We don’t know what the final destination is, but we are guided by a philosophical and deep belief in the power of good thinking, the power of good ideas… With TED, the end of the talk should not be the end of the idea, but just the beginning.

David Hochman's excellent New York Times profile of TED curator Chris Anderson.  (via explore-blog)

Inspired by TED, we hold our mini conference every other week. Each session is hosted by a different B/T employee, so we get to learn what inspires folks across the agency. We call it MPowered.

10 predictions for the future of TV

As a media first marketing company, it’s important for us to follow the developments in how people consume information. As Zachary Weiner, author of this article, indicates, you can get many different opinions about the changing nature of TV.

He says:

"TV is rapidly becoming upended during a period of intense evolution and convergence. Others believe that small shifts have resulted in only minor changes. The truth is that the current and future nature of television is vastly complex and undergoing what could best be described as an ongoing yet subtle disruption. There has been no great “black and white to color” shift that has occurred, but a plethora of changes in consumer behavior and technology have set the gears in motion to change and converge television, the digital landscape, entertainment media, and the marketing that falls behind them all.” (Emphasis added.)

This article skews a bit more B2C, but has relevance for B2B audiences, as well, as it is an indicator of a larger change in the media consumption landscape.

Below are the ten big predictions that Weiner makes. The important insights are within the meat of the article. Read more here.

  1. Video will be consumed everywhere and at all times.
  2. Viewers will deepen socialization across connected devices.
  3. Transmedia storytelling will become more engaging.
  4. long-form ad consumption will flourish.
  5. Blendable reality will become the next entertainment experience.
  6. Connected TV/smart TV will change the nature of the living room experience.
  7. Programmatic media buys will become the norm.
  8. Nearly all programming will go multiscreen.
  9. Big data will change the entire programming and production experience.
  10. User-experience demands will make many new technologies falter.

Share content in multiple formats

Kyle Lacy of ExactTarget shares a concise message with us: share your content in multiple formats. An idea can be expressed in multiple ways and different sections of your audience will want to consume it in different ways.

Always start with the audience, start with the channel.

It’s based on a quote from Peter Drucker: ”There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently what should not be done at all.”

Stealthily, Comcast Fortifies Its Arsenal

When big media news breaks, we can count on David Carr from the NYTimes.

His cutting-through-the-BS research coupled with his concise writing style can help anyone gain a deeper understanding of how big decisions are made.

Last week, Comcast announced it was merging with Time Warner: big news for anyone who consumes content, and a big surprise to many. How will the affect media buying? It’s too soon to tell, but it’s our job to stay abreast to all changes in the media world. We turn to folks like Carr to help sort through the importance of a change like this.

In this article, Carr discusses the regulatory politics behind Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner: 

Foremost, Comcast already has a huge regulatory win in the bank. Its proposed acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2009 was met with abundant skepticism, with consumer advocates contending that control over both so much content and distribution gave it too much market power. The company maneuvered its way past those hurdles and won approval by making some concessions and commitments, and it is in an even stronger position today.

Consider that one of the Federal Communications Commission regulators who approved the NBCUniversal deal, Meredith Attwell Baker, now works for Comcast as a lobbyist. Since that deal, there has been a change in leadership at the commission, and it is now run by Tom Wheeler, who was previously a chief lobbyist for the cable industry. (Comcast is among the biggest spenders on lobbying, having written checks for $18 million in 2013 alone.)

He discusses the state of the cable industry today:

Cable is a necessary evil that works best when we can exercise consumer choice. I live in northern New Jersey and used to be a Comcast customer — I dumped it after one of its technicians pointed to the cable running through the trees and said I might not have a great connection when the wind was blowing. I switched to Verizon FiOS’s fiber-optic service and have been very happy since. (Not cheap, but it works.) When, you might ask, will the fiber-optic future arrive at your house? How about never? Does never sound good?

No, it does not. But much of the cable market has already been divided up — as the executives behind the merger noted, Time Warner and Comcast do not overlap in any markets, and Verizon has previously agreed not to expand. Comcast, which will now have less competition, will have less motivation to invest in building out infrastructure like fiber-optic networks at the expense of its shareholders.

