Faster than a speeding bullet (the coming ubiquity of DVRs)...

Source: [cut and paste the address into your address bar: http://informitv.com/ articles/2006/08/16/ verizonfiostv/index.shtml
Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo....you doubting Thomases that thought the best way to predict the future of the media was to look into the rear view mirror...here is a headline for you! "Verizon FiOS TV launches multi-room digital recorder." We've known this was coming from other providers than, say,DirecTV and Dish Network, but I have to say that my friends and family love to say "I don't need a DVR. I don't watch that much television." BINGO! Those folks will find the DVR even MORE valuable as they filter out the wheat from the chaff. I learned a great deal from my participant observer work at a major electronics retailer in the Christmas (yikes! I didn't say "holiday!") selling season in 2003. I was the one designated to answer any questions about TiVo. Needless to say, I was able to persuade them how valuable it was, but before taking that first bite, the skepticism was palatable.

The key to understanding the inevitable rise in the number of DVR households is the simple fact that it is becoming a commodity, and if you subscribe to cable or satellite, you're going to have a DVR. And, yes, I would predict the cost to the consumer will become "zero" sooner rather than later as the economies of scale in production kick in and the video provider can make money by downloading commercial content onto the DVR for later viewing (I just wrote about the attractiveness of automobile "infomercials" for those who are in the market for a new car).

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!


While we were sleeping.......

Courtesy Turner Media Group, © 2006cut and paste http://www.turnermediagroup.com/ itvcampaigns/banners/ into your browser's address bar...
While we were sleeping, Turner Media Group (TMG) and Echostar (Dish Network) were flying with real interactive television campaigns.

Thanks to fellow Qube interactive-TV participant Tracy Swedlow, here's a current interview she conducted with TMG. Tracey's been on the cutting edge of iTV for years already. I went to Ohio State for graduate school definitely because Columbus already had Qube interactive television. When I remember that, I realize I have had an interest in interactive television that goes back almost 30 years (now come on, obviously I was reading about Qube "years" before I moved to Columbus, Ohio).

One thing I got out of Tracey's article is that advertisers are reluctant to jump into something new like interactive television. As she quoted TMG's Jodie McAfee, the potential new clients wanted numbers on how other existing campaigns had fared. This reminds me of how the introduction of the wildly popular Sony Walkman was made without market research. Sony's president (I could look that up) just thought it was a good idea. American business schools to the best of my knowledge don't teach "better business management through hunches." Am I wrong?

I have to say that automobile advertising is just about the perfect client for interactive television. Spirit of students past, can I get an "Amen"? Automobile advertising is a great example of "spray and pray." At any given time, let's say there are 1 in 7 audience members with some interest in buying a car within the next 60 days. Once they know what type of vehicle they want (i.e., Hummer or Cooper Mini), they are likely to be interested in more information than they see in a 30 second spot. Would they be willing to watch a 5-minute message about the car? If so, then interactive television can take them there (these infomercials, for example, already might be on the subscriver's hard drive, that is, its DVR. So, when prompted the viewer can request the infomercial just as if she were requesting any program off the DVR. If the DVR is hooked up to a phone line, she can answer questions about her purchasing interest (along with her name, address, etc.) which can later be uploaded to Echostar or TMG. Does this sound plausible? It certainly does to me. Sadly, once again we're at the "proprietary data" block, and we just have to be aware of conference presentations where bits and pieces of information become available. Then there's university research....possibly at a place like, oh, I dunno, maybe the University of Georgia?

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!

Three Factors for Web Video Success © 2006

I happened upon the Forbes magazine web site and noticed how they present video (the link on their current home page is shown here). Forbes (and others) present video on the web as I've imagined (and predicted) it for years.

There are three key factors that I believed would (and appear to be) play(ing) themselves out:

1) anyone can produce video (production costs are miniscule today compared to days gone by; this allows virtually anyone potentially to be able to create professional looking video; poor audio would offset good editing techniques)

2) video is the literature of our age [c'mon critics, help me support or walk away from this belief], and

3) Americans are used to the trade-off of "free" content subsidized by advertising.

I personally do not believe a business model that assumes web television viewers will pay $2 per episode of a television show. I can understand this model working in the short-term so that the number of internet television viwers remains limmited until the needed bandwidth is in place to support millions of computers simultaneously downloading or streaming video content.

Does anyone have a "consumption" index for video content? We assume from newspaper research that fewer and fewer people are reading the newspaper and more people are spending more time on the web. If there is research in which respondents were tested to see if they'd rather have a paper version of some form of information versus watching a video on the subject. An example that comes to my mind is a pamphlet such as those created by the American Cancer Society for newly diagnosed cancer patients. Would more patients prefer to view a video than read the pamphlet? (It would be possible to see the video at the medical facility and have a web address to view it at home via the Internet.)

