The Elusive Audience
October 21, 2011
"Audiences deserve better."-- Leonard Maltin
Do you watch any late-night TV talk-shows?
This week NBC, CBS, and ABC all ran reruns of their late-night shows -- Leno, Letterman, Kimmel. Ratings for Leno and Letterman are down from last year, and Kimmel shows some improvement ( Source: http://tiny.cc/nomg1 ), but why would any network exec think programming reruns is just standard operating procedure after a sweeps period and expect audience to remain loyal with all the entertainment options currently available?
The more the networks do this, the more viewers go elsewhere. One would think at least one bright executive at one network might think "Hey, instead of reruns, let's be the ONLY one with NEW shows against the others ... maybe we will pick up new audience!"
With the Internet making most television content available on demand and expanding entertainment options, it is increasingly hard to sustain audience unless networks consistently offer viewers new episodes. Does AMC for example run a half-dozen Mad Men or Walking Dead episodes and then show a rerun as ABC has done with Desperate Housewives the past few years? That interruption in an ongoing story line disrupts audience and they go elsewhere to be entertained. Obviously, such disruption causes more viewers to explore other channels/programs/entertainment. Once they discover something else/something new, there is a good chance they might not return to their old viewing habits.
FOX has made a multi-million-dollar mistake as well. What FOX has done is already damage what was obviously their most important new show, X Factor, by disrupting its first few weeks of shows with baseball. Baseball that, based on the poor ratings for the playoffs, would have been better suited to a cable Sports channel. Last week, none of the playoffs that disrupted X Factor scheduled programming even ranked in the top 20. Just check the rankings below and note even with the disruption that the ONLY show Fox had in the top 20 was X Factor.
Any network that takes good content (and especially new content they have spent tens of millions on) and moves its time slot around is playing an extremely dangerous game. One has to wonder what the Fox programming execs were thinking to allow such a disruption to occur with such an investment in X Factor. Yes, Fox has a contract with MLB for the World Series, but if they knew the schedule for the games would disrupt X Factor schedules, why didn't they then postpone the season debut, or do something else to allow the show to have more impact?
I cannot imagine Simon Cowell being happy for a second about what's happened despite the comments from Fox about being very satisfied with the show's performance in the ratings. What else would they say after such an investment? (Then again, X Factor has made Fox #1 in ratings on the nights it is broadcast midweek)
One can also argue that the TV viewing public now has too many reality show options --and X Factor was destined not to achieve American Idol-type ratings from the start. Maybe. But Fox programming heads had to take that into consideration in launching the show and they still played around with it because of baseball. Bad move and no way to launch such a big new show.
The simple truth is network TV is all but over for most Americans and we are witnessing the last days of great network programs. Network news is all but meaningless in today's 24/7 world of cable news and the Internet. If the major networks continue to drive viewers away, like Fox has done so far with shifts in schedule the X Factor, they will decline even faster.
When the three major networks ruled supreme, we had little choice in viewing options. Then came cable and the number of channels kept multiplying like rabbits. We don't have to pick up the remote and just punch through a couple of alternatives; there are dozens we can scan in a matter of minutes until we find something that captures our attention.
As long as there is anything else available to capture our attention (even if only for the moment), nothing is safe on any network or channel unless it consistently entertains the audience.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
MOBILE MUSIC MOVING UP
Streaming on mobile devices is making inroads on traditional radio and CDs when it comes to music listening, according to a new NPD study.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the majority of their music listening takes place while driving. Adaptive- and on-demand-streaming radio is now gaining more traction, complementing pay-per-download music options like iTunes and Amazon mp3.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/p5bnm
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
MERLIN LICENSES TONS OF INDIE BANDS TO YOUTUBE
Independents' music agency Merlin and YouTube today announced a global deal that will license repertoire from hundreds of labels to the YouTube service. The agreement covers thousands of acts, including Yeasayer, Antony and the Johnsons, Aphex Twin, Prodigy and Grizzly Bear.
"Merlin, the virtual fifth major, seeks to ensure its members have effective access to new and emerging revenue streams and that their rights are appropriately valued and protected. With members in over 25 countries, Merlin is the first rights body focusing purely on the interests of the global independent music sector."
