Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lots of news, my quick takes

A lot of important web video news has broken in the past few days, and I thought it was high time I weighed in...

Mark Cuban's subpoenaing YouTube.

He wants the identities of people who are pirating his content. He's already made it clear that he doesn't intend to sue anyone with the information.

I don't care that the conventional wisdom on the web has turned against this guy - I love him. He's relentless, passionate and most of the time he's reasonable. He has no clue what leadership is on a basketball team, and that's one of the reasons the Mavs are perpetual chokers, but still - he's a smart dude.

Everyone's looking at this as Cuban attacking Goo-Tube, but that's not it at all. What he's really doing is testing the DCMA and making clear that the safe harbor provisions that protect YouTube and other "hosting companies" are designed to erode our privacy as users. If YouTube doesn't take responsibility for the copyright infringement, they are passing it on to you the user. And in order to maintain safe harbor, they're required to pass along all kinds of information that can be used against us. This is one of many really dangerous flaws in the DCMA, a piece of legislation that was hand crafted by special interests to be GOOD for the telecoms and the big content owners and BAD for users. Cuban's written extensively on this in the past, and if he can shine a light on these problems with his subpoenas, good for him.

For the record, though, I disagree completely with Cuban's analysis of what makes a hosting company and what doesn't. If they function as advertised, YouTube is indeed a hosting company. But if they're censoring and preventatively editing copyrighted material, they lose that safe harbor IMHO.

Michael Eisner's joining my industry! His new web studio Vuguru (I bet the focus group that came up with the name "Vuguru" cost more than our annual budget for Wallstrip) is launching with a soap opera targeted at teenaged girls. 80 episodes, 90 seconds each.

I like that they're launching their show with open distribution. You can watch it on Youtube, Veoh (which Eisner owns a piece of), as well as on their own destination site. I also like that they are partnering with Elle magazine and distributed the show on Elle's site. Ultimately, brand owners are going to become content providers on the web, not just advertising. That Vuguru's already building their distribution strategy in this direction is a very good sign. But ultimately, the question is will the content draw audience. When that happens, it's time to take notice.

More interesting to me was NBC's announcement that NBC Sports will be creating original web video for Sports Illustrated. Original content distributed where you're audience already is spending time on the web - that's moving in the right direction for NBC. A content company acting like a content company instead of a distribution company. Like it.

And, of course, Viacom slapped a one billion dollar lawsuit on YouTube. I'm not even going to link to it because the story's so ubiquitous that it was on the cover of the free AM magazine this morning in NYC. Just read about it where you get your news.

No big suprises here. If you read this blog, you already know that YouTube has a shut-off valve. The big question here is whether Viacom's doing this to kill YouTube or as a negotiating tactic to get a better deal. The "kill YouTube" option was a whole lot more attractive pre-Google than it is today, so my guess is that this is a negotiating tactic.

Either way, it will be interesting. And that's why we're all watching...

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Hot off the presses

Well, actually... not even on them yet.

Here's the joint press release we just issues with We're really excited to be distributed on a site that is the source of so much great content.

Wallstrip Joins TV Network

Monday March 12, 9:00 am ET and Wallstrip Form Partnership to Distribute Video Content

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE), Inc. (Nasdaq: TSCM - News), a leading provider of financial commentary, analysis, research, news and ratings, and Wallstrip, a new Web site that produces daily video combining stock news and pop culture, today announced that they have entered into a video distribution partnership.
Under the agreement, Wallstrip, a daily three-minute show examining top-performing stocks, will be distributed on TV,'s fast-growing video network.

"Wallstrip's innovative approach to stock coverage combined with humor is a terrific complement to our current video offerings," said Sandy Brown, Executive Producer & Managing Editor, TV. "We're confident TV's audience will appreciate the addition of Wallstrip to our video lineup."

Wallstrip has recently been featured in articles in Business Week ("A Sassy New Investment Webshow for Generation YouTube"), and The New York Times ("It's 'Squawk Box' Meets' 'Saturday Night Live'"), and on ABC News. An increasingly popular destination for non-traditional reporting on top stock picks, Wallstrip receives approximately 10,000 viewers per day.

Adam Elend, a Wallstrip producer and director said, "We are excited about the partnership because has great audience reach and is a force for innovation in the online financial market." TV currently offers 12 channels of financial news and lifestyle content, including the Personal Finance and Executive Interviews channels, and Wall Street Confidential, a daily show featuring company founder James Cramer. In February, reported production of 811 videos across its network in the fourth quarter of 2006 and an 80% increase in its video viewership from the previous quarter.

Wallstrip is currently available at on the Video and Audio section of the site.

