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Archive for May, 2011

Prepare to Be Curated

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In an interview published at ReelSeo, curation guru Steve Rosenbaum recounts advice he gave NewYork Magazine about the publication’s attempts to use online video

They were producing one awesome video a week; but that was all the video they were putting on their website each week, and they were getting relatively little traffic from it. They came to use and told us, “our ad sales guys want more videos, we want more traffic; but can’t afford to make any more [videos], what should we do?” And we said to them, “Well, let’s see – what are the things you care about? You care about food, fashion, social life, the environment, and urban New York.”

We said to them, “let’s take a gamble that there are probably lots of videos out there on YouTube, Metacafe, Daily Motion, etc., that fit your editorial trajectory, if you will.  And people aren’t going to YouTube and typing in ‘New York City jazz club,’ you know, ‘Lower East Side.’  But they are coming to New York Magazine and looking for a video and information about these things.”  So, we gave them the tools to search the web broadly, and then provide a curated collection to their users. So today if you go to New York Magazine, you’ll see literally hundreds of new videos every week – hundreds and hundreds – of which they make one or two.” [emphasis in original].

There’s an interesting idea here for organizations or businesses that are considering the use of online video in their marketing efforts: if publications like NewYork Magazine are going to be “curating” videos for their readers, then producing videos that will be curated is a potential path to exposure.

As we’ve noted, we think the curation idea is not really new, but as long as web publications are going to allow themselves to be talked into trying doing it, someone has to produce the videos that are going to get curated.

Might as well be your business or organization.

Think of the publications that cover your industry or activity and look to see if they are curating videos yet. Consider, perhaps, encouraging them to do so.

Written by Arbour Media

May 31st, 2011 at 10:41 am

The Old Wine in New Bottles Effect

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One of the oldest gimmicks in marketing and academe is to try and make an old idea seem new and different by dressing it up new words.

The point to the exercise is, of course, that if the marketeer/salesperson/huckster/PhD candidate can convince you something is new and different, then it’s easier to sell it to you—it and all the tools, accessories, and training that go with it.

One example: The Heath brothers added duct tape to Aristotle’s more than 2000-year-old Rhetoric and got Made to Stick. The old idea is that there are some tested ways to be persuasive and if you study and learn them you’ll be more persuasive. The Heath’s repackaging of rhetoric led to a best-seller (and, yes, they’ll sell you the Made-to-Stick training).

Now comes along the idea of video curation.

What’s video curation, you ask?

As near as we can tell it’s aggregation of of video at a website by someone with enough expertise about the subject matter of the videos to judge the accurate from inaccurate, the true from the false.

We need video curation, we are told, because we are confronted with so much information these days we just need help sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

Of course there is a book and website, Curation Nation, that explains how this idea is the solution to the “Data Deluge” (alliteration is important in Curation Nation) is now essential to business and how it will make you rich, or at least help you not succumb to the competition.

Of course the author of the book, Steven Rosenbaum (“a passionate advocate for the power of curation to return balance to our lives, a new ‘human powered’ focus to the web” we are told on the book’s website) will be happy to come speak to your organization or at your event.

Of course there are curation tools and services to buy. There are now even curation platforms.

“Curation” is a current business buzz word and a growing industry, it appears.

What’s the old idea here?

Editors and experts are useful people to have hanging about. They can sort out and organize information based on the credibility and authority of its sources. “Curation” is good because, other things being equal, it’s better to pay attention to information that’s true more than information that’s not.

Implicit in this old idea is another: if you want to attract attention in a way that will build long-term relationships and trust, take care that what you say is credible and can withstand editorial scrutiny.

Truth is multiplier.


Written by Arbour Media

May 31st, 2011 at 9:00 am

Posted in Arbour Media,Ideas,Strategy

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In 3D Fizzle, a Lesson?

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An article in the New York Times today reports that some in Hollywood are a mite worried that 3D might not be everything they cracked it up to be. It appears that filmgoers may be balking at the higher prices charged for 3D movie tickets, but, the article notes

. . . there is also a deeper problem: 3-D has provided an enormous boost to the strongest films, including “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland,” but has actually undercut middling movies that are trying to milk the format for extra dollars.

“Audiences are very smart,” said Greg Foster, the president of Imax Filmed Entertainment. “When they smell something aspiring to be more than it is, they catch on very quickly.”

