The Long Tail of Video

In "The Long Tail," Chris Anderson outlined the untapped audiences that exist beyond mass media targeting. Waves of consumers who participate in niche media and markets, in aggregate, can be greater in size and more valuable than the traditional "mass media" audience.

The same holds true for video as well. When people think of online video, two  sites come to mind: YouTube and Hulu. Indeed, both of those sites have a huge number of videos viewed per user (96 videos/viewer and 26.7 videos/viewer, respectively). However, a comScore study shows that more than half of the online video minutes viewed are being viewed on video sites ranked #26 and higher. The long tail of video site is garnering more than half the total online video viewing.

The important takeaway is that your online video strategy shouldn't begin and end with YouTube. As my colleague Paul Dyer points out, YouTube should be only one part of your video marketing mix. You need to be wherever people go to view video, and that isn't always YouTube.


New MS Office

Another new version of Microsoft Office is coming out on June 15. While I don't think they could have really improved the art of typing a letter beyond version Office XP (or even Corel WordPerfect 5.2), at this point, it's just fine-tuning the user interface and tools. And perhaps undoing mistakes from previous versions.

One happy addition I wanted to mention has to do with PowerPoint -- the plastic spork in the utensil drawer of presentation software. Microsoft has finally decided to allow actual embedding of video files into a presentation. No more links to video files that get broken once you move the file or try to e-mail it to someone else. Apple's presentation software, Keynote, has done that since version 1. Apple knew then that people don't care that presentations are larger than 100 MB anymore. People have USB nail clippers that hold more than that.

Another welcome -- and inevitable -- feature is their offering of a free, lesser-featured, online version of Office. This is a direct answer to upstarts like Google Docs and Adobe Buzzword. Looking 10 years into the future, I think it's a near certainty that document management will be done via cloud computing of some sort.

The other late-to-the-table addition to the application line is the ability to create PDF files of your documents. As the New York Times's David Pogue put it, "Welcome to 2005 Microsoft!"

The struggle over the past 10 years for Microsoft has been the adoption rates of their new versions. More than 50% of Microsoft Office customers today are using a version that's at least 7 years old. People just seem to be happy with what works and aren't willing to shell out another $120 for a few new buttons. However, Microsoft predicts high adoption rates with Office 2010.


Great Customer Service

Today I had the best customer service experience in a long time. The items I needed were in stock, fulfillment was fast, and the customer service representative was very helpful. So what outlet do you think I may be describing? Best Buy? Apple Store? Amazon? Nordstrom? Nope ... it was my local hardware store.

I was in need of a 4-foot length of garden hose to replace the one from my spigot to the garden hose reel. Naturally -- and in hindsight perhaps foolishly -- I went to Home Depot and then Lowe's for the hose. Neither had the item I needed nor did they have knowledgeable personnel to assist me.

When I wised up and drove .3 miles to my local hardware store, the proprietor likewise didn't have the item, per se, but he did offer a solution that worked just fine: a washing machine hose with a double-male coupling. A great solution that both Home Depot and Lowe's technically offered, minus the added smarts.

In the end, I got what I needed, spent 4 minutes of my time and perhaps only a dollar more than I would have, had I gone to one of the hardware super stores. Well worth the value of my time and lack of hassle.

Remember this story the next time you need to spend. Spend local.


Do You Still Go to the Movies?

By that, I mean, do you actually go to the movie theater to see a movie (you can't even really call them "films" anymore)? With options like OnDemand, NetFlix, vudu, Hulu, iTunes ... heck, even your Nintendo Wii, more and more people are opting to ditch the in-theater experience to see movies.

But how have theaters managed to stay ahead of this trend? By raising prices. Anyone who's been to a theater lately knows this to be true. I remember when we crossed the $10-per-ticket barrier with much disdain. It was an outrage ... at the time. Now, tickets for the final installment of Shrek are going for $20 each to see it in 3D IMAX. Unfortunately for the theaters, this is the only way they can hold onto revenue. Look at the facts.

While movie theaters' gross receipts are up year over year, actual attendance is down. Movie attendance over the recent Memorial Day weekend was down 22% from last year and marked the lowest total since 1993, according to What that shows is that theaters are squeezing the sponge even tighter. The down side is that there will be nothing left to squeeze, as movie watchers realize they can get a similar experience on their 50" flat-screen while saving $50 for tickets and food.

Reality: Movie theaters are clutching onto an old model that's slipping away (like the record companies did and like print publications are doing).
Solution: Make the experience of going to a movie theater more valuable than the experience at home. Don't simply charge more.


Moving On

For those of you who haven't heard, I've left Lippe Taylor. It's a bitter-sweet departure. I'm certainly going to miss the people. I've made some good friends here ... a few that I'm sure I'll remain friends with for a long time.

Starting today, I am with WCG (aka WeissComm Group), where I'll be Director of Social Media for their New York office. It's an amazing opportunity to work with a forward-thinking communications firm who is making huge strides in the technology and strategy of social media. Perhaps the best part of this new venture is that I'll be working for the inimitable Bob Pearson (yeah, that Bob Pearson). I am so excited to work with a true visionary in this space. Plus, I'll be reunited with some old friends from my days at Porter Novelli.

Starting a new chapter in your life is always a daunting yet exciting thing to do, but I am really looking forward to it, and you'll still hear from me here and on Twitter and on LinkedIn and pretty much anywhere else where you Google "mattsnod."