Read more about Merlin here: http://tiny.cc/qcxwk
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
DEEZER READY TO FOLLOW SPOTIFY AND GO GLOBAL
As Swedish-born Spotify continues its global rise, French streaming music service Deezer is preparing to follow suit.
According to Reuters, the start-up plans to launch in more than 100 countries in the coming weeks, and is currently in partnership negotiations with a dozen or so telecom operators. Unlike Spotify and U.S.-based Pandora, however, Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez says he isn't bothering with the U.S. market and its high cost of entry, for now that is.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/p1ngz
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
iPHONE SALES EXPLODE ... GEE, WHAT A SURPRISE ... NOT!
Apple sold over four million iPhone 4S units in just three days.
One reason for this strong performance, IntoMobile suggests, is pent-up demand. "Add up the huge number of iPhone 3GS users that have been anxiously awaiting for their two-year contract to renew, and a bunch of people on Verizon who wanted to see the iPhone 5 before buying one, because by the time the iPhone 4 hit Verizon it was already over half-a-year old, and let's not forget Sprint customers, who have been waiting for the iPhone since the summer of 2007, and you can see how Apple so easily hit four-plus million."
During the same three-day time frame, 25 million people upgraded to iOS 5, Apple reports. It's also worth noting that the iPhone 4S is currently only available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/musvv
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
CHECK OUT THESE GREAT WHITE PAPERS ON MIDEM
Great resource white papers continue to be available on the Midem site.
Some of those currently available: Marketing Music on Facebook; Creating Effective Music Partnerships: from Badging to Enablement; How Artists Interact with their Audiences - Interview series wrap-up; The Real Cost of Direct to Fan; More YouTube engagement = More sales; Music Content Strategy Wrap-Up; and more.
Check them out here: http://tiny.cc/zjj63
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
GOOGLE MUSIC STUFF
Google is reportedly in negotiations with the major record labels to expand its cloud music service, and open an MP3 store. "It would most likely be connected to Google's existing cloud service, Music Beta, which lets people back up their songs on remote servers and stream them to mobile phones and other devices," The New York Times reports, citing numerous music execs.
Apple is expected to debut its latest cloud music program, iTunes Match, this coming June, and then launch the service in October. NYT suggests that Google is trying to beat Apple to the punch, but it is unclear whether Google will be able to close the necessary deals with labels and music publishers in time. Google first introduced a cloud music service with limited capabilities five months ago. Previous negotiations with music companies for a so-called smart locker service broke down over financial terms; the music companies' fear that Google was not doing enough to address piracy issues.
Read more on the New York Times about this here: http://tiny.cc/dxxa4
From CNET, "Multiple music industry sources told CNET that Google has spoken to the major record companies and some of the top independent labels about offering a "social recommendation" feature, which would enable a buyer of an MP3 to give that song as a gift as long as the person receiving it is a user of Google Music."
Read about that here: http://tiny.cc/3ytyj
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
FACEBOOK TIMELINE ... ARE YOU READY FOR IT?
Facebook Timeline, a complete overhaul of personal profiles that is being rolled out in the coming weeks, is built around a similarly simple and powerful idea: what if you could see your whole life in one place?
Read more about it here: http://tiny.cc/5rcy4
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
THOSE TABLETS ... CHANGE HAPPENS FAST
From MediaPost's Gary Holmes: "Barely a day goes by when there isn't some news about electronic tablets. Tablets threaten to supplant a number of technologies, such as notebooks, music players and DVDs, while providing new platforms for newspapers, magazines and books. But what about over-the-air video? Tablets offer a new outlet for movies and the product previously known as "television." Is this a good thing for the TV industry? A year ago, I'd have scoffed at the idea that tablets would have any impact at all on television but now I'm not so sure. "
Read the rest of Gary's article here: http://tiny.cc/siypj
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
CNET'S STEVE GUTTENBERG: 'DOES AFFORDABLE AMERICAN HI-FI STILL EXIST?'
We no longer manufacture computers, TVs or cameras, but America still makes high-quality audio gear. And not all of it is expensive.
