Fishwrap: Where's summer . . . NewTeeVee . . . BT's Ribbit . . . Marshall's merger . . .hi5 Adriana
[Wrapping up the week in three dots . . .]
Summer slowdown (not!) . . .
There's a recession going on and there is a summer going on--at least outside San Francisco/Silicon Valley. While other regions are taking it easy, it seems that little has slowed around here. There are slightly fewer events but it all feels like business-as-usual. I'm going to try and take some time off in August, if I can.
And there doesn't seem to be much sign of a recession around here. Companies are spending lots of money on promotion and PR. Most PR companies seem to be very busy and are hiring at a vigorous pace.
I wonder how their media relations operations are handling the dwindling number of publications and journalists. I think the PR companies should pass the hat around and support some of the news and magazine sites to ensure that there are outlets for their client's stories.
Most PR companies believe they can bypass the journalists and go straight to the consumer/customer. But media provides a vendor-neutral platform which is much more valuable in terms of influence than messages that come straight from the company or its representatives. Readers aren't stupid, they take company generated content with a pinch of salt.
Looking for the new TV. . .
Following a Kiva.org event at 111 Minna, I went to my first NewTeeVee Pier screening on Thursday showcasing possible "pilot" episodes for the Internet. It was interesting but the "pilots" all looked extremely polished and professionally produced. They looked as if they had been made for short-film festivals and then repurposed for the event.
There is no way that the economics of the Internet could support a "series" based on most of the pilots that I saw because they were clearly produced with very large budgets. The economics of production are way out of line with the sponsorships or advertisement revenues available online. And the judges added very little insight or useful commentary.
The event didn't provide much networking--you have to be quiet during the long playback of the short movies, which are projected on a giant screen. Watching the "pilots" on a giant movie screen is not an Internet experience, it is a movie experience.
I'd love to see NewTeeVee have an evening showcasing short vids created in one-take instead of the multi-camera multi-special effects of the pilots which didn't ring true with the intent of showcasing content for our "new TV" - Internet connected devices.
However, it was good to bump into a few key people such as Jim Louderback, head of the "new TV" site Revision3 and a bunch of friends, and, of course, his Giga Omness, who is looking great, less giga and very slim, very 1.5 :-)
Acquiring disruptive technologies . . .
Congrats to Ribbit "Silicon Valley's First Phone Company" and its acquisition by BT, the British Telecom giant. Ribbit is an interesting company with disruptive techologies but if companies such as these are going to be snapped up by the encumbent companies then their disruptive potential is going to be lost.
I'm not a fan of the telcos--the US ones are acting as Luddites, keeping us in the dark ages, controlling which technologies we can use. It is stifling innovation. And if innovation can be bought--and if disruptive technologies can simply be acquired byt the telcos then we will be making little progress.
Please see: 2008Watch: Ribbit Spawns Its First Consumer Telephony App
Marshall merger plans . . .
Congrats to Marshall Kirkpatrick, lead writer at ReadWriteWeb on his upcoming marriage to Mikalina.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Marshall on my recent trip to Japan, which was organized by Lunarr, a fascinating company based in Portland, Oregon, where Marshall lives.
Most important, I'm getting married to my partner Mikalina! Many of my work contacts here on the blog haven't met Mikalina but many of you have. She's wonderful and I love her very much. We've been together for more than 4 years already and she's studying to be an environmental engineer. Or a ceramicist - she's a rock star in both and hasn't decided what to do about it yet.
We're looking to get married pretty darned soon, I proposed to her last weekend when we were vacationing on the Oregon Coast.
hi5 Adriana . . .
Congrats to Adriana Gascoigne in her new job at hi5, one of the largest social networks that you probably don't know about. I've worked with Adriana at FutureWorks and more recently at Ogilvy and I'm looking forward to working with her at hi5.
You might not know hi5 because it's success has been created outside of the US. Adrianna writes:
I’ve decided to join hi5 for the following three ‘main’ reasons and for about a million smaller reasons –
1.) World’s fastest growing social network among the top-10 global social networks
2.) Based on the June comScore Media Metrix worldwide figures released in June, hi5 grew 79% in the first half of 2008
3.) hi5’s monthly unique visitors increased from 31.4 million in December 2007 to 56.4 million in June 2008.
Also, hi5 is planning some exciting product launches this year that will make a HUGE impact and increase serious competition in the social networking space. So, if the timing is right, if your heart is in it, then you should embrace risk and pull the trigger.
I’d love your input and insights on hi5. If you are so compelled, I would be interested in getting one cool marketing idea from you on how hi5 could make a BIG splash in the US market.
Be my hi5 friend! http://www.hi5.com/friend/profile/displaySameProfile.do
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