Posts filed under “Digital Media”
The Associate Press reported last night that once the Dow Jones deal closes at year’s end, Murdoch plans on giving away access to WSJ.com — for free.
"Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of the News Corporation, said today that he intended to make access to The Wall Street Journal’s Web site free, trading subscription fees for anticipated ad revenue.
“We are studying it and we expect to make that free, and instead of having one million, having at least 10 million-15 million in every corner of the earth,” Mr. Murdoch said, referring to The Journal’s online readership.
I am going to take a contrary position on this: I believe this is — in part — a mistake.
Thumb through either the print or online Journal, and you will see many high end luxe advertisers. They are not attracted by the sheer volume of readers, but rather, by the very appealing reader demographics: They pay a huge premium in ad rates to reach the highly educated, high income, tech savvy, free spending readers of the WSJ. (The demographics of a Journal reader are nearly as attractive as are those of The Big Picture’s).
Ironically, this raises an issue we have seen with another Murdoch property: Fox News. I have been told by several people in the advertising biz that despite Fox News utterly kicking CNN’s ass in the ratings, CNN charges much higher ad rates. Their ad sales, despite having lower total number of viewers, is more lucrative.
The simple answer is demographics. I have not personally seen the data, but according to these "Ad men," the CNN viewer has much better education and income numbers amongst; Fox news badly trails CNN in this department. The issue of disposable incomes of viewers surely concersn advertisers. One said to me "We can sell basic necessities on Fox and cheap trinkets; We can sell more upscale brands on CNN, and we can sell a lot more upscale goods on CNBC."
Hence, the business idea behind Fox Business channel: Aim for Fox News viewer numbers, with demographics between CNN and CNBC. If it works — tho far from a sure thing — it will be a huge money maker.
Murdoch apparently wants to apply the same idea to WSJ.com: Get USA Today numbers but charge WSJ ad rates.
I am not so sure this will work: The Journal can and does charge a premium for their ads because of who is presently willing to pay for the service — both in print, and online: Those consumers advertisers find extremely attractive.
I remain am unconvinced that saying to advertisers "Come see all of our readers who can’t or won’t pay $79 per year for the WSJ.com" is a strategy for selling more high end luxe brands.
A hybrid system makes the most sense to us. As we previously suggested in WSJ: Free or Paid? (Yes) charging those willing to pay for the most recent WSJ.com (i.e., the most recent 2 weeks or so) will capture the highest end readers for those high paying advertisers who want to reach them. Pulling the rest of the paper out from behind the firewall for the broader advertisers has been my advice to the WSJ.com for several years now.
Hey, that’s just my opinion; Mr. Murdoch has shown over the years that he is a crafty businessman with a good feel for what the reading/viewing public wants.
We’ll find out soon enough what the fate of the firewalled WSJ.com will be . . .
Murdoch Intends to Drop WSJ.com Fee
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NYT, November 13, 2007
Murdoch Sees End to Journal Web Fees
LYNDAL MCFARLAND and SARAH ELLISON
WSJ, November 13, 2007 8:28 p.m.; Page B4
"Girlfriend in a coma, I know, I know, its really serious . . . "
Cool blast from the past!
I was a pretty big Smiths fan back in the day, and when a band like Radiohead covers one of their tunes, it is just fine by me . . .
Previously: Radiohead Adapts Our Business Model
The Eagles — the multi-platinum selling alt country/rock band circa 1970s — are trying an interesting sales strategy for their first studio album in 28 years.
For the new disc, it appears that there is:
- no recording label participation;
- downloads at their site only;
- physical 2-CD Set purchased only at Wal-Mart, or ordered at their site ((Eaglesband.com).
The band cranked out over 700,000 discs in the first week — not too shabby for a double disc.
For you young ‘uns, the album Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971–1975 is the all time best-selling album in the U.S. (according to the RIAA); Their album Hotel California is #18 on the all time top selling list).
What’s really interesting is the downloading — the double disc is available for in two formats: MP3 256k for $10.88, and in FLAC lossless for $11.88, directly from the band’s website.
I am not sure, but it appears that both the labels and Apple’s iTunes have been cut out of the picture.
