"Quarterlife" has been on my radar for months. I read about it in the LA Times back in November of 2007. The article by David Sarno was called, "Web-only series? Yep. Audience?" Here is a brief piece of the article:
What's wrong with this picture? On the first night of November, a group of about 15 professors, graduate students and film school alumni half-filled USC's tiny Ron Howard Theater. They came for a sneak preview of the much-anticipated Web series "quarterlife," an event hosted by the show's co-writer and director, Marshall Herskovitz."Quarterlife" is about kids a few years out of college trying to find their way in the real world. It hopes to speak to college kids, in their own language and in a medium they can relate to.
"Quarterlife" valiantly attempts to navigate a perilous strait: On one side it's a tale of young artist-types trying to get a handle on real-world living, and on the other it's an ambitious exploration of a new media genre whose waters are largely uncharted: the short-form Web drama. Which means that both its characters and its medium are experiencing rapid, whirling change on the one hand and a pervasive sense of uncertainty on the other.
Fast forward 4 months and "Quarterlife" debuts on NBC. From the above article, it never really stated that the show would end up on network TV, it stated that it was an online only show.
Indeed, "quarterlife" has its roots in a 2005 ABC television pilot called "1/4life" that did not make it to air. So Herskovitz and Zwick decided to bypass TV altogether, re-imagining the show as an Internet original -- an endeavor Herskovitz described as "a speculative wing and a prayer."
This is an interesting tidbit as well:
Widely thought to be the most expensive Web-only TV show yet, "quarterlife" is financed by a combination of venture capitalists and advertisers, according to Herskovitz, who would not offer exact budget numbers. "Quarterlife" has advertising deals with Pepsi, Target and Toyota, and it's not a leap to guess who's riding shotgun, given that one of the show's main subplots has two young filmmakers making a commercial for a Toyota dealership.
But the fact that it was created by two very successful television producers (Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick - "Thirtysomething" and "My So Called Life") and there was a very long writer's strike providing no new content, it should be no surprise that it ended up on TV.
But I didn't watch it. Not because I wouldn't have been curious, but because I just forgot.
Today, Liza who works with me sent me a note asking if I'd seen this show, "Quarterlife," not knowing anything about the previous web strategy. What was interesting was that she perceived the website being in tandem with the TV show and not a precursor. She watched the show because she thought it would be about her, or at least about people like her. Sadly she was disappointed.
What does this say about web-based TV? Well, the Liza comments don't say much at all about web-based TV, but the idea that a concept targeted (in her mind) to her didn't penetrate her world until it had debuted on the tube shows that original web long-form and semi-long-form still has a ways to go. To me that is common sense. Just look around. Do your friends watch television on the web? Sure, some watch an episode of "Lost" that they might have missed, but very few go to the web regularly to watch original series. I loved watching Clark and Michael featuring Michael Cera star of "Arrested Development," "Superbad," and most recently "Juno." But I don't know anyone in my direct circle of friends that has watched the whole series except me.
YouTube clips hovering around 70 seconds are still the way video is viewed online. But we're getting closer every day to our computers and our LCDs making sweet sweet love. Maybe next Christmas!
Because she can speak to "Quarterlife" on NBC better than I can, here is Liza's blog post about last night's debut:
Did you watch Quarterlife on NBC last night? I had been anticipating the premiere for days! I even endured parts of The Biggest Loser so that I wouldn't miss a beat! When I heard about the show I thought, "Yes! Finally! A new show that speaks to ME! For my generation! I will relate to their storylines and characters. I will be moved! It will be like watching Reality Bites when I was in college, just like that!
To quote Cezie from our AIM conversation earlier: i HATE quarterlife with a fucking PASSION
He had been watching it online for a bit so his pain runs deeper while I am just disappointed. It was just another damn CW-like teeny melodrama and pretty much made for the younger demo leading them into thinking our quarterlife moments are just like that. I seriously believed it would delve into actually feeling lost at my age. I had a quarterlife breakdown a little while ago and so did my friends and the episode didn't even remotely touch on it! It didn't even make me feel like there would be a hint of it later on!
