Why they cancelled “Longmire”

One of my favorite TV shows has been Longmire, an extremely well-done mystery series centering around a modern-day sheriff on the high plains of Wyoming.  It’s critically-acclaimed and one of the A&E Networks’ top-rated shows.  So the network is cancelling it.  The reason why–even though it is said that we are in a new “Golden Age” of TV drama–tells us much about network TV.  And why TV funded by subscription rather than advertising, such as Netflix and HBO, is coming into its own. [Read more...]

Google invading your car

If you have a newish car, you can already integrate it with your smartphone, answering your cell with a button on your steering wheel and carrying on cellphone conversations through your car’s speakers.  You can even buy “apps” for your car.  But when your car is your phone and your computer, outside entities are getting their hooks into you.  The price of getting information from the web is that the web is getting information on you.

Now Google has announced new initiatives with auto manufacturers, turning cars into Android devices.  This will allow Google–along with its client companies and its government snoopers–to collect all kinds of personal information about the drivers.  Google will be able to place ads– tailor made just for you and your buying weaknesses–right into your car.

Won’t that be a great advance in automotive technology? [Read more...]

The sensorization of consumer tech

The big thing out of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas?  Biometrics.  Eye-tracking devices to see what ads you pay attention to.  Mood-sensing ear buds.  Pupil dilation sensors to see how much you are “aroused.”  And, what I’m trying to get my mind around, bras that analyze brain waves.

After the jump, read all about it.  But then I have some serious questions I want to raise. [Read more...]

Pay per emotional response

Chris Taylor at Mashable discusses how Google Glass (a set of glasses connected to Google) will change advertising.  According to the patent application, the technology will track gazes, charging advertisers for what ads  the wearers look at and for how long they do so.

But that’s nothing:  These glasses are also looking back at the wearer.  The patent application includes a method for determining how much the wearer’s eyes dilate when they see an ad.  (Our pupils get bigger when we see something we like.)  So advertisers will be charged more when the ads create an emotional response.

After the jump, an excerpt from the patent application and some serious questions.

[Read more...]

Information’s dependence on advertising

Ezra Klein points out that in the 19th century the different newspapers were tied to and funded by political parties.  The news was slanted accordingly.  But then newspaper revenue switched to advertising. This led to a greater degree of objectivity–as well as blandness–since newspapers didn’t want to alienate any particular audience, the advertisers wanting to sell to everybody.

After that interesting discussion, Klein segues into a larger discussion based on this observation:

One of the most mind-bending facts of our information culture is that almost every major medium of information supports itself by advertising.

Radio? Advertisers. Magazines? Advertisers. Television? Advertisers. Google? Advertisers. Facebook? Advertisers. Twitter? Advertisers. Perhaps the only major exceptions to this rule are books, which are supported by sales, and Wikipedia, which is supported largely through donations.

From an economic standpoint, most information is simply a vehicle for advertising. We see the advertising as a distraction. But so far as the media company’s bottom line goes, the advertising is the point. Without the advertising, the information wouldn’t exist. So the history of information, in the United States at least, is the history of platforms that could support advertising.

via Human knowledge, brought to you by . . . – The Washington Post.

Thus free market capitalism shapes the online world and makes it available for nothing!  Of course, in exchange it gets information about us, so as to make marketing to us more effective.

Do you see anything nefarious or potentially nefarious in this?

The ad man as one of the writers

We have commercials.  Then came product placement, in which commercials enter the storyline.  Now we have advertisers working with writers to make the product an intrinsic part of the plot.  From Harold Meyerson, <a href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/06/AR2010040602662.html”>Moviemaking becomes commercial art</a>:

<blockquote>As the cost of filmmaking continues to rise, “product placement” has become a serious source of production funding. The more a product is shown or used in a movie, the Times reports, “the more a brand pays for the appearance, offering fees ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million a film.”

But Yospe&apos;s niche — “brand integration,” as his law firm’s Web site nicely terms it — takes the concept further by starting the process earlier. Rather than have studio executives arbitrarily edit in a scene set, say, in an Exxon gas station as production is wrapping up, Yospe meets with filmmakers and writers while their pictures are still on the drawing boards to help the product placement become more integral to the narrative and thematic flow. And clinching deals for certain brands can affect the casting and other major aspects of a film.

The Times story begins with a script conference between Yospe and the writer of a thriller-to-be. Yospe suggests that at a certain point in the picture, the heroes might get hungry. “There’s no fast-food scene at all,” he points out, “but they have to eat.”

Golden Arches, here we come.</blockquote>