Who are the brilliant minds that know what the future of video and print will be if we ever reach a new equilibrium. All I know is that I do not believe we are anywhere near that new plateau.

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!

I Hate to Say I Told You So, but...

I noticed for the first time today (and I don't think I would have missed it, but I'm not 18 anymore) that Google now has added "Video" to their toolbar as a "finished" product; that is, no beta, just a new search category (and it's not as if Google has many on its generic home page.

Now is the time for all of my students to sing together, "He told us so!" What did I tell them? The future of the web is video. Google has stamped "you betcha" with its new toolbar.

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!


Are you SURE there are SNIPES on TV?

Well, Apparently at least by the water coolers at NBC:

(Copyright (c) 2004 Los Angeles Times: May not be reproduced without permission of the Los Angeles Times. Used here for educational purposes only.)

Oliver Stone's "The Doors" is reaching a fever-dream climax, with Jim Morrison/Val Kilmer about to screech what he wants to do to his mother amid the ominous throb of "The End," when the bottom third of the screen explodes in a lime-green flash.

Talk about your bad trips: It's an on-screen promo for "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

OK, so maybe that's what you get for watching "The Doors" on Bravo in the first place. Bravo used to skim the cream of the art- film coffee, but that was before the network added commercials and got bought by NBC.

Now it's home to "Celebrity Poker Showdown," "West Wing" reruns, "Queer Eye" and "Inside the Actors Studio With the Latest Shilling Star." And its intent is to remind you of this fact even while you're watching a movie.

The device -- the visual equivalent of playing the "I'm lovin' it!" jingle over a radio hit -- is called a "snipe" and it's far from unique to Bravo. If you've been watching the Olympics, you've regularly been assaulted by these distracting promos popping onto the screen to inform you that, say, in 29 minutes you'll get to watch Brian Brianson compete in the 200-meter double-relay potpourri medley.

The other broadcast and cable networks use them, too, most often to tell you what show you're watching (oh, so this is "Trading Spouses"!) or to plug upcoming programs. Vivi Zigler, NBC senior vice president for advertising services, said the practice predates TiVo, which allows viewers to skip traditional ads.

"Most television stations did that originally to inform viewers who have Nielsen diaries," Zigler said. "Our evidence still shows that people really appreciate it, especially when it informs you what's coming up next."

Viewers, of course, have a high tolerance for annoyance because we're so rarely offered the alternative. We've been conditioned to accept those network-identifying "bugs" (a.k.a. logos) that occupy a corner of the screen with ever-increasing prominence.

We can't watch any cable news or sports network without having to process those incessant, repetitive text crawls. Now the rest of the screen is up for sale as well.

A sponsor logo is regularly snuggled amid the graphics of the weather segment on the newscast at Chicago's WMAQ-TV. Sports producers are mastering the art of electronically inserting ads onto playing fields as well as the screen. And product placement in movies and TV shows continues to grow more prominent.

"There's a certain rudeness in the way media is developing in that there used to be a pause for a word from the sponsor," said Jim Naureckas, editor of Extra, the magazine of the national media watch group FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting). "Now the interruption is more of the mode. Having the ad break into the programming to get between you and what you're trying to watch is perhaps a more effective way of getting your attention, but it's also a more antagonistic strategy because it's trying to stop you from looking at what you're trying to look at."

But Zigler, who until recently worked at Bravo, said no one's complaining about the snipes. "Typically we don't interrupt the scene and do something invasive," she explained.

The Directors Guild of America, which is about to begin its usually thorny contract negotiations with Hollywood's studios and producers, had no comment on whether snipes compromise a film's integrity. Then again, given that the current guild contract already allows networks to crop, edit and interrupt its movies, the group probably has little room to complain.

Stone, busy in post-production on "Alexander," also declined comment through a spokesman. But director Neil LaBute ("In the Company of Men") was happy to let 'er rip.

"I think it's pretty horrible, like putting a Burger King crown on Michelangelo's David -- about that subtle and about that enticing," he said.

So far the snipes have focused on promoting programming rather than outside sponsors, but can't you feel that slope getting slippery?

"Can I see a time in which [sponsors] would ask for that?" Zigler said. "Yes. But I have a hard time picturing that [NBC Entertainment President] Jeff Zucker would do something like that over our product -- that's an example of our management having respect for our viewers."

But it doesn't seem a stretch to envision a day when a movie airs on TV, and messages will pop up telling viewers where to buy the soundtrack, the featured car, the star's clothes and, just for kicks, the latest sexual-enhancement medication.

And no one will complain. If anyone is still watching.

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!


Firefox Creating Television User-Friendly Browser

I discovered this article while continuing my research on the lodging industry.


Hey, congratulations, folks! This is a Georgia Tech project! Interesting that it's not a Georgia Tech web site. Hmmmmmm.........

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!