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Multicultural Agency Is Betting Fans Will ‘Watch the Throne‘ for $5 a Month
The multicultural ad agency GlobalHue is betting they will.
Voyr, the latest concept from the agency’s incubator, GHV, is set to launch Sept. 15 on the back of a forthcoming 35-city tour supporting the new album from Mr. West and Jay-Z, “Watch the Throne.” Viewers will be able to follow the tour live via webcasts for $3.99, but the normal subscription rate will be $4.99 per month for each star that appears on the online platform.
At a press conference Monday at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Chief Creative Officer Kevyn Lewis said that over time, the site will add celebs from all walks of life — musicians, writers, directors, even one to appeal to hunting and fishing fans. The idea is offer up the kind of content that will inspire people, not tabloid-fodder pulled from the artists’ personal lives.
Though Mr. West is the first announced star, Mr. Lewis said that neither Kanye nor Jay-Z has a stake in the company, which is wholly-owned by GHV. Still, it’s pretty clear that Mr. West has been very involved in the conception of the company — and stands to benefit if the site can attract subscribers, though how much so wasn’t clear as Mr. Lewis didn’t get into the specifics of how artists would be compensated.
Stuff that will be available on his channel: his exercise routine; what he eats on tour and instructional videos about how to prepare those items by his personal chef; a “720-degree” concert experience; rehearsals for the show; a documentary about Kanye called — appropriately — “Me”; and his animated series called “Runaway.”
Possibly more interesting are ideas for the platform GlobalHue presented to Mr. West that the notoriously fussy artist struck down. These include allowing fans to vote on set designs or allowing marketers to sponsor specific episodes. Mr. Lewis said Mr. West, ever the auteur, slammed those ideas, saying he doesn’t need the popular vote to make decisions and the idea of, say, a McDonald’s powering that sort of voting power with the push of an “I’m loving it” button was a “piece of a crap.”
There will be hopefully less crappy attempts at partnerships with brands down the road, including ones with retailers such as Target or Walmart to provide exclusive merchandise. But for now the company is focused on ramping up its suite of talent. It was unclear who else is signed on, but names dropped during the presentation included Oprah and Elton John.
Why would these celebs turn to Voyr when they already have web presences of their own? The hope is that through scale — building a lot of different celebrity presences — Voyr will be able to get down the cost and make the process of relentlessly spraying one’s giant ego all over the web more efficient. There will be a lot of other challenges for Voyr, including the always vexing problem of building an audience when your content is locked down, and figuring out pricing options that appeal to people other than superfans, like a one-off charge. And then there are older, bigger, freer sites such as YouTube and Vevo as well as the paid StageIt.
At least in theory, Voyr shouldn’t have a hard time getting attention if it can deploy its talent as it did Monday, treating journalists to a listening party for “Watch the Throne.” After the press conference, the journos filed into the Hayden Planetarium to hear the entire album played while Journey to the Stars, a rather gorgeous and inherently trippy romp through the solar system, played over head. Stars were all over the place, though as the party was attended by Kanye, Jay-Z, his wife, Beyonce, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Kelly Rowland and Jada Pinkett Smith, who, in the elevator on the way out, was practically screaming about how she needed the album. “NOW!”
|New FCC Rules Go Back To The Future For Cable Companies
A media critique by Wayne Friedman, Wednesday, August 3, 2011
In addition the FCC doesn’t like those glaringly bad public battles between cable networks and broadcast networks over rates, which force more than a few channels into blackout mode. Consumers don’t know who to side with on those issues.
After decades of big cable operators with financial interests in TV networks ruling the day, TV business deals concerning cable are set to change. While cable operators might complain this hurts business, consumers are still staring in the eyes of ever pricier programming packages and billions in cable industry profits from decades of running near-monopoly businesses.
In 2011, predicted spillage
is everywhere when it comes to the media business. Get 85% of what you intended — especially for a cable operator — and that’s a big success. Perhaps after the FCC dust has settled, it’s that number that will stick.
More than a decade ago, cable operators saw the score — a slow decline of customers from cable’s legacy video businesses. Today cable operators want to be much more than conduits for TV programming and video, more involved in other growing aspects of the electronic consumer: phone, Internet and mobile, to name a few.
You can also blame the FCC in part. It gave somewhat of carte blanche to nascent cable operators in the late ’70s and ’80s to build a businesses, resulting in a near monopoly — only allowing overbuild operators and other competing video operators to join in much later in the process.
Now it wants to go back to the future of sorts. The FCC ruling also includes a “standstill order” where a cable or satellite company must continue to carry an affected channel under terms of the previous contract until the commission offers a ruling on any complaints stemming from a carriage dispute. In other words, no channel blackouts.
And then there are those independent networks looking for a chance to shine on a cable or satellite system. The big question here: How does one really determine why a new independent channel should be considered — especially when it doesn’t have any existing viewer following?
It’s the chicken-and-egg scenario — which will only yield sucky programming decisions.
It’s part of a throwback of sorts to when there was even stronger government regulation of utility-like companies. By comparison, any modern-day business spillage resulting from new FCC rules should calmly be part of the plan for cable TV companies.
By Ramon Ray, Editor, Smallbiztechnology.com
The big trend now is for small businesses to move more and more of their operations to the cloud.
I love the world of “cloud computing.” I love how I
can use a browser and have all of my data–anywhere I can get to a browser. I also like how through my mobile phone, I can access a variety of online tools and have almost the same power and flexibility as I would have on a desktop computer. Way cool and productive.
One of my favorite online services is file sharing. Smallbiztechnology.com has a distributed (yet small) workforce across New York, the U.S. and the world. We rely on a variety of file sharing services to help us get our work done. I live in Dropbox, Carbonite is always on backing up my data and has remote access, and Google Apps is a great tool for overall collaboration and communication. Other file sharing tools you might like are SugarSync and Box.net.
However, before you jump into moving all of your company data into the cloud, there are some things you should consider.
- Bigger Isn’t Always Better: Research cloud service providers and you’ll find many large companies staking their claim on an increasingly crowded cloud market. The service provider’s reputation and how long they have been offering cloud services should trump size. Look for a cloud specialist with reputable technology that knows the industry inside out.
- Understand Your Security Needs: There has been much hype surrounding the security of the cloud, but there is very little difference between the trust you place in your ISP and your other technology providers. With that in mind, every organization’s security needs and expectations are different, so it’s important to understand how the vendor can meet those needs. Check the vendor’s references and investigate case studies with organizations similar to your own.
- Know the Basics of Data Backup: Know how the cloud provider backs up data and in the worst-case scenario, what would happen if they went out of business or if you wanted to move data to another provider. Get a feel for the provider’s storage reputation, the number and location of their data centers and redundancy of their infrastructure.
- Secure Good SLAs: Industry certifications capture a moment in time and don’t necessarily indicate good performance. The best way to ensure good service is with solid Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with clear contractual language. Look for vendors who publish their performance and have clear financial penalties for underperformance.
- Evaluate Customer Service Standards: The best customer service departments for cloud services are staffed with cloud specialists who are available 24×7. Ensure that your chosen vendor’s customer service specialists can meet your organization’s needs.
- Test the Service: A key advantage of SaaS is that it makes it easy to deploy a free trial. Most vendors offer this to those considering their services. Start small with the trial, and once satisfied, you can expand the service to include confidential data and other mission-critical systems.
About the Author: Ramon Ray is an author, speaker, technology writer and former small business technology consultant. He publishes Smallbiztechnology.com, a website that helps small and medium-sized businesses strategically use technology as a tool to grow their businesses. Ramon recently joined the Manta team of industry experts.