“Time Inc., the magazine publisher owned by Time Warner Inc., named advertising industry veteran Randall Rothenberg as its first chief digital officer.
“Rothenberg, who has been president and chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau for three years, will oversee Time Inc.’s digital strategy, from potential acquisitions to new revenue opportunities, the New York-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. He starts in January. “
“Google Inc.’s multibillion-dollar bid to acquire local deals site Groupon Inc. ended Friday as the two sides broke off talks, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“Negotiations between the two companies heated up over the past week but Groupon’s board, many of whom are investors, was divided on whether to accept Google’s offer.
“The company continued to consider remaining independent and pursuing an IPO in the future, people familiar with the matter have said.”
I’m writing this short post from the International Terminal at SFO as Kathi (@kathiiberens) and I head out to Le Web in Paris. We’ll be away until mid-month and it’s the first trip we’ve taken just as a duo since becoming parents in 2001. Our children are now 9 and 5, and my mother arrived in Portland yesterday from Los Angeles to care for them while K & I are away. “You’re now playing for Team Grandma,” I told the kids, and we then pumped our fists in the air and yelled TEAM GRANDMA! My mother found us amusing.
The big life changes hit you in the face and have entire industries surrounding them: weddings, births, graduations, funerals, but little ones abound. I remember clearly when my Nana came to stay with me and my little brother when my parents would zoom away on a big trip to Europe or Asia. Now, my mother is doing for us what her mother did for her, and that means that while we’re the parents of small children we’re no longer the parents of babies. Instead, our kids are capable, communicative and (usually) reasonable… able to help Grandma in the process of raising them for the time we’re gone.
The kids love Grandma but were already missing us when we left– in my case I’d just returned from a 3 day business trip so they hadn’t seen much of me. Kathi has never been away from them for more than 72 hours. I installed FaceTime on the big floortop Mac in my home office so that we can video chat when we can connect on time and wifi… and with luck that will be regularly.
For obvious reasons, this old Joni Mitchell song has been running around my head:
Things worth reading for December 2nd from 07:06 to 07:35:
Ignoring Internet Banner Ads – “Despite having come of age with the Internet, the survey’s 18-34-year-olds were about as likely as their elders to pick banner ads as the genre they ignore the most (42 percent made that choice). Likewise, 21 percent of the 18-34s said search-engine ads are the genre they’re likeliest to ignore.”
Why Gawker is moving beyond the blog – Interesting piece by Nick Denton on Gawker’s new format and ad opportunities… I’m not sure why it’s in LifeHacker rather than on Gawker or in a more industry focused trade pub, but interesting.
“Eloquent, witty, literate, intelligent, knowledgeable, brave, erudite, hard-working, honest (who could forget his clean-through skewering of Mother Teresa’s hypocrisy?), arguably the most formidable debater alive today yet at the same time the most gentlemanly, Christopher Hitchens is a giant of the mind and a model of courage. A lesser man would have seized the excuse of a mortal illness to duck responsibility and take it easy. Not this soldier. He will not go gentle into that good night; but instead of a futile raging against the dying of the light he rages, with redoubled energy (and concentrated power in his vibrant, Richard Burton tones) against the same obscurantist, vicious or just plain silly targets as have long engaged him. But he never rants. His is a controlled, disciplined rage, and don’t get on the wrong side of it.”
“IAC said on Thursday Liberty had sold its entire equity stake in IAC in exchange for $220 million in cash and the Evite and Gifts.com businesses. The online businesses will become part of Liberty’s Interactive unit.
“Liberty’s stake had included 60 percent of voting rights of all classes of IAC stock, which had been represented by Diller — a long-time business associate of Malone, the cable television pioneer.
“The two media moguls fell out in a 2008 court case over how Diller used Malone’s voting rights in IAC.
“Diller, 68, will remain as chairman and senior executive, while the company has appointed former Match.com Chief Executive Greg Blatt, 42, to be IAC’s new chief executive.”
“The company is in talks with studios about gaining access to current episodes of primetime shows and is willing to pay between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode, according to a person familiar with the matter. Netflix had no comment.
“Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has made no secret of his desire to move beyond movie rentals and beef up TV offerings. While the company has added a number of shows, such as “Nip/Tuck,” “Veronica Mars” and “The Family Guy, they are mostly episodes from previous seasons.”
“Leno’s Tonight Show for the week of November 15-19 averaged a 0.9 rating with adults 18-49, while Conan’s Tonight Show averaged a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating for the comparable calendar week last year (November 16-20, 2009).
“Conan’s new TBS show averaged a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating for the week of November 15-19, 2010.
“Letterman’s Late Show scored a 0.8 adults 18-49 rating for the Nov 15-19 week.”
Google in Talks to Buy Groupon – WSJ.com – “Google Inc. has been in talks to buy Groupon Inc., a fast-growing website offering daily deals at businesses in the U.S. and abroad, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“No deal is imminent between Google and Groupon, said people familiar with the matter. One of these people said that other parties recently offered to finance Groupon at a valuation of more than $3 billion.”
“Level 3, which helps to deliver Netflix’s streaming movies, said Comcast had effectively erected a tollbooth that “threatens the open Internet,” and indicated that it would seek government intervention. Comcast quickly denied that the clash had anything to do with network neutrality, instead calling it “a simple commercial dispute.”
“The dispute highlighted the growing importance of Internet video delivery — an area that some people say needs to be monitored more closely by regulators. Net neutrality, which posits that Internet traffic should be free of any interference from network operators like Comcast, is thought to be on the December agenda of the Federal Communications Commission.”
Microsoft TV: A Bold Move That May Blow Up Broadcast – “For years pundits have been blathering on about the “Trojan horse” that is console gaming. The Playstation 2, arguably, was the first DVD player many of us ever had while the PS3 is probably the first Blu-Ray player many of us ever used. These devices were also some of the first to stream Netflix and, with this new deal, they’ll start replacing the cable box entirely. Imagine – a full complement of content available 24/7 from a box you already own. That is amazingly compelling and, dare I say it, kind of exciting.”
“Meeker has joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner, the firm announced Monday morning.
“We’re at the beginning of another great wave of tech innovation, and I am incredibly excited by the opportunity to help the next generation of Internet technologies and leaders,” Meeker said in a statement.”
Kramer Puts the ‘C’ in Change – Larry Kramer has a new book out: “C-Scape: Conquer the Forces Changing Business Today.” I look forward to reading it.
Why consumers value companies more than their products – Telegraph – Somewhat optimistic take on branding by a UK Agency CEO. “Brand owners would do well to be reminded that their company, rather than their products, may in fact be the source of consumer affection and brand magic. In an era where products are easy to copy, and advantages quickly eroded, it may be that a company’s origins, values or personality are what truly underpins any franchise.”
“Things don’t replace things; they just splinter. I can’t tell you how exhausting it is to keep hearing pundits say that some product is the “iPhone killer” or the “Kindle killer.” Listen, dudes: the history of consumer tech is branching, not replacing.
“TV was supposed to kill radio. The DVD was supposed to kill the Cineplex. Instant coffee was supposed to replace fresh-brewed.
“But here’s the thing: it never happens. You want to know what the future holds? O.K., here you go: there will be both iPhones and Android phones. There will be both satellite radio and AM/FM. There will be both printed books and e-books. Things don’t replace things; they just add on.
“Sooner or later, everything goes on-demand. The last 10 years have brought a sweeping switch from tape and paper storage to digital downloads. Music, TV shows, movies, photos and now books and newspapers. We want instant access. We want it easy. “
Lewis Black at The Night of Too Many Stars – Lewis Black’s hysterical 9 minute riff about having to follow Vince Gill and Amy Grant at a charity concert had me giggling helplessly at my desk. NSFW and genuinely funny.