No kidding, of course they do. A pig in lipstick is still a pig.

There’s not  a substitute for a good story, and, however often Hollywood seems to forget it, story is the reason why people go to the movies.

In a commercial context, the message is there is no real substitute for substance. If you don’t have something of interest to say, as we advise our clients,  no amount of eye candy,—even 3D eye candy—is going to help much. On the other hand, if you have a compelling message, or story, your audience will forgive a multitude of sins.


Written by Arbour Media

May 30th, 2011 at 9:18 am

Thank You

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We’d like to thank the Lancaster Firemen’s Association for giving us full access to their Fire Expo 2011 event in Harrisburg over the weekend. While there we shot some of the first sequences for The Pennsylvania Fire Show. We spent three days at the Expo learning about fire equipment and the vendors who sell it the fire-fighter and fire departments in Pennsylvania.

The first segment to get finished, an interview with Terryl Curler of Simulation Technologies LLC, is now online at YouTube.

Written by Arbour Media

May 24th, 2011 at 6:10 am

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BBC: Is the internet going to be the death of television?

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For a slightly more skeptical view of the potential of online video to destroy the cable TV business, this article from the BBC is worth a look.

The US pay TV market had suffered its first ever drop in subscribers. In the end the economy was roundly found to blame, with cable packages being sacrificed as families were forced to tighten their belts.

But some commentators pointed to this as the inevitable result of the growth of on demand and over the top offerings available on the internet.

So is technology killing what we think of as traditional television – and taking pay TV operators with it?

It’s a confusing picture. Nielsen, who track US television viewing habits, have reported a drop in television ownership – albeit from 98.9% to 96.7%. DVD sales are falling, while Netflix recently overtook cable operator Comcast to become the biggest subscription video service in North America.

IMS Research however is predicting digital cable TV subscribers in the US will increase by 7.8m between 2010 and 2015.



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May 13th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Kill the Cable Bill

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We ran across a website previously unkown to us,, which according to a recent interview of the site’s founder Dave Kennedy, is

an informational resource that provides industry trend analysis, product / service reviewsonline video guide ), and simple but cost effective ways to make the transition from standard Cable to Online TV. This site is for people who want to decrease how much they spend on standard TV programing, while taking advantage of low cost Online TV.

Kennedy started the site after a recent financial setback led him to cancel his cable TV subscription and look for alternatives. He says he found himself overwhelemed by information on TV without cable, and so decided to pull together information on the topic and offer it via a website. “With cable costs going up,” he says,

and the economy getting worse, many people are finding that canceling cable is the only thing that make sense. With this growing demand for Online TV, vendors are popping out of the woodwork – all promising to fulfill this need. The problem is that most of the sites, services, and products out there only offer partial solutions, or no solution at all. Through my research I realized that there is a growing need for clarity in this space. And that people just like me, needed help making this complex transition from standard cable to Online TV.

In one post to the site, Kennedy gives his “Top Five Reasons to Cancel Cable”.  The first three:

1. TIME: Too much television is a waste of time. If you cancel cable and only watch those programs that are important, you can spend more time with the people we love.

2. MONEY: a cable or satellite subscription costs at least two times as much (on a monthly basis) as it does to utilize Hulu and Netflix. When times are tough the first thing that needs to go is entertainment. But if you can get the same entertainment at a fraction of the cost – then that is even better!

3. TECHNOLOGY: Streaming Video is the way of the future. Before long all video entertainment will be via an online connection. Might as well get on-board now, learn the tricks, and save money in the process.

Kennedy’s site is yet another indication that online video is likely to completely transform the way video content is consumed, and, ultimately, produced.

Doing a bit of searching on this topic led us to this interesting set of interviews with folks who “cut the cord” over at gigaom

Written by Arbour Media

May 13th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Reel SEO Launches Regular Legal Advice for Online Video Producers

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One of the advantages to working with an established producer it that the firm should  be able to help you navigate the many potential legal liabilities — such as the right of publicity discussed in the the following vide — that may arise in the production process.