Prop to Lead Planner Kelly Kilpatrick for breaking this story internally, sharing these two stories:

With nearly 450K twitter followers, David Carr’s reach is wide. He was the inadvertent star of the 2011 documentary Page One.

Facebook, Paper, Origami

Facebook developed a new app called Paper, which basically gives you a better mobile experience with the social network. It’s kind of like Flipboard, but for Facebook only. It’s super smooth and exactly the type of change Facebook should make if it wants to stay hip. Download on iTunes here.

But what’s really interesting about this announcement is that, in order to create Paper, Facebook created a new app design/development program. It’s called Origami, and they’ve released it to the public for free. This seems like a good way for Facebook to continue evolving in a way people want it to evolve—sharing the power to create with their audience.

Insights from FastCoDesign:

Facebook developed Origami to be a rapid prototyping tool for interfaces, to allow its designers to create and test complex, original animations without the help of the coding team.

[…]

“Before we started using Origami, we designed using Photoshop—static mockups, arranged next to each other. We’d present them to management and each other in that format,” explains Facebook Product Designer Brandon Walkin. “I think our products reflected that.”

Origami is a powerful counterpoint to Photoshop, just as Paper is a powerful counterpoint to Facebook’s standard app.

The process outlined above brings the interactive experience to the forefront of the design considerations, allowing designers to work in a more realistic sandbox than just Photoshop alone. During his stay at the Artifact Conference this past fall, our Digital Art Director Brent Layton was exposed to the benefits of this type of process, and has been working hard to design our projects within this type of framework.

Props to Nicole Trieste for the discovery.

Invite only ad network: The Deck

Ever cruised through Swiss Miss or Kottke? Maybe Waxy is your jam …

Well the ads on the side of these blogs—rather, the single ad on the side of the page—it’s brought to you by The Deck.

The Deck is an ad network brought to you by Jim Coudal (of Coudal Partners, co-producer of Field Notes brand notebooks). It’s an untraditional network geared toward an audience of creative, web, and design professionals. You cannot apply to be a part of the group. You must be invited. It’s a simple idea with the potential to reach a very specific market.

Here’s how they describe their network:

WELL-VETTED

We’re picky about the advertising we’ll accept. We won’t take an ad unless we have paid for and/or used the product or service. Sell us something relevant to our audience and we’ll sell you an ad.

ONE IMPRESSION AT A TIME

With the exception of “roadblocks,” which we’ll discuss later, there are only thirty-three advertising slots available each month for the entire Deck. Only a single ad will be shown for each page viewed.

In essence, buying a month on The Deck gives you an exclusive showing on three percent of all the pages viewed for that month across all fifty-two sites and services. And there won’t be Google or other third-party ads diluting your exposure. The Deck ad is the only ad on the page.

A buy in The Deck reaches the creative community on the web in an uncluttered, controlled environment, far more valuable than a standard banner or a single text ad among dozens of others. Current Deck ads are also listed on this page and displayed here.

COST PER INFLUENCE

We’re not selling The Deck based on page views or hits or click-through, but if we were, the CPM for a buy here would be priced well below industry norms. Most media who say “we don’t sell on the numbers” do so because they don’t have the numbers to support their rates. That’s certainly not the case with The Deck, as a group the network serves up over one hundred million impressions each month. All that being said, it’s not about “cost-per-thousand,” it’s about “cost-per-influence.”

The loyal, regular readers of the fifty-two sites and services consist of web publishers, writers, developers, editors, reporters and bloggers as well as influential designers and art directors. Plus, the aggregate audience is made up of writers, photographers, illustrators, students, filmmakers, typographers, artists, animators, musicians, coders, designers and many other creative professionals.

IN THE DETAILS

The thirty-three ads each month are in rotation across all fifty-two sites and services. The ads are 120 pixels wide by 90 pixels tall and also allow for up to 80 characters of text to accompany the image which allows advertisers to make their ads a bit more graphic, so to speak.

PRICING AND ROADBLOCKS

The current rate for ads is $8900 USD per slot per month and this rate is valid through March 31, 2014. Additionally, marketers who desire 100% of the page views on the network for a given day or days may be able to purchase a “roadblock” for $8900 USD per day. Roadblocks are ideal for product or service launches and other time sensitive communications like movie openings and conferences.