Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Twitter tweets land TV deal

I like this story, about a 29 year old whose tweets of his 73 year old father's pearls of wisdom have landed him a TV deal.

Justin Halpern moved back in with his parents in San Diego. His father was prone to making profound yet hilarious observations, which Justin duly posted onto Twitter. Now he's been offered the chance to co-write a TV pilot for CBS.

You can read some of his homespun truths here, however, let me repeat a couple of my favourites.

"Oh please, you practically invented lazy. People should have to call you and ask for the rights to lazy before they use it."

"Just pay the parking ticket. Don't be so outraged. You're not a freedom fighter in the civil rights movement. You double parked."

The story shows how ordinary people can have talents (in this case for being able to extract humour from the everyday) and find an audience. Justin's Twitter feed has more than 700,000 followers. Like the adage used to run in the good old early days of the Web, 'Content is King.'

When Politics, Media and Business collide

I heard a fascinating interview with Lord Mandelson, the British Government's Business Secretary this morning, on Radio 4's Today programme.

In the interview Lord Mandelson claimed the Sun newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News International, is collaborating with the Conservative party to undermine the incumbent Labour Party administration. In return, he suggested, News International had promised some sort of kickback should the Conservatives win the election.
Lord Mandelson also claimed that coverage of anti-government stories in the Sun would be covered on TV by Sky News, also part of the Murdoch stable. Then, perhaps bizarrely, he claimed this would force the BBC to cover biased stories, which in turn would threaten its impartiality.

It was a remarkable allegation for a senior politician to make, and there's more coverage of this and subsequent comments Lord Mandelson made in an article from The Guardian Online. You can read more here.

As we get closer to a general election in the UK, the rate at which mud is slung is bound to increase. Today's salvo is interesting because it's a timely reminder that despite falling circulation figures and savage cuts, the power of the printed word still has clout and can't be discounted.

The times they are contracting

With all the buzz over the launch of controversial videogame Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and its surrounding hype regarding the controversial civilian airport shooting scene, one could be forgiven for thinking that the videogames industry itself has been recession proof. The UK launch saw the game receive the red carpet treatment that's normally the reserve of Hollywood film premieres.
Indeed, one of the interesting cultural shifts has been of consumers away from traditional media forms, such as TV and newspapers, towards videogaming instead. The figures are quite staggering. Annual revenue globally for videogames are expected to reach $68 billion by 2012

However, news is coming through today that both EA, one of the best known videogame producers, and Adobe, the global brand that changed the face of image editing and document production/distribution, are shedding jobs aplenty. You can read more about EA here and about Adobe's job losses here.

Given that much of the Western world is either clambering out of a global slump, or showing signs of receovery, this should give us pause for thought. What's going on?

For my ha'penny's worth, I think it could be linked to the rise of cloud based free applications, such as the rather good Google Apps, plus the increase in cheap gaming platforms like the Apple iPod Touch. Apple's move to digital distribution has shown how costs can be reduced, while driving up the numbers of units purchased, because cost of ownership is cheap, making consumers more willing to take a punt.

What might this suggest? That traditional production and distribution models are changing and that maybe, in terms of digital content, we're only just at the beginning of the Long Tail.