(I’ll update this as I learn more)
Update: November 7, 2007 5:52am
The Eagles made a
direct exclusive deal with Wal-Mart for physical album — no label involved.
sold the album to Wal-Mart on a one-way basis (meaning, no returns).
serves, I believe they bought 3.6M units at $8 or $9. The Band pays
manufacturing costs and publishing (most of which goes to themselves as writers)
and keeps the rest. Pretty nice haul. I haven’t confirmed with the
manager, but I believe the downloads are being done by the band through their
Again, no iTunes, no labels . . .
Top 100 Albums
Revised Chart Policy Lands Eagles At No. 1
Billboard, November 06, 2007, 8:30 PM ET
JT bypasses the Labels
Oh, goody, yet another list. How f$%&ing original!
For some silly reason, there seems to be all this hoo-haa about the silly Vanity Fair article on the top Movie Soundtracks of all time.
These people are wankers for many reasons: 1) The VF weenies press released to death; b) the article is not even available on line; iii) the editors chose Purple Rain as the greatest film soundtrack of all time.
I remain convinced that the purveyors of these annoying lists select a controversial top pick to generate buzz (tho’ you would think this would might encourage online posting).
Regardless, let’s not play into their hand. Rather than waste too much time telling you how clueless VF’s music editors are, or giving them any linklove, I would rather — in the spirit of Friday Night Jazz — compile a worthwhile list of films and soundtracks for your perusal.
A few ground rules:
• We are looking for outstanding soundtracks to outstanding films. (Merely o.k. doesn’t cut it).
• Groundbreaking films, soundtracks and performances get bonus points. (Mediocre performances get cut).
• Better non-film versions take points away from the movie soundtrack — where there are superior versions such as the Broadway soundtrack (i.e., Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, etc.) than those flicks don ‘t make the cut.
• Pure adaptations of Broadway shows also get cut. In my mind, Cabaret, Chicago, Chorus Line are more filmed stage productions, rather than pure movies. (as forewarned, totally subjective).
Hence, several films that I love failed to make the cut: Apocalypse Now is fantastic in the way it uses music (especially The Doors’ The End, and Wagner’s The Ride Of The Valkyries), but its not great as a standalone soundtrack; the wonderful My Fair Lady, with Rex Harrison’s mediocre voice, and the dubbing of Audrey Hepburn’s voice, also doesn’t make the cut.
These things are totally subjective, and are rarely based exclusively on mere merits. Pink Floyd The Wall was a great album so overplayed when I was in
college, that I simply couldn’t pull the trigger on it (the film is a bit
ponderous to boot). Again, these things are very subjective.
Alternatively, the film can’t suck. The greatest
soundtrack in the world becomes irrelevant if its attached to a film
like, say, Hedwig and the Angry Inch — a play that sucked two hours out of my life that I will never get back, and will literally regret on my death bed.
We can certainly debate the order of any list, or the contents, and we probably will (thats what the comments are for).
Here’s my subjective top ~20:
1. A Hard Day’s Night: A brilliant film and album that both remain as energetic and fresh today as they were in 1964. The Beatles personalities were perfectly suited to the medium, so much so that its hard to imagine a better film/soundtrack combo.
2. Stop Making Sense:
Quite simply, the best concert film ever made. Yes, some of you will
declare The Last Waltz, (with a few stragglers nominating Woodstock)
but there is simply nothing else that ha the combination of
showmanship, musical innovation — and the big suit — like this film
3. Blade Runner: Forget the ponderous and boring Chariots of Fire, THIS is Vangelis Masterpiece. Not only is the music hauntingly beautiful, but it fits the filmscape so perfectly, making it even better than it originally was. We’ve already spilled so many words about BR, that the less said the better. "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
4. The Rocky Horror Picture Show:
I could try to explain this, but I couldn’t do it justice. Find a
theater where this is playing at the midnight show, and go with someone
who’s gone before. Repeat.
5. The Graduate:
Not only is this a seminal, groundbreaking film, but the soundtrack is
phenomenal. The way the various songs are interwoven into the action,
mood, psyches of the players is amazing (listen as Benjamin’s Alpha Romeo Spider runs out of gas).
I don’t know if Mike Nichols is
a genius, or just got incredibly lucky. Either way, its a great
soundtrack and a great movie.
6. Harold and Maude:
One of the most subversive, outrageously amusing black comedies ever made — hysterically funny to boot. Cat Stevens (before he became Yusaf)
created a wonderful collection of songs that enhance the story line’s mood and emotions. This is, quite bluntly, one of the
funniest films ever made.
