Saturday, July 26, 2008

Who Needs Cable Television?

Seriously - I just wheeled home the other night with a new tv that has HDMI ports on it and a new laptop with HDMI ports - I am watching content from my laptop on my TV. Movies, music, etc. - all legal. I do not need blockbuster, cable television, local or satellite radio. It is all accessible through the net with my wireless connection in my home - so wherever my laptop goes - so goes the vast array of entertainment and news programming. Most of it with no or limited commercial interruption.

Now before broadcasters and other laggards cry foul - the opportunity is there for you folks, you just need to innovate a bit.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

MS XBox Ramping Up Content Offerings

Pulled from Financial Times

Microsoft Brings Its Games To Life As Movies On Web
Financial Times
Are you ready for Halo3, the movie? Microsoft has struck a deal with Safran Digital Group and five directors of horror movies to make short films based on its Xbox games, which will be released on the Internet.

Scott Nocas, product manager for Xbox Live's video programming and original content, said the company was treating the short films like TV pilots. Microsoft will show them in the 26 international markets that support the Xbox Live service and plans to commission more original content if the movies prove popular.

"We're not in the TV business," Nocas said. "But we believe our consumers want bite-sized entertainment content that they can watch between (playing) games."

Gamers Can Be Found in Most Demo Segments

Gamers are growing older and the Wii is ushering in younger demos to the gaming world. The old stat still rings true - most people make the decision to bounce off of a web site in about 2 seconds. Do you think having content that provides an experience can help improve time spent on site? Do you think gaming will play an increasing role in interactive television? Am I leading the witness with these questions? ;)

Some interesting insights on gaming and who the audience really is from this MediaPost piece.

A clip...

Gamers: They're Not Who You Think They Are

SAN FRANCISCO -- While gamer demographics and targeting potential have long been defined by the medium that they play on--i.e., hardcore gamers play shooters on consoles and soccer moms play casual games on PCs--that logic is slowly but surely being turned on its head.

And according to panelists from the OMMA Gaming session "The Demographics of Play: Who Is Gaming Where and When," marketers that want to fully harness the power of games need to rethink their ideas of who gamers are and what constitutes a game.

For example, console gamers have traditionally been considered to be males ages 18-34 (and in some cases even 18-24). But in May 2008, Nielsen found that three-fourths of Nintendo Wii usage came from players between the ages of 6 and 34. In contrast, the game giant's previous console, GameCube, which launched in the U.S. in 2001, only attracted players ages 2-17 three-fourths of the time.

Get the full piece HERE

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hey Look! It's Interactive TV!!

Yeah yeah, I am a skipping record.

TiVo Gets Its Own Shopping Channel: Amazon


Online shopping addicts beware. A TiVo-Amazon partnership will soon allow TiVo customers to purchase items via without ever leaving the couch.

With Product Purchase, TiVo users can click over to Amazon on the TV screen using their remote control and purchase items discussed on a certain TV show.

Want a few of Oprah's favorite things? Intrigued by a book mentioned on The Colbert Report? Click over to TiVo's Universal Swivel Search function, find the items, and purchase them directly.

Full article HERE

Marketing, Service, Service, Marketing

Pie charts, graphs, numbers, stats, jargon, buzz words, the latest book on the latest trend written by the latest guru for the latest "api" so you can successfully execute a "turn key app."

You sometimes you can take all of that crap, throw it out the window and grow your business by leaps and bounds by simply:
1. Returning a phone call
2. Actually acting like you want someone's business
3. Do what you say you are going to do
4. Sell with some sense of urgency

In the last week I have tried to give at least three different businesses my business and based on their reaction, they could have cared less. I was left scratching my head. I was nice, expressed a high level of interest in what they were offering and showed them the money, yet they still had trouble or simply did not do one, more or all of the above. Someone please tell these people there is supposedly a recession going on - or even that our economy is "in a downturn" because the way these folks acted, you would have thought they had enough business to retire.

Marketing lesson of the day - do the four things above and in the sectors where I am trying to spend my money, you will get my business time and time again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More IPTV Related Stuff

Here is an article that shows how the XBox 360 is integrating on more demand content through its online platform. They are partnering with NetFlix to offer a full library of on demand movies available for streaming through the 360. Uh, can anyone say impulse movie viewing?? Forget hopping in the car and driving to your local blockbuster to rent from the narrow selection. Just hop on the 360 and choose from a ton of titles through NetFlix. You just save some precious $4 a gallon gasoline.

How does this evolve?? Eventually once the audience gets large enough you will have a choice to either pay for a commercial free viewing or you will get a free viewing that is supported by advertising (see HULU). Then when that gets old the entire film will be interactive and chock full of "supplementary content" that advertises stuff.

Check out the article HERE

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yellow Book Spot Breathes New Life

Something unusual happened the other evening - I saw a TV spot that not only grabbed my attention but also, in my opinion, told a really good story in a way that put a very positive spin on something that up to this point, I think, had been written off.

Check out this spot from Yellow Book, yes, that Yellow Book. From the wedgie to the solution I think this commercial accomplished a few goals.

