Media Business Strategies

The Blog of David Polakoff

Windmills of My Immediate Mind

  • A Commercial Message -Today, the effective use of advertising dollars has the advertising industry and all who rely upon it feel like they’re in a Marx Brothers movie.
  • Better Living Through TV -All too often, websites, television shows, remote controls, movies, PDAs, and other media/entertainment content and devices, try to be all things to all people and end up creating more pain than the original intention of solving a basic problem.
  • Brandishing the Brand -When you throw gumballs, tacks, banana peels, speedbumps, and foxholes in the path of making it easy for your customer to consume your product/service, you dilute your brand’s status; a status which has taken years and dollars to achieve, and which will be even harder to reclaim.
  • Cable Knit – The creation and delivery of quality content has a cost, but there will be limits on consumers’ willingness and ability to pay.  Consumer behavior and business models are going to adapt – the point of equilibrium is the question.
  • Cannibal Lecture – My screens time cannibalizes my daily living resulting in decreased sleeping hours (hallelujah for Juan Valdez, Jean Martin, Cora, and Mrs. Olson). My allotted screens time cannibalizes amongst the three screens.
  • Check Endorsements – There is an actual and implied deal between brand, consumer, and celebrity.  Unlike other Woods story coverage, let’s focus on the consumer impact.
  • Cut the Cake…I Mean Cord This Windmills of My Immediate Mind installment covers the consumer perspective and a (somewhat, Jonathan Swift) modest proposal – that cable/satellite providers do some of their own cord cutting.
  • Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape – I support alternate interpretations of non-fictional accounts, leveraging franchises, and building brands; I don’t follow the logic in remaking (already well-done) films – why mess with success?
  • Excelerate – The concept of running your office (literally and figuratively) and your responsibilities so that anyone can step into your shoes is hardly a daily driving mantra; we all like to think that we’re irreplaceable and maybe even think that the uniqueness of our role and how we perform it provides job security; it just ain’t so.
  • Greater Sliced Bread – Niche website or web portal; banner ads, pre-rolls, or overlays; subscription or micro-payments – these are the talk of the (internet) town; but regarding website viability, where’s the discussion of design, usability, and functionality?
  • Growing Pains – As a media consultant who offers financial, operational, and strategic expertise, I’m the balancing act to the creatives and entrepreneurs; though I have a great appreciation and understanding for the creative’s thoughts and vision.
  • Hire and Lo – I’ve been on both sides of the hiring table and you would think being on the hiring side would be the higher experience, but that’s not always the case.
  • I Get the Music –Part I – And so as intrigued as I am about music discovery, I am also excited, puzzled, under and overwhelmed about how to efficiently source the music I need, today. Life used to be simple as I was satiated by the musical offerings of commercial radio….
  • I Get the Music – Part II – “Part I,” the initial installment of this column, included a retrospective journey of consumers’ options for music discovery and concluded with a search request for the prime means of 21st Century music sourcing.  There used to be a funnel that caught volumes of music produced across many genres and it was fed to us via finite listening opportunities.  The music funnel’s narrow stem is now as wide as its mouth.
  • I’m Not A Lawyer; and I Don’t Play One on the Internet – In the history of the world, no one has ever read an internet’s site Terms of Service or Privacy Policy.  If the lawyers insist upon writing a document that requires a law degree to understand, then the average consumer shouldn’t be expected to adhere to it.
  • I’ve Been (TV) Everywhere – There isn’t the time nor the money to fully consume the cavalcade of original programming. In the new television world, we’re not going to access and pay for it all – and be just fine with that.
  • (Information) High(way) Plains Drifter – The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is proposing rules on whether delivery of content over the internet can be prioritized by internet service providers and content distributors. This is really a decision of who do you trust less – the government or private enterprise.
  • Life is Risk – The entertainment business wins and loses with the inherent risk of creativity; and with the risk of extrinsic marketplace forces.  A successful creative project, combined with favorable market forces can still produce only average or mediocre results.
  • Namely Speaking – Even before the financial meltdown of 2008, I had queried my professional media industry colleagues, especially those in marketing, sports, and sponsorship, of the cost/benefit of stadium and arena naming rights; no one has provided a definitive answer; mostly it’s a “it can’t really be quantified” response.
  • Occupy Cable Television – While consumers just successfully pulled an Occupy Verizon Wireless, forcing Verizon Wireless to retreat from a plan to charge certain customers $2 to pay bills over the phone, it is inconceivable to me why there are not Occupy Time Warner Cable and Occupy MSG Network movements.   The latest cable provider vs. cable programmer feud  begs for consumers to rise up and initiate an Occupy Cable Television movement.
