Tag Archives: nyt

Spike Lee, Nokia and You(Tube)

Fresh of the pages of dead-tree media elite NYT comes news of a new media partnership:

“Mr. Lee, the director, is teaming up with Nokia, the cellphone maker, to direct a short film comprising YouTube-style videos created by teenagers and adults using their mobile phones.

By hiring Mr. Lee for the project, Nokia is seeking to combine the populist appeal of user-generated content with the power of a famous director’s pedigree. The film will have three acts, each three to five minutes long, with the theme loosely based on the concept of humanity.”

This is far from the first time a mobile carrier has tried the filmmaker approach.  I remember watching a bunch of shorts made for VCast by well-known filmmakers.

Obviously, Spike Lee’s involvement ups the ante, but the big question is whether or not this kind of social-network/crowd-sourcing method can lead to truly entertaining content.  It is all well and good to have a cool method for creation but the creation itself has to live up to the process.


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Curator or Spy? Or Both?

The NYT has a look at the Peter Gabriel-backed recommendation service The Filter.  The idea is that, like many other services out there, Filter monitors what you consume via your computer and then recommends other stuff you might like to consume – theoretically, stuff that cost money.

“Users must still download the Filter software to their desktop, where it spies on… er, digests various streams of Internet behavior (the music and videos they keep in iTunes, their streaming and browsing history, etc.). Users can also connect with their friends on the service and track their media-consuming behavior. UPDATE: The company says the download is optional but provides richer recommendations.”

Peter Gabriel definitelty sees this as part of the “Curator” movement:

“In this age, where the curator is becoming just as important as the creator, the disc jockey becomes the life jockey,” Mr. Gabriel said. “You carry this around with you as a tool that is available 24 hours a day to help you make choices.”

Of course, one has to wonder just how agnostic a service like this can be if the real goal is to make money.  Unless there is some sort of separation between Curator and Sponsor there is such a great danger of certain products or shows or bands being pushed because that’s what the Sponsor wants to sell, not because that’s what you want to buy.

This ends up being just more targeted advertising – something many people really do see as a service.  However, many others find it simply intrusive.

Either way, I just don’t think there is anything about Filter that’s new and exciting.  If it weren’t backed by Peter Gabriel I doubt the story would have made the Times.

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Bloggers V. News Sites

On Publishing2.0 There is a look at the way TechCrunch, Digg and the NYT each decide to “publish” the news on their websites.

TechCrunch is a tradition blog in that you will always see things with the newest post on top.  Digg is similar but it also allows you to reorganize by number of “diggs.”  Then there is the NYT:

“Here’s the problem — if you visit the New York Times throughout the day, and no important news has broken, the homepage remains largely unchanged, static, like a print newspaper.

Organizing news by importance as the default makes sense when you’re only delivering the news once a day (and the “default” is all you get). But when news publishing is continuous, it’s not the best way to server frequent news consumers.”

It seems so obvious from this side of the monitor…

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Sponsored Meet-Ups

The Old Grey Lady shows she’s still kicking with a pretty good article on the efforts of brands to integrate themselves into the popular web service Meetup.com.

They focus on efforts by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation to create a parent’s meet-up sponsored by Huggies.  As the NYT points out, this is not without its risks:

“There is, however, a danger for advertisers who turn up on a Web site like meetup.com or at the meetings that Meetup helps people arrange. If consumers perceive that Web 2.0 activities are being overly commercialized, they will decry the involvement of the marketers and mark down the value of the efforts to a big fat 0.

Kimberly-Clark executives say they are aware of those risks.

“We started with feedback from Meetup members and organizers as to whether they would want a sponsor and what they would find of value from a sponsor,” said Brad Santeler, director for media and relationship marketing at the Neenah, Wis., office of Kimberly-Clark.

“It’s very transparent,” he added. “We asked them what they wanted, and we’re providing that.” For instance, Kimberly-Clark is paying the monthly fees that organizers of affinity groups usually pay to Meetup.”

It seems clear that the financial success of many “web2.0” companies will depend on how well they are able to bring on commercial money without offending their hard-won users.  I think transparency will be key.

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Is the New York Times Shilling for Pepsi?!

Just getting to this article in the New York Times about Pepsi’s “non-traditional” launch of their latest soda, Tava.

What makes this release so unique, you ask?  Well, for starters, there are no TV ads!  Wow!  And they’re using the internet!  Breakthrough!  Alert the presses!Pardon the sarcasm, but this is a very long article that reads like one big ad for Tava.  

What else has the clearly revolutionary shop of Tribal DDB Worldwide, the interactive unit of DDB Worldwide, part of the Omnicom Group, come up with?  Why, they’re giving out free samples at Sundance!  

The only remotely newsworthy part of this story is a quote from Pepsi:

That would not be an unusual introduction if Tava were intended for the younger consumers who have grown up in a digital world. But the product, which is fruit-flavored and caffeine-free, is being aimed primarily at men and women ages 35 to 49.  “There used to be an assumption this target was not online,” said Frank Cooper, vice president for flavored carbonated soft drinks at Pepsi-Cola North America in Purchase, N.Y. “But there’s a group in that category that’s ‘reborn digital.’ They’ve lived through the change and learned to adapt to it.”

This much is true.  The part that totally confirms that Stuart Elliott  is either being paid by Pepsi for this work or is simply an idiot is when he reviews the Tava.com website:

The content of tava.com goes beyond pitches for the product, including downloadable songs from emerging musicians like Deccatree, a rock band from California, and Stephanie McKay, a singer from New York. It also features the work of artists like Amy Guip, an illustrator and photographer, and carries information about arts events like the Boston Arts Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival and Shakespeare in the Park at Central Park.”Seriously?  I dare you to go to the site and come back here and leave an honest comment regarding any way in which Tava.com “goes beyond pitches for the product.”

Shame on you NYT.  This is a terrible article that does nothing for the reader and plenty for Pepsi. 

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Girls Rule the Web

The New York Times has a long and informative article challenging the common assumption that creating web-content is a male-driven world.

“Research shows that among the youngest Internet users, the primary creators of Web content (blogs, graphics, photographs, Web sites) are not misfits resembling the Lone Gunmen of “The X Files.” On the contrary, the cyberpioneers of the moment are digitally effusive teenage girls.”

Definitely recommend reading the whole article.


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Singing for Hillary

The latest “viral” campaign video to make the rounds is worth considering less for its content then for some of the underlying meaning that can be gained from the response to the video.

It is a pro-Clinton music video that was written, shot and distributed completely independently of the Clinton campaign.  Thus, it is legitimately viral.

Aside from the various critics, both pro and con, of the video (I’ve posted it below so you can judge for yourselves), there have been some other fascinating rumblings.  My favorite was reported by the NYT:

“Some conspiracy theorists have even posited that the video must have been secretly created and planted by Obama supporters intent on damaging his competitor through song.”

What I find most compelling here is that while special interest groups have always been free to raise money to by ad-time in big media, the lone voice has never had such immense potential to reach and affect millions of people.

I’m actually surprised there isn’t a whole lot more independent political video making the rounds, considering how cheap and effective it can be. Maybe things will pick up once the primaries are over.

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