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Content is not King

In the Media world the saying goes “Content is King”. The idea is: build it and they will come. Yet the kings of content, the movie studios, lose huge sums on most projects. Why? If asked most successful business people they will tell you success is a blend of hard work, luck, and controlling the controllables. Movie studios are well run corporate machines, their workers work hard, and management controls what it can. But they’ve lost control of distribution. At one time, movie distribution meant one thing: movie theaters. Own the theaters, and you control distribution. No longer. The battle is what happens with the content once it is released.

Distribution has never been so easy and the trends in technology suggest it’s going to get even easier. But across the world, content creators are filing for bankruptcy. And it’s not just movie studios, all content creators are struggling. The content creation business under assault from all quarters.

Two industries were the big winners in the Dot Com Boom and Bust. Porn and Gambling made huge sums and increased their market share while others floundered. Today, the Gambling companies have largely been shut down by the US Government and Porn is having to reinvent itself. Lack of control over their content has pretty much destroyed the Adult Industry. And you would be hard pressed to find anyone on Capitol Hill pushing for Piracy law revision for them.

You used to hear adult film stars say porn was a vehicle to launch a mainstream career and some of them actually accomplished that goal. Today most performers use the industry to subsidize their income. It is well known that many in the adult industry now derive their income from hooking and use their porn exposure simply as advertising.

Female performers have seen the pay decrease from around $3000 a scene (naughty time) now earn closer to $650 per scene (still good money if you are doing what you love). The male performers now earn about $150 per scene (I know some of you are saying where do I sign). The decrease in earnings is a direct result of the piracy, ease of distribution (DIY), and the low barrier of entry that allowed for mass-quantity and low quality films that flood the net. Yet the amount of Adult Production studios has gone from the hundred to just a few remaining production companies.

The adult industry business is on the verge of extinction. The blame? The same thing that gave the industry it’s prolific rise, The Internet. The Internet makes controlling content next to impossible. Even mainstream creators of content are struggling. The advertisers that pay for some of the content creation are struggling. The non-internet based distribution platforms tap into the Internet and give the target consumer the ability to buy the content and watch it when they want without commercial interruption. Devices like Boxee, Ruku, Apple TV and others allows the target consumer to stream the content they want when they want it.

Choices, on top of choices: you do not just have the ability to watch it when you want or how you want, you can also watch what you want. You prefer BBC to CBS? No trip to England required. Want to see a guy do the Cinnamon Challenge? Content creation and distribution is cheaper and easier than ever before. There are 60 hours videos uploaded every minute on YouTube alone. There is more content added to the Internet in a day than the average person will be able to consume in a lifetime. And the trend is accelerating.

What we can learn from the changes is that control is king. If your content becomes a part of a Peer to Peer (P2P) platform. If you cannot control and protect where it goes or get paid when it goes you lose.

A decent digital video camera costs under $150.00. Most Televisions sold today, come with the ability to watch YouTube and other user generated content. Most cell phones, tablets and computers come with the ability to shoot, edit and upload content.

Those numbers are a fraction of the budgets of the major production studios. Lionsgate who by all accounts is considered to have “modest” production budgets, is spending $80 million to make ‘The Hunger Game’ movie series (just over $15M per movie). While most would view a $15 million dollar investment that has already returned over $400 million a wise investment. When you are up against the commoditization of content it only takes a few misplaced $15 million dollar projects to sink a company.

So the creators are finding creative ways to protect themselves. You don’t have to look much farther then the UFC to see how creators of content are using both new and traditional ways to distribute their media. The parent company Zuffa, is a leader the legal fight to fight piracy or control where their content ends up.