Girl vlogs about her friends, her life, her woes. Boo hoo, boy she likes is in love with someone else. Boo hoo, someone's boyfriend may not be as interested in her as she is with him. Boo hoo the actress of the bunch is weak sauce. Give me a break! And her job woes? Almost had it but then it had to dive into the "she stole my idea" cliche. Ugh! Might as well maybe this another Gossip Girl.
I will say that the only thing I am kind of remotely interested in is the show's website. Quarterlife.com
Check it out. From my point of view it actually made me cream! I studied it for a bit today (in the midst of looking for an image to post on here) and saw that they took a social networky theme. They even have the characters (in character) vlog! Their profile pages ooze of MySpace profile-dom. They even have a community for fans who can build their own profile pages and add photos and their own vlogs if they want. They even enlish iMeem for music playlists! I get to see what "Jed" is listening to. I get to see Dylan's vlogs that were on the show and then some! This is like what we did for Chuck and Bionic but more! Now to see if they will actually keep their profiles active for a while. That would be cool!
I may have lost faith in the show but I'm gonna put my chips on the site for the geek-out factor.
I wanted to see how many people had watched the Jimmy Kimmel video since yesterday. It is already in the millions. Nice work! If you want to see my explanation on why this works, check the blog I posted when Sarah Silverman released her original video.
While checking out the views on the Kimmel video, I came across this video of a 3 year old girl discussing Star Wars that has been seen over 2 million times in the past week. Wow!
If my friend Matt Cohen's son Jake didn't have retention like this, I'd be truly amazed. The responses are pretty funny too. While many are entertained by this video, seems there are as many people accusing the father of bad parenting. LOL. You just can't win sometimes.
I want to amend a previous post and say that it is not just babies and animals that people love, but little kids and animals!
It describes why Internet services such as this here Blog are free. Why Yahoo! offers unlimited email storage and many more things. It is a great and fascinating read.
Here is a passage that is resonating like crazy with me right now...
The huge psychological gap between "almost zero" and "zero" is why micropayments failed. It's why Google doesn't show up on your credit card. It's why modern Web companies don't charge their users anything. And it's why Yahoo gives away disk drive space. The question of infinite storage was not if but when. The winners made their stuff free first.
Traditionalists wring their hands about the "vaporization of value" and "demonetization" of entire industries. The success of craigslist's free listings, for instance, has hurt the newspaper classified ad business. But that lost newspaper revenue is certainly not ending up in the craigslist coffers. In 2006, the site earned an estimated $40 million from the few things it charges for. That's about 12 percent of the $326 million by which classified ad revenue declined that year.
But free is not quite as simple — or as stupid — as it sounds. Just because products are free doesn't mean that someone, somewhere, isn't making huge gobs of money. Google is the prime example of this. The monetary benefits of craigslist are enormous as well, but they're distributed among its tens of thousands of users rather than funneled straight to Craig Newmark Inc. To follow the money, you have to shift from a basic view of a market as a matching of two parties — buyers and sellers — to a broader sense of an ecosystem with many parties, only some of which exchange cash.
In the traditional media model, a publisher provides a product free (or nearly free) to consumers, and advertisers pay to ride along. Radio is "free to air," and so is much of television. Likewise, newspaper and magazine publishers don't charge readers anything close to the actual cost of creating, printing, and distributing their products. They're not selling papers and magazines to readers, they're selling readers to advertisers. It's a three-way market.
In a sense, what the Web represents is the extension of the media business model to industries of all sorts. This is not simply the notion that advertising will pay for everything. There are dozens of ways that media companies make money around free content, from selling information about consumers to brand licensing, "value-added" subscriptions, and direct ecommerce (see wired.com/extras for a complete list). Now an entire ecosystem of Web companies is growing up around the same set of models.
This supports my theory about music being free (especially the line above that states: "Traditionalists wring their hands about the "vaporization of value" and "demonetization" of entire industries," but that is for a separate post!
Ok, had to put this up immediately. It is only a matter of hours before everyone has seen this, but in case you live in a cave and don't catch it, here is Jimmy Kimmel's response to his girlfriend Sarah's video about her and Matt Damon.
I highly recommend you watch the higher quality version featured on ABC, but you may have to download a plugin which some might consider a pain.
Great marketing inspires me. I love seeing an ad campaign or a marketing stunt that is innovative or just plain smart. What is especially interesting is when great marketing happens by accident. Or, something triggers an emotional nerve that most people don't associate with marketing.
