Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A bit more randomness on a Wednesday

Hitachi unveils world's first terabyte DVD recorder
Japan's Hitachi Ltd. on Wednesday unveiled the world's first hard disk drive/DVD recorder that can store one terabyte of data, or enough to record about 128 hours of high-definition digital broadcasting.

Hitachi, Japan's largest electronics conglomerate, is still a relatively small player in the DVD recorder market, trailing industry leaders Matsushita Industrial Co. Ltd., Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. But it hopes its new lineup, which also includes models able to store 160 gigabytes, 250 gigabytes and 500 gigabytes of data, will help boost its market share and turn its loss-making DVD recorder business profitable in October-March, the second half of the business year. EDITOR’S NOTE: SO….DOES SIZE MATTER?

For the Niche Film Audience, Studios Are Appealing by Blog
Movie studios typically advertise on television and in newspapers in search of the biggest possible opening-weekend audience. For a new film, "The Constant Gardener," Focus Features is intent on building its audience in a different way: by taking aim at readers of niche Web sites and blogs. EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE WE ARE…..SMALL AND SPECIAL. PANDER TO US!

Focus, an art-house unit of Universal Pictures, has purchased ads for "The Constant Gardener" on the political blog Wonkette, as well as the Web sites of politically oriented publications like Harper's, The Nation and National Review. EDITOR’S NOTE: AND NOT ON THE DWEEBLETTER?! (HARUMPH)

James Schamus, a co-president of the studio, says that such sites draw the sort of people most likely to appreciate the film, a conspiracy thriller based on a John le Carré novel about pharmaceutical companies operating in Africa.

"We looked for the places that sophisticated moviegoers seek out to find things that interest them," Mr. Schamus said. "These are the people who are engaged with the world, who are informed about the big conspiracies going on out there." EDITOR’S NOTE: SO THEY’RE NOT LOOKING FOR SOPHISTICATED MOVIE-GOERS NECESSARILY, BUT PARANOIDS AND THE POLITICALLY DISENFRANCHISED?

Ever since the release of "The Blair Witch Project" in 1999, movie studios have strived, and failed, to replicate the groundbreaking Internet campaign that made that film a marketing phenomenon. These new ad campaigns on the Web suggest that studios are becoming more determined to identify and reach niche audiences online.

An independent distributor, ThinkFilm, has taken a similar approach with the dirty-joke documentary "The Aristocrats," buying prominent banners at the bawdy gossip sites and, as well as on sites like The Onion and
ThinkFilm's vice president for marketing, David Fenkel, said: "Some movies just lend themselves to online advertising. 'The Aristocrats' is dirty, it's obscene and it's unrated, which is sort of like the Internet itself." EDITOR’S NOTE: SYNERGY! (AND PROTECTION FOR THE REST OF US)!

Seth Godin, an author and speaker on marketing, said that Focus was "clearly ahead of the curve" in seeking an audience based on online behavior. EDITOR’S NOTE: HOW SAD IS IT THAT THIS IS PERCEIVED AS ‘AHEAD OF THE CURVE’? I MEAN, SHOULDN’T THIS BE OLD HAT BY NOW?

Mr. Godin cited a report from comScore Media Metrix, EDITOR’S NOTE: OOO…I HATE THIS WORD! (WELL, NON-WORD) saying that blog readers visit almost twice as many Web pages as the average Internet user. "We know that people visiting a blog are more likely to take action" he said, "to click on a link or buy online." EDITOR’S NOTE: SO PANDER TO US! WE ARE SUCKERS FOR PANDERING. (AND ENABLING AND SUCKING UP. AND CHOCOLATE).

In particular, the ads for "The Constant Gardener" seem to seek out people who distrust multinational corporations. The banner contains the taglines "The corruption is contagious" and "The conspiracy is global," and links to the film's Web site, where snippets of dialogue about "payoffs, cover-ups, unmarked graves" can be heard in the trailer.

Joseph Jaffe, the president of Jaffe L.L.C., a marketing consulting firm in Westport, Conn., agreed. "The movie is about getting people to talk about a social issue," he said. "Blog readers want to be able to respond and add their own points of view.

"The goal is to find and engage a very small subset of influential thinkers and opinion leaders." EDITOR’S NOTE: AND LIKE THE VIRUS THAT WE ARE, WE’LL PASS IT ON.

The "Aristocrats" ad also invites visitors to submit their own version of the film's unprintable
joke. ThinkFilm, which has an advertising budget well below the $30 million that major studios typically spend, is hoping that this interactive component can propel an ad throughout the Web, creating a cost-effective campaign. EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS WILL WORK FOR A WHILE. AND THEN, IT WILL BE OLD NEWS AND WE WILL IGNORE THEM. (AND A GOOD AD CAMPAIGN STILL CAN’T MAKE UP FOR A BAD MOVIE. ASK THE FOLKS WHO DID “THE HULK”).

Mr. Fenkel would not disclose the budget for the "Aristocrats" campaign but said Web advertising came in at roughly 5 percent of the total ad budget, higher than the industry average of 2.2 percent in 2004.

But as Mr. Jaffe noted, even studios with ample budgets have used interactive strategies, as New Line did for "Wedding Crashers" with its Trailer Crashers game allowing users to insert images of themselves into the movie trailer. "You can be sure that a good percentage of people who saw the movie came across this game online," Mr. Jaffe said.

Web advertisements will not eclipse print and broadcast ads anytime soon. But at a time when blanket ad purchases seem ready to decline in tandem with box office receipts, studios may look more and more to the Internet to find audiences. "It's the opposite of buying a spread in a newspaper or a slew of 30-second slots on TV," Mr. Jaffe said. "Studios need to stop trying to reach the most people and focus on reaching the best people." EDITOR’S NOTE: WELL, JUST THROWING GOBS OF MONEY AT IT MIGHT SEEM LIKE FUN, BUT IT’S NEVER BEEN THE BEST IDEA. MARKETING THE MOVIES HEWS TO THE MEDIOCRE MIDDLE THE SAME WAY THE MOVIES THEMSELVES DO.


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