Lionsgate pre-sold ‘The Hunger Games’ international film rights before the film was finished. Many view this as a risky venture, surely they could have got more based on the success of the movie right? Wrong, there is even less control in the International market. It is better to lock in a set amount Vs. running the risk of not ever really knowing what you made. The success of the first movie will drive up the International pre-sales in the future. Plus do not forget the global merchandise opportunities that come from a successful project like ‘The Hunger Games”. Building on the Hunger Games success, Lionsgate, through acquisitions, built a library with over 13,000 titles — which generates $150 million in annual cash flow.

Lionsgate will continue to produce content for the various platforms that the consumers are gravitating towards. Yet, to truly control the content you need to own the platform and be able to monetize the platform. Just look at the adult industry and the lack of control of the platforms used to distribute their content. They have zero control and their industry is dying. The barrier of entry has become non-existent. They are not using 3-D (most are not), 15 million dollar budgets or best selling books to help sell their content. Bottom line, Control is king.

Jason Genet


Social Media Engagements

Facebook Party

You likely read our blog about Facebook members not “Liking” brands. I doubt many, if any of you, went out and deleted your Facebook accounts so here is a blog on how you can increase your potential engagements as a brand who utilizes Facebook.

The information in this blog was extracted from Buddy Media’s 14-day study of 200 of its very own clients pages. The studies show that more and more Brands are seeking Facebook users as potential target markets. Let’s be frank advertisers are inherently lazy and consumers are becoming more an more elusive. Many blame the over saturation of ads on Myspace.com for the demise of this Social Giant. Yet advertisers will simply follow the herd.

Your goal as a Brand should be to extract your target consumer from these Social Media giants. If you can’t or won’t extract, in the very least, engage. No one likes the guy at a party that just stands around and watches everyone and yet no one at the party knows the guy. Awkward or creepy is how you would describe that person. Yet brands tend to do the same thing on Facebook.

One of the biggest mistakes brands make is they look at these platforms as where the consumers are, instead of looking for their consumer. They are content with hoping or praying that the consumer somehow finds them or they can hire an influencer to push potential consumers to you. This is worse than being the creepy guy standing around not saying anything. Now the party is at your house and you are still awkwardly silent.

Social Media is about being social. Facebook is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. What does that mean? That means that Little Jimmy does not have to wait until his friend Tommy gets back from Grandma’s to show him the new bike he got for Christmas. Yep Facebook is even open on Christmas day. It never closes.

Yet the MARCOM’s or Social Media Managers tend to work 9-5. Which means even if we are trying to engage our consumer we might not be doing so at the right times.

Be Timely

The study found that daily Facebook engagement has three peaks: early morning (7 a.m. EST), after work (5 p.m. EST) and late at night (11 p.m. EST). Therefore, posting all of your updates during the workday means you’re missing key opportunities to engage fans at non-work hours. However, not all brands’ engagement peaks at these three times — Playboy’s engagement peaks in the wee hours of the morning, for example — so you must work on a case-by-case basis.

We have tools that allow our Brands to communicate on and off the clock. They are readily available to anyone who can use Google to search. The common mistake brands are making is hiring a Social Media employee and utilizing that person during the work day. The hours of work need to be split between finding time to engage with the consumer and research what the best engagements are. In essence find time to listen to the conversation before you jump in. The only thing more awkward then the silent guy at the party is the the guy that keeps jumping into conversations off point.

Think about how you would like to be engaged and when. Mon-Wed are usually stress days and Thursday through Saturday tend to be fun focused. Thursday actually being the most meaningful day to engage potential consumers. This is very similar to old PR strategy. We have advised many on the importance of using key days of the week to stage news. As an example bad news is best released on a Friday so the weekend gives them time to calm down or forget. Brands often forget Sunday’s, this could be a huge mistake. Sunday is a great day for engaging. Friday’s not so good.

The problem with PR is the same that you will Social Media. Brands tend to be lazy and they will start “stacking” news around these dates and ignore the less responsive days. This is a tragic error. You should increase your frequency of engagements on the good days but also engage on the down days. Not just 9-5 engagements either. Social Media is not about being a robot and the minute you think you have your consumer figured out, they are on the move again.

