Category Archives: Bloggish Rumination

With retrans fees rising, does a new ad model lurk?

Comments attributed this morning to CBS Corp. boss Les Moonves underscore a conundrum of retransmission consent, the legal framework for channel-carriage deals between broadcasters and multichannel video distributors.

Retrans, if you hadn’t noticed, is big business. SNL Kagan estimates cable/telco/satellite providers will pay $5.5 billion by 2017 for the rights to retransmit TV station signals to pay-TV subscribers. Speaking today at an industry conference, Moonves said CBS expects to collect more than $1 billion from retransmission payments and reverse compensation fees (money paid to CBS by its broadcast affiliates) by 2017. Moonves, President and CEO of CBS, appeared today in NYC at the On Screen Media Summit presented by Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News. Continue reading With retrans fees rising, does a new ad model lurk?

Highway star

Dwight D. Eisenhower never got to experience the power of broadband. But here’s a guess that he would have enjoyed the ride. From a Memory Lane column in CED Magazine. (And a little Richie Blackmore tossed in, too.)

In the summer of 1919, a convoy of 81 U.S. Army vehicles began a cross-country journey from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. Traveling at an average speed of 6 miles an hour, 24 officers and 258 soldiers lurched across parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, the open plains of the Midwest and over the Rocky Mountains before reaching their destination 62 days and 3,251 miles later. The convoy hewed more or less to the Lincoln Highway, a two-lane, rock-surfaced road that was the nation’s first transcontinental driving route. It was intentionally an arduous trip, arranged shortly after the end of World War I and meant to test whether it would be possible to move a self-sufficient military procession across the country. Continue reading Highway star

You say ‘branded content,’ I say ‘advertorial’

Cattle branding (Grabill 1888, cropped)

Photo from John C.H. Grabill, thanks to Wikipedia Commons.

Some of the best thinking about branded content and publishers comes from Frédéric Filloux, who runs digital operations for the French media company Groupe Les Echoes.

In this post “What’s the Fuss about Native Ads?“, I think he makes a valid point: that much of what goes on in business is actually…dare we say it…interesting.

“The big difference between a crude ad and a content-based one is the storytelling dimension,” Filloux writes. “Fact is: Every company has great stories to tell about its products, strategy or vision. And I don’t see why they shouldn’t be told resorting to the same storytelling tools news media use.”

It’s true, yet many companies seem to hide behind some sort of robotic institutional legacy when it comes to telling their stories.

Except not all of them. Yesterday I had an opportunity to submit (if I may say) a darned interesting piece about how television programs are now being massaged, manipulated, refashioned and prepped to live a second life in the video-on-demand space. The client is the company that does the massaging. It’s fascinating stuff, and as Filloux suggests, makes for an honestly good read. But that’s because it’s written as an article/news feature, not a dry “white paper” with stultifying language and footnotes. I think that’s the point he’s making, although it’s bound to stir up resentment from the church-state purists.

On that count, though, Filloux says it’s up to editors to make the ultimate determination of what’s fair game. “Especially in the digital field, editors should be shielded from the business pressure,” he writes. “Editors should be selected by CEOs and appointed by boards or better, boards of trustees. Independence will become increasingly scarce.”

A sporting-good model for branded content

coors nba-playbook-hed-2013

As “branded content” continues its astonishing rise – almost every publisher of note is now putting together special online and/or print sections devoted to sponsor-aligned content – the rules of the game are anything but set.

But you could do worse than to look at ESPN The Magazine’s approach as a reasonable model for giving sponsors a cozy association with legitimate editorial while preserving old-school church/state boundaries. Continue reading A sporting-good model for branded content

On TV’s maniacal rush to the second screen

IPAD_PRODUCT_01_revThere’s a lot of foaming-at-the-mouth happening in the television business over the “second screen” phenomenon, which basically refers to the fact that lots of people are messing around with smartphones and tablets while watching TV. In a gleeful and unabashed manner that only happens when people sniff the scent of really easy money, TV network executives and app developers are running amuck on the Internet and at conferences describing a new golden era in which they effectively get to double their business because now there are two screens on which to get paid for placing content and advertising, not just one. It’s as if a benevolent bird of media paradise has dispensed from above a hot, steaming gift of such value and possibility that executives almost can’t believe their good fortune. Continue reading On TV’s maniacal rush to the second screen

How to make something seem Really Important

I’ve just completed editing a 24-page list of emerging technologies in which originating authors signaled the importance of concepts by reaching deep into the grab bag of power writing tools and Capitalizing Undeserving Words.

You know this trick. It is the writing equivalent of speaking loud during a dinner conversation in order to Command the Stage. It is a variation on the technique of using the word “major” to describe the momentousness of an event or product development. “In a major advancement, Global Solutions Corporation today announced…” Continue reading How to make something seem Really Important