QOTD: 1/30/09

David Parmet:

If your success depends on getting people to ‘do something,’ anything they wouldn’t normally do or be inclined to consider doing, you are going to fail. That includes visit your web site, join your proprietary social network, wear your t-shirts, whatever.

On the other hand, if you can create a compelling case, or give people something that makes perfect sense to them so that they naturally want to participate, you just might be onto something.

The best reason to switch to full-content RSS feeds

Your competitors are already doing it.

If you think I’m going to click to your site when you offer just a headline and a summary when, 25 items farther down in Google Reader I can read a story on the same topic and see in full the graphic you’re only teasing in your feed, you’re wrong.

Movie Journal: Opportunity Knocks

Dana Carvey is, as you’d expect, the primary reason to watch Opportunity Knocks. The movie, released in 1990 (which was actually around the time his popularity on SNL was beginning to wane) casts Carvey as a con-man who goes around pulling small time jobs to keep him and his partner out of debt to a mobster. On the run from that mobster Carvey’s character winds up getting involved in a much bigger con by taking on the identity of an in-demand businessman, a situation that results in him falling in love and eventually forsaking his lay-about lifestyle.

It’s not a great movie – sometimes it can be downright painful to watch and it’s not aged well in the 19 years since its release – but it is funny more often than not and Carvey is quite charming in the role. It’s essentially an outlet for him to pull out a handful of impressions and voices, but that’s exactly what the audience was asking from him at that point. When the humor drops, though, Carvey seems oddly capable of expressing some genuine emotions.

Like many of the movies I’ve been watching lately, Opportunity Knocks is available on Hulu right now so if you’re one of those that saw it when it came out and want to revisit it, now’s your chance.

Get it? The initials are “RFP” – HAH!

I had this idea last night and, because this is the sort of thing you can do on the Internet, I created Real Freelance Professionals. From the introduction:

The idea was born because I began to realize that there are still a lot of companies who are looking for very specific social media marketing guidance, the kind of advice and help that might not necessitate contracting with an agency. Or maybe they just need someone to come in and do an education session.

On the other side of the equation there are a lot of social media marketing types out there who, either because of unemployment or because they have extra time they’re looking to make a little side income during, are looking for the occasional gig where they can do their thing.

Make sense?

I just created this today so there’s nothing there yet, but I’m hoping it will be of use to folks.

And just for the record, everything about it was created for nothing. It’s hosted on a WordPress.com blog and uses Wufoo’s form builder. How about them apples?

Not sure what the scariest part of this picture is

Holy crap.

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Listen to the way he goes on and on in his many media appearances this week. The man actually believes what he’s saying, despite the fact that he apparently has no understanding of constitutional law or anything like that. He’s not insane – he’s fully delusional.

Finding an Audience: Distribution Notes for 1/26/09

movie-ticket-and-popcornMark Cuban acquired a bit more of a stake in the theater chain Carmike Cinemas. Comments from Cuban, who also owns Landmark Theaters, Magnolia Pictures and 2929 Entertainment, show that he’s not just thinking about movies but about using these screens in a way that enhances the out-of-home entertainment experience.

Paul Sweeting at ContentAgenda rightly states that Blu-ray isn’t going to be seen as a revolutionary home video format for long and the studios would do well to start positioning it more reasonably quickly. That’s especially true since consumer spending is falling and they’re not going to be likely to pop for something that, in reality, isn’t all that much better than the DVD player they already have. Of course now that Blu-ray is the only next-gen format in the room it may find itself out-dated before it has a chance to take advantage of that. But it does have many advantages that might help it survive, so decide for yourself what you think.

And the studios better figure out Blu-ray sales plans soon since standard DVD sales are off significantly – even among new releases – in 2008.

Stephen Wildstrom at BusinessWeek revisits the issue of why some classic movies continue to languish without home video releases and looks at some of the tangled business relationships that contribute to those omissions.

Roku’s set-top box is about to connect to Amazon’s Video on Demand service, giving users access to a host of additional movie titles. Roku was previously only partnering with Netflix, and that will continue. If the box is gaining actual consumer momentum look for more functionality/partnership announcements in the future.

Speaking of Netflix, LG has said it will make an HDTV that will stream Netflix’s Watch Now titles diretly to the TV. The added functionality could add a significant chunk of change to the price, though, one that might not be worth it for customers who decide Netflix’s wider DVD selection is worth $16.99 a month for a couple years. Vizio-connected HDTVs will have similar capabilities.

My best guess right now is that Disney’s announcement that they’ll start including standard DVDs in Blu-ray editions is meant to be some sort of “slowly turning up the heat on the frog” tactic. Meaning they might – might – start phasing out standard DVD editions and saying if you want to buy that then you’ll have to buy the Blu-ray, which comes with a DVD.

DVD sales slipped in 2008 but, considering the larger economic climate, it could have been a lot worse.

Meanwhile Warner Bros. and Paramount are joining a handful of smaller studios in making some of their titles available on SD cards at retailer’s in-store kiosks. That will allow customers to grab the movie from the kiosk and play it back on their mobile or home-entertainment devices with SD card slots.

Aspiring filmmakers can enter Netflix’s “Find Your Voice” competition, which is being run as a partnership with Film Independent. You can read the full press release here.

Blockbuster is working more deeply with CinemaNow to make streaming and download-based rentals available on more set-top boxes, much the same strategy Netflix worked out about a year ago. Of course that’s interesting in light of Blockbuster’s purchase and use of MovieLink last year.

The sudden disappearance of “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” episodes from Hulu – all of them – coupled with the on/off availability of movies on other streaming services should serve as warning that this is all very new and that media companies are still looking at it as an experimental business model.

Brian Wallace guest-posts on Mashable with a bunch of good tips for those looking to survive the online entertainment world.

Video search engine Blinkx is partnering with British-based film site MyMovies.net to bring full-length feature films to Blinkx’s site.

The current financial problems most companies are facing means 3D-ready theater expansion has stalled, potentially creating a glut of movies in that format that are lacking for a place to be exhibited.

Tech company B-Side is getting into the feature distribution market, which makes a lot of sense for it.

IFC is partnering with SXSW to simultaneously debut the new feature film from director Joe Swanberg, Alexander the Last” at the festival and via the IFC Festival Direct VOD platform.

Oscar nominations will push some films out to broader audiences

oscarThe key quote in this Variety story is this line:

Quite simply, the nominations are a linchpin in selling specialty titles to the public.

Many of the movies nominated yesterday for Oscars are getting wider releases this weekend or in the next couple of weeks, something that was planned all along by their respective studios.

I really don’t have the strength to into my problems with this again…

But let me just say that this whole notion of platformed theatrical release is downright antiquated. If it didn’t cost so darn much to distribute movies, and if more people would realize that the limited space created by the number of theatrical screens was now an artificial constraint we wouldn’t be in a situation where large swaths of the audience were unable to watch Oscar-nominated movies.

Imagine if you were able to, upon seeing a TV commercial for something like Revolutionary Road, you were able to order a VOD download with the push of a button. Right now, when the hype is high.

Instead you have to find which of the five theaters in your metropolitan area it’s playing at and, if you can’t make it to them, hope it comes to a screen nearer to you.

This whole “we’ll make it and hope an Oscar nomination boosts it’s box-office” mentality just makes my head hurt. It’s so completely the opposite of every other form of mass entertainment and is a remnant of the old distribution world.

Hmmm…guess I did have the strength after all.