Who needs Television Networks anymore?

We’ve been predicting the end of the Network television since the earliest days of high-speed internet access. Now, some content producers are starting to realize they don’t need the airwaves for access either:

Mininova Closes Distribution Deal for TV-Show | TorrentFreak
The “old media” is slowly realizing that BitTorrent is a great distribution platform, and above all, an excellent marketing tool. Today, The Red Band Film Company and Mininova announce the first official deal to distribute a TV-show on the popular BitTorrent site.

The immense popularity of TV-shows on BitTorrent doesn’t go unnoticed, not even to TV-producers. Several TV-production companies already leaked their pilots on BitTorrent, but Red Band and Mininova take it one step further.

Mininova and Red Band made a distribution deal for the upcoming TV-show Pariah Island, a new comedy series which parodies reality TV shows like “Survivor” or “Pirate Master”. Although Red Band can’t be compared to billion dollar production studios such as 20th Century Fox Television and Warner Bros., it is a sign that times are changing and that TV-producers are looking for alternative distribution channels.

“We at Red Band recognize that downloading sites such as Mininova are a distribution medium, one which can be partnered with in a true participatory arrangement,” says the Red Band production team.

The Red Band team adds: “With this deal, Mininova gets overnight credibility as a partner of content producers, thereby disproving the notion that such sites are “pirates” seeking only to break copyrights. Mininova gets producer credit on Pariah Island, and their logo will eventually appear on Pariah Island. In exchange, Pariah Island gets advertising space and other promotional activities on Mininova.org.”

Erik, one of the founders of Mininova told TorrentFreak that the partnership will show that Mininova is more than a venue for pirated material, and hopes that more production companies will choose Mininova as a distribution platform in the future…

Would David Chase launch the Sopranos on BitTorrent? Probably not, unless he had major sponsorship (yes, we’re headed back to the day of “Soap Operas”- sponsor driven programming). Apple’s iTunes store is a more likely outlet, but this space is still in a shoot-out phase with Amazon, the networks and the billion pound Google gorilla in the corner.

If there is one player who dropped the ball- it was TiVo who had first mover opportunity- by having a user profile, a hard drive to store programs but no true Internet connection until recently. With the iPhone being Time’s gadget of the year, don’t count Apple out as becoming the leader in IPTV- and marketing targeting.

The end of the Network is near, we just don’t know exactly how the story will end.

Jan 2018 update : Mininova flamed out in April of 2017. However, there are plenty of new ways to distribute your own content- and be paid. YouTube has turned even mediocre content providers into viable businesses.

Ideas can come from anyone in a connected world- Apple ad from UK student

Apple may have missed a golden opportunity by not releasing the original sound bed to the “switch” campaign (Hello, I’m a mac, and I’m a PC)- but, TBWA/Chiat Day isn’t asleep at the wheel anymore.

A user generated ad by an 18 year old student in the UK is getting a quick remake in HD for broadcast after gathering interest on YouTube. [update] If you want to compare the ad- here is the Apple version- although the link may change (due to Apple still not understanding the principals of the social web: http://www.apple.com/ipodtouch/ads/

The New York Times sees this as yet another nail in the coffin for the advertising business- and they are probably right. In a networked world, where the consumer has the ability to be on a level playing field as your corporate mega-site, it’s no longer about delivering a message, but managing the communications between market and manufacturer.

Student’s Ad Gets a Remake, and Makes the Big Time – New York Times
The idea that you do not have to be a professional to create a good commercial is becoming widespread, in a trend known as consumer-generated content. Leave it to Apple to, paraphrasing the company’s old slogan a bit, think differently.

A television commercial for the new iPod Touch from Apple, scheduled to begin running on Sunday, 10-28 is being created by the longtime Apple agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day. It is based on a commercial that an 18-year-old English student and Apple devotee named Nick Haley, who says he got his first Macintosh when he was 3, created on his own one day last month.

His spot offers a fast-paced tour of the abilities of the iPod Touch, set to a song titled “Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex” by a Brazilian band, CSS.

Mr. Haley said he was inspired to make the commercial by a lyric in the song, “My music is where I’d like you to touch.”

He based the visual elements on video clips about the iPod Touch and other new products, which can be watched on the Apple Web site (apple.com). He uploaded his commercial to YouTube, where it received four stars out of a possible five and comments that ranged from “That’s awesome,” followed by 16 exclamation points, to “Makes me want to buy one and hack it.”

As of Thursday, Mr. Haley’s spot has been viewed 2,131 times on youtube.com. Among the viewers were marketing employees at Apple in Cupertino, Calif., who asked staff members on the Apple account at TBWA/Chiat/Day to get in touch with Mr. Haley about producing a professional version of the commercial…

Creative visionary and leader of TBWA/Chiat Day Lee Clow seems to be amused by this new world- and seems to get the emerging 2-way nature of advertising.

Consumers creating commercials “is part of this brave new world we live in,” said Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative officer at TBWA Worldwide, based in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Playa del Rey.

