Thursday, March 1, 2007

The New New Media World – an Overview

The Long Tail has arrived. Sure we still have the Super Bowl, the Oscars, and American Idol, but niche content is thriving like it never has before. The line between advertising and entertainment is slowly becoming blurred. This past year we’ve seen quite a shakeup in the entertainment world. New talent is being cultivated from the YouTubes of the world (LisaNova, Barats and Bereta, Zefrank). Top musical acts have been getting less airplay than before, yet it doesn’t matter (OK Go, John Legend, Gnarls Barkley). Marketers have become content distributors ( or have cut out the middleman (Doritos, Butterfinger, Dove). How is this new entertainment landscape going to change things?

Well rest assured that television in the short term is not going away. High Definition televisions have had a great run the last few years with an estimated 71% increase in the coming years. Why watch something on screens that are continuously shrinking (i.e. mobile phones and laptops) when you can watch something on screens that are continuously growing? Further for all of the success of these new Internet celebrities, there main revenue source is from being able to cross over into the mainstream world. LisaNova was just cast in Fox’s MadTV. Amanda Congdon is now reporting for ABC’s online unit.

Back to the online world, now, since it is growing at such a rapid pace. What is preventing the online world from becoming the mainstream world? Gadgets like Apple’s ITV will soon bridge this gap. Joost, the television service started by Skype and Kazaa founders, will also bring the two worlds closer together. Both of these are aiming to bring the on demand characteristic of the web to your television. What is missing is a revenue model. Pre roll, post roll, even forced commercials are slowly being tuned out by today’s savvy TIVO using, banner ad ignoring, Netflix subscribing youth. We already see studio films incorporate massive amounts of product placement to reach this demographic.

Ad supported entertainment will soon become the norm. The first steps were taken a few years ago with BMW films. New steps are being taken with Nautica Jeans new flash website has exclusive music that Nautica has licensed directly from these unknown artists. New tools such as allow user generated content to have clickable areas in which products could be sold. The interactive element of the web brought to your television could provide a massive opportunity for content creators and marketers to bring a whole new dimension to the consumption of media. Active media, where you have a say in what happens, will soon be extremely popular. YOU the active viewer will be able to determine if Jack kills ‘the Others’ on ‘Lost’ or what Bauer’s next move is on ‘24’. Think it’s a bit far fetched? Just watch American Idol, where YOU can determine who is America’s next pop star.

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