God, I love being part of a trend! Especially when that trend is to dump your over-priced, inflexible and poorly serviced cable TV via Time Warner Cable.
According to CNet:
The cable operator only gained about 49,000 new lines for a total of 34.2 million during the quarter. And basic video subscriptions decreased by 197,000, to 13.1 million. This drop was attributed to customers ending their service, but was also due to the fact that Time Warner Cable sold some properties.
Aside from the obvious reason that paying close to $100/month to watch TV is a tough pill to swallow in this tight economy, the free alternatives just continue to become easier to access. I dumped my TWC TV service almost two months ago and continue to see everything I want – I just don’t pay through the nose for the privilege.
While I hate to see anyone lose a job due to a business downsizing, I simply can’t root for Time Warner Cable in this particular battle.
I was at Whole Foods today, the incredibly crowded one in the Time Warner Center, and noticed that there were ads running on the screen next to the display of the items I purchased.
For just a moment, it looked like the ads were actually related to what I was buying. I quickly noticed this was not the case but that there were just five or six ads in rotation.
Strikes me as a huge missed opportunity. There they are scanning every item I am buying so how hard would it be to have that information cross-referenced with the available ads and run ads that actually related to what I was buying.
Sure, I am done shopping for today but what a perfect time to plant an idea in my head for next time.
So, Whole Foods, link that scanner to the ad-delivery program and you might increase those sales in these tough times for no additional cost.
The news is that the UK webseries SOPHIA’S DIARY has been picked up for a second season on the popular site Bebo (recently acquired by AOL).
“The online drama, which follows a feisty 17-year-old and her friends, invites users of the social network to vote on twists in the storyline. Sofia’s Diary typically attracts upwards of 1,000 comments each day on the show’s Bebo channel and character profile pages.” (via GuardianUK)
What’s interesting to note here is that the second season will consist of 64 episodes. This is a much larger commitment to a storyline than so many of the US webseries we’ve seen that seem to be content putting up an episode a week for a couple of months and then dying off quietly in a dark corner of the web.
Obviously, this sort of commitment takes money and clearly Bebo/AOL is investing at least some cash into this venture – though I doubt anyone is getting rich just yet.
This series is a clear decendent of lonelygirl15 and demonstrates that, given the right target audience, exposure and comittment a webseries can be a serious entertainment contender.
AOL has announced that it is going to launch a whole bunch of new “niche” sites in the coming year. This is definitely a big trend right now but Mashable says:
“That’s quite an expectation for a company even of AOL’s size, and it appears to be a furthered effort of monetizing web content with the support of online advertising efforts. There haven’t been any more details released in regards to Wilson’s statement, but surely the niche market has regained a bit of its appeal with improved efforts for behavioral targeting and integrated social media. Who knows? This may even have some involvement with AOL’s open mobile platform.”
Many are not sure sure this is the right direction. LostRemote points to some thoughts from VentureBeat:
“Meanwhile, VentureBeat has this to say about AOL’s strategy: “It’s hard to feel excited about a company that hopes to succeed simply by putting more of its product on the web rather than focusing on improving the sites they already have. It’s the old quantity versus quality argument.”
There are definitely arguments to be made on both sides but at the end of the day it feels to me that AOL is not going to be able to provide the sort of unique and compelling content that drives the sort of niche viewers they’re hoping to grab.