“It’s an exciting new format for brands to communicate with their audiences,” Mr. Clow said. “People’s relationship with a brand is becoming a dialog, not a monolog.”

The commercial based on Mr. Haley’s spot will be seen on football games Sunday afternoon and on “Desperate Housewives” and Game 4 of the World Series that night. It is also to be shown in Europe and Japan.

As for how faithful the professional spot is to the amateur version, Mr. Clow said, “we didn’t mess with his content” because “it has a charm to it, a youthful fun.”

The changes include more polished editing and filming the new version in high definition.

“My input was totally respected,” Mr. Haley said, adding that he considered the agency’s commercial “pretty similar” to the original.

The experience of working with the agency executives was “overwhelming, surreal and fantastic, all in one,” said Mr. Haley, who is studying politics at Leeds.

“This is my first taste” of advertising, he added, but offered a thoughtful response when asked what it means if consumers like him are willing to make commercials.

“That’s the whole point of advertising; it needs to get to the user,” Mr. Haley said. “If you get the user to make the ads, who better?”

As heartily as Mr. Clow endorsed the concept of user-generated content, he suggested that turnabout is fair play.

At TBWA, “we’re producing films we put on YouTube that we make in a day and a half in the parking lot,” he said, laughing.

The big question is how much did TBWA/Chiat Day charge for the “big idea” that came from a consumer? And does this signal the end of non-disclosure statements, and releases for any suggestions for campaigns? Are the locks coming off the doors of the creative think tanks? Will the best marketers of the future be the ones who throw open the doors with the customers to establish the brand together?

Stay tuned. And what do you think?

[update] note, it seems a lot of people are still confused between an iPod Touch and an iPhone. The product looks so similar and does so many of the same things, that people are searching for iPhone and “Music is my boyfriend”- maybe Apple should have considered a different back panel- not chrome and a different menu look for the Touch- I often look at the main menu of the screen and think the icons should be bigger to fill the screen.

Lyrics to “Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex” by a Brazilian band, CSS as in the new Apple iPod Touch commercial:

From all the drugs the one i like more is music
From all the junks the one i need more is music
From all the boys the one i take home is music
From all the ladies the one i kiss is music (muah!)

Music is my boyfriend
Music is my girlfriend
Music is my dead end
Music is my imaginary friend
Music is my brother
Music is my great-grand-daughter
Music is my sister
Music is my favorite mistress

From all the shit the one i gotta buy is music
From all the jobs the one i choose is music
From all the drinks the one i get drunk is music
From all the bitches the one i wannabe is music

Music is my beach house
Music is my hometown
Music is my kingsize bed
Music is my hot hot bath
Music is my hot hot sex
Music is my back rub
Music is where i’d like you to touch

Claro-que-sim
Fui escoteira-mirim
Direto da escola, não
Não ia cheirar cola
Nem basquete, pebolim
O que eu gosto não é de graça
O que gosto não é farsa
Tem guitarra, bateria, computador saindo som
Alguns dizem que mais alto que um furacão (rhéum)
Perto dele eu podia sentir
Saía de seu olho e chegava em mim
Sentada do seu lado
Eu queria encostar
Faria o tigela até o sol raiar
Debaixo do lençol
Ele gemia em ré bemol
Fiquei tensa
Mas tava tudo bem
Ele é fodão, mas eu sei que eu sou também

If Google is "The Force" which side is it working for?

The Big Ad Agencies used to be afraid of Google because they didn’t understand it, the web, or the future of advertising. When all of a sudden, advertisers started pulling money out of the media budget and spending it with Google it terrified them. So they all went and bought up “new media” shops- and still created sites that didn’t work with Google any better than, well you know those braille buttons on the drive-up ATM?

So when Google starts raiding the big agencies for top talent, their worst nightmare begins to come true: the $9 billion dollar gorilla now is quietly sneaking over from media to marketing partner.

Ogilvy N.Y.’s Berndt to Join Google
Berndt, who resigned from Ogilvy this week, will become the managing director of Google Creative Lab, according to a Google representative. In the newly created position, Berndt will lead the marketing of Google’s brand and services. He will also work with agencies to integrate Google products into campaigns.

The move comes as Google looks to expand its relationships with large brand advertisers. After initially offering only simple text links overwhelmingly geared to direct-response marketers, Google has added graphical and video ads more often used by brands.

The thing is- of all the people to hire, Google picks someone from an agency that still can’t get it’s own clients spots online in a way that customers can find them. I met Andy at the 2007 AAF National Convention- nice guy, super cool presentation of the new Fanta work- but, if you went to the Ogilvy site – or the Fanta site- or anywhere- you couldn’t find the campaign except for a lone spot posted by PSYOPS who did the animation. The big agencies have a long way to go to learn how to monetize advertising that works by earned attention instead of paid placement.

Maybe, Andy will be the new evangelist for the power of Google when used right- then again, he may be working for the dark side now… depending on your viewpoint.

