• Video Vertigo: Tackling the Nuts and Bolts
    Rereading my recent columns, I realize I may have gotten ahead of myself. Don't worry ? I'll have plenty to say about the changing video marketplace in future columns. But it's Memorial Day as I write this and you won't be reading this until July. Given the focus on digital media as part of this year's broadcast and cable upfronts, I wanted to spend time on the block and tackle, as opposed to the vision stuff.
  • Branded: Upfront Guts and Glory
    On the fifth day, following four days in may of network prime-time upfronts, a broadcast buyer remarked to us: "It's gonna be a long summer." When the final curtain dropped at the cavernous Armory on Lexington Ave. ? where Peter Ligouri of Fox, the last network to present its 2006 fall schedule, made a nervous and awkward plea for ad dollars ? there was a mad scramble of advertisers, not to order spot inventory but to get out of the uncomfortable, overheated room.
  • The Buzz: The Interactive Imperative
    When there are literally hundreds of web sites offering the same news, contests, prizes, and promotions, what really differentiates them from one another? Seventeen magazine's decision to offer profiles of its editors on MySpace, the Weblogs created by Shop Etc. and Jane magazine, and Condé Nast's plans for a user-generated teen Web site -- such moves are unsurprising, even inevitable. But simply going digital and making the people who produce the magazines more personable doesn't necessarily guarantee a greater level of reader engagement.
  • Students Get the Axe
    Unilever’s axe body spray is known for TV commercials showing how the All-American nerd can score with women with just a spritz of the cologne. Now Axe is letting young upstarts score in a whole different arena. The brand recently awarded $40,000 to three winning teams of New York University’s Stern ProMotion Pictures Film Competition, in a contest pairing business and creative talent from NYU’s Stern School of Business and its Kanbar Institute of Film & Television graduate programs to produce brand-driven short films for marketers. The student teams will use the money to produce short films …
  • Getting Engaged
    The agency of the future? It’s all about the consumer. The value of the consumer to the overall advertising process has reached huge proportions and will continue to grow. On the agency side, we need to allow the lifestyle and age of the consumer to influence what we have to say and where and how we say it. The future is less about advertising and more about building brands that reflect consumers’ needs and wants. We need to rethink how we do what we do, and look at how we gauge effectiveness in media via cost per …
  • Pod Spots
    Games network GSN has long had interactivity as its calling card. Now it’s touting a new commercial format it calls an interactive pod. At upfront meetings with more than 120 advertisers in the spring, GSN unveiled the new format, designed to capitalize on the current interest in engagement. Within some of its commercial breaks, GSN will include short vignettes that wrap around a 30-second spot. Both the vignettes and the commercials will feature interactive elements, allowing viewers to play along with or answer questions via their computer. The pods will look like regular commercial breaks, says …
  • Montessori Tells Its Story
    Montessori counts Prince Harry and Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page among its grads. The method is taught at more than 5,000 North American schools. But to many people, Montessori education remains a mystery: Is it exclusively for wealthy families? For gifted students?
  • Bad Baths and Beyond
    About a year ago," recalls Jim Sexton, senior vice president of Scripps Networks Interactive, "we ran an e-mail newsletter story by a staffer who'd just moved to a new house and claimed it had the ugliest bathroom she'd ever seen. As an afterthought we invited readers to send in their own stories and examples." Within weeks, Scripps' Home & Garden Television (HGTV) knew it had struck a nerve.
  • It Takes All Kinds
    Media companies are going gaga over multiplatform programming, but no one has yet cracked the code on how to measure the whole shebang. Enter audience measurement firm TNS, which has begun to develop a research tool that could marry data on linear and nonlinear viewing habits to produce an overall audience ratings report for a show. Such a tool would take into account the ratings rise from each of the various platforms in a show’s life, such as linear TV, video-on-demand, and DVD. TNS could then report to clients on how each digital distribution window …
  • Place It in Post
    Digitally inserting or removing images from video content is common enough. But leveraging the process into a business model with a viable revenue stream means big bucks for TV networks and film studios operating in the $3.5 billion product placement marketplace. Marathon Ventures is looking to tap into those dollars with a process called Digital Brand Integration, which enables the virtual placement of brand images into existing television, movies, and other video-based entertainment content.
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