CBS just announced that they'll be offering free content downloads for your cell phone from billboards:
Because Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology, users must stand within 36 feet of the billboard to access the video clips with their Bluetooth-enabled devices. The video clips are free. They are delivered over the wireless connection directly to the Bluetooth-enabled device without the need to use the mobile Internet, so consumers won't be charged by their carrier for data usage.
I have a love/hate relationship with Bluetooth - it's really cool, but it doesn't work as well as advertised. With that caveat, I think this is a really good idea.
It connects online content with the offline world.
It encourages widespread adoption of mobile video by letting users experience it for free.
And it gives a reasonable answer to the question I'm always asking, "why would I want to download on my mobile phone when I can stream content?"
That answer is geography. Allowing me to grab content at the precise moment I want it is a really good idea.
Go with me for a minute - scale the idea, and what do you have? People going about their day. When they get near the restaurant, they can download the menu and check it out. When they pass a movie theater, they can see a trailer. Drive past a house for sale? You can download the sales sheet and inspection info.
It's contextual ads for the real world... or at least it could be.
I’ll tell you what executives from big companies (like Kraft, Procter and Gamble, GM, and others) who were at MSN’s OWN ADVERTISING CONFERENCE told me. An influencer is worth THOUSANDS of times more than a non-influencer.
Advertisers are looking for influential content producers because they get better results just by placing their ads next to the content.
So the advertiser is saying, "yeah, I know Scoble. We hang. He told me he really digs my line of shoes, so you should check them out." And people are checking out the line of shoes.
Now if instead it was Scoble saying, "Dude, check out these shoes. I picked them out because I dig them. Here's why..."
The number of people who are checking out those shoes and buying those shoes is going to explode. Affiliate marketing programs typically pay btw 10% and 30% commission on a sale. Some pay up to 70%. That makes sense - it's a very valuable service that you're providing.
You don't have to be a product blogger, you need a sphere of influence. AUTHOR'S NOTE: Scoble's taste in clothes sucks - don't buy the shoes he recommends.
The other day, Sprint announced their plans to move forward with a 4G wi-max network to be launched in 2007.
This is a big deal for the content delivery market.
I finally got a 3G phone last week - and already it has absolutely revolutionized my workflow.
It's the speed. Speed makes the web features practical, and the email virtually identical to reading on my desktop email client. And the speed of the content delivery! Streaming and on demand instantaneous programming.
People say that appointment television is dead. They're wrong. It's just moving to your cell phone.
The 4G network will take all this to the next level - to the level your desktop is at right now, or faster.
That means seamless flow of video and audio files from the web to your cell phone to your computer to your tv - with no downloading.
Part of what makes flickr and YouTube work is that you don't have to deal with the media - slap it on your site, view it in an email, put it in your favorites and watch it over and over... it doesn't fill up your ipod or collect dust on your hard drive.
4G is the tipping point where the web experience, and even the computing experience, will become fundamentally different.
Any web service that isn't developing natively mobile components is on shaky ground.
Any company that is relying on their website to be their web presence will be left in the dust.
"Where on Earth have you been?" and other important questions
I've been very light on the posting this week because I've been busy as hell, and I haven't had a ton to talk about. Here's what I've been working on:
"Psychic" and "reality" in the same sentence: I'm in pre-production for a 5 minute web reality show that we're producing for Beliefnet.com. Psychic Makeover is like a home design show, but instead of painting the walls or selling your couch, our psychic fixes your home's psychic energy. We're shooting the pilot next week.
New media is fun, but old media pays so damned good! Jeff and I are developing a reality show that has a lot of great ingredients. We met with the subject of the show last week and secured access - now we're meeting with production companies and trying to work out a development deal to move forward. The response has been really good, and I think this project has legs... unlike our most recent old media project - a reality show w/ Burt Reynolds that tanked.
Sundancing: We're working with our frequent client and partner Kontent|Real on a pitch for the Sundance Channel. KR has been asked to pitch a really cool show about green design, and they've asked us to develop an agressive web presence campaign to integrate into their presentation. We're doing a viral video, some web mock ups and some social networking stuff for the pitch. If the show gets picked up, it'll mean a really nice campaign for us.
Mine's cooler than yours: My partner Jeff just up and bought a MacBook Pro this week, and I developed a severe case of gadget envy. So I responded the only way I know how - by buying a kick ass phone. I bought a Treo 700p and switched from my Nextel service to Sprint. I LOVE the phone. Email functionality is something I sorely needed for my work (the real reason I bought the phone), and the mobile tv features are just amazing. Having it for just one day has made my workflow so much more satisfying - bluetooth synching is da' bomb. I just like using the thing.