  • Own the Audience – The entertainment, news, and information content world is fragmented, by the expansion of offerings and the convenience of accessibility; it is harder and harder to attract, hold, and retain an audience – so you had better be focused on a target, hit it, and own it.
  • Pitch n Putz – Too often entrepreneurs or company executives are too close to their projects to articulate the value proposition and/or are poor presenters to effectively prepare and deliver their own pitches.
  • Porridge. Mush. All the Children Have Mush – Today’s mélange of media measurement metrics are a mush of alternatives. I could spend half of this column naming acronyms and buzzwords, from views, impressions, uniques, clicks, and subscribers, to engagement, shareability and percentage watched, but we will only agree that no one agrees on how to measure digital print and digital video content.
  • Rogue Wave – To be first to market, do entertainment industry corporations need to act more nimbly, entrepreneurially, and (Dick) Cheney-esque?
  • So You Think You Can Beat Us All By Yourself? – Bugs Bunny is a successful one man team in Baseball Bugs but unless you are a cartoon superhero, the vision of an entrepreneur can only become reality through teamwork and effective leadership.
  • Screen Pass – With consumers’ attention scattered, media placement has followed.  Let’s see how ad saturation has impacted the consumer.
  • Suit-Up Sooner Than Later – Real life experience has shown that utilizing financial expertise at every step of your business’ life saves money, reduces risk and volatility, facilitates balanced decision-making, and allows founders to focus on their specialties.
  • Team Make-Up – The leadership team can include individuals with great expertise and ideal experience in sales, product, marketing, strategy, finance, technology, advertising, legal, etc., but keeping this orchestra from creating atonal music often means managing personalities, egos, behaviors, tempers, nerves, and stresses.
  • The Tail That Wags The (Well) Dog(gie) – If the cable, programming, and broadcast channel companies think that buying the digital companies, that are grabbing the eyeballs and ad/subscription dollars, will be the tail that wags the (well) dog(gie), then I’ll again invoke Jed Clampett, that’s “Like trying to poke a cat out from under a porch with a wet rope.”
  • The Telephone Hour – Social networking works for you when the ad campaign, the product/service, and the brand management strategies astutely incorporate it.
  • The Winter of Our Content Distribution Discontent – I see that wall of water as two metaphors in the media/entertainment industry.  First, the wall of water is the technological devices and enhancements that are flooding the marketplace and changing the means of content delivery.  Second, the wall of water is the tide shift in consumers’ control to demand of their content providers how, when, where, and at what price the content is served.  Water seeks its own level; let’s consider the state of supply/demand equilibrium of content distribution.
  • Ticket to Ride – If I stop going to concerts and music festivals, then every musician I like retired or is dead. I take great pleasure in attending live concerts and festivals, sports, and theatre – I’ll travel significant distances for great events. The excitement of attending live performance, however, is tainted by the overwhelming feeling of being gouged at every angle of venue related interaction. The announcement of the Ticketmaster and Live Nation merger has churned up the ire of the fan’s plight.
  • Tiers of a Clown – Consumers, cable/satellite providers, and programmers have each taken a turn playing the “clown” in the subscription television world. As this entertainment environment experiences consumer driven climate change, the skinny bundle consumer clown will be laughing and the sports programmer clown may be the one shedding tears, unless they embrace the over-the-top (OTT) world.
  • Tryin’ to Make it Real — Compared to What? – The digital content consumption experience has got to be authentic for an audience to become engaged, to remain loyal, and to invoke shareability. Producers, platforms, media buyers, and brands can be so shortsighted (or blind sighted) when it comes to jamming square pegs in round holes of the audience experience. Trying to make it real isn’t good enough because the audience knows what is real by comparison to those who do it better. Making it real will make it worthwhile.
  • Two Scoops of…Bunk? – It does, though, have me vexed and miffed why The Kellogg Company would treat its brand loyal consumers with such disdain.  Let’s examine.
  • What’s Porn is Prologue – With consumers continuing to gain control of the media marketplace, the consumption of adult entertainment content is again driving the marketplace, but this time it is the consumer wagging the distributors’ and content providers’ tails.
  • You Can Act Like a (Wo)Man! – Start-up companies establish company culture and the values and character of the company within the first five staff members. The digital age (anyone’s ability, and propensity, to broadcast their reviews through social media) requires companies, new and mature, to identify and adhere to a company mission and values. Through film characters portrayed by Marlon Brando, John Wayne, and Will Sampson, let’s examine how the values and behavior of individuals are the pillars of a company’s reputation.

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