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May 9th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

The Boonies Film Festival in Warren PA

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We were trolling the internet the other day and ran across the site for The Boonies International Film Festival in Warren PA. We love this idea, partly because we tried to get something similar started in Lewisburg several years ago but the idea fell on largely deaf ears. We salute the chutzpah of the event’s organizers. According to the festival website:

The Boonies International, an independent film festival for filmmakers of all ages, is motivated by our mission to create and develop film and educational opportunities and events.

The Boonies International 2011 will present the films and stories of filmmakersfrom around the world.

The Boonies 2011 will also shine a light on independent music, a wealth of art mediums and the future of technology — now. Artists everywhere can take part in this planet-wide grassroots phenomenon.

Education is inherent in The Boonies International. The Boonies has developed educational value into all aspects of the festival. Our broad encouragement of the arts includes the support of our local fringe and traditional arts through ourdonations to The Allegheny Center for the Arts (ACA). Because the ACA is also education driven and arts focused, the two non-profits are ideal partners. Ourestablishment of a “Scholarship Fund” for those studying the arts was one of our first acts as an organization. Scholarships are awarded annually to selected students.

Need we say that this kind of effort is something that the internet makes possible in a way it was never possible before?

Written by Arbour Media

May 4th, 2011 at 7:31 am

TV Ownership Declines 2% in US Says the Nielsen Company

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In a story with interesting implications for the growth of online video, the New York Times reports today that

The Nielsen Company, which takes TV set ownership into account when it produces ratings, will tell television networks and advertisers on Tuesday that 96.7 percent of American households now own sets, down from 98.9 percent previously.

There are two reasons for the decline, according to Nielsen. One is poverty: some low-income households no longer own TV sets, most likely because they cannot afford new digital sets and antennas.

The other is technological wizardry: young people who have grown up with laptops in their hands instead of remote controls are opting not to buy TV sets when they graduate from college or enter the work force, at least not at first. Instead, they are subsisting on a diet of television shows and movies from the Internet.

That second reason is prompting Nielsen to think about a redefinition of the term “television household” to include Internet video viewers.

“We’ve been having conversations with clients,” said Pat McDonough, the senior vice president for insights and analysis at Nielsen. “That would be a big change for this industry, and we’d be doing it in consultation with clients if we do it.” [emphasis added]

The decline marks the first time in 20 years that television ownership has fallen in the U.S.

According to the report:

“While Nielsen data demonstrates that consumers are viewing more video content across all platforms — rather than replacing one medium with another — a small subset of younger, urban consumers seem to be going without paid TV subscriptions for the time being. The long-term effects of this are still unclear, as it is undetermined if this is also an economic issue that will see these individuals entering the TV marketplace once they have the means, or the beginning of a larger shift to online viewing.”

While the Times speculates the small declines means that TV will be at the center of  American homes for some time to come, we think that Nielsen is positioning itself for a future in which the audience for video becomes at least as significant as the cable and broadcast  audience.

As we’ve noted before, the “TV”  revolution won’t be televised.

Nielsen’s press release on the subject is available at the Nielsen website.

Written by Arbour Media

May 3rd, 2011 at 7:06 am

Cable on iPad and the Future of “Television”

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The technology news blog Gigaom has posted an interesting article on Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision’s experiments with making their cable TV offerings available via iPad apps.

In the first 5 days its iPad app was available, says Cablevsion, it was downloaded 50,000 times.  Time Warner’s iPad app was downloaded 360,000 times in the first month of its availability, and Comcast’s iPad offering has been downloaded 1.5 million times since it was released in November 2010.

The bottom line meaning of these numbers, according to Gigaom:

Cable subscribers are highly amenable to the idea of accessing content on their iPads.

Why is this important?

As it becomes normal for audiences to access cable video programming on iPads or similar devices, they’ll be all the more willing to give any video content they can find a try.

This means, in effect, that programs on Rocketboom, YouTube, CNN, the Discovery Channel, BBC America, Hulu, or any other web- or app-based  channel will be more and more on equal footing in terms of audiences’ access to them.

It means we’re on the cusp of a time in which 1000s of video content channels may bloom–channels that can in theory be created by any individual, organization, or business that has a message to broadcast–and in which audiences will become even more segmented by various interests.

At Arbour Media, we’re ready to help individuals, organizations, or businesses create such channels.

The “TV” revolution won’t be televised.


Written by Arbour Media

May 2nd, 2011 at 12:34 pm