This week my inspiration was low. I wasn't seeing a lot of new things that made me want to shout, "Hey, look at that!" I was going into a meeting on Wednesday and I was bothered. I had inspiration block, a marketer's version of writer's block. I looked for it on television, at an ice cream shop, on the web; all the normal places I would usually find inspiration. Did you notice that I hadn't posted on my blog for several days? I would sit in front of my computer and stare at the Blogger screen and try to let the thoughts flow. But nothing.
On Wednesday at 10:30am I had a company marketing meeting. Every couple of weeks I try to get everyone at the company to open their eyes and ears to marketing. The way I do. I want everyone to get as much of a rush out of new ideas as I do. But I was going into this meeting uninspired myself. How can I inspire others if I am not inspired?
It was around 10am and I was running late. I'm always running late these days because I stay home a little extra time in the morning to help Denise out with Brandon. I was later than usual today because I kept staring at Brandon hoping inspiration would come from him. He's so innocent. So unphased by the world. No advertising campaign has shaped his thoughts or actions yet. Can you imagine a time in your life where you were not influenced by some form of ad campaign? When you brushed your teeth and didn't think of Colgate or washed your hair and didn't imagine an Herbal Essence ad. But it still didn't come.
As I pulled up to my office and got out of my car, I noticed an unfamiliar Chrysler parked in front of our gate. There was the most gorgeous Dalmation in the backseat.
Dogs... wait, pets.. animals... and babies. People love animals and babies!
I remembered being on YouTube recently and searching the most watched videos of all time. #14, titled, "HaHaHa" and viewed over 37 Million times! A 100 second clip of a baby laughing.
And this. My friend Jay has a little pug named "Stella." A year ago he filmed the puppy on his cell phone and posted it to his MySpace page. A handful of his friends saw the video, made fun of him (of course), and that was that. A little over 3 weeks ago someone grabbed his video and re-posted it. In 24 days over 200,000 people have seen this video.
They Blog, Therefore They Are Bloggers are younger than the general population, and higher percentages are Hispanic and African American. More Democrats than Republicans are blogging but Libertarians are No. 1. Bloggers are also more likely to give advice.
So how does their use of new media compare with the general population? (Source: BIGresearch)
I now need to know how old the general population is. I'm 39, so I gather the general population is at least 40.
I grew up in LA and I can speak some Spanish. Just call me Lorenzo next time you see me.
I thought I was a Democrat, but it turns out that maybe I'm a Libertarian. I wonder if Wayne here with his $14, 629 in funds has a shot.
My dad is an adult. I don't feel like an adult. Many will tell you that I don't act like an adult either. So if I use my dad as the adult comparison, then these stats are dead on. I do all of those things and except for the cell phone one, my dad wouldn't know what any of those others are. He still asks me if I have any new tapes for him to listen to (referring to CDs of course).
In the last 48 hours I've posed this question to those who will listen...
Is there a name or term for a person like me who has the following:
1. Email 2. A MySpace Page 3. A Facebook Page 4. A Blog 5. A Personal Website 6. A Flickr Page 7. A YouTube Channel 8. A Detailed LinkedIn Page 9. A Business Website 10. Other things that I can't remember right now
All of these feed into each other in some way. Meaning, I don't update all of these every day and some or many of them are updated automatically when another is updated.
For example, I built a website for my family and photos get uploaded directly from Flickr. I upload videos as well and sometimes those photos get to my Facebook page and my YouTube Channel. When I blog, through RSS and Widgets, my blogs are syndicated to my Facebook and MySpace pages, and soon to my business website. My LinkedIn page feeds people into my blog and company site. My blog links people to my LinkedIn page and my business website.
You get the picture.
I know I'm not alone. I think a lot of people have similar scenarios and I am sure the generation after me (Millennials???) do this without even thinking about it.
Natalie here at the office thought that several agencies had already coined a clever term for this, but she can't find one.
So, at least for the sake of trying to be like Stephen Colbert (who added "Truthiness" to the modern dictionary), I'd like to figure out the term. Hek, if someone else has it, great. Then please tell me what it is so I can sound smart when I describe this connected via social media scenario.