There are various ways to enhance the timing of your engagements. Be timely, on topic and pay attention to your targets behaviors not just your allotted time to create the engagement. Brands should consider how timely they are being.

Be Concise

The text box is not a glass and does not to be filled to the rim. Tweetlonger or anything that allows you to extend past 140 characters is a blog not an engagement. Do not become Chatty Cathy and hopes that someone will listen. Social Media engagement is as much about what you did not say. Keep the post under 80 characters if possible.

The study showed tweets under 80 characters garnered 27% more engagement than posts that were more than 80 characters.

What about the URL tools that shorten the URL? Surely they will allow for more right? Nope! In fact the URL tools like ow.ly and tinyurl actually have the opposite effect. Studies show that people are three times more likely to click your link if they know what they are clicking on. http://www.yourbrand.com is going to get more clicks then the URL extension created by tinyurl. Brands would be better served to create their own branded URL shortening tools. Or get creative and use less characters and more URL.

Words ranked in order of their effectiveness at converting Likes and comments


Ask to be Engaged

Just ask. Yes it is as simple as asking. Again let me reference the party setting. So you are at a party and you see someone that you are attracted too. Do you think if you spoke with the person, found out about them (make sure you really do like them) and strike up a conversation they might like you back?

Brands fail to engage and yet they expect a consumer to Like them because they found them on Facebook? Fact is you need to engage and learn about the person you are hoping to get to like you. Don’t just hope your good looks will Carry you through the relationship.

Miracle Whip has one of the best campaigns I have seen that does just this. They are asking consumers to tell them if they like Miracle Whip or do not. Another effective tool is to let the target consumer know why they should like you. “Like us if….” is way more effective then asking for a “Like”

“Like” is and should be viewed as the lowest form of engagement you can have. This simple engagement is viral and highly effective when done right. Remember, “liking” only takes one click and then the “liked” item is syndicated on a user’s own page, so don’t be afraid to ask for the thumbs up.

The same goes for comments — outright saying “post,” “comment” or “tell us” motivates fans to engage. If you’re seeking answers, put a simple “where” or “when” or “would” question at the end of the post. The study showed

you’ll get 15% more engagement than if the question is buried in the middle. Shy away from “why” questions, as they seem invasive and ask much more of a user than a “what” question.

Social Media and the engagement is not some new creation or way of thinking. We just have technology and solutions that bring the masses together, we can reach more people over longer periods of time. We just need to know when and how to engage.

Jason Genet

IngrainedMedia.com


iPhone 4 on Verizon Should AT&T Be Worried?

The launch of the iPhone on Verizon is just weeks away and At&T is pushing hard to regain current customers confidence and sign new ones. The recently started sending “Network Upgrade” letters to subscribers in large Metropolitan areas claiming increased coverage (data and cellular).

AT&T is also still pushing the iPhone 3GS for $49.99. Obviously Verizon will not have a cheap iPhone for some time now.

Are these attempts too little too late? Most people who have been with AT&T know about the poor reception issues and sometimes crazy data bills that plagued iPhone users. Verizon is also known to be a stable cellular provider whose network is usually chosen by the business person.

AT&T will be pushing it’s differences which seem to be a cheaper (yet older technology) iPhone 3GS and it’s ability to simultaneously use voice and data. The simultaneous voice and data is really one of the only advantages we can see between AT&T’s iPhone 4 and Verizon’s.

Which brings up the question? Is the possibility of a better network going to be enough to make you switch providers? Have the business phone users been behind the surge in Android sales as the casual smartphone consumer stays with AT&T to say they have an Apple iPhone, even if they have to borrow their friends cell phone to make the call?

Verizion is really relying a lot on it’s network and advertising reach. Is it enough? The iPhone user has been a vanity consumer and early adopter. Networks have not swayed them in the past. Or will Androids push with 4G be the mobile game changer?

Jason Genet


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