Saturday, November 10, 2007

Okay, I Said I Wouldn't Write Anything During the Strike...

... but I figure a post about the WGA strike should be exempt. Right?

If I hear one more person claim the Internet can't be made profitable I might scream. And not just because they sell millions and millions of units on iTunes, from which Apple makes only a small percentage. (I don't know what the cut is on Unbox or Xbox, but I assume it's comparable.)

And it's not just because every time I watch an episode on one of the networks' websites I see ads. But then again, taking ad money and not splitting it with anyone is an old network trick from way back.

What really drives me crazy is the whole "no way to make money online" crap. "It's the Wild West!" "No one's figured out how to monetize the Internet!"

¿Como se dice Google?

If the networks and studios are having trouble making money with their online business model, it's because they don't have one. They're treating the Internet like it's a big Tower Records, another place to sell their wares. And we all know what happened to Tower Records.

Google, meanwhile, is the most wildly profitable enterprise in the history of the universe, and they don't charge a penny for their products and services. They recognize that, in this century, data is more valuable than content.

The networks and studios should give the content away. Take a cue from Radiohead and shareware. Watch it, enjoy it, pay what it's worth. (Radiohead's seen almost 40% compliance. That's pretty damn good for the honor system, don't you think?)

Also, audiences would, I think, happily pay a la carte for extras like deleted scenes, commentaries, press kits, behind-the-scenes videos, and so on. And what about membership in the kinds of online clubs that Todd Rundgren pioneered. Pay a yearly fee of, say, $50, and get access to an on-set webcam, sneak peeks, cast interviews, etc.

I joined the Who fan club and got a year's worth of daily entertainment and content and a concert DVD at the end. Have you ever joined a fan club for a TV show? Chances are you got a mug and a 10% discount on other crap you could buy.

And we still haven't gotten to the money they make from that crap: hats and shirts and bobbleheads, and cobranding with Target and McDonalds and all the rest. And have you ever picked up a Circuit City or Best Buy circular and seen your favorite TV stars' faces on all the TVs on sale? Someone makes money on that, don't you think?

Now, though, comes the real payday.

Through all of this the studios are collecting extremely detailed demographic data. They could take all this data and use it for targeted ads and auctioned space, just like Google. And then sell the data to the many indstries that would salivate to have it. Imagine if a network sold, say, BMW or an ad agency something they can actually use, instead of an ad during a show no one's watching.

And that's just ONE way to make a fortune off the Internet. And are there flaws? Sure, probably. I'm just a guy sitting here. But at least I took a moment to think of a plan. What are the studios and networks doing?

If we take them at their own word, absolutely nothing.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Star to Teens (After Check Cleared): Drop Dead!

The bottom line in the latest Star Jones mess is that teenage girls struggling with their weight and self-esteem say they were hurt by Jones' no-show.

The former "View" host wanted $25,000 to speak to 1,500 overweight girls and their mothers, members of the Detroit nonprofit Full and Fabulous, in February of last year. According to director Sharon Dumas-Pugh, Jones took their $17,000 deposit, two air tickets she upgraded to first class on their dime, and a suite in a five-star hotel - but never showed up for the event at Detroit's Martin Luther King Jr. High School when Full and Fabulous couldn't come up with the rest of the cash. Instead, she went to the Super Bowl (which was being held in Detroit) and a fashion show, and arranged her own book-signing at a Borders..."

"We prayed, we tried to get the rest of the money. Almost all of these are low-income kids. On Thursday night, some of the mothers and I went around to the Super Bowl parties asking for donations.

"She is just so selfish. The travel agent told her if she and her husband could arrive at 5 p.m. instead of 4 p.m., it would save us $800. The agent told me, "Star had a temper tantrum and said, 'Nobody tells me when to travel!'

"These kids had bake sales and washed cars to raise that money... Disappoint these girls? Oh, no, I don't think so."

-- NY Daily News, 11/6/07

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Too Good, and Yet It IS True. Eye Fi is an SD Card With Wi-Fi!

Is It Possible to Love an Appliance?

My Magic Bullet is jealous.

Until now, the miraculous Magic Bullet was the kitchen appliance I dug the most. But I now have a new love: my Rocket Grill

This thing turns frozen meat into delicious dinner in under ten minutes. Unattended. With no clean-up. AND with grill marks.

I may use my Magic Bullet more... but I marvel at my Rocket Grill and its seemingly magical powers.

It is so nice to buy something "off the TV" and come away happy. After having been burned on hot dog toasters and rotating pizza grills, and the King of all Crap, the Rotato. And don't even get me started on those potato gloves!

Which brings me to my next question: My hand is quivering over my credit card, ready to pounce on the Jack Lalanne Health Master 100 Blender/Juicer. Anyone out there have this thing? Is it a Rotato or a Magic Bullet?

Pause (Second in a Series)

"...but the fact of the matter is we're bankrupting the next generation. We're spending the money of our grandkids and those yet to be born. They don't have a seat at the table.

Our present mandatory spending cycle leaves us in an unsustainable position. The comptroller tells us that, the Government Accountability Office -- everybody that looks at it says it's unsustainable.

Can you imagine something that's unsustainable and threatens our economy for our grandchildren and those yet to be born not being discussed more on the campaign trail?"

-- Sen. Fred Thompson, Republican Debate, 10/21/2007


Senator Thompson,just for a moment, please realize that those of us who are against the war are saying the exact same thing. Simply substitute "policies in Iraq and Iran"" for "present mandatory spending cycle." And add the Pentagon to the list of critics. It's all we're saying.

And when you speak about Social Security? When you criticize the present government policy? You're not doing it because you hate America, are you?

Neither are we.

Just consider it, for a moment. Please.