from the week from the Convergence Culture Consortium blog. We apologize for anyone who had their RSS feeds hit on the weekend or who visited the site while it was down for maintenance. There may be some maintenance on the site next weekend as well, so disregard any prior posts coming through in RSS feeds a second time.

Some of you all are already contributors to the blog or else regular followers and even commenters on the blog. We encourage everyone who is part of the C3 team, including faculty and corporate partners, to engage in this public part of C3's work.

And this week's newsletter also features a reminder about the upcoming Futures of Entertainment Conference here at MIT.

Also, we are in the process of switching the newsletter distribution style over to a centralized e-mail list for each partner company and a separate one for affiliated faculty. Several of you may have received invitations to accept membership to this e-mail list. If you have received an invitation, please accept it, as we work on transferring the newsletter's distribution to that format.

If you have any questions or comments or would like to request prior issues of the update, direct them to Sam Ford, Editor of the Weekly Update, at samford@mit.edu.

--------------- OPENING NOTE ---------------


By: Geoffrey Long

Last week, Geoffrey tested out a few possible slogans for the new Google version of YouTube.





Thisweek, the conclusion of this piece provides links to the multiplicity of Web companies to explore Internet video as alternative or complementary examples to the GOOGTUBE phenomenon.


These are only some of the ways that Google can possibly justify its purchase of YouTube. There are others, of course, and the blogosphere is on fire this week with people arguing both sides of the debate. As someone who enjoys both video delivered over the Internet and creating content myself, I'm excited to see how this whole thing shakes out. Sure, there are also 1.65 billion ways in which this could just be a signal of the Web 2.0 boom imploding even faster than the first one -- but much like the first time around, lessons are being learned and the field is changing in ways that will be felt for years. Even if GoogTube tanks, there are dozens of companies springing up to explore this new frontier. Here are just a few of them, and how they're selling themselves.

- BRIGHTCOVE. "Brightcove is an Internet TV service."www.brightcove.com

- VEOH. "Internet TV is the next step in delivering video to consumers everywhere, providing millions of channels of programming for viewers and millions of channels of capacity for broadcasters."www.veoh.com

- SMALLCARROT. "Small Carrot delivers user generated movies for small screens."www.smallcarrot.com

- FIREANT. "FireAnt delivers a rich media experience through a simple to use, unified viewer that lets you watch all types of content without having to worry about which format it is (QuickTime, Windows Media, Real, Flash, MP3 and more)."www.fireant.tv

- DABBLE. "Dabble's mission is to help you find and collect videos from all over the web, no matter where they are hosted."www.dabble.com

- VIMEO. "Vimeo is for sharing video clips that you've created. It's very easy to use, and filled with interesting people."www.vimeo.com

- DAILYMOTION. "Dailymotion is about finding new ways to see and show the world."www.dailymotion.com

- GROUPER. "Grouper is the best place on the web to WATCH, SHARE and CREATE video."www.grouper.com

- PODTECH. "PodTech Network is a growing network of audio and video podcasts for influencers and leaders in the global technology and media industries."www.podtech.net

- PODSHOW. "Welcome to PodShow, where you get to choose what you listen to and when and where you listen to it."www.podshow.com

- RADIOTAIL. "RadioTail's podcast ad network, advanced metrics and dynamic ad serving technology ensures that advertising in podcasts will reach the right audience and deliver a great return on investment".www.radiotail.com

- BLOGBURST. "BlogBurst is a syndication service that places your blog content on top-tier online destinations. You get visibility, audience reach and increased traffic, while publishers get a wide range of new coverage to broaden their reach and increase page views."www.blogburst.com

- SOCIALROOTS. "SocialRoots is a social media agency connecting media creators with new audiences and opportunities."www.socialroots.com

- BLOGADS. "We're the blog advertising specialists."www.blogads.com

- FRUITCAST. "You love publishing your podcast, but did you know you could make some pretty good money from it as well?"www.fruitcast.com

- THE DECK. "The premier advertising network for reaching web and design professionals, The Deck serves up millions of page views each month and is uniquely configured to connect the right marketers to a targeted, influential audience."