Socially Connected? Nah, sounds too non-profit
But if I call it SoCon, that sounds cool, right? Nah, sounds like an electricity company
SoMeCon? (Pronounced: So - Me - Con, not Some Con which sounds really bad)
Complaining about airport security is like complaining about taxes, right? Both have to happen in order for life to continue safely, but both suck. When I flew to Las Vegas for CES, I brought just a backpack with my laptop, one extra shirt and pair of pants, and some bathroom supplies. I dread flying now because of security and bin space. But even with only this one travel bag, it still was a process.
Have your ID and boarding pass ready for the first check point. Then when you get to the screening area, take off your shoes and belt, pull out your laptop, remove your baggie with bathroom stuff that has no fluids over 3 ounces. Think about that. One bin for my shoes. One bin for my laptop. One bin for my bathroom baggie. And my backpack. 4 things to get through the scanner. Meanwhile I'm making sure that I have nothing metal in my pocket. Damn those two nickels! Wait, my boarding pass! Where is it? Did it go through the scanner in my backpack? I have my ID. I don't need my ID?
You get the point.
Now imagine doing that with a 3 month old child.
I can't. I'm terrified. What do I do with the stroller? The baby seat? The diaper bag that is bigger than my backpack?
I think traveling is far more difficult than paying taxes.
But at least they are really nice and helpful at the security area, right? (He says extremely sarcastically!) Well, today I saw this article in the NY Times: Tell the T.S.A. (and Don’t Hold Back)
There are two main issues: a) process consistency, where we want to have the same result everywhere; and, b) purposeful variation so as not to offer a static target.
Let me say up front that we have sometimes confused the issue ourselves, seemingly excusing unwanted results with 'well we do it differently on purpose' answers. While I understand the frustration of not having a completely identical process every time, I cannot say that you will ever be able to go through completely on autopilot.
It's a start.
I will say this, good for you TSA, for having a place for people to complain. It's a lot easier to do this here than to write a letter. And I've wanted to write many a letter!
Today I voted. I try to always vote. I actually like the experience.
It is one of the rare community things I do. I've lived in my house for 14 years and I barely know my neighbors. I get to see many of them only twice a year. Once on Halloween (which is a story unto itself) and the other is when I vote. I don't actually talk to any of them when I'm voting, but it still seems like some form of bonding. I hear them say their names and addresses to the poll workers and inside I'm screaming, "Hey, you live there? I know that house. I pass it when I'm hiking through the neighborhood. Why don't you invite me in? We could be best friends."
Today they had me vote at a new place. New in the sense that I had never voted there before. Usually I vote at a Ranger's station or a school cafeteria. But today it was at another location. Doesn't really matter. It might be a few blocks away but the scenario is always the same. And I love that.
The polls open at 7am and I usually get there around 8:30am, on my way to work. Today was no different. When I got there, there was one person in front of me. Seems no matter how important the election, there is always only one person in front of me. Yet somehow it still takes 15 minutes for them to get me a ballot.
If you vote, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
There are 3 people working at the polling check-in table. I will try to be delicate and not go into discriminating demographic details. Let's just say that the most nimble people in Los Angeles do not staff these polling stations. It takes all three of these folks to check each person in. One has to look up your name in one huge stack of papers and another has to do the same. Each of those people has to say your name out loud as they are doing it. Each has to look down at the paper and then up at you at least three times and ask you to repeat your name. The third person is usually called over at this point to "help."
Here I am. The most popular person in the polling station. Everyone working for me. Trying their best to make my voting experience as time consuming and hassle-laden as possible. Convincing me that voting is a privilege and not a convenience.
I calmly point to my voter pamphlet with my name and address on it and say my name very slowly. They look down again, and there is my name, line number two. But somehow they don't see it. I point to where it is on the paper and they put their nose right into the paper and exclaim, "There you are!" and then ask me to sign my name on the wrong line.
Like biscuits and gravy, voting is comfort food. An experience unlike any other. A 232 year old tradition that has seen very little updating since George Washington cast his vote.
I've mentioned before that I don't like politics, but that I'm getting more into it this year.
I've heard the term, "Spin Room" but never really knew what that meant. Last week on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi gave an amazing behind-the-scenes tour of this seldom seen area.
