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DIGITAL MEDIA FROM THE INSIDE OUT: My focus is digital content -- production, distribution, collaboration, innovation, creativity. Some posts have appeared across the web (HuffPo, Tribeca's Future of Film, The Wrap, MIPblog, etc.). To receive these posts regularly via email, sign up for my newsletter here.

Entries in predictions (5)

Thursday
Jan122012

Digital disruption in the local TV market

If forced to pluck a single theme from my talk to a group of local television station executives this week at Disney World it would be this one: "TV is just another application." Today's consumer still loves TV, make no mistake. But technology provides more and more choice -- both types of content (games, messaging, non-TV video, and so much more) and the way it is delivered (phones, tablets, laptops, IP-TVs, et. al.).

The trend is clear -- TV viewing as we know it will evolve dramatically in the coming years into some new form. Think about the evolution of radio, from the central focus in the living room to a driving companion under the onslaught of TV. 

Over time, the explosion of choice and technologies will necessarily erode incumbant providers -- disruption in publishing, music, movies, and network TV. But what about the local TV broadcaster, lynchpin of the American system of distribution? If I can get the shows I like over the internet, and I can, why do I need my local channel? 

Local broadcasters still have immense brand power in the marketplace, derived not only from habit but because they deliver news, weather, traffic and often live programming like sports which are unavailable from other sources (for now). These and other strengths must be leveraged in the new digital marketplace, which is crowded by all sorts of competition, fueled again by the Internet. Hyper-local websites, blogs, networks and "deal" sites are going after advertisers and viewers. 

Local stations must think like digital natives and bring their brand and content to audiences where they live, especially younger consumers who may simply not have developed the same TV viewing habits as their parents. Some of my suggestions and analysis are contained in this presentation, including an endearing photo of me as a young media activist (aged 12), my first angry letter to a TV station.

Friday
Jan062012

Week's Best Posts: Long Reads, Best-of Lists, TV & Movie Biz #NGIF

We're in a New Year, and it's time for the first edition of "Nick's Great Information Friday," my weekly curation of the best posts and links in film, television, technology, and all the things I follow. I promise, this will be the last installment filled with other people's lists. Going forward, of course, we have to put up with all the damn awards!

THE LAST OF THE 2011 LISTS

  • If you've been following my blog lately, you'll know that I've written "best-of" posts for television, books, software, and now movies, with the last of the four coming out as late in the year as I could make it in order to include pictures from the December glut. This post gives you links to all four sets of reviews.
  • Anyone can make their own list (including me), but these guys curate a list of the best lists. I like it, notwithstanding the source:  a quirky website called Crabby Golightly.
  • To review the best sci-fi and fantasy books of 2011 from ion9 ("We come from the Future") here's a good list -- not my prime genre, but worth a look.
  • Check out “A Year in Transmedia,” Simon Staffans’s free ebook colllection of posts about the emerging t-m field, including an interview  with your truly : download here.
  • The best of 2011's tech writing is collected for your consideration by Thomas Houston at The Verge.
  • The Guardian offers "the top 50 iPad apps." 

THE LAST OF THE PREDICTIONS 

  • The Next Web offers its own tidbits in "What 2012 Holds for Online Media."
  • Book-obsessed website The Millions posted a very informative rundown of the most anticipated books of 2012.
  • Fortune's "Guide to the Future," notwithstanding the sheer grandiosity of the headline, is a useful predictive wallow, highlighting a few trends I hadn't considered. 

THE MOVIE BIZ

  • Amid the predictable hand-wringing over the predictable year-end bad news about movie box office, The Wrap's editor Sharon Waxman jumps in with some obvious and sensible advice, and renews her call for "bold" moves by the studios in digital (WB's acquisition of Flixster? "come on, I said bold!" sez Waxman.)
  • Meanwhile, serial entrepreneur and start-up guru Steve Blank slugs Hollywood a bit harder in his post "Why the Movie Industry Can't Innovate and the result is SOPA."  Truthfully, Blank does a great job of showing that Hollywood doesn't innovate, but doesn't really tell anyone why they can't. It's a good read, nonetheless.
  • The Atlantic's Derek Thompson dives deeper into Hollywood's business model by asking "Why Do all movie tickets cost the same?" 
  • Indie Producer Ted Hope spotlights a cool infographic that displays virtually all possible film distribution options.
  • IndieWire blog THE PLAYLIST itemizes its 50 most anticipated films of 2012