7. Garden State:
My "surprise" entry. A charming little film with a soundtrack that simply
refuses to stop delighting you with its lovely tunes and ballads, nearly all of which are by bands that
prior to this soundtrack were relatively unknown. This disc was played constantly in the car in 2004/05.
Perhaps its my age showing, but I have always found each of these to be tremendous films and soundtracks. The Zep concert film was utterly ground breaking, and I must have seen it a zillion times after they broke up; The Who film was a fantastic documentary.
10. Fantasia: Music by Tchaikovsky, Moussorgsky, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Ponchielli, Bach, Dukas, and Schubert. ’nuff said.
The film was groundbreaking in many ways, including the innovative
use of animation and stereophonic sound — but its the overall approach
that has been so enduring: Allow the Disney animators tointerpret Classical music. The results are both playful and surreal. Its amazing how well this has held up after 60 years . . .
11. Pulp Fiction: The film does so many things so well — but the way the music is integrated into the actual plot is simply terrific. Plus, Travolta and Uma can each dance.
12. West Side Story:
Leonard Bernstein’s musical update of Romeo and Juliet. The combination
of Stephen Sondheim brilliant lyrics, the kinetic choreography and the
bravura camera work made for a fantastic wide screen film. The
soundtrack created the perfect counterpoint to the dance and action.
Sure, its a bit dated (hence, #10), but it remains an all time great.
13. Purple Rain: There is no doubt that the purple one can sign, dance, play guitar — but Acting? Not so much.
Regardless, his sheer overwhelming talent is why this manages to get onto my top 15.
True Story: I saw this in the theaters in college, and my remark was "He’s going to be bigger than Michael Jackson" — who was huge at the time.
Its a toss up how right that call was, but the general concept was dead on . . .
14. Little Shop Of Horrors: A fantabulous musical/horror/comedy. It’s all a whole lot of fun, and the musical styles range from honky-tonk to doo-wop to straightforward rock n’ roll. The strength of the film carries what otherwise might have been a mere Broadway adaption into an entire different level.
15. Koyaanisqatsi: A quasi-documentary, this film has been described as "visual concert of images" or a "filmic landscape." The reason its here is the hauntingly beautiful music of Phillip Glass. A classic college flick . . .
16. Saturday Night Fever: One of those seminal films that tremendously influenced the culture.
My choice in music was rock-n-roll, and I had little interest in blow-dried hair, white polyester suits, or cruising discos looking to pick Staten Island bimbos.
The music works as well on its own, but it also works as a classic piece of pop history. (And John Travolta makes the list twice!)
17. The Tao of Steve: Another charming little film that surprises with its wonderful songs. A fun amusing, philosophically oriented film, with a soundtrack to match. For you Outdoor Types.
18. All That Jazz: The Oscar winning soundtrack by Ralph Burns includes jazz, classical, pop, and Broadway standards. Its a marvelous mix that works to great effect in the film.
Can you imagine anyone other Director making so self-critical autobiographical film other than Bob Fosse? While some have criticized the film as a rip-off of Fellini’s 8 1/2, my favored descriptions of All That Jazz is "the musical version of Apocalypse Now." If you can imagine that, you have a better sense of what the film itself is like.
All that work. All that glitter. All that pain. All that love. All that crazy rhythm. All that jazz.
19. The Big Chill:
The Motown dominated score was one of the most artistically skillful –
and commercially successful — uses of pop ever set to a film.
More than merely setting a time and place, the soundtrack has a
wispy nostalgia for a prior period in the players’ lives. Subsequent
attempts by other movies have been less successful of creating a look
back from a specific time to another one; e.g., I think of the Forrest
Gump soundtrack as Big Chill 2.
20. South Park – Bigger, Longer & Uncut: You will laugh until you piss yourself. This one squeaks in at #20 because the soundtrack is so very, very funny.
Thats my top list; A few Honorable Mentions are after the jump . . .
Now that I finally ordered a plasma, I’ve been on the look out for good video.
I’m pretty jazzed about this: Pixar Short Films Collection.
There’s lots of backstory at Pixar’s site.
Here’s the full list of shorts:
For the Birds
Mater and the Ghostlight
One Man Band
The Adventures of André and Wally B.
Mike’s New Car
Looks like good G-rated fun.