In this brief 30 seconds Yellow Book...
1. Shuns the common perception that they are strictly this big irrelevant book - they are a valuable resource - yes even online
2. They are focused on local search - this is key - local search has been a sore spot for large search providers Google, Yahoo and MSN for quite sometime. Yellow Book - or any other phone book, already has the position of the leader in localized product and service search - their challenge has been translating that to the web. Well, it looks as though someone either in Yellow Book, at their ad agency or both has an idea of what the future can be.
3. Making the connection between powerful local resource and quality information-rich content that is not bound by paper - they have, can and will transcend the document stage and will be a provider of rich, interactive content - as "futuristic" as this spot tries to be, the reality is sub out the hologram with a large flat screen and this is not so futuristic - it is possible now.

If this spot communicates what the Yellow Book is truly becoming, then they may just have a pretty bright future - after all - even on a keyboard or with a mouse, your fingers do the walking.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Big Piece on Interactive TV Ads in USA Today

A great piece in the USA Today talking about interactive tv ads. One of the best pieces I have seen on this topic in awhile. Per many other posts in the SAST it talks about some of the satellite and cable companies and how they are delivering this format. Take what we understand about audience segmentation from email marketing and SEM and apply to this opportunity. Not a whole lot different - just a different delivery system - it is still interactive and digital, still interesting when done well and can be incredibly effective with very accessible metrics to determine effectiveness.

Check out the piece entitled Interactive TV Ads are Clicking with Viewers by clicking HERE

A quote from the piece...
"Cable operators such as Charter, as well as their satellite TV rivals, all are experimenting with such ads. Their goal: battle Internet media for ad dollars by merging a TV commercial's impact with former Web-only selling points such as interactive content, ad targeting based on consumers' personal data and precise effectiveness measurement based on how many people click on an ad for more information.

With a traditional 30-second spot you only know how many people saw it, says Sam Chadha, marketing director for deodorants at consumer products giant Unilever, which has used interactive ads for several products, including Degree deodorant. "Interactive TV lets marketers also study consumer behavior in response to the ad."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Transitions Launches

Go check out and click through to the interactive guide at

This is a project that the basement recently finished up in partnership with Brandwidth. The reason I am putting this on the blog is that this site is a great example of a balance of form and function. It shows how you can accomplish a goal, communicate online using a lot of different visual tools and the end result is a great experience that educates.

As you go through the quiz and answer questions you will notice that the glasses build themselves based on your responses. The constant updates build over the course of the quiz, and ultimately are dropped in to a document that you can present to your eye care professional to help establish a conversation you may not have had with your doctor before. A combination of flash, 3D models and a pretty robust developed out back end make this all possible.

Focus groups were utilized to help our design team figure out the best possible layout for the interface, and how the motion would be best received by the audience. Also, as you go through the piece you will see links to watch animations. These are integral to educating the audience on different aspects of not only eye health, but how best to maintain it through lens options.

Seth McFarlane/Google Teaming Up for AdSense Content

We have talked about it here before - supplementary content, instead of traditional push advertising, taking center stage as a successful ad/marketing medium online. Seems like Google and Seth McFarlane are taking a somewhat related approach.

Check out the blurb and click through to the full story...

How Seth MacFarlane Will Help Breathe New Life Into Old Ads
Here's an Experiment to Watch in a New Rich-Media World

"News of a Google-powered Seth MacFarlane content-syndication play hit the The New York Times today. It describes how Google will turn its AdSense display ad units into mini film units that will run MacFarlane-created videos, bringing advertisers that sponsor the content along for the ride.

Advertisers and content owners will look to turn standard 300 by 250 ad units into expandable video experiences. Old ad real estate becomes a window into a new rich-media world. Environments (sites, games, apps, etc.) that can deliver consumers into these experiences efficiently will be worth more (see my previous post). Page-based inventory is going to find new demand as a starting point for short media and video experiences -- and with it, brand advertising."

Go HERE for the entire story.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Google and Flash - What a Pair

Usually I try to stay away from the tech stuff on the SAST, but today I wanted to share this little tidbit with you all straight from Google's mouth...

Improved Flash Indexing
Monday, June 30, 2008 at 9:31 PM
"We've received numerous requests to improve our indexing of Adobe Flash files. Today, Ron Adler and Janis Stipins—software engineers on our indexing team—will provide us with more in-depth information about our recent announcement that we've greatly improved our ability to index Flash.

Q: Which Flash files can Google better index now?
We've improved our ability to index textual content in SWF files of all kinds. This includes Flash "gadgets" such as buttons or menus, self-contained Flash websites, and everything in between.

Q: What content can Google better index from these Flash files?
All of the text that users can see as they interact with your Flash file. If your website contains Flash, the textual content in your Flash files can be used when Google generates a snippet for your website. Also, the words that appear in your Flash files can be used to match query terms in Google searches.

In addition to finding and indexing the textual content in Flash files, we're also discovering URLs that appear in Flash files, and feeding them into our crawling pipeline—just like we do with URLs that appear in non-Flash webpages. For example, if your Flash application contains links to pages inside your website, Google may now be better able to discover and crawl more of your website."

Read the rest HERE