Seth Shapiro\'s Business Innovation Blog

The two TV Academies have yet to resolve their differences over the Emmys and digital media.

The Hollywood Reporter covers it reasonably well here, but here’s the short version:
There used to be one TV Academy. It was based in New York, as was the TV business.
Then Johnny left for Burbank.  Over a period of time, the primetime industry followed. Then the LA chapter of the Academy ceded from the larger Academy, with the view that it represented the majority of those working in television. A visual representation of the conflict can be found here.

As part of the ensuing settlement, the LA Academy (ATAS) won custody of the Primetime Emmy Awards, the ones we’re all familiar with. NATAS (the NY-and-elsewhere Academy) came to preside over areas including Daytime and Technology. An uneasy truce ruled.

Then digital media came along and wreaked havoc.

If you step back, it’s a valid philosophical question: if Primetime television is delivered via new technological solutions, such as IPTV, streaming or download service, does a recogniton of merit fall under dominion of the creative guys or the technology guys? The answer is obviously both. But someone has to preside over the statue, and so the debate continues.

One day we will all undoubtedly get along.  Till then hopefully no one loses an eye.

There are way too many columns about the future of online video.

I recently imported all of my 2006 email onto my current laptop. Thousands of pieces of text, containing a hundred predictions from friends and strangers on the future of media. Guess what? A year later, they were almost all wrong.

Helio didn’t change the face of mobile. YouTube didn’t go under. Microsoft didn’t buy Yahoo.

If it were easy to do everyone would do it. If it was easy to predict it would be easy to monetize.

The growth of any top growth media area is by definition unknowable.

Let’s let the future unfold a bit, and shut up.

Move over Pat Riley… last week NBC launched a new concept called the “Newpeat” on Steve Carrell starrer “The Office”, itself a US cover of the Ricky Gervais masterpiece. The maiden voyage of this concept was a 60 minute cut of two previously-aired episodes ? with additonal footage added to round out the show. The idea is to take existing content and blend it with the type of footage that might have shown up as DVD bonus material, thereby creating a new product with no incremental spend.

Another hybrid as the Big 4 adapt to the new era.

Posted by Seth Shapiro

Speaking of which, analysts have speculated for some time on why profitable ringtones are more profitable than full songs. This weekend we took a stroll through the highest Google-ranked free ringtone sites. Guess what? It was cool, and slighty addictive. Mainly they were crap, civilians loading the system with UGC only their best friends would care about. But then just around the corner would be an occaisonal gem, a great Trane riff that looped just right, Beavis as Cornholio, The Munsters. Stuff that made the room say Ho!

Reminding us of what? Of a flea market, or a garage sale, or a 12 year old DJ rooting through his parents’ record collection looking for something funky to cut with.

The true spirit of hip hop is alive and well in the free ringtone cutout bin. Go see for yourself.

Posted by: Seth Shapiro

Review of the new phone here. The next model, the 8300, is already being talked up in the forums, the most well-known of which is (not suprisingly)

In this generation of mobile, for multiple threads of communication and well- designed User Experience, there is still nothing that can touch Blackberry.

Posted by Seth Shapiro

… look to the numbers. Re reviving the music business via digital, a recent metric speaks volumes: the year’s mobile revs are approximately $600B. The year’s music revenues are $30B. That’s a 20x differential. And how many handsets are there vs. dedicated music players? That delta is clearly a hell of a lot bigger.

Devices = # Users and # Users = Demand. The record industry has spent decades managing by inflating prices, oligopoly and constricting supply by providing $15 albums instead of $2 singles. As we said before, how’s it working for them? Not so good.

Whoever rides the music horse in the direction that TV and mobile move will have the stronger hand. Watch.

Posted by: Seth Shapiro

The suit that stalked Sequoia’s $1.65B deal has been filed in SDNY. Thrust of the case is the intuitively compelling point that if a site can screen effectively for porn (which YouTube does), it should be able to apply the same methodology to screening for copyrighted material (YouTube does not).

The doc is plain-spoken.  Excerpts:

YouTube’s website purports to be a forum for users to share their own original, user generated, video content. In reality, however, a vast amount of that content consists of infringing copies of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works… Plaintiffs have identified more than 150,000 unauthorized clips of their copyrighted programming on YouTube that had been viewed an astounding 1.5 billion times… YouTube does not simply
enable massive infringement by its users. It is YouTube that knowingly reproduces and
publicly performs the copyrighted works uploaded to its site.

Posted by: Seth Shapiro

In San Francisco, highight of the conference so far has been an intriguing series of UI/UX paradigms by designers including Schematic, Method, Spin the Bottle, Eat.TV, Voom and OpenTV. Appropriately, the designs grappled with the pressing need to move from searching a linear guide to presenting a visual search methodology which keys from one visual selection to another visual selection. Dale also described his concept of the “New Primetime”: those pieces of content which are recent (including recently grabbed via DVR, from VOD, etc.) rather than the old school notion of Primetime as “airing on a network this minute”. Good discussion.

Posted by: Seth Shapiro

As mentioned here, I dumped my Treo and got a Blackjack a while ago, and hated it. Well, the new BBerry came this week and I’m happy to say that it’s superb – does everything a phone/email/PIM/SMS device should do, and all beautifully. The BBerry UI still destroys Windows Mobile, and the new model is QWERTY to boot ? a return to full keyboard after the Pearl, but much slimmer than the 8700 and 8703. They can be had from Amazon for $125 ? you have to deal with Wirefly, whose customer service is terrible… but it’s a great device at any price.

Posted by: Seth Shapiro

DIRECTV Entertainment president and FOX Sports CEO David Hill has returned to FOX after two years of triumph in original entertainment from the DBS broadcaster and creative powerhouse. Well not really.

Those of us who worked there, or have ever worked at an MSO, were confused by New Corp’s decision to devote major resources to creating DIRECTV Original Programming in the first place – resources that normally would have gone towards developing better set-top boxes, and an HD DVR that worked. Oh well, priorities differ. What never made sense was how the same brilliant corporation that created Sky could have bungled so badly at DIRECTV, throwing away vital years on broadband development while Comcast made brilliant strat acquisitions and Time Warner Cable prepped its IPO.

I miss the DIRECTV that existed before the News acquisition. It may have been a 1957 aerospace geekfest but it was real about what it was, and did what it did extremely well. Now it’s an arrogant frat boy that may buy off the Street for a while, but is not fooling its customers, at all.

I’m Andy Rooney – good night.

Posted by: Seth Shapiro

TED will apparently offer events from this year’s show (today through Saturday in Monterey) on the web for the first time. As of now there is nothing from today, but several TED speeches from other venues (rather than from the annual conference) are available here. Another group of clips is available from Google video here. Bet most of the scientific presentations benefit significantly from the energy of the room ? as a YouTube clips they’re not as powerful. I experienced the same thing at the Milken Conference last year. My fave of the current clips is the more plebian Tony Robbins presentation, with cameo/punchline by Al Gore.