Read more about it from CNET's audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg here: http://tiny.cc/358o0
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
A TOUCH SCREEN FOR ANY SURFACE? MICROSOFT SHOWS IT
Microsoft takes its Kinect technology a step further by turning any surface into a touch screen.
The prototype technology is being disclosed at a conference this week. Dubbed OmniTouch, it is a wearable system that allows multi-touch input on "arbitrary, everyday surfaces," according to a description on a Microsoft Research Web page.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/lpy8q
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 12
JUSTIN BIEBER IN PRISON? HUH?
Fight for the Future (FFTF), a new organization dedicated to preserving the rights of Americans regarding technology, is advocating against U.S. Senate bill S. 978 as its first campaign. In a successful grab for attention, FFTF is using Justin Bieber as an example of who could be criminalized should the law pass and has launched FreeBieber.org to share its viewpoint.
The proposed law would make it a felony to stream unlicensed content 10 times during any 180-day period and that and has a total economic value, either to the copyright holder or the infringer, of at least $2,500.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/5bida
Short News Items ...
JACKSON MUSIC STILL COMING:
Immortal, the musical soundtrack for Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson "The Immortal World Tour," which kicked off in Montreal and includes an extended stay in Las Vegas in December, will be released Nov. 21st on Epic Records. Immortal redesigns and re-imagines more than 40 of Jackson's greatest original recordings in a compilation that allows listeners to experience his music in an entirely new way. The show, written and directed by leading pop music concert director Jamie King, combines Jackson's music, choreography and Cirque du Soleil's spectacular staging much like "Love" did for The Beatles. The album comes in a deluxe 22-track edition and a 15-track single CD version, including mash-ups and newly discovered outtakes of Jackson 5's "ABC" and a choir Michael recorded for "They Don't Really Care About Us."
WALKING DEAD SCORE BIG:
Sunday's season two premiere of AMC's original series, "The Walking Dead," delivered the strongest telecast for any drama in basic cable history. The season-two premiere delivered 4.8 million Adults 18-49 and 4.2 million Adults 25-54, shattering a basic cable record set nearly 10 years ago for a single drama telecast. The program delivered a 4.8 Household rating netting 7.3 million total viewers. These results represent a 36% and 38% increase respectively over season one's series average on AMC.
Bill Clinton celebrated his 65th birthday and the 10th anniversary of his William J. Clinton foundation in Los Angeles last Saturday night with "A Decade of Difference," a charity concert featuring superstars such as Lady Gaga, U2's Bono and the Edge, Stevie Wonder, Usher and Kenny Chesney. But the night belonged to Lady Gaga, who rewrote the lyrics of some of her biggest hits as a tribute to the former president and his wife Hillary, the current Secretary of State.
You can watch the entire concert here: http://tiny.cc/6jtde
Ashton Kutcher is one of the most high-profile tweeters, but it looks likely that he's about to lose his position in the top 10 of people with the most Twitter followers. He's not even close to Britney Spears, who just surpassed the 10-million follower mark. (And who has time to read all these tweets?)
BETTE SELLS HER CLOTHES:
Bette Midler will be selling a collection of her costumes, jewelry, art and other belongings at a benefit auction in Beverly Hills on November 12th. The proceeds of the auction will go to the New York Restoration Project, a non-profit organization she created in 1995 to restored neglected public spaces in New York City.
ANY BUYERS FOR THIS?
One of John Lennon's teeth is expected to sell for $16,000 at an auction in England on November 5th. The late Beatle gave the tooth to his housekeeper, Dot Jarlett, at his Kenwood mansion in Surrey, England in the late '60s. He had originally told her to dispose of the tooth, but upon learning that her daughter was a Beatles fan, told her to give it her as a souvenir.
AND AGAIN, THIS WILL PROBABLY ONLY INCREASE HIS SALES IN THE FUTURE:
Soulja Boy was arrested early this week in Temple, Georgia, about 50 miles west of Atlanta. The 21-year-old rapper and four others were taken to Carrol County jail after police found a "substantial amount" of marijuana, guns and cash in their vehicle. Authorities have estimated the combined value of the drugs and cash to be around $70,000.
