As a huge fan of "The Wire" I'm eagerly anticipating "Generation Kill", an upcoming miniseries about the Iraq war written and executive produced by David Simon and Ed Burns, the same team behind "The Corner" and "The Wire". Click here to learn more.
Of all the things I've read this morning about Steve Job's Macworld keynote yesterday, Saul Hansell's blog post for the New York Times, Video Podcasts: The Sleeping Gaint on AppleTV, provides the most interesting insight into how the media landscape is likely to change.
Hansell writes about the ability of the new Apple TV to view video podcasts:
"Until now, podcasts have been programs to download and watch later, usually on an iPod (hence the name). But the online demo of the Apple TV podcast feature shows that programs can be played on demand.
Suddenly, this lets any TV connected to the $229 Apple TV box
display any of tens of thousands of programs from the Internet. Readers
of this blog have heard it before that free, ad-supported Web video
will ultimately dwarf the $1.99-per-show downloads that Apple is
Apple has no restrictions on distributing podcasts that have
advertising in them. Indeed, Dina Kaplan, the chief operating officer
of Blip.TV, which distributes advertising-supported video programming,
says Apple has gone out of its way to help support its advertising
“They know for independent content creators to work, the ads have to travel to, and work on iTunes,” Ms. Kaplan said.
Now many mainstream broadcasters are starting to distribute some of
their programs—typically not their most profitable—as podcasts, selling
ads on them...
The Apple TV (and other devices) could well create an even better
experience for living room televisions. It could, like a Tivo,
automatically download programs a viewer wants. And it could allow a
viewer to browse a whole range of other programming on demand. In some
ways, the podcasting format resembles the browser for television that many TV watchers have been wishing for. It is an open standard that lets any publisher reach any TV."
Hansell ends the post with a very powerful, and provocative, statement:
"It’s possible video podcast format may start to do to television what the blog format did to text publishing."
By far one of the best scenes in the finale of Mad Men was when Don Draper pitched Kodak on his campaign for "The Wheel". If you missed it, watch below. The scene is pure Hollywood, but never-the-less, it's the presentation that all of us would love to give.
Today, the Academy of Televsion Arts And Sciences announced this year's nominees for the 2007 Emmy Awards, recognizing excellence within various areas of the television industry.
Amongst the programs that received multiple nominees where:
The Starter Wife (USA Network) Monk (USA Network) Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed (The History Channel) Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story Of The Mayflower (The History Channel) Engineering An Empire / Egypt ( The History Channel) Broken Trail (AMC) Hustle (AMC)
A common thread.
ALL were marketed online by ElectricArtists.
It’s a great feeling to be a part of the marketing mix for a group of programs that receive the ultimate in recognition, an Emmy nomination. Congratulations to all of our broadcast and cable clients including USA Network, The History Channel, and AMC. Congratulation also to Terry, Ben, Eric and the entire staff at electricArtists for your terrific ideas and their tireless support in doing our part to create an incredible level of awareness for all of these terrific programs.
One of the things I loved most about watching the show Weeds on Showtime last season, was that each week the theme song (Malvina Reynolds' "Little Boxes") was recorded by a different musician or band. The idea of curating the theme song was just one of a ton of reasons why Weeds was by far my favorite show on television.
The third season of Weeds begins Monday, Aug. 13 with Randy Newman singing the theme song. Other artists announced for Season 3 include Joan Baez,
Donovan, Billy Bob Thornton, The Shins, Michael Franti, The
Individuals, Angelique Kidjo, Kinky and Man Man, and Persephone's Bees. Last seaons musicians included Elvis Costello, Englebert Humperdinck, Death Cab for
Cutie and Regina Spektor.
I can't imagine a more difficult assignment for a marketing or communications agency:
Your Task: Create a campaign that will bring mass awareness, discussion, and ultimately, action.
Your subject: That there's an alarming lack of organ donors in our society and that terminally ill patients are dying each day awaiting transplants.
For advertising and communications agencies, cause-related assignments like these are the most difficult ones. Creating awareness around something that everyone wants to talk about, that's easy. But creating awareness and discussion around something that nobody wants to talk about, that's hard.
With this in mind, I was riveted all week by the mounting outrage and controversy that has been growing around "The Big Donor Show", a Dutch reality program that aired in the Netherlands on Friday night.
If you haven't yet heard about "The Big Donor Show", here's a bit of background.
"The Big Donor Show" was developed by Endemol, the same production company that created the reality tv shows "Big Brother" and "Fear Factor". For "The Big Donor Show" viewers were asked to text message in their votes to choose which of three contestants, "Lisa" a terminally ill cancer patient, would donate her kidney. The premise of the show is that the contestant who gets the most votes from viewers gets the kidney and is allowed to survive, while the two others who don't will likely die.
As soon as the "The Big Donor Show" was announced, the Dutch government tried to stop it from airing, calling it tasteless and disgusting. Newspapers around the world decried the show as a complete travesty.
Julia Raeside of the Guardian newspaper was quoted as saying:
"My first reaction, probably everyone's reaction, is that this is as dangerously near as we've got to a TV programme playing God. People may live or die on the result of a game show. It's a step too far. I don't think this is anything to do with reality TV. It's just a crazy idea that would never play out over here."
But as the controversy intensified all last week, BNN, the Dutch broadcaster airing the show defended their decision.
Laurens Drillich, the Chairman of BNN, told the BBC:
"The chance for a kidney for the contestants is 33%. This is much higher than that for people on a waiting list. We think that is disastrous, so we are acting in a shocking way to bring attention to this problem."
As I read the articles about the show that where popping up on the internet all last week, as a marketer I was absolutely fascinated. Fascinated because, as the controversy surrounding the show grew, people all over the world were for the first time becoming aware of the lack of organ donors. In all of the outrage there was discussion. And in the discussion, there was information.
And then on Friday night, the whole story got even more interesting. It was revealed during the show that they whole thing was actually an elaborate hoax and that "Lisa" - the terminally ill donor - was a paid (and extremely healthy) actress,
When I heard that BNN had deceived the media, the public, and the Dutch government, I realized that it could not have been a better ending to the story. The whole thing could not have been more provocative. And because of this, it captured people's attention.
For BNN, airing the show was personal. Five years ago last Friday, Bart de Graeff, a former director at BNN a Dutch television broadcaster, died of kidney failure while waiting for a donor. He was only 35 years old.
We're conditioned to believe that the only reason for a broadcast network to air sensationalized programming is to generate ratings to deliver to its advertisers. But for BNN, airing "The Big Donor" on Friday night had less to do with selling airtime to advertisers. BNN was on a mission to educate. It was a cause that they felt passionate about because it was something close to home.
So, how effective was the whole thing?
The media impressions the controversy generated is sure to be in the hundreds of millions.
The show itself was watched by 1.2 million people.
But for me, the most important stat is this one:
Over 12,000 people signed on to be organ donors during the course of the show.
To learn more about how to become a transplant donor, click here.