That indie article

newsprintgarbage.jpgI’ve been wondering what to do with the asinine piece that appeared in The Hollywood Reporter that seems to hang the failure of independent movies on their inability to get a major newspaper reviewer (assuming they haven’t been fired) to write about them. I had some good stuff, mostly vitriol and righteous indignation, about how online matters for these smaller films more than print because that’s where the niche enthusiasts are but instead I’ll just point you to the fantastic piece Mark Bell at FilmThreat has written.

The only thing I’m going to add is that once again distribution plays a role in this. If those online niche fans were able to find a movie they were looking for online and rent it or download it there this would be a much different discussion. But we haven’t reached the point where that’s a viable solution for everyone. It’s coming, though, and everyone better be paying attention.

Forget spending, go for enthusiasts

jointheconversationcoversmaller.JPGIra Teinowitz has a short post up at AdAge about how political candidates aren’t living or dying by their online ad spending or result-based metrics. Instead those that are succeeding are the ones with a powerful base of online enthusiasts.

The same can be true of any product or brand. Yes, TV advertising is still the best way to generate mass awareness. But you cannot – cannot! – discount the power of online communities when it comes to engagement and actually moving product off of shelves.

As Mack Collier said the other day on Twitter, 1,000 enthusiasts will trump your ad spending every day. And because the Internet is searchable while TV is not, their enthusiasm is going to live on and appear when people are doing research on your brand or product, having an impact long after your campaign has faded or your outreach efforts have subsided.

It is, as Mack says, about the conversation and not the tools. People are using these tools to further the conversation, yes, but they’re just tools. The table I make isn’t about the hammer I use to build it. The table is what matters, as is the role it plays in my life.

So forget about worrying about having an “X strategy” and just talk. Build those relationships and embrace and empower those enthusiasts. There’s power there.

Fooling around with FriendFeed

friendfeed.JPGBecause I’m trying to find an elegant way to create a single funnel for my entire online identity I’ve been playing around with FriendFeed a little bit lately. If you’re not familiar with FriendFeed I’d highly recommend you read Lifehacker’s post explaining it and, if you have multiple places you blog or are otherwise appearing online give it a try.

It’s pretty simple to use. You set up a profile by plugging in the feeds of your various online outlets and it all gets delivered to one profile page. You can then subscribe to the feeds of friends and see what they’re putting out all in one place.

It’s not perfect to be sure but it’s pretty cool and certainly the best of the “life aggregators” I’ve come across to date.

Here’s my FriendFeed profile page for you to check out to see what it looks like.

WB chilly toward movies on Hulu

hulu.JPGIn a conversation with AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, Warner Bros. SVP Jim Wuthrich said his studio would not be providing movies to Hulu.com any time soon despite the appearance of WB television programming there.

TV is one thing, Wuthrich says, and the site is great for showing off some shows and hopefully getting people to buy DVD sets. But it’s “too early” he says for people to be accepting of ad-supported movies.

I see his point in that ad-supported movies are far from the norm and, indeed, trying out such a model for movies has really only begun. But that doesn’t mean they can’t try. What have they got to lose? Especially if the ads weren’t interrupting the movie but instead consisted of pre- and post-roll spots along with banners and other formats surrounding the player.

Wuthrich’s comments come on the heel of numbers showing a significant portion of the online audience is anxious for online availability of movies and other long-form video content.

There’s certainly nothing saying online video ad models have to replicate those of television and other existing media. Indeed just about everything out there shows traditional models are just apt to honk people off when used online and are less effective.

It’s up to Warner and other studios to try this stuff out for themselves but I’m a fan of testing the viability of something new before dismissing it out of hand based on one person’s feeling of what the market will or won’t support.