Archives for May 2007

Warner music meets the long tail

From Reuters comes word that Warner Music is putting its library of music videos online with advertising attached. This is textbook unbundling and a terribly smart move by the company. Now if we could just get TV stations to see the value of doing the same…

The right to argue

An interesting spat developed over the last few days in Nashville that bears comment. It involves WKRN-TV and the bloggers who run their aggregator sites, Nashville is Talking and Volunteer Voters.

VV is an aggregator of the political blogosphere in Tennessee and has grown to become a very influential voice in state politics. It’s written by A.C. Kleinheider, a very smart young man who lives and breathes politics and has a fairly comprehensive understanding of the way things work in the state (Nashville is the state capital).

On Tuesday, he wrote a thoughtful but controversial piece about the extremes to which certain elements in our culture have gone to portray our service men and women as saints. Over at NiT, Brittney Gilbert saw it as a noteworthy entry in the local blogosphere and mentioned it and her support of Kleinheider’s argument.

This didn’t sit well with right-wing talk show host Steve Gill, who basically called both A.C. and Brittney unpatriotic communists. Gill told his listeners to call the station and protest. A war of online words ensued, which led to a story in the Nashville City Paper.

This is a fascinating event, because it strikes at the heart of the conflict between Big J journalism and the personal media revolution. These two people are employed by the station but function in the world of Media 2.0, where the rules are vastly different. Gill wants (needs) for the station to play by the Media 1.0 rules, for that is precisely what the political PR world knows how to manipulate. He’s appealing to “the rules” to place his perspective front-and-center.

The two websites carry disclaimers, which ought to be enough for intelligent people to recognize. Not only do Brittney and A.C. have a right to their arguments, this whole notion that journalists are somehow separate from their own selves is an illusion that the web is shining its light on every day. Moreover, these two sites are aggregators and serve a tremendous public service by observing what’s being said in the local (and state political) blogosphere. They would be irrelevant sites if they didn’t engage the local bloggers at the same time. Both regularly comment on other people’s blogs as well, and this is as it should be.

This particular event is all about a right wing talk show host trying to get publicity, which is exactly what’s happening. What’s most interesting to me — and ought to be of interest to everybody — is the general reaction of the blogosphere itself. That’s where this issue was born and that’s where it belongs.

The conversation that is news can be a messy business, especially where it’s up-close and personal like it is in the immediate world of the blogosphere. Issues are discussed here in a way that’s not codified and neat, and frankly, I think that’s incredibly healthy for our culture. This particular matter is going to get even messier as the 2008 elections approach. The question is will media companies have the spine to engage it this way or will they cling to the safe harbor of same-o, same-o?

NOTE: In the minds of the right, anybody who doesn’t follow certain positions is on the left. This is hogwash, but it has served conservatism well for almost three decades in the U.S. As E.P. of The 700 Club in the early 80s, I helped create this meme, and I think it’s time it was put to bed.

(Disclosure: WKRN-TV is a former client and I helped develop both of these aggregators)

Will somebody please…

…make a radar widget that taps the NWS database? I want it on my iGoogle page.

AR&D's Media 2.0 Intel

The latest newsletter has been uploaded. New Borrell numbers, winning weather, and Seth Godin on whether we really need a “home page.”

Skybus move reflects opportunity

Skybus LogoSkybus of Columbus, Ohio has hired the Travel Ad Network to serve ads on its website, a first for the airline industry in the U.S. According to an Online Media Daily article, about 40% of the ads will be non-travel and are expected to launch June 15. Ads will appear on destination pages, post confirmation interstitials, and booking confirmation pages and emails. Built-out destination spotlights with integrated ad opportunities are also in the works.

This may seem simply an interesting quirk in the travel business, but it’s really a sign of what I believe is a new phase in the growth of online advertising — the movement of ads to sites that aren’t media sites and therefore aren’t supported by advertising. This is going to be huge, because technology makes it easy for any business to build a new revenue stream by serving ads online. For advertisers, it’s all about aggregating eyeballs. Such ads can be highly contextual, too, and I expect to see ad networks serving this market within the next 12-24 months.

Even sites that are advertisers themselves can now earn money by running advertising — like an auto parts store running automotive ads — and this offers a huge opportunity to local media companies smart enough to begin building their own local ad networks.

This is basic Media 2.0 — where the rules are very different and the opportunities unlimited. Ask yourself this: if my local media company doesn’t extend it’s advertising reach via a local ad network, who will?

You guessed it: the internet pureplays.

Newspaper decline "a matter of course"

As if to punctuate what I wrote below, Romenesko provides this wonderful link:

Conrad Fink of the University of Georgia’s Cox Institute for Newspaper Management says young people “see this revolutionary [newspaper industry] change that we’re in now as simply a matter of course. I find them looking forward to helping write the new business model of the newspaper industry. “I find them intrigued with the online dimensions of the industry. I don’t see the fear and trepidation that so many of us in the older newspaper generation feel with this kind of change.”