About, Inc., Inc. (Nasdaq: TSCM - News) is a leading multimedia provider of business, investment and ratings content, available through its proprietary properties, which include Web sites, email subscription services, print, radio, syndication and audio and video programming. Founded in 1996,, Inc. pioneered the electronic publishing of financial information on the Internet. Today, the Company offers proprietary information on stocks, mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and financial institutions, including various insurers; HMOs; Blue Cross Blue Shield plans; banks and savings and loans. The Company's breadth of top-grade services empowers a wide audience of retail and professional investors, by delivering information they can rely upon to make sound, informed financial decisions.

About Wallstrip

Wallstrip is where stock culture meets pop culture. Each episode looks at a stock that is at or near an all time high, and assesses the reason why the company is performing so well -- not in the stock world, but in the real world. Monday through Thursday, there is a new three minute Wallstrip episode, presenting viewers with a unique "ear to the street" approach to the market. On Friday Wallstrip runs a "Wallstrip Chat" series, a short fun interview with an influencer in the financial world.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hello? Is Anyone There?

If you want to reach me, you give me a call, right? Or you email me, maybe you IM me or text me or site message me, right, but the point is you send a message from where you are to where I am.

You don't put a note on a bulliten board and hope I see it. Not even if that bulletin board is in a high traffic area.

You certainly don't stick a note on the front door of your business, and hope that I stop by. And you don't post a message on your website in hopes that I'll happen to cruise your URL this morning.

And yet, that's exactly how almost all content owners communicate with their audience on the web.

My entire relationship with NBC is through iTunes. I watch The Office and Heroes, two pretty solid shows.

But instead of catching them in Primetime, I have paid for a season of downloads. Each time there's a new episode, I get an email from APPLE, not NBC telling me to download it. I download it on my Apple Computer, from the iTunes music store, and watch it on my computer or Apple iPod in the iTunes viewing environment.

If I were NBC, I'd be less worried about getting a bigger piece of that $1.99/ download, and a lot more worried about developing a relationship with people who are consuming my media in remote environments. That email I get every week should be NBC branded. It should upsell me other NBC products I might like in the iTunes environment. It should offer me other opportunities to consume NBC's brand, both in my "comfort zone" (where I'm already spending time on the web) or on

Same goes for YouTube - CBS sticks their clips on the site, but they don't have a presence. In fact, they block the social functions that YouTube community members communicate with. To me, that's just ridiculous.

CBS Primetime, David Letterman, 60 minutes - these are brands that must have an interactive presence on YouTube. An intern who's a character on Dave's show must site message all day long with other YouTubers. That intern, if well cast, could potentially build up an audience of millions of people who aren't watching Dave's show now.

But that's not how most big content owners view their online experience. Instead, they put all their effort into scrawling messages at and CBS innertube, just hoping that I'll find them there.

Media companies are fond of saying, "we're well aware that the only person making any money off of iTunes is Steve Jobs." And that may be the case. But it's not just because he controls the market and the infrastructure. It's because he's talking to us every day. We're coming to him to buy your product, and while he's chatting us up, you're back at your brick and mortar, filling your bulletin board with notes to us.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dealing with talent can be the toughest part of a producer's job

I was getting ready to write the second part of my "Why WV content is different" post - got all my ducks in a row, wrote out a few notes, ready to go.

Then LC directed me to this video, and it blew my concentration. Hope it blows yours too:


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Adding the splashcast player

Splashcast has created a product that's pretty cool, and very much in line with the kind of RSS innovation I talk about on this blog.

They grabbed the rss feed from our Wallstrip Youtube channel and created an embeddable Splashcast player. Anyone can do this, grabbing their own videos from sharing sites, or other videos they admire. Then they can add photos (a flickr feed), music, etc. - creating their own rss powered multimedia distribution platform that's easy to embed, email and share.

A lot of smart people say that editors are going to be the real winners in the web entertainment space - people who can weed through all the noise, and aggregate compelling content for their viewers/readers/listeners. Splashcast is out there providing an elegant way to do that.

I've added the Splashcast Wallstrip player to my sidebar so I can play with it and see how it performs. It's serving the same purpose as our Revver widget, and I'm curious how the daily experience will compare.

Stay tuned!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

T-Minus Two Days

Happy Monday everyone.

We're picking fights we can't win at Wallstrip:

Howard's picking fights no one would want to win on his blog

And boys and girls everywhere - from the 7 day middle school affair to the silver anniversary - is scrambling around to buy something for national Hallmark day.

They say that the average man will spend $120 this year, down from $140 last year. I will be spending zero dollars, because I don't believe in saints.

Even if my favorite actor is pimping America's "when you don't feel like expressing yourself, let us" company this year.

When I was in grade school, it was cool to make your own valentines for your class. Six years later, when my sister was in grade school, it was all about who had the coolest store-bought barbie and ken valentines.

So this Valentine's Day, I'd like to encourage you to celebrate my way: either teach kids it's okay to show affection to others... or stay out of the stores and have some sex... it's free (most of the time).