Things worth reading for November 23rd through November 24th:
Digital Advertising is Driving Growth of Traditional Media – Jack Myers – "Traditional advertising investments in television, print, radio and out-of-home are projected to grow only 1.8% but digital advertising investments in these media will grow by an estimated 28%, spurring total 3.6% growth in traditional media categories, according to Jack Myers Media Business Report's Media Vision 2020: Media, Advertising and Marketing Economic Health Report 2010-2020. The Report projects total 2010 U.S. marketing communications and advertising investments will grow 3.2% to $601.5 billion."
stevenberlinjohnson.com: Driven or Distracted? – Steven Johnson's canny take on the NYT piece "Growing up Digital, Wired for Distraction" (the previous link): "What's clearly obsessing Vishal is his love affair with video editing. There's no reason to think the 1985 version of Vishal wouldn't have been equally distracted from his schoolwork by the very same hobby. He just seems like such a clear type to me–the exact kind of kid that I knew growing up, in fact that I partially *was* growing up–the obsessive kid who is so into his movies/painting/model rockets/whatever that he doesn't pay as much attention to his schoolwork. I knew a bunch of kids who really wanted to be filmmakers, and kind of blew off school for a while. By far, the biggest difference between them and this Vishal is that Vishal has access to editing equipment that my friends in 1985 could only dream about."
Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction – NYTimes.com – Long & interesting NYT article about how new media and secondary education are (and aren't) mixing. From @kathiiberens. "Some neuroscientists have been studying people like Sam and Vishal. They have begun to understand what happens to the brains of young people who are constantly online and in touch."
The 3 rules of mindsets | Daniel Pink – "Dweck’s broad argument is that what people believe shapes what they achieve — mostly irrespective of their innate talent. Some people, she says, have a fixed view of intelligence: They believe that intelligence is an entity, that we’re each endowed with a particular finite supply. Others have a growth view of intelligence: They believe that intelligence can expand through practice and effort."
JiWire acquires LBS company NearbyNow — TechCrunch – Interesting fusion of scale & location & retail: "NearbyNow allows brands to show products within in app or an ad and confirm availability of the product in the actual store. Users can also reserve the product in the store for pickup. For example, a Seventeen Magazine mobile app user sees an ad for boots online and can click through to check local inventory. If they are in-stock, the shopper reserves the boots and they are ready at the counter when she arrives. The company says that ad click-though rates are more than 20 percent and conversion-to-purchase average rates of 5.8 percent."
Batten & Company, a New Unit of BBDO, Opens Shop – NYTimes.com – BBDO breaks out a consumer research subdivision: Batten & Co. "Designating Batten & Company as an autonomous unit is meant to signal that BBDO New York is keenly interested in working with marketers in ways that extend beyond traditional advertising tasks like creating television commercials."
Things worth reading for November 18th through November 19th:
Confessions of an Aca/Fan: Archives: Multitasking and Continuous Partial Attention: An Interview with Linda Stone (Part One) – Important Interview with two of my favorite thinkers: Linda Stone and Henry Jenkins. "In 1997, I coined the phrase Continuous Partial Attention (Harvard Business Review, January 2007) to describe what I observed in the world around me, at Microsoft where I was a researcher and later a Vice President, with customers, and at NYU where I was adjunct faculty in a graduate program. We all seemed to be paying partial attention – continuously. NYU students had their screens tiled to display multiple instant messaging windows, email, WORD documents, and more. My colleagues in high technology did their best to give the appearance of paying attention to a conversation, all the while, also attending to caller I.D., Tetris and BrickOut on their cell phones, and other people in range. Every stray input was a firefly. And every firefly was examined to determine if it burned more brightly than the one in hand."
Orb TV Pushes Into the Living Room – NYTimes.com – Unlike Pogue and Mossberg on Google TV, Nick Bilton likes Orb TV quite a bit: "There is a new contender in the the digital living room called Orb TV which can stream content from Hulu and other online services directly to a television.<br />
"The new gadget, which look like a thick pancake, plugs directly into a television through standard cables and streams content to the TV via a computer running free Orb software, called Orb Caster. The software acts like a personal content control tower."
