Libby O'Connell keeps wanting to give away shoes. With the repeated offers, you get the feeling her office is stuffed with boxes of the Stinger 2 sneaks. And exceedingly proud of her loot, she can't wait to unload them. "They're awesome," she says. The executive has the sneaks with springs embedded in the soles because of the venture capitalist route the A&E Network is taking. O'Connell, a senior vice president in corporate outreach at A+E Networks, put the initiative in motion last year.
Networks used to argue with considerable passion that making full episodes available online had little impact on ratings. The digital viewership was "additive," they'd say. Cannibalization? No way. But that position is receding. And new research from GfK backs up the evolving views with the conclusion that cannibalization is here.
Does the media embrace feuds? Of course. Bitter face-offs drive clicks, ratings, etc. Why? Because people who think the media are making too much of the battles can't get enough of them. In the media business, there are some emerging doozies.
Though the wow moments are coming more frequently, every once in a while it bears stopping to marvel at the brilliance of the engineers working across the media space. Really, what can't they do?
More than 4 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube each month. The quality, however, varies for any number of reasons. Paco Galanes, a YouTube software engineer, is striving for uniformity. No matter the device by which the content is viewed, he wants it to appear in high-definition and stream without those pesky interruptions (also known as buffering).
Predictions are starting to accelerate from Wall Street on how the upfront market will play out. The emerging consensus is volume will be slightly up at best, while pricing will increase in the mid single-digit range.
Cable networks spend loads of cash trying to build a brand with a unique identity. Surely viewers exposed to a new show should have no problem guessing where the program will air. Of course, they know their TLC from their Bravo and Weather Channel from their History.
Dish Network is continuing to pursue a federal case against ESPN, appealing a February verdict. A jury awarded it nearly $5 million, but the satellite operator was seeking around $150 million. Still, it seems like the undercard.
There didn't seem to be any chaos at 30 Rock on Tuesday. As usual, tourists gathered outside the "Today" studio in the morning, while lines readied for the famed NBC tour that includes the "Saturday Night Live" studio. Employees used a new commissary with some sort of plant wall, where the originator must be some sort of feng shui expert.
No matter how many court victories it racks up, it's going to be hard to take Aereo seriously as a promising consumer product until it releases the number of subscribers it has. Based on what happened in a recent court appearance, that's a long time away.