THE TV BIZ

  • Want a quick gloss on the Changing TV Landscape? Go no further than this lovely infographic, covering the dawn of digital broadcasting (2009) through social TV. 
  • Deloitte puts some numbers to the cord-cutter chatter. 
  • Broadcom chip to be introduced at CES would embed a host of  "over-the-top" functions in next-gen set-top-boxes alongside regular cable channels, reported in some tech detail here
  • Reports are that reality-TV king Mark Burnett taps his scepter upon social TV start-up ACTV8.
  • BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield claimed this week that  Nielsen viewing data proves that Netflix is the 15th most-watched TV "network" in the U.S., and is second in Netflix homes.
  • Mobile Content Ventures hooks up with MetroPCS to deliver next generation of live mobile video. In related news, TV Technology looks at the evolving television experience, with a look at ConnecTV, another MCV initiative that seeks to bring TV to the tablet. The consortium of TV station groups and networks has an ambitious agenda

LITERARY & READING

  • Speaking of curating, VentureBeat has compiled a really neat list of 2011's best tech-oriented "long reads" -- itself an interesting trend, e.g., countering the web's relentless info-snack quality with major explorations of interesting topics that were once the province of "quality" magazines. I had seen only a few on this list before.
  • Small press Tin House has reissued a really wild book called "Plotto: the Master Book of All Plots" a 1928 anthology that runs down 1,462 possible plots. Evidently studied by Hitchcock, no less.  

 COMPANIES & START-UPS 

  • Can newspapers be tech incubators? asks this interesting GigaOm report
  • "A Web of Apps" offers a quick gloss of new apps that help with the challenge of discovering content.
  • Iconic blue chip company Kodak teeters on the brink.
  • With potshots coming fast and furious over the new Yahoo CEO, Fast Company posits that Scott Thompson, the company's fourth top exec in five years, could turn the stodgy web giant around by concentrating upon turning its tonnage of "big data" into gold.  
  • Never heard of Path? It's the buzzy "new" social network that offers a cozier alternative to Facebook.
  • Marshall Kirkpatrick gives an unqualified rave to curation tool "Storify" because it personifies an important trend of providing context from the tonnage of information.
Friday
Dec162011

• Predictions (like the Future of Television), and other interesting posts of this week

It’s time to review the most interesting tweets, links, and posts I’ve stumbled across this week, for your reading and clicking pleasure. I call it NGIF, for Nick's Great Information Friday. You can get this and all my posts by subscribing to the free e-newsletter at www.nickdemartino.net.  

 ROUND-UPS

At the risk of getting too meta, many of the posts I liked this week were themselves end-of-year round-ups – either reviewing 2011 or predicting 2012. A selection:

FUTURE OF TELEVISION

Seemed like there were a LOT of articles this week that looked at the changing landscape of television (probably because all the “smart” apps I use notice I’m interested in this topic – that’s another post, however.)

  • Why You’ll Buy TV on the Web in 2012, an interesting post at All Things D, summarizing analyst Rich Greenfield  
  • MIP’s blog ran an interesting post about Bluefin Labs, a social TV analysis firm that demo’d deep processing of Twitter and Facebook comments to provide insights into television. 
  • Siri’s implications on voice-controlled television (it will dismantle networks). See this post by WetPaint’s Ben Elowitz  
  • Why Google TV will Win, claims GigaOm’s Janko Roettgers.
  • Launch of the “Watch it” button, a social bookmarking system for television, creates a super movie queue across multiple sites. 
  • Gracenote, the Sony-owned database company that powers iTunes and other sites, will announce a second-screen content recognition platform at CES, reports GigaOm. 
  • Still unconfirmed, this week’s rumor mill has Verizon buying Netflix. 
  • What should a “TV Guide” product do? Jinni founder Yosi Glick gives you his vision.
  • Why not turn to “couch consultants” to learn more about what consumers want from tomorrow’s TV, in this ITVT post?
  • The “memeification” of the sitcom: the intersection of Twitter and television programs. 
  • Is there a future for “social TV”? Some say that most of the “social” features will become a standard part of content. 
  • A review of the “new” YouTube by NY Times TV critic Mike Hale
  • YouTube for Schools just launched as well, offering schools a way to filter for educational content and eliminate the, well, the other stuff.

SOCIAL

Sometimes it seems that Facebook and Twitter are the only social networks covered, but this Business Insider post reminds us that #3 site TAGGED is growing too, this time by acquiring hi5

Why Spotify can never be profitable: The secret demands of record labels. 