- ODEO. "Odeo is a creative way to record and share audio - and it's free."www.odeo.com

So would I spend $1.65 billion on YouTube? I don't envy the execs who had to make those decisions. If they pull it off, GoogTube will deliver years of entertainment (and billions of dollars in revenue) from a hat trick of content creators, advertisers, and consumers. If they don't pull it off, it'll be entertaining to watch them crash and see who rises to take their place. One way or the other, there will definitely be something on.

Stay tuned.

Geoffrey Long is a graduate student in the Comparative Media Studies Department at MIT and a media analyst with C3. He has worked extensively in web production, graphic design, and various forms of storytelling, including audio pieces available through iTunes and his work as editor-in-chief of an occasional journal of literature.

---------- ANNOUNCEMENTS ----------

C3 Presents The Futures of Entertainment Conference at MIT Nov. 17 and Nov. 18

The conference, presented in conjunction with the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT, will feature leading scholars and critics in the media industry, as well as industry executives. Speakers includeFlickr's Caterina Fake, DC Comics' Paul Levitz, Warner Brothers' Diane Nelson, Big Spaceship's Michael Lebowitz, social networking researcher danah boyd, television scholar Jason Mittell and others, including representatives from MTV Networks, The Cartoon Network, Bioware and other companies that are currently being finalized.

Panels will include: Television Futures, User-Generated Content, Transmedia Properties, Fan Cultures, and Not the Real World Anymore, a look at virtual spaces.

Registration is now closed for the free conference, but we look forward to seeing representatives from each of our partners present next month here at MIT!

For more information on the Futures of Entertainment, go tothis website.

---------- NEWS FROM THE C3 BLOG -----------

Edelman/Wal-Mart Fiasco--The Changing Face of Public Relations. A blog about a group taking an RV across the nation to Wal-Mart parking lots failed to disclose its funding from Edelman's Wal-Mart PR initiative Working Families for Wal-Mart. What is even more interesting than the initial controversy is the continued debate among bloggers.


Urban Interactive's Ghosts of Liberty. With all our recent talk about ARGs, this Boston interactive adventure is an interesting way to reconceptualize the historical tour. A combination of mobile phone communication and live actors, the game is getting some local publicity here.


Steve Ballmer on Google Purchase of YouTube. Microsoft's CEO raised some interesting issues about the value of YouTube that has caused further discussion of the value of these sites that consist mainly of user-generated content.


Showtime Launching Significant Content on Amazon Unbox. Showtime continues their push for cross-media distribution by working with Amazon's new digital video download service.


Web 2.0, Technorati, and Technology's Limits. Web 2.0 is transforming the way business is done and the way businesses interact, but it doesn't always run smoothly.


Technological Convergence Between In-Game Advertising and Military Games. C3's Stefan Werning complements Ilya's piece in this week's newsletter with a discussion of in-game advertising and military games, one of his continued research focuses.


Singapore-MIT Collaborate on Games Innovation Lab. Henry Jenkins clues C3 readers in on a major new development for the CMS department as a whole here at MIT regarding the partnership with CMS and Singapore.


Nielsen Commercial Ratings Delayed Among Continued Controversy. The debates remain about the value of commercial ratings, and Nielsen is trying to find a way to make these numbers grounded in trusted in a major contested space between advertisers and networks.


Universal, Time-Warner Have Their Lawyers Ready. The lawyers were circling, waiting for YouTube to get some major money behind it. Now, we're going to discuss the copyright issues with big bucks on the line.


New Partnership Offering Mobile Content on Sprint. Sprint has already worked on getting film media repurposed for the mobile platform, and now it's providing a platform for further development of "mobisodes."


Sex Offenders and MySpace. The recent study byWiredabout using MySpace to catch sexual predators and the lack of locating and marking sexual predators on the social networking site continues the debate about MySpace in regard to children and safety issues.


