Daily Marauder


THIS WEEK: COUNTDOWN TO THE SUPERBOWL & SOPA by Marauder

THIS WEEK: COUNTDOWN TO THE SUPERBOWL & SOPA

 

Barton Silverman/The New York Times


It looks like you Giants fans have something to celebrate this morning with the Giants win last night over the San Francisco 49ers. This will bring the NY Giants to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Being that I’m from Rhode Island, I just might care about this one. Usually, apart from the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m content to ignore the blatant football around me, instead busying myself with perfecting my latte art skills or hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains. This time, with Facebook before me, it was a bit difficult to ignore the game and the overtime field goal which caused celebrations in the east.

Speaking of the Superbowl, last week Volkswagen promoted their Superbowl with what else, an ad. This one featured adorable pooches howling out the Star Wars theme song in an ad dubbed “The Bark Side.” The ad already has over 7MM views on YouTube which is fairly incredible if you consider that this is simply a teaser for…a Superbowl ad. For an explanation of how it was produced, click here. If you remember from last year’s Superbowl, the VW spot featured a young Darth Vader practicing his force and won big as one of the top-rated ads from the game.

In other news, last week saw the internet retaliate at the legislation on the docket dubbed SOPA or PIPA. Rather than an homage to British royalty, these two insidious pieces of legislation threaten to change the infrastructure of the internet and threaten freedom of speech globally under the auspices of copyright law. As someone who worked for an entertainment company (HBO) for 4 years, I am well aware of the value of content. I have been on multiple sets, I am friends with executive producers, I have welled up while listening to Ross Katz discuss his creative process while filming Taking Chance; I am someone who understands the cost and undertaking devoted to creating quality content. That said, the idea that control will fix the problems ailing the content industry is misguided and frankly a sign that consumers’ needs have lapped Hollywood’s delivery of content. I recently read VC Fred Wilson’s plea to Hollywood entitled ‘Scarcity is a Shitty Business Model.’ This has been shown time and time again to be undoubtedly true.

Consider Napster. When Napster was shut down in 2001 and iTunes came raging onto the scene in 2003, many argued that consumers would not buy music for $.99. However, the slick user interface and sheer online availability of music settled that debate quickly proving that consumers would in fact pay if given an easy process for transacting and lots of content.  Back to Hollywood. The window structure is simply killing the industry. The window models were created based on an infrastructure that not only no longer exists but will trend farther from its origins over the next few years.

I’ve been recently watching the British series Downton Abbey. In one episode, the wealthy Crowley family updates their lavish home with innovative light bulbs replacing their dimmer cousins, the candles. The grandmother, Dowager Countess of Grantham, expertly acted by Maggie Smith, expresses her discord that the new bulbs are burning her eyes and far too bright. Change is always uncomfortable but inevitable nonetheless. To ignore it and try to squeeze and manipulate the inevitability will always fail. In other words, SOPA/PIPA won’t do justice to their objective, protecting the content and its creators. Furthermore, by censoring the internet under the guidelines that it poses, the legislature threatens to impede innovation across the internet simply because the entertainment industry refuses to innovate.

So here’s my plea to the studios. Innovate the business models, with a considerable shift in availability to speak to consumers’ needs. Eradicate the window structure. Yes, I know the drill. So many companies are involved here that eradication is made difficult. The solution to the problem is never easy but it stands just the same. Allow viewers to watch content on any platform they wish all at the same time, but create a revenue model for each. Think long. Don’t think short. The iPod was a gateway drug for Apple to the success they thrive on today. Consider that the revenues won’t immediately signal success when considered back-to-back (I’m looking at you Jeff Zucker and your digital dimes analogy). Become a misfit and make a revolutionary change. Make some waves, shock the other studios, and consumers will follow you to the bank.

Finally, the Super Bowl gets a social media command center and former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno dies at 85 re-igniting the debate of his misconduct in ignoring the abuse of his subordinates.

Some more Cool Sh-t:
Be Your Own Souvenir: The Ultimate in Memorabilia

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