FUN

Loved this “transmedia purity test” quiz.

The “video essay” is a new form being pioneered by Press Play, in conjunction with IndieWire. Matthias Stork’s three-part series on “Chaos Cinema” finishes up, and “Magic and Light” about the career of Spielberg begins

R.I.P.

Christopher Buckley’s tribute to his friend Christopher Hitchens, who died this week, in The New Yorker

Thursday
Dec082011

• MOVIES, BOOKS, VIDEO, TRANSMEDIA, PREDICTIONS & MORE: My Weekly Round-up of Links 

It’s the end of the year, and I’ll be unfurling my favorite TV, films, software, and books of 2011 in a series of posts, beginning with television, here.

Speaking of lists, one of the most informative movie lists is from the BFI’s Sight and Sound, which polls 100+ critics to come up with the top movies. But the real fun are the critical commentaries that follow the main chart, where I discover lots of gems that I would otherwise never know about.

MOVIES: Speaking of movies, I for one can’t wait for the international coproduction of David Mitchell’s complex novel CLOUD ATLAS, which I just read. Evidently, the production financing may be as big a story as the ambitious movie itself, according to this report from the NY Times.

Meanwhile, Hollywood studios continue to roll out digital access to more movies via the UltraViolet “locker” project, with Sony releasing its first U.S. titles, and Warners expanding to the U.K.

PUBLISHING: Over in the disrupted world of books, Hachette tells the world why publishers are relevant in today’s digital ecosystem via a leaked memo, drawing a quick response from one J.A. Konrath, a successful self-published author. Makes for interesting jousting.

I learned more from a GigaOm post that shows how publishers have given “Amazon a stick to beat them with” by insisting upon DRM that locks readers into the Amazon walled garden. 

VIDEO: Online video viewing has crossed the threshold of 50% of the U.S. population this year, according to eMarketer.  

Beleaguered Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, on the offensive after a couple of brutal quarters, predicts that 50% of TV viewing will be on the web in ten years. He also announced that Netflix will stream more than one billion hours of video in Q4 of 2011. 

The web was abuzz with news and leaks about a planned streaming video competitor to Netflix from Verizon, which will team up with RedBox.  

Machinima.com, an online video site featuring (what else) Machinima videogame content, has hit an amazing one billion monthly views, according to my old pal Allen DeBevoise. While the gamer niche is certainly an aspect of the success of the site, the larger implication to me is the success of ultra-niche video programming channels. Machinima will be of the 100-plus new YouTube partner channels that will begin rolling out in 2012, much as cable introduced “vertical” programming back in the ‘80s.

Microsoft made news with a major upgrade of the Xbox 360 platform, adding functionality and content partners and prompting this love letter post on Paid Content, which coins yet another term: “engaged TV.”

TRANSMEDIA: Two deep and thoughtful posts went up from leaders in the transmedia storytelling movement. First, check out part one of Gunther Sonnenfeld’s piece about evolving investment strategies in emerging media markets. 

The second, from Conducttr founder Robert Pratten is a great post about “engagement-driven” narrative design.

PREDICTIONS: The New York Times published a killer interactive feature on the history and future of computing. A timeline dating from 1617 lays out key discoveries in computation, AI, Transportation, Lifestyle and Communications, and then invites users to submit their own predictions. You can also amend the predictions, which in effect constitutes a form of crowd-sourced prediction. It’s fun!

The Personal Computer is Dead, by Harvard’s Jonathan Zittrain, is a jeremiad against vertical integration and walled gardens (Re: Apple). 

This Business Insider’s post, entitled “The Death of Television May Be Just 5 Years Away,” is bound to send shock waves through some of my clients, as it cites various cracks in the current model. 

That's it for this week. Follow me on Twitter (@nickdemartino) for daily doses of info, or subscribe to the newsletter on my site to get updates directly to your inbox. 

Thursday
Nov102011

• TRACKING TOMORROW'S TELEVISION TODAY

I hate the future, don't you? It's always wrong. Nevertheless, at the behest of my friend and colleague Karen Herman at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation, I took a stab at prognostication, near-term and longer term, organized around a series of ten questions, including What is a Channel? What is a Screen? What is an Ad? How Do You Watch? Where Do You Watch?, and more... Here are the slides from the talk, which include my cheat-sheet notes. (note: the underlined word on slide 14 is a hyperlink to a YouTube video, namely the wonderful overview of 2011 TV watching stats released in August by the ATAS Interactive Peer Group).