Five Stories That Remind Us How Quickly Things Are Changing These Days
NBC and the Olympics
Dear social media gurus, I get it: if you ran NBC, you'd program the Olympics differently, everything would be live on television and online, but… you don’t. So get over it, and keep saving up to one day buy NBC or pay billions of dollars for the rights to the games. Or you can, of course, stop watching the Games and get back to work and hope to rise to the top of the corporate latter to one day run NBC.
Listen, I don't agree – or necessarily like – NBC's approach to programming the Olympics, but the only thing more frustrating than that is hearing all of the social media gurus who rant about it on every other freaking tweet. That doesn’t mean that eventually things will change – but after all, this is a business, and NBC has the right to do what it wants.
Oswald Patton’s two letters
Speaking of changing dynamics, comedian Oswald Patton gave the third annual keynote at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. Read it here. His speech consists of two letters: the first is addressed to comedians, but it applies to creative people in general and entrepreneurs, as well. It stresses how the recent changes mean the world is less about luck and being given things, so people are rewarded for being proactive and going after their goals. It’s a great read.
The second letter is addressed to media companies and those whom he refers to as the gatekeepers. Patton is absolutely correct that technology has changed everything, driven largely by mobile computing (and, more recently, tablets). He urges media executives to see the world as fans. This is also a great read, and valuable advice for video executives who have one foot in creation and one in business.
Why does tech have it so easy?
Socialcam sold for $60 million to Autodesk, with $0 in revenues. Even though everyone is betting on content, I can’t for the life of me ever see a content company sell for that amount with $0 in revenues, even though by the time the paperwork is done and integration complete, there will be a new fad that will make people wonder what the fuss was all about. But until then, onward and upward.
Zynga stock down to $3
In April, social gaming company Zynga insiders sold 43 million shares in a secondary stock offering, pocketing $516 million at $12 a share. The fact that none of the proceeds went into company offers wasn’t alarming, as is the case with many secondary offerings. But now, a mere quarter later, the stock is trading at $3 after reporting horrible results.
Is management to blame? I don’t know, but if Oswald Patton were chiming in, I think he’d argue that the only people dumber than Zynga investors are those who paid real dollars for virtual goods; and that says a lot.
Facebook hits new lows
Zynga’s distant cousin, Facebook, is also failing to impress investors.
Everyone’s focused on Facebook’s challenges in monetizing on mobile, but the real issue remains that Facebook’s revenues grew as a result of its sheer size, despite social media. From 2008-2011, Facebook generated $272 million, $777 million, $1.974 billion and $3.7 billion in revenues respectively. However, while social media is projected to generate $17 billion in total revenues (commerce, advertising, etc) and Facebook has “only” generated $2.2 billion through the first six months of the year, it’s clear that Facebook isn’t even as dominant within social media as it is across all digital media.
Considering that Google is increasingly embracing content (Google, Zagat) then Facebook needs to drop the Switzerland “we are a utility and platform” spiel and embrace content, fast. That’s what advertisers want, and while Mark Zuckerberg ought to remain in charge for the foreseeable future, he should take $1 billion of the recent money he raised and assemble a team to tackle content.