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Satellite Radio Not Taking Off

XM Satellite Radio Lays Off 80

Strapped with mounting programming costs and limited financing, XM Satellite Radio Thursday said it had laid off 80 of its 480 employees and is seeking additional financing in order to fund the start-up company beyond first quarter of next year.

XM and Sirius Radio are great ideas but their business models are threatened by the recent announcement of a technology that will enable terrestrial radio stations to broadcast digitally as well. Of course, the terrestrial stations will, unlike satellite radio, still have commercials but they will remain free.

Also, it seems as though manufacturers could have done a better job with the consumer equipment as well. Do you really want another box in your car? Why can't they integrate XM or Sirius into the chassis of the existing AM/FM units. Would it be that hard? Maybe they have, I just haven't seen them yet. Then, there's the subscription fee. While it's "only" about $10 per month, there are so many "only $10" services for consumers to choose from. This one apparently is not enticing enough.

As with the slow adoption of fee based Tivo-like services, it would appear that consumers, aside from premium cable, don't want to pay for entertainment they have always had for free. They'll just suck it up and wait for the commercial break to end.

by Steve Hall    Nov-15-02    

Fickle Ad Execs Wonder About The :30


Although his agency is pioneering a new kind of long-form TV commercial that is changing the industry, David Lubars today assured fellow ad creatives of his personal belief in the importance of the 30-second TV spot.

Gee, something new comes out and suddenly every marketer thinks that all other tried and true tools are now dead? Well, that is exaggerating the point a bit but every time some new ad form comes out, many people think it will replace what came before it. Well, thank you David Lubars for assuring the quivering ad community that we don't all have to run out and learn how to be movie directors.

Anyone ever heard of the "marketing mix" ?


by Steve Hall    Nov-14-02    

Editor to PR Folks: Don't Send Me a Press Release, Buy an Ad

The following gem, said by Faye Penn, a features editor for the New York Post:

Releases Go Into the Garbage

Instead of continuing to send releases to her, she suggested to the publicists that they pitch their story ideas to freelancers, and tell them to submit their finished articles to her.

"If that doesn't work, consider buying an ad. The number for the ad department is 930-8000," Penn told a stunned audience.

Now, granted, there is more crap in press releases then there is news but I mean come on! At least make an attempt to do your job. Isn't a writer/editor supposed to sort through all the crap so the reader doesn't have to?

by Steve Hall    Nov-14-02    

Tivo-Like Technology Now in RCA and Panasonic DVD Players

I mentioned in an earlier post that I thought Tivo will never catch on unless it becomes far more integrated with existing home audio technology. In it's current form, it's just one box too many for people to hook up and deal with.

RCA and Panasonic have come out with Tivo-like technology (hard drive recorder) that is in the same box as a DVD player. Very cool. And get this:

1. No subscription fees
2. No modem to hook up for programming update (comes over cable)
3. Has it's own programming guide

Now these kind of products is what will make this technology sore!

Here's a story about it in the New York Times:

TiVo Rivals Add DVD to the Mix


by Steve Hall    Nov-14-02    

ABC Wants to Latch Onto HBO's Success


...in an effort to boost ratings at its ABC television network, Disney has apparently discussed airing "Sopranos" reruns.

What do they say..."imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"? Or is it, "Gee, everybody is doing reality shows so we will too"? Nope, today, it is, "Since we can't seem to produce anything worthwhile ourselves, we'll just re-run another networks hit show!"

Do you think just for once, a television executives could do something original rather then idiotically lining up like a bunch of lemmings hot on the next mini-trend?

by Steve Hall    Nov-14-02    

ATT Broadband and Comcast Get Together

FCC Approves AT&T Broadband, Comcast Merger

The Federal Communications Commission Wednesday approved the proposed merger of AT&T Broadband and Comcast Cable Communications, bringing the creation of the country's largest cable TV firm one step closer to reality, Todd Shields reports.

So, here we go again with the "bigger is better" mentality.

by Steve Hall    Nov-13-02    

Official Launch of MarketingFix

It's official. Check it out:


Official Press Release

by Steve Hall    Nov-13-02    

The Emmy Awards May Air on HBO

Big 4 countering HBO's Emmy offer

The showdown over the Primetime Emmy Awards is set for a climax today. The Big Four networks are scrambling to find a way to keep the Emmys from bolting to HBO in an unprecedented five-year, $50-million-plus deal

Just think. The Emmys on HBO. When Six Feet Under (or ant show for that matter) wins next time, the winners, rather then having to say, "I am so honored and pleased to accept this award tonight....blah, blah, blah", they can just come up and say how they really feel: "This is fuckin great!"

UPDATE: Big Four networks keep Emmy rights in $52 million deal

Oh well, HBO tried.

by Steve Hall    Nov-13-02    

Plaxo: The New Napster

Sean Parker is at it again. This time it's not about the sharing of music but the sharing of contact info. I think it is a very cool tool. Here's how it works:

A Plaxo user sends plain-text e-mails to friends and colleagues requesting contact information updates. Recipients can reply to the request by updating their info in the template provided or by e-mailing free-form text, which Plaxo parses using natural language processing technology. It integrates seamlessly with Outlook.

Eventually everyone has the software and whenever you update your contact info, it is automatically updated to everyone in your contact list.

Sure it's beta and there are bugs. Also, I'm sure some people will hate getting requests to update their contact info.

There has to be some big brother marketing scenario to this down the road though:-)

Story on Wired:

Wired News: Napster Co-Founder's New Venture

by Steve Hall    Nov-12-02    

The Waste That AOL Creates

You've received one right? Oh no, not one, you say? But 10, 20, 50? You know what I'm talking about. Those AOL discs that come packaged in everything from magazines to Sunday newspapers to grocery store bags.

Well, someone is now trying to collect all that waste:

AOL Discs Returned to Sender

The two Californian men who kicked off the campaign have now gathered more than 80,000 of the promotional discs.

The campaign is intended to tell the company about the damage the discs do to the environment when discarded, and shame it into curbing its zealous promotional efforts.

Thank God. Space is running out on my daughter's ceiling!

by Steve Hall    Nov-12-02    

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