Welcome to Televution. My companies create intellectual property and provide services at the nexus of media, entertainment, marketing and technology. This blog is a personal perspective on those themes.


PROMAX 2007 Presentation

I spoke this morning at the PROMAX 2007 presentation, but our session started late, and I was unable to really go through what I was asked to speak about — the mechanics and potential for developing network-wide loyalty programs for television viewers. I promised to put the presentation on this blog, and so here it is. My only request: if you do download it, please go to the contact page and drop me a line letting me know you downloaded it. Of course, this isn’t required, but would be greatly appreciated!

Keep in mind that this presentation is a “talking” deck — most of what I was going to present was verbal, and the slides were going to be helpers. So, if questions come up, please feel free to email me with them.


Television Innovations Lab

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By way of the New York Times, Denise Caruso reports on the American Film Institute’s Digital Content Lab, which is doing some pretty remarkable work around the media/tech/entertainment convergence space, with an even more remarkable business model:

While some go it alone, many of the best-known media brands turn to the institute’s Digital Content Lab for help. For nearly 10 years, the lab (once called the Enhanced Television Workshop) has provided companies with an opportunity to participate in a powerful research and development process that uses their own creative assets.

To date, participants include Animal Planet, America Online, Bravo, the Cartoon Network, the Disney Channel, MTV, NBC, National Geographic, Nickelodeon, PBS, Showtime and Turner Broadcasting System, as well as several small interactive and independent media production companies.

To begin, a company picks one of its media properties and applies to the lab, describing a problem it would like to solve. If selected, that property becomes the focus of a six-month, intensive collaboration. The institute chooses a group of consultants from the most innovative design, technology and production firms in the digital media industry, and teams them with professionals from television, films and games.

At the end of the six months, each team delivers a working prototype to the media company, which owns it outright and can use it in any way it chooses.

In the most recent round of prototypes, completed in late 2006, Cartoon Network New Media walked away with a prototype based on “Ben 10,” one of its top three series.

The Cartoon Network was aiming to expand its library of more than 150 games — which correspond to its TV cartoons — beyond computers and into game consoles, without spending a fortune rewriting all its software, said Suzanne Stefanac, a journalist, and longtime A.F.I. mentor who was recently named director of the Digital Content Lab. (Ms. Stefanac and I once worked together at ZDTV.)

In response, its team delivered a technical feat: a “build once, broadcast everywhere” game engine that allows the same application to run on a PC or on a PlayStation 3 and that players can navigate with a mouse, a keyboard or a game controller.

The Ben 10 prototype, the first game to use the PlayStation 3’s built-in browser, was such a hit that the network expects to commercialize the technology, which it calls a “megaseries,” for some yet-unnamed assets by year-end. “We look at this as an amazing new content window for distribution,” said Ross Cox, senior director for entertainment products at Cartoon Network New Media.

Check out the entire article here  (free registration may be required.)


Brand Integration in Second Life

1342811-704288-thumbnail.jpgSecond Life has been getting a lot of press lately. Why wouldn’t it? Virtual economies, commerce and relationships  haven combined to create a buzz-worthy fad.  Brands hungry for any form of non-traditional exposure have jumped on the Second Life train, building stores within its confines, and creating products exclusive to the world.

With an active participant count of less than 2 million, the press about the brands’ activities generates more buzz than the actual installations themselves. Case in point, of the last ten people who talked to me about Second Life, only one of them had actually downloaded the application and explored the community.

I’ve included a new gallery of some of the more interesting brand integrations in Second Life.


Recursive Brand Integration

1327318-857007-thumbnail.jpgRecursion is a beautiful thing. In science, it is a function that is applied within its own definition. You can see an example of it simply by holding two mirrors parallel to each other — the resulting image is a “recursion” of sorts. Just for fun, I’m coining the term “recursive brand integration” when a film or TV show integrates its promotions into another film or TV show.

I was at the MTV Movie Awards this past Sunday when I noticed something quite brilliant. MTV created a “paid category” in the awards, complete with celebrity presenter and acceptance speeches. The award was for “Best Movie You Haven’t Seen Yet,” and the nominees were films due for release this summer. Nominated films had to “pay” to be part of the award, and while MTV claims that viewers picked the winner, I suspect a bigger check did.

Transformers” ended up winning, and they got to play a nice little sequence from the movie, and have the stars come up and give acceptance speeches. Then on Monday night, Michael Bay, the director of Transformers appeared on FOX’s The Lot as a guest judge, with several plugs for his new film included.

It’s how I like my steak, baby. Well done.

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