One things for sure, no agency will ever have a bankroll like Google.

If Google is “The Force” which side is it working for?

The Big Ad Agencies used to be afraid of Google because they didn’t understand it, the web, or the future of advertising. When all of a sudden, advertisers started pulling money out of the media budget and spending it with Google it terrified them. So they all went and bought up “new media” shops- and still created sites that didn’t work with Google any better than, well you know those braille buttons on the drive-up ATM?

So when Google starts raiding the big agencies for top talent, their worst nightmare begins to come true: the $9 billion dollar gorilla now is quietly sneaking over from media to marketing partner.

Ogilvy N.Y.’s Berndt to Join Google
Berndt, who resigned from Ogilvy this week, will become the managing director of Google Creative Lab, according to a Google representative. In the newly created position, Berndt will lead the marketing of Google’s brand and services. He will also work with agencies to integrate Google products into campaigns.

The move comes as Google looks to expand its relationships with large brand advertisers. After initially offering only simple text links overwhelmingly geared to direct-response marketers, Google has added graphical and video ads more often used by brands.

The thing is- of all the people to hire, Google picks someone from an agency that still can’t get it’s own clients spots online in a way that customers can find them. I met Andy at the 2007 AAF National Convention- nice guy, super cool presentation of the new Fanta work- but, if you went to the Ogilvy site – or the Fanta site- or anywhere- you couldn’t find the campaign except for a lone spot posted by PSYOPS who did the animation. The big agencies have a long way to go to learn how to monetize advertising that works by earned attention instead of paid placement.

Maybe, Andy will be the new evangelist for the power of Google when used right- then again, he may be working for the dark side now… depending on your viewpoint.

One things for sure, no agency will ever have a bankroll like Google.

Google Maps, iPhones and your business

By now, every one has seen the Apple iPhone ad “Calamari” showcasing the Google maps function on the iPhone.

And, when typing in Pizza it does a great job around my home. It also works for locating the nearest Apple Store quite well. But, when typing in “Advertising Agency” nothing even close to an ad agency got a pin in Dayton. So, of course, I had to fix that. Google informs me it will take up to 4 weeks before my listing is updated (unbelievably slow in the Internet age)- but, it was incredibly easy, and the verification by phone system worked well.

If you haven’t put your business on the Google Maps page, I highly recommend doing it as soon as possible- and, if you are a Pizza place, you can even put a coupon on it for free!  So, proceed to the following link and look for the “Add or Edit your business” part- make sure you are at your business phone and have a live internet connection at the same time.
Google Maps

For right now, it’s cool to show up on iPhone users phones- but, soon, this will be more important than the Yellow Pages ever were. And, before you select an ad agency, that claims to be digitally literate,  check out if they have a complete listing on Google Maps.

Advertising personalization and TV over IP

Recently, I decided to take a look at the CBS show, Jericho, which was slated to be dropped, but was reinstated by fan support.

First stop was the free version of the pilot on the iTunes store. Perfect download, no problem watching and controls that actually worked. Plus I could watch it on my iPhone.

Next stop, CBS.com where I thought I’d be able to watch it on my mac. No such luck- since CBS engineered their site with the “RealPlayer” which has been referred to as one of the worst pieces of software ever. The mac plugin wasn’t even available the first time I tried. So, lucky for me, CBS was going to rerun the series in order over the summer. Tivo here I come. The second showing ended up being a fast forward through at least a half dozen episodes- and no where near as good as the seven minute Sopranos. Then, CBS skipped a week (or Tivo balked)- and I went back to the CBS site again. Somehow, I got it to stutter through a painful hour and a half viewing of a 45 minute show- complete with the same 2 commercials over and over. Then- JACKPOT- seems CBS put up another site: www.jerichorises.com which runs fine on a mac -problem solved. I’m in Jericho heaven- even though the play controls still aren’t near as good as Quicktime, and the resume doesn’t work at all.CBS error messages

But, here is the thing: CBS has the perfect opportunity to build a relationship with me. I’m coming back over and over to their site, to spend “quality time” with their show. They could ask as few as 1 or 2 questions in return for providing each episode on demand for free and start customizing the commercials. Right now, I get one for Gerbers baby food (I’m a single male over 40 with no intentions of breeding) and for AT&T Wireless- to whom I’m already stuck with, since I have an iPhone. Irrelevant ads, presented by the most relevant personalized delivery system.

CBS network timeout messageIf you are a marketer and are buying online ad delivery, you should be asking about how the message is being targeted and what kind of feedback mechanism is provided. Since I can’t fast forward through the ads easily (remember, the controls of “innertube” suck) all you are doing is annoying me, instead of having a chance to build a real relationship. In an age of earned media, that annoyance factor could actually contribute to negative brand equity- distaste for your brand from the intrusiveness and repetitiveness of your ad delivery.

Advertising online can be the most powerful tool yet, but, like all power, used without care- it can backfire royally.