Follow the Data | How Netflix, Amazon & Warner Bros Are Pointing the Way

As I was preparing this week’s New Media / New Marketing report for TheTVNews.tv, my good friend, Nick DeMartino sent me a very timely reference with his post, Can Data Save the (Hollywood) Studios in the Age of Social Media?

As I produced that segment (embedded below) and continued following the news, an immediate theme emerged: The power of data mining as perhaps THE major way big websites like Amazon and Netflix (and now Warner Brothers) gain leverage, and how it motivates major initiatives—including the casting of major TV series. Of course, this same power of customer data is also in the background of the major battle between Google and Facebook! Certainly at the top of the market, user data is the ultimate weapon and differentiator. Here are a few very current examples.

First, Nick’s post led me to recognize Warner Brothers as a new Hollywood studio leader in social media marketing. As you can see in the video which is embedded at the bottom of this post, I not only connect Warner—who is the producer of “Two and a Half Men”—with the casting of Ashton Kutcher, but with their recent Flixster acquisition (see Nick’s post) and with Warner’s innovative move renting movies via Facebook.(Flixster, btw, is my favorite iPhone/iPad movie app. I’ve even posted reviews there.)

Then, in today’s news came the announcement of a major new move by Amazon.com. The power of data mining, their extensive knowledge of customer data, and their knowledge of customer behavior is clearly a big part of the leverage that has motivated Amazon to join the “big leagues” of book publishing.

Finally, my favorite example of using the power of customer data is the Netflix recommendation engine, which certainly is part of what motivated them to license their first original TV production via their House of Cards deal. Along those lines, I think everyone can benefit from listening to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Charlie Rose to learn more about how they think.

Below is my new video analyzing Twitter’s impact on the casting of Ashton Kutcher a.k.a. @aplusk in his new role on “Two And A Half Men,” including those Warner Bros tie-ins mentioned above.

As always, I will be very grateful for any “likes” of this video and/or any comments on this blog or on YouTube. I look forward to your feedback. And, whatever you do, be sure to Follow the Data (and if you need help doing that via your own website analytics or Internet marketing campaign, please don’t hesitate to ask). 😉

 

Online Video Growth Spurt Marked By New Programs & Distribution Opportunities

As discussed in my New Media / New Marketing segment on the Tuesday, August 10th edition of the TheTVNews.tv (see VIDEO embedded below), the convergence of TV and Internet forms of online video are jelling into a significant reality extremely quickly after years of promises.

Evidence of this growth spurt include rapid growth trends such as the year-over-year doubling of streaming movies and TV via NetFlix, a new “digital locker” platform from major entertainment players designed to combat the iTunes dominance, and the increasing viability of “branded entertainment” including an Ikea-sponsored Web-only video series that is garnering 1.5 million views month after month.

I will post or embed my video commentary as soon as it’s available, but meanwhile here are links to what I think is some worthwhile reading. These three links include additional insights and details on the “milestones” mentioned above and more:

  • Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem Unveils UltraViolet™ Brand (press release)
    Major players from Best Buy to Sony to Comcast to Intel and quite a few others are aligning on a new kind of “digital locker” to help you watch whatever you want, whenever you want, on whatever kind of device you want… as long as you’ve paid for it! While this press release is just an announcement, I think this is both a needed kind of technology and an attempt to answer Apple’s dominance in digital media distribution. Expect to hear more, much more from the UltraViolet, UVVU brand.

As always, your thoughts, perspectives and comments are extremely welcome. Thanks.

3 Leading Edge Video Clips Illuminate Next Gen Video Web

One benefit of my on-going back recovery is that I’m currently watching even more online video than usual. This weekend, I was delighted to discover a rich sampling of video clips that I found inspiring as well as informative. So, of course, I want to share the three carefully selected video clips embedded below with you, dear readers, blog commenters and tweet peeps.

I invented the term “Video Web” when I was writing for Videography magazine, and now that this particular dimension of the Web is expanding and improving in quality at an exponential rate, I find that it also just keeps getting better (at least by my subjective standards). I hope you will agree that these clips are exemplary of something good and that they also reflect some valuable trends and useful models. But, even more importantly, I think that each of them also delivers actionable, leading edge information (at least for some of you).