Reuters Bureau in Second Life. One of the most trusted print news networks is covering the online space on a regular basis now, granting further credence to the social importance of online worlds like Second Life.


The Student Press Law Center and the Future of the First Amendment. Henry Jenkins examines the work of the SPLC and its importance in debating and safeguarding First Amendment rights.


Review of The Ad and the Ego. The video may be 10 years old but still gets regular play in the classroom and beyond. This discussion of the pervasiveness of advertising raises both some problems with irresponsible advertising and some corresponding issues regarding anti-commercial research.


WWE Promoting Smackdown Your Vote Podcasts. WWE is using their transmedia reach and their transmedia approach to encourage people to register to vote, by providing podcasted interviews with various political personalities.


--------------- FOLLOW THE BLOG ---------------

Don't forget - you can always post, read, and carry out online conversations with the C3 team at our blog: http://www.convergenceculture.org/weblog/.

--------------- CLOSING NOTE ---------------

To Advertise or Not to Advertise in Video Games

By: Ilya Vedrashko

The interest in marketing potential of the game space has been steadily rising for the past year but it seems to have reached a new order of magnitude over the last few weeks asWall Street Journal,Business WeekandThe Economistall ran extensive features on the subject.

I just finished working on my thesis on in-game advertising in which I tried to develop further some of the ideas laid out in the last year’s white paper. One of the chapters spells out arguments for and against putting games on the marketing budget.Given the amount of attention that Second Life and other “synthetic worlds” are attracting from the mainstream marketers -- two large ad agencies have just announced plans to open SL branches -- I thought it would be a good idea to recap some of the arguments here.


  • Contrary to the media hype, there is no conclusive evidence that games are stealing TV’s younger demographics.As Jupiter Research concluded in a recent study, “the impact of video games on other media is largely overplayed.”
  • The total number of gamers is huge and growing but the audience composition is not uniform and all these people play different games for different reasons.
  • To target a gaming audience with any precision, marketers need to take into account a large number of variables: from game genre and platform to rating and distribution channel.
  • The logistics behind an ad integration that is anything but a banner insert are still daunting.
  • The gaming inventory available to advertisers is pretty tight inventory and most of the best-selling titles that can readily incorporate ads already do so.
  • Games largely remain an unsuitable environment for ads aimed to stimulate immediate transactions.


Some demographic segments are impermeable to traditional media and games are the only way to reach them.

If you are concerned with building a stronger brand in the minds of a smaller group of people more than with achieving a wide reach or an immediate payback games can deliver good value.

  • Gamers spend 41.7 hours with the last game they purchased. That’s a lot of potential face time for a brand well integrated, plus all research conducted to date indicates, albeit cautiously, that in-game advertising delivers high recall rates.
  • Games are a perfect research ground where every single aspect of the environment and population can be tracked, recorded and data-mined. Marketing anthropologists have been just handed a very valuable tool whose potential they are yet to discover.
  • With in-game advertising mediators such as Massive (now part of Microsoft) and IGA perfecting their technologies, marketing efforts are becoming more scalable.
  • Finally, some observers of the game space are cautiously saying that games offer a glimpse of what the next iteration of web is likely to become -- even more social than now because of the real-time nature of interactions, three-dimensional, and mediated through avatars. If their predictions turn out correct, then by experimenting with games today you will acquire skills necessary to respond to the inevitable changes in the future.

For details, download the full paper fromhttp://www.gamesbrandsplay.com. Its three chapters (80 pages) outline the business rationale behind in-game advertising, compare games to other media, and showcase the many ways to introduce a brand into the game. I keep blogging about the biz athttp://vedrashko.com/advertising/blog.htm.

Ilya Vedrashko has recently graduated from C3 and CMS and is now working across the Charles River at Hill Holliday advertising agency as emerging media strategist.


Compiled and Edited by Sam Ford (samford@mit.edu)


You are receiving this update as a member of MIT C3.

To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a request tosamford@mit.edu.