“Strategic Alliances Will Replace Vertical Integration” – PWC

The new report is here! The new report is here! Picture%202.png

I love this quote from the Pricewaterhouse press release for their new report on the Global Outlook for Media/Entertainment.

“We’re seeing a new business model solidify for entertainment and media companies,” said Marcel Fenez, Managing Partner, Global Entertainment & Media practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Some, such as the film industry, have dabbled in this in the past, but those will be small movements compared to what lies ahead. No single company will be able to successfully go it alone over the next five years. The challenges are too significant and the demand for innovation too complete.”

I’ve always wondered how any one company could feel that it could completely succeed through vertically integrating into a market all by its lonesome. Even waaay back when i worked at HMV and it was partially owned by EMI – we used to consistently have to explain to other music companies that there wasn’t any “favoritism” toward EMI artists at HMV. The idea of companies having their own proprietary digital formats was confusing to me as well (blue matter anyone?) the recent strategy of investing in multiple companies to help grow the market for digital content and media makes so much more sense than a “we can do it all” approach. i think in order for any market to move forward there has got to be some neutral ground as well as common ground. Spotrunner is a great example of this – there are so many companies invested in its success and i think this neutral/common/partnership play is a part of its current success. When everyone can benefit its a win win for all instead of knock down drag out fight for a space that should be somewhat neutral to begin with.

What does your phone connection say about you?

As a follow up to an earlier entry about Pew’s recent numbers on people living without a landline – they have released a report from their polling partners at Princeton. The report shows the difference between “landline types” and “cell-phone only types”. Alot of this might be predictable – of course the people who have “graduated” to a cell-phone only lifestyle may be a bit saavier than the others. What’s interesting is that they haven’t included VOIP users as a category at all.

It does have some interesting stats – definitely worth a read if you are interested in what makes people tick and how one small choice can say eons about their overall media/information/entertainment consumption patterns.

Trent Reznor Filling the Holes in Our Heads

Picture%20143.pngI’ve been a Nine Inch Nails fan for a loooooong time. Fond memories of the Axis club in Boston – a small small room overcome by the sound and lights of NIN. So it is with great fascination, admiration and just awe that I’m watching the reincarnation (?), evolution (?) birth (?) of Trent Reznor’s music into a story, a tale that this article from Crave describes as “Orwellian”. Wow.

Trent is developing what can be best described as a dystopian sci-fi TV show. All this forward movement stemmed from one fan figuring out that the highlighted letters on a t-shirt spelled out a secret web address. Behind the address – conspiracy theories. I watched this project happen – it was truly incredible and Trent is working with some really talented people on his vision. The one ting that irks me is that there seems to be this public opinion that it’s his frustration with the major label system that is driving all this – whereas i just firmly believe that Trent’s creativity and ideas go further than what the major label system was ever intended to handle. Everyone can shout about changing the system but there are so many boundaries in place for that to happen in an instant.

Not every artist can be Trent Reznor…not every artist has that many layers to what they are creating, singing about – sometimes a love song is just a love song. But when you are a Trent Reznor – it’s important to surround yourself with MANY creative types – from MANY businesses. I can’t wait to see what the TV show brings. I can somehow see it having the same intense following as a “24” without even having seen one clip!

What will be really interesting is seeing how advertisers are integrated and dealt with. Trent has always been extremely cautious about his brand relationships….TV programming changes that a bit I would think!

I want to…..edit.

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THIS is a great project around UGC and connecting with your fans. I think Paul Coelho is stepping out by collaborating on a film with his fans in a way that is rarely seen. What is more interesting to me is the idea that as collaboration becomes more open and incorporates larger groups – it is the role of an EDITOR that really becomes more important – perhaps taking the reigns from the title of Director? Hmmmm.

When is a Comment a Crime?

This article on the legal issues surrounding UGC, blogging and comments is pretty interesting.