Google TV’s Chaotic Interface – David Pogue – NYTimes.com – Like Walt Mossberg, Pogue is unimpressed with Google TV: "This much is clear: Google TV may be interesting to technophiles, but it’s not for average people. On the great timeline of television history, Google TV takes an enormous step in the wrong direction: toward complexity."
Wandering Mind Is a Sign of Unhappiness – NYTimes.com – "Whatever people were doing, whether it was having sex or reading or shopping, they tended to be happier if they focused on the activity instead of thinking about something else. In fact, whether and where their minds wandered was a better predictor of happiness than what they were doing."
Will Focus Make You Happier? – Edward Hallowell – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review – "As an expert on ways to achieve peak performance as well as expert on attention deficit disorder (A.D.D.) and the crazy busy pace of modern life, this study caught my eye. So…unless we're having sex, half of us at any given moment are not focused on what we're doing. Not only does such lack of focus lead to unhappiness, it also leads to errors, wasted time, miscommunication and misunderstanding, diminished productivity, and who-knows-how-much global loss of income (there'll be a study on that soon, no doubt).<br />
"All of which cries out the question, why such rampant lack of focus? And what remedies can we apply?"
Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places – Harvard Business Review – "Consumers still want a clear brand promise and offerings they value. What has changed is when—at what touch points—they are most open to influence, and how you can interact with them at those points. In the past, marketing strategies that put the lion’s share of resources into building brand awareness and then opening wallets at the point of purchase worked pretty well. But touch points have changed in both number and nature, requiring a major adjustment to realign marketers’ strategy and budgets with where consumers are actually spending their time."
Things worth reading for November 17th through November 18th:
The Future of Advertising | Fast Company – Massive, well-written, and useful: this is the article you should send to your friends and parents who don't understand what all the digital media fuss is about. A triumph and not to be missed.<br />
"Over the past few years, because of a combination of Internet disintermediation, recession, and corporate blindness, the assembly line has been obliterated — economically, organizationally, and culturally. In the ad business, the relatively good life of 2007 is as remote as the whiskey highs of 1962. "Here we go again," moans Andy Nibley, the former CEO of ad agency Marsteller who, over the past decade, has also been the CEO of the digital arms of both Reuters and Universal Music. "First the news business, then the music business, then advertising. Is there any industry I get involved in that doesn't get destroyed by digital technology?""
No Need to Tune Into Google TV – WSJ.com – "…For now, I'd relegate Google TV to the category of a geek product, not a mainstream, easy solution ready for average users. It's too complicated, in my view, and some of its functions fall short."
Former News Corp. Exec Peter Chernin Enters Yahoo Scenarios | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD – "…Multiple sources from a variety of sides said that Chernin, a well-liked and deeply experienced media and entertainment exec, has been contacted by a number of private equity firms and other investors about his interest in becoming involved should any of the various and sundry scenarios around the Internet giant pan out." <br />
Really? Another Hollywood exec potentially to take on Yahoo? It's interesting to see how deeply entertainment is in the Yahoo DNA… I still think that Sony should buy Yahoo, though.
Don’t write off Gowalla just yet: huge Disney Parks deal announced – "Foursquare competitor Gowalla has had a tough time gaining users and brands with foursquare and Facebook Places stealing much of the location-based limelight, but today they’ve landed one of the biggest fish there is. They’ve partnered with Disney Parks to offer stamps and pins for users checking in around Walt Disney World and Disneyland."
Brands and brains collaborate on packaging – iMediaConnection.com – Interesting piece on iMedia Connection today– I have doubts about the results of measuring somebody while strapped into an MRI (although to be fair the author, Brian Easter, doesn't discuss methodology) but do think that a neuro-scientific perspective is useful in marketing. Is it just me, or does anybody else think that Tropicana had a big WIN with the packaging switcheroo this year? <br />
Here's a quote from the article: "Though neuromarketing is still expensive — estimated costs run between $30 and $100 million if done properly — it is slowly becoming a more viable option for companies looking to gain new insight into consumers. Both Campbell's and Frito-Lay gained information that traditional testing couldn't yield, while SunChips and Tropicana could have used the same techniques to avoid a costly faux pas. Further investment in this emerging technology could hinge on the successes and failures of these companies' packaging redesign ventures."