1. “RIP: A Remix Manifesto,” A Mashup Culture Flick with a Message
The first clip is a trailer for an independent feature film, RIP: A Remix Manifesto being distributed via the Web as well as in theaters, Internet cafes and at film festivals. Being a strong believer in the importance of freedom around the controversial issues of digital rights, I was so inspired by the content I saw in the trailer and on the producer’s other sites, I coughed up $5 (optional) and downloaded the whole movie. (This was a first for me.) It’s really well done. It’s as clear as anything I’ve seen—certainly at this length—in illuminating these important rights issues. And, because of its real world examples (most notably the mashup performing artist, Girl Talk), this movie authentically walks its talk on many levels. Highly recommended!

2. Leo Laporte Explains Successful Webcasting with Transparency
Personally, I admit to not being a fan of podcasting pioneer and former TechTV host, Leo Laporte; however, for obvious reasons, Mashable’s headline, “Leo Laporte Makes $1.5 Million Per Year from Podcasting” caught my eye. And then, as I started listening to the 40-minute conference talk below, I was impressed by not only the success of the Twit.tv entrepreneur, but by his willingness to share pretty much everything he knows about what’s working and what’s not working in the world of Net video advertising and more. He also frankly shares his experiences as he has made the migration from failed broadcaster willing to call an idiot an “idiot” and a stupid business model “stupid,” to someone who has built a viable online “netcasting” business that is reportedly doubling every year. Laporte has really been there and done that, and he’s not afraid to tell you what he knows. I like that.

3. Epipheo Creates Viral Wave Explaining Google Wave
Clear, concise video clips that explain technology with under-stated style are quite close to my heart. If you don’t know, Google Wave is a “next big thing” groupware, collaborative platform currently in “limited beta” at Google. Amongst the technorati, there’s quite a buzz. Even Business Week thinks it could be big. Enter the video clip below, “What is Google Wave?” from Epipheo Studios. This clip was just released a few days ago and I have personally watched it go from about 150K views to over 200K views on YouTube in the last 24 hours (as of Sunday night, 10/4). Watch it. I think you might learn something worth knowing, at least if you’re interested in the leading edge of online collaboration; and, for sure, you’ll see a neat, short video clip that tells its story well. A tip of my virtual hat to you, epipheo guys. 🙂

I look forward to your comments. Thanks!

Capote Carves Creative Portrait of Imperfectly Human Creative Process

Wow. Amazing film. Extraordinary performances. I didn’t realize it was also about the birth of the non-fiction novel. A must see. A very richly textured, deeply human, multi-layered drama. Phillip Seymour Hoffman will certainly be nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, and will likely win. You won’t be disappointed. A great cinematic experience. Worth seeing in the theatre.

Haggis on the Origins of Crash

More evidence of what a remarkable movie Crash is… And what a remarkable filmmaker Paul Haggis is… Here’s a personal essay from Haggis telling the story and describing the feelings that inspired the film. Totally congruent and touching. (Thanks, Wade, for the link)

Awesome Flick: “Crash (2005)” Don’t Miss It.

Here’s the rare kind of movie that actually gets under your skin. Crash (2005) is written, produced and directed by Paul Haggis, who was nominated for the Oscar for Best Screenplay Adaptation for Million Dollar Baby. And Haggis is every bit as powerful a director and filmmaker as he is a writer.

This cinematic journey, emblazened by an impeccable ensemble cast who deliver astounding performances (Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Thandie Newton, Terrance Howard, and others), takes on the complexly human under-belly of racism as expressed in the lives of a broad cross-section of characters — from Persian immigrants to car-jackers, from the LA District Attorney to an African American TV director, and from a Hispanic locksmith to a number of LA police officers.

Most notably, this is no simplistic morality tale. Bad guys can be good guys (and visa versa). Miracles do sometimes happen. And some people are just angry all the time. I’m grateful for a true artist who can craft a cinematic mirror that reflects life in an scarely honest way. I found this experience especially valuable because Crash is courageous enough to shine its light into places that many of us would prefer to deny exist, but which need our attention… desperately. “This shit ain’t right” and more of us need to say so.

Thank you, Mr. Haggis, for one of the finest films I’ve seen in a long time. Highly recommended!