And it's so small, even compared to the 600, that I barely notice any difference from my old phone. So text me, email me, or call me - I'll be communicating on my new portable device from now on...
A we've changed the format - instead of doing one 35 minute show a week, we're doing three 12-15 minute shows per week. Much more podcast friendly.
Check it out - and if you have a comment or want to bitch about the new format, email us.
Here's the skinny on the show:
The Chris Fabricant Show is devoted to the low down dirty truth of the criminal justice system -- outrageous, irreverent and fearless counter spin to mainstream media's grandstanding about crime and punishment.
Not just the headlines, The Chris Fabricant Show takes you inside the insane day-to-day of NYC criminal courts, straight from the trenches of the South Bronx, where Chris works as a public defender. We also feature weekly interviews with criminal justice insiders and commentators: cops and robbers, writers and reporters, junkies and district attorneys.
Chris, a graduate of GW Law, is the author of the notorious book, Busted! Drug War Survival Skills (illustrated by R. Crumb). Each week Chris is joined by producers Jeff Marks and Adam Elend. And Tonya Lester, our news correspondent, brings us the week's bad news -- from Duke Lacrosse to dumb ass kids doing bong hits on MySpace.com.
If you dig Nancy Grace, you'll loathe Chris Fabricant.
When Google announced support for video ads on it's adsense network, I said it would enable contextual syndication of content. Looks like they're doing that now... very cool:
Viacom's MTV Networks has agreed to distribute clips from its cable networks over Google's advertising network, in a test of what could become a new economic model for Web-based video delivery, the companies said Sunday.
The project, a year in the making, marks the first time Google will distribute ad-supported videos across its AdSense network from a major programming provider. The ad-supported video distribution project will begin testing later in August.
hire better consultants, please... ones that are familiar with this space because they live in it not because they've researched living in it.
And, one more time for the cheap seats... How can an industry built on selling the 30 second ad come up with a 9 MINUTE VIRAL VIDEO!!!! You don't watch tv for 10 minutes without breaking for commerials for god's sake! Who watches their computer screen for that long????
I hope that Subway takes Amanda's advice. But they probably won't.
I wanted to mention the "Arrested Development" syndication deal that came down the pike a few days ago.
Fox did a multi-platform deal with HDNet getting HD rights (smart move there Mark), G4 getting cable rights and MSN getting streaming rights.
First off, it's significant that this, one of the first of its kind, happened with "Arrested" - a property with big niche appeal and longtail upside.
Important for content producers, the streaming deal included an upfront licensing fee and a 50% ad rev share for FOX. Insiders speculate that the deal wouldn't have gotten done without the upfront fee, which makes sense considering that traditional synd deals are all upfront.
It’s been hard as a general business practice to get some of these retailers to step up for guarantees,” says Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Digital Media. His group represents 20th Century That wasn’t the case this time, he said; several retailers were willing to offer a guarantee/rev-share combo. Fox already had a relationship with MSN; in addition to Fox Sports as the MSN sports anchor, MSN Video streamed some episodes of FX‘s “Black and White.” “MSN really stepped up,” he adds.
But it’s not necessarily a template either. The licensing fee provides the guarantee but Fox is still taking a risk with the rev-share, which will depend on how well MSN delivers on the advertising side. It’s also not the start of a wave of online syndie deals for Fox. Says Levinsohn, “Part of it is going to be is how well does this work?
The deal with cable upstart G4 has significance for web producers too - G4 brands itself as "the most podcasted cable network" and has big web integration.
Also, AOL announced that they will begin a beta of aol video this week at aolvideo.com. This is ad supporting streaming of VOD from content partners like MTV and Warner Bros (remember that big deal AOL struck w/ Warner Bros to stream all their old shows?).
It's obvious to me that the big players on the web are making the deals that maximize their current audience - MSN and AOL are portals, so they go with ad supported streaming in one place, while Apple and Google do download deals.
Yahoo! is still recovering from their failed attempt at content creation, but I'm sure they'll fall into line behind AOL and MSN.
How this market evolves will ultimately be dictated by how the big content producers structure their deals. The MSN development shows that there are Ad Rev deals to be made with MSN right now (they're already doing a lot of those deals). People who read this blog know that I'm big on syndication as a model for monetizing content, so I'm very interested in what portal sites do in this space.
Adam Elend is a founding partner and content producer at BrightRED Pictures. He produces the daily video blog Wallstrip. Adam lives in Sunnyside, NYC with his beautiful wife Ciara and obstinate dog Chomsky.