I've been telling everyone about it. Keep in mind, Matt is reporting live, just minutes after the Obama / Clinton debate held in LA at the Kodak Theater. Notice how much of what he said would happen actually did happen.
Seth Godin pointed me over to Kevin Kelly today. Kevin is an accomplished author and writes a blog called "The Technium." I trust Seth, therefore I'm always curious to see what moves him. Kevin is now in my stable of people I trust. Chalk that up to Word of Mouth marketing.
I won't post his whole article, I recommend you click on the above link and read it for yourself. But here are some quotes and points that Kevin makes...
The internet is a copy machine. Every bit of data ever produced on any computer is copied somewhere. The digital economy is thus run on a river of copies. Unlike the mass-produced reproductions of the machine age, these copies are not just cheap, they are free.
To put it simply, how does one make money selling free copies?
When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.
Well, what can't be copied?
There are a number of qualities that can't be copied. Consider "trust." Trust cannot be copied. You can't purchase it. Trust must be earned, over time. It cannot be downloaded. Or faked. Or counterfeited (at least for long). If everything else is equal, you'll always prefer to deal with someone you can trust. So trust is an intangible that has increasing value in a copy saturated world.
In a real sense, these are eight things that are better than free. Eight uncopyable values. I call them "generatives." A generative value is a quality or attribute that must be generated, grown, cultivated, nurtured. A generative thing can not be copied, cloned, faked, replicated, counterfeited, or reproduced. It is generated uniquely, in place, over time. In the digital arena, generative qualities add value to free copies, and therefore are something that can be sold.
Eight Generatives Better Than Free
Ads are widely regarded as the solution, almost the ONLY solution, to the paradox of the free. Most of the suggested solutions I've seen for overcoming the free involve some measure of advertising.
Beneath the frothy layer of advertising, these eight generatives will supply the value to ubiquitous free copies, and make them worth advertising for.
On Friday someone sent me the Sarah Silverman / Matt Damon video. I thought it was hilarious. I sent it to Christy and Molly in the office immediately. They had already seen it. It was 11am in the morning, how was that possible?
Because it defines the term, "Viral!"
What makes something viral?
It touches a nerve.
Why is this video viral?
It touches several nerves:
1. It's funny 2. It's sexy 3. It's naughty 4. It involves a VERY famous person
I love Jimmy Kimmel. For the first year of his show, I watched him every night. I used to love hearing him on the radio station KROQ here in LA. Then he and Adam Corolla got their own TV show, "The Man Show." Then they got another one, "Crank Yankers." Point being, Jimmy is known to me. But I don't know that he's a household name. His show has been on the air for 5 years now. But I don't know that the US population would generally name him in the same sentence as Jay Leno and David Letterman.
I love Sarah Silverman. My friend Randy produced her stand up comedy movie, "Jesus is Magic" and I was at the taping. She is hysterical. She is completely politically incorrect. She says the things some of us think, but would never say out loud. But once again, she is not a household name.
Now Matt Damon. Well he is an A-lister. No doubt!
Look at the production quality of this video. How did Matt have time to do this? Is Matt best friends with Jimmy and Sarah?
See, it is viral because Matt is a huge star so we'll watch something with him in it. He's swearing and implying sex with Sarah. We don't usually hear about Matt's exploits. So that makes this even more desirable. He's funny. We know Matt has a sense of humor. We've seen him be campy and quirky at times, but not like this.
Matt Damon being sexy, funny, and free.
Now that is viral!
Sarah and Jimmy get to ride him into viral stardom.
I see much in life as a possible business. It is exciting, but also torturous. I just don’t have enough time. A new idea often sends me into hours of thought, research, and ultimately deviation from what I really need to do in a day. I believe that the Internet has made it easy for anyone to create a business. I believe that the Internet has made nearly everything in life easier. I believe that trying to impact the masses is a tough notion, but finding a group of people similar to you, is at your fingertips. I believe that music is free, and that is not a good thing. I believe that life is a collection of experiences and that every day I learn something new and forget something slightly new.
I have learned that the toughest part of running a business is inspiring your own employees. I have grown to understand that you have to show your family at least as much respect as your customers.
I went to college at the University of California, San Diego and majored in Economics and minored in Literature/Writing. I wish I had majored in Literature and only taken the one Economics class that taught me about Supply and Demand.