Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Video Saved the Radio Star

You may or may not recall the first video shown on MTV way back in the Golden Age of TV, circa 1981 (Actually any Age of TV you just missed seems to become the Golden Age. I was actually quite alive and in college in 1981, but I digress). It was, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles.

Now it seems that video may actually be saving the radio star. That is the tack taken by Richard Siklos in today's NYT. Video is now a growing complement to many of the popular radio shows out there. According to comScore Media Metrix, Clear Channel radio sites ranked sixth in December among music Websites. That's behind MTV, AOL, Yahoo, MySpace and Artistdirect.

The article describes how radio stations have added video in an effort to offset dwindling audiences. The efforts seem to be working. I have a slightly different take on it.... I believe that one reason why video is working in tandem with radio is that it offers audiences yet another source of original, local media. Local media is hot right now, whether its offered as Websites, magazines, television. There are numerous opportunities to find out what's happening around the world or across the country, but far fewer reliable sources to discover what's happening around the corner. I believe that's what these video versions of local radio are now offering to their audiences, and people can't get enough of it.

Age of the Blog
Today's WSJ runs an interview with Technorati Chair and CMO Peter Hirshberg. Hirshberg is betting the farm on the future of blogs (well, he does after all, know where his bread is buttered) but it's a point of view with which I agree. He stresses the importance of listening to and engaging with customers and consumers and urges companies to hire a person whose job it is not only to blog but to engage with bloggers and to monitor what's being said. While he is careful to say you shouldn't listen to everything everyone says, you can get a general vibe from monitoring the traffic. Self promotion warning: This is something that I've been advocating for a while now, but it has been falling on mostly deaf ears.

Animal House: Multi-Platforming It
I was at a Dartmouth College event last night taping a book reading by Chris Miller. Miller who co-wrote the screenplay of Animal House has just published "a mostly lucid memoir" entitled "The Real Animal House." From the reading, I can tell you it's not something for Mom's birthday. But what's interesting is that Animal House was adapted from the "Tales from the Adelphian Lodge" that Miller wrote for National Lampoon in 1975. Now, many years later, he's gone back to write the book that was what the articles were supposed to precede. Well, a small cultural icon, starring the artistry of a young man named John Belushi intervened. Thirty years later, here we are.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fox Business On the Runway

Fox News continues to make noise about the forthcoming launch of its biz channel. At last week's media summit Rupert Murdoch talked about being more business friendly that the competition -- that being CNBC. I'm not exactly sure how CNBC is unfriendly to business, but what is clear is that Fox wants some of the $500 million that CNBC is scooping up in licensing fees and ad revenues.

Fox News Chair Roger Ailes and biz honcho Neil Cavuto also indicated that they would be going for a wider audience in this excerpt from Multi-Channel News...

Cavuto, who worked for eight years at CNBC, said: “We’re going to be entertaining, informative, youthful. We’re going to appeal to groups beyond old white guys with money.”

Riffing on that remark, Ailes said: “I have no problem with old white guys with money, being one of them. Having said that, it would be good to broaden the audience.”

Comedy Central, at least, doesn't have too much to worry about. Clearly. There are some doubts that there's a need for another biz channel, friendly or unfriendly.

News watcher Andrew Tyndall, who monitors TV-news viewing through the Tyndall Report, is not sure one is really needed.

“This is not an underserved market,” he said. “CNNfn didn’t make it. Bloomberg [Television], a very well-established name in the financial field, hasn’t really succeeded.” CNNfn shut down on Dec. 15, 2004, with distribution to 30 million homes. Bloomberg currently counts some 43 million subscribers.

Snickers Scores on Superbowl
You may not have liked the Snickers ad that was quickly pulled and criticized as homophobic, but it did score among some viewers. Visits to the Snickers website was 16 times higher than it was the week before the game, a gain of 1,4447.7%. Similarly, Budlight saw traffic grow by over 655 percent. Granted, traffic to those sites was relatively small to begin with, so the percentages may be somewhat misleading.