They state that 84% of people 18 to 24 have participated in UGC – a high number to say the least. But as I read this I can’t say that prior to reading this, that I thought of a “comment” as a form of UGC – but I stand corrected according to the legal team at DLA Piper. What interests me here is that the laws around posting a comment could be harsher than the laws around voicing a comment. Where does the right of free speech end in the blogosphere? Is having an opinion illegal depending on what your opinion is and where you voice (type) it? Is a protest on the street more legal than a protest on the page?

The article refers to a blogger who was fined in the UK for his comments around how he was treated by police. Here is the BBC coverage Something to think about.

Social Networking Ad Spend

Emarketer’s latest numbers on social networking ad spend. Interesting as it doesn’t cover integrated activities, but rather just the general banner, video, display etc..promotions are mentioned as are fees for profiles, but how much are people spending on this area once they pay the entrance fee? What is being spent on the content that powers a successful social media engagement?
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Social Media = Customer Service and R&D

Picture%20106.pngThis Adweek article on how Dell has improved its image by moving their customer dialogue online is fantastic. In 1999 when we first started monitoring the bulletin boards at Universal we were always fascinated by the amount of information we received. They liked the clothes, they didn’t like that song, they loved the way the band sounded on letterman etc…It became our way of being on the street with our consumers 24/7.

If the customer/consumer is always right – listening to them is always better. It’s interesting to see companies really beginning to embrace social media as a way to talk to their customers proactively. There are still many folks who don’t believe that one comment launched into the infinite world wide web can really matter that much – but it can. Reading about Dell I recalled an article from last year where Target’s press department was caught in the fire when they turned away a blogger as not being “relevent”. The NY Times covered it well.

All it takes is one click of the mouse. Proactively talking and listening to your customers via social media is a good investment to make sure that one click is one that is praising your company.

Virtual Worlds: You too can be a god!

The BBC just held a conference on Virtual Worlds and Children. Findings from a study funded by the BBC were presented. The presentation is here.
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What scared me a little was the value ranked #2 as a benefit to children. With all the press around how the millenials are bitter about having to work for a living, want special treatment etc…I’m just wondering what we are instilling in future generations if we encourage them to “become creators and have control over elements of a world”. It just seems a little too “god complex” to me? if you grow up controlling the world inside the box…do you then have less ability to deal with situations where you aren’t in control? Are we in danger of raising an entire generation of control freaks? how will this teach kids that they can’t control everything and give them the skills they need in the adult world around this fact of life?

Life Bits

Picture%20100.pngI lost 2 years of my life last week. In photos. I’m going to try and recover the files…but right now they are gone. It reminded me of this project that I read about last year. Gordon Bell of Microsoft is recording everything he does in life. It’s a bit different than putting your life on the web…a little more intense. These two articles cover the whole project – it’s almost too much to comment on here. But it does make me think about what I’m doing with all my ephemera…or not doing. New Yorker “Remember This?” and Scientific American Graph Theory and Teatime

image above is property of the new yorker.

Woodstock Museum Opens To The Public

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Yes. My Last name is Yasgar – Like Max – but with an “A” not a “U”. Yes…we are….

There is a new museum open at the site of woodstock. The herald tribune finds this a worldly cultural event….

All my life …I’ve gotten the question. or the comment. what’s funny is that it is in fact true. I am related to him. He and my grandfather were first cousins. And in my own family lore – a little story about music and technology: My grandfather was watching TV and Max Yasgur was on talking about the festival. Lo and Behlold my grandfather found himself essentially looking in a mirror. He and Max bore a STRIKING resemblance. So he and my grandmother (and her sister & husband) piled in the car from New Haven and drove to Bethel. Turns out their father’s were brothers, one the oldest and one the youngest, of a large Russian family and had lost touch during all the waves of immigration. Imagine that. I’ve watched the Woodstock movie and seen Max’s face…it is in fact true – they do look alike and i like to imagine how thrilling a discovery that was for my grandfather. TV, Hippies = Good.

I have to say I’ve got my own little dream about that spot. To buy the farm and turn it into a music camp for kids but more like a little UN. 2 kids from every country for the summer. Using music to take down all the cultural differences they may think they have and to teach other about where they come from…and take their experiences home. It must be the hippie child in me. Thanks Mom.