Google: Google Goggles Marketing Experiment – Interactive (video) – Creativity Online – "Today Google announced the launch of a new marketing experiment using Google Goggles. The feature on the Google mobile app allows users to search for info on items captured on their phones and now, five brands—T-Mobile, Disney, Delta, Diageo and Buick have gotten in on the action. Gogglers who shoot print or outdoor ads from the aforementioned advertisers will be able to click through to a mobile site for that particular brand. "
Innovations move amusement parks into digital age | Reuters – "The company offers a customized smartphone application that allows theme park guests to buy tickets, find rides and keep tabs on friends through a GPS map system, and post real-time updates about their day on Facebook and Twitter.<br />
"The theme parks stand to increase profits through the new digital media, according to Leonard Sim, founding director of Lo-Q, a Henley-on-Thames, U.K., company."
Things worth reading for November 16th through November 17th:
Too Good to Check – NYTimes.com – Important Piece by Thomas Friedman: “On Nov. 4, Anderson Cooper did the country a favor. He expertly deconstructed on his CNN show the bogus rumor that President Obama’s trip to Asia would cost $200 million a day. This was an important “story.” It underscored just how far ahead of his time Mark Twain was when he said a century before the Internet, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” But it also showed that there is an antidote to malicious journalism — and that’s good journalism. “
Amazon.com Brings Moviemaking to the Masses With Amazon Studios Launch – Risky Business – Talk about disruption! “Amazon is muscling into the movie business. And the 15-year-old Seattle-based Web behemoth wants everyone to come along.”Under a new first-look deal with Warner Bros., Amazon.com has launched Amazon Studios, a user-generated online development and production outfit built around monthly contests and community feedback. The end result, if all goes as planned, will be feature films derived from the best user submissions that Amazon Studios produces for theatrical release.”To feed the studio’s development, filmmakers and writers around the world are invited beginning immediately to upload feature-length films and screenplays to the site, which triggers an 18-month option on the material. Each month starting in January, based on community feedback, two scripts and one test film will be designated the best of the bunch and awarded cash grants — $20,000 for each screenplay and $100,000 for the film”
Executive Summary – It Will Be Awesome if They Don’t Screw it Up: 3D Printing | Public Knowledge – Fascinating– and I thought just printing books on demand was pretty nifty! “In its simplest form, 3D printing is a way to turn bits into atoms, translating computer design files into real life objects. Although this technology has existed for some time in high end design firms and research facilities, new, open source 3D printers like the RepRap and the MakerBot are finding a way to make this technology widely affordable and available. Since these projects are open source, they are constantly evolving and improving. As a bonus, the RepRap can print out a substantial portion of its own parts, therefore making it a self-replicating machine.”
The Rise of Connectivity Addiction | Fast Company – Hmmm, I may need to look into Richard Watson’s work: “We have developed a culture of instant digital gratification in which there is always something to do–although, ironically, we never seem to be entirely satisfied with what we end up choosing. Think about the way people jump between songs on an iPod, barely able to listen to a single song, let alone a whole album. No wonder companies such as Motorola use phrases like “micro boredom” as an opportunity for product development.”
Marketing to Digital Moms | ClickZ – “When I attended ad:tech New York two weeks ago, I couldn’t help but feel that maybe finally women were receiving their due. The first day’s keynote speaker, Lauren Zalaznick, the president of NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, though discussing “Redefining ‘Digital’,” couldn’t help but use female-centric examples and data when making her case. The ad:tech conference schedule dedicated two whole sessions to “Marketing to Digital Moms,” the first session led by Nancy Galanty of iMom Summit. Since women represent 51 percent of the U.S. population these days and, according to session presenter Terri Walter, chief digital storyteller Microsoft Advertising (love that title!), women control 80 percent of purchasing power worldwide ($5 trillion), I thought it would be nothing short of a disservice not to recap and expand upon the Marketing to Digital Moms topic.” The iMedia iMoms Summit in May is going to ROCK!