WELL, HEY, THE COST OF EVERYTHING IS DOWN:
Bids to buy the EMI Group, the major label that controls recordings by the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Katy Perry and Radiohead, among many others, have been far lower than expected following the $3.3 billion sale of rival major label Warner Music Group in May, according to the New York Times.
ECKHART TO PLAY DENNIS WILSON:
Aaron Eckhart has been cast as Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson in "The Drummer," a film based on the life of the late musician. Eckhart, who has been in negotiations for the role for several months, will also serve as executive producer for the film and record his own versions of tracks from Wilson's 1977 solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue.
BRIDGE SCHOOL DVD ON WAY:
In honor of the 25th anniversary of The Bridge School concerts, a two-CD/three-DVD collection of songs from the concert's history is hitting shelves on October 24th. It features performances by David Bowie, Bob Dylan, the Who, Simon and Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and many more acts. That same night, the DVD will be screening at movie theaters across the country.
SEGER SET COMING:
Bob Seger is releasing his first-ever two-CD career retrospective disc on November 21st. Entitled Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets, the 26-track collection is a mix of hits ("Old Time Rock And Roll," "We've Got Tonight"), fan favorites ("Travelin' Man," "Beautiful Loser") and recent work ("Wait For Me," "Downtown Train"). The album will be available for download on iTunes and Amazon.com, marking the first time that many of his biggest hits will be officially available online.
BON JOVI DOES PAY-AS-U-GO RESTAURANT:
Jon Bon Jovi has opened a new "pay-what-you-can" restaurant in Red Bank, NJ, intended to encourage volunteer work in the area. The JBJ Soul Kitchen, an establishment specializing in healthy variations on classic soul food dishes, will not have prices on its menu. Instead, diners can either earn free meals by doing volunteer work in the community or pay a suggested donation.
SPIKE & CES:
Spike TV and the Consumer Electronics Association announced a partnership that makes Spike the "official entertainment television partner" of 2012 International CES. The network will use the relationship to telecast live coverage from the trade show and to create more than 12 hours of multi-platform coverage under the brand, "CES All Access Live."
Rock & roll photography Barry Feinstein, who shot the cover of Bob Dylan's The Times They Are-A Changin, George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, Janis Joplin's Pearl and countless other iconic works, died today in upstate New York of natural causes. He was 80.
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Quotes of the week
"She's a much, much better singer than me."
-- Coldplay's Chris Martin On Rihanna To Entertainment Weekly. (Not saying much, is it, Chris?)
"I recently had a revelation about it. When people say dad rock, they actually just mean rock. There are a lot of things today that don't have anything to do with rock music, so when people hear something that makes them think, 'This is derived from some sort of continuation of the rock ethos,' it gets labeled dad rock. And, to me, those people are misguided. I don't find anything undignified about being a dad or being rocking, you know?"
-- Wilco's Jeff Tweedy reacting to the question of whether being labeled "dadrock" is an insult in a new interview with Men's Journal.
"Everyone was taking advantage of me with my finances, trying to put me in the direction to fail. I have 10 kids. I have to drive them in the right direction, so I let the cocaine go."
-- DMX telling TMZ, he has finally kicked the drug addictions that kept him behind bars for years -- and he has his children to thank.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
New Decoy Website Launched To Lure Away All Moronic Internet Commenters
SAN JOSE, CA-With funding from dozens of news outlets and media companies, the groundbreaking Outkube.com launched this week, providing an online destination where pandering and incendiary content is used to lure moronic Internet commenters away from all other websites.
According to sources, Outkube boasts thousands of articles and forums carefully crafted to draw in dim-witted web users and effectively quarantine obtuse, uninformed comments on topics such as gay rights, Ryan Gosling, the threat of Sharia law in the U.S., health care reform, whether Kobe is better than LeBron, Jewish control of the government and media, the New York Jets, the Second Amendment, and professional wrestler John Cena.
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
The BlogsCheck out Jerry Del Colliano's (the founder of INSIDE RADIO) daily blog, by clicking here: http://www.insidemusicmedia.blogspot.com
Check out attorney Ray Beckerman's website at: http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com where he prints news about the RIAA's ongoing activities
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