Is this a dumb question…?

You’ve used Hulu – right? I admit to loving Hulu…it’s a great way to catch up on past episodes of Lost or (yes, I admit it) Glee and also discovering gem shows like Damages (AMC) with Glen Close and Ted Danson .

So when the occasional ad pops up, what’s with the question in the upper right hand corner “Is this Ad Relevant?”.

Relevant? What does that mean?

Relevant, as in I want to go out and buy the new Buick LaCrosse in the ad?

Relevant, as in I liked what I learned about the Buick LaCrosse in the ad?

Relevant, as in I understand that ads pay for the service.

Why would they ask such a stupid, meaningless, irrelevant question….and how would they ever make any use of the resultant data?

Apparently, even the smartest guys in the room can ask dumb questions.

My personal HITS and MISSES (more of the latter…) …

Was the '60 Buick a HIT or a MISS?

The Zino Society, a Seattle based angel investment group holds a monthly meeting where new businesses in search of early round funding have a chance to pitch investors. These companies last night ranged from a Wine Superstore to an eHarmony service for real estate buyers.

It got me thinking about how often I’ve totally MISSED predicting the success of businesses:

MISS: Cell phones? Who needs a cell phone for $500 per month when there’s a phone booth on every street corner?

HIT: But I got cable correct when in the early ‘70s I realized it could dominate the business when it got to a reasonable level of penetration.

MISS: Porsche Cayenne. Who needs a 5,600 pound Porsche? I guess a lot of people.

MISS: Fast Forward, the TV show. This show was strong enough I even got my wife to skip The Bachelor. Love(d) it…but NBC has cancelled.

MISS: The Deepwater Gulf explosion – I thought that would be a short-lived crisis.

HIT: FM – even listening on my folks old Magnavox with the Tuning-Eye oscilloscope I could tell the fidelity was fabulous and stereo would be the killer app for the music crazy boomers.

HIT: World Wraps – couldn’t see that as a viable long term business. I was partly right.

MISS: Edward Bear – the song was “Down in Mexico’ and I hyped it to Number One at the station I was working (no payola, sorry) – it never made it past #68 on Billboard…but did get to #3 in Canada…so – ehh…I wasn’t too far off.

The point of this…? Keep swinging.

Fondle this…

Sara, my 20 year old daughter, while in school, has been working the past couple of years as an intern at Los Angeles Magazine, doing what all interns do…run for coffee and do photo shoots and run for more coffee.

Sara Weaver

This is a girl as technologically connected as anyone in her generation. But – she’s gotten the print bug and plans to find work (scarce as it may be) in the publishing business. She’s partial to Seattle or New York…her Dad is in denial.

What I think we’ve come to realize is that digital distribution denies us fondling – the tactile feel of a printed publication. Glossy 80 pound stock or newsprint yellowing before your eyes…it’s all part of absorbing – I’d say part of the communication – from the tactile experience. Digital ain’t got it…

If you’ve ever just printed something to read it, instead of reading it on screen, you fondle too…

Mobile TV – DOA or did I not get the memo…?

Mobile TV - DOA?

I must have missed something. Maybe it was a memo. More likely an email or SMS.

One of our local broadcast groups…Fisher Communications was excited the other day about their mobile digital TV signal…or more clearly, TV on your phone (now being re-branded as your mobile device). Seems that they had been running some tests broadcasting their signal and were quite please with themselves.

Mobile Digital TV is really just another TV channel (or set of them in this case) that utilizes some of the spectrum that the TV stations were recently moved to at great cost and to very little benefit.

A group of almost 800 TV stations, loosely organized as the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) are now in a frenzy extolling the advantages of mobile TV…talking about instant access to weather, breaking news and education (we’re all suckers for that one) on these mobile channels.

I’m sure I’m just confused – but it seems to me that any NEW media delivery that is not browser based is,….well, let me be careful and considerate here…NUTS!

OMVC is going to ask OEM phone companies to cram a new TV tuner into their mobile devices (right next to the Starbucks espresso circuit), get them to work on multiple operating systems, across half-a-dozen carriers (some 3G some 4G) and create a competitor to the carriers own mobile video strategies (such as V-Cast).

Yeh. Right. That’s going to work real well, real fast.

But maybe I just didn’t get the memo.

More like a massive collision…

Radio Ink’s just concluded Convergence 2010 might better have been labeled Digital Media Collision 2010. For any media exec it’s a confusing, long list of platforms and ideas to evaluate and sort through– social media (and all that entails), texting, streaming, mobile…and what is RadioDNS and will Jelli become the equivalent of ‘all-request’ radio shows…? And…how do you make buck with any of it?

One attendee – a notable broadcast group head – told me that it was overwhelming. “How” he asked, “do you sort through all the advice, ideas, new products and technologies?”

Not being a group head – I don’t have to answer the question. But I do have some thoughts:

1) Build a platform – almost media agnostic. Focus on one question: How do you help your clients sell more products and services? Work from there…
2) Experiment– if a journey begins with one step, then make the first step.
3) Screw up. Be comfortable with some failure and even budget for it.
4) Be strategic – which is vague, I admit. A newspaper streaming a jazz format because the publisher loves Kenny G isn’t a strategy. Developing neighborhood streaming radio stations around a newspaper does make sense.
5) Sell it. Charge something for your digital products…something. And don’t let clients cherry pick your menu. It’s tough to do…but you will set the expectation for years to come if you don’t properly position your media. And even more, you’ll compromise your client’s campaign effectiveness.
6) Avoid black holes. Many digital marketing tools are endless amounts of work for little incremental revenue. Evaluate early and often.

For anyone there – or just with other ideas, let me know.

How’s that working for you Bucko…?

It’s a real Dr. Phil moment. For a decade – that’s 10 full years and then some – radio and TV have been trying to develop real revenue from ‘new media’. Cue Dr. Phil….”How’s that working for you…?”

Few would argue the answer is ‘well’.

The  new media explosion has largely passed tra

New Media Technology in 1954

ditional media – search, SEO, social media, Craigslist and blogs all exploded and largely left radio and TV playing catch up. Certainly, in terms of making a buck at it.

At core, the Convergence model – using traditional media to drive traffic to interactive experiences – has largely been a cultural and sales train wreck.

First the new features we offered clients quickly became a value add…just like the ‘hey we’ll do a remote…or a movie giveaway’ used to be. So radio used the net tools to maintain business, not build new revenue. As a result, the programs were sloppily executed and everyone got wet ‘pissing into the wind’.

A good buddy of mine is scrambling to build vanity sites for a radio groups clients because they’ve so over promised their own website inventory.

Secondly – this new media is a TON of work – both technical and management. The flood of different platforms, small incremental revenue dollars, lack of scalable expenses and soaring expectations from clients push many operators to simply throw up their hands. “Let’s just play the hits and ride this out…”

But – just as Dr. Phil dispenses some good advice – some radio and TV stations are making some real progress and we’ll be exploring some better ideas and success stories this week from Radio Ink’s Convergence Conference in San Jose.