A Ridley Scott Film: #THEJOURNEY - Turkish Airlines - YouTube
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Katie McQueen

Almost a carbon copy of Tumi's "brand film" - vague, too-obvious brand mentions/shots ... does anyone feel like this provides value? Or a deeper connection? I suppose now I know that Turkish Airlines is a thing.

Apple Partners With Movie Studio A24 to Make Feature-Length Films - WSJ
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Apple will begin making independent, feature-length films through a multiyear partnership with the Oscar-winning studio A24, broadening the iPhone maker’s push into original content beyond TV programming and into movies.

The Rise Of Brands As Media Companies - Future Of Work
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The evolution of brands from websites with brand content, to blogs to becoming their own media outlets. Exploring Red Bull, Open Forum and SAP among others.

Tom Richardson

I realized we don't have an aggregate link where we can share opinion/news pieces on this topic. This will get us started, and a couple of others are below:


http://www.adnews.com.au/opinion/watch-out-media-companies-brands-are-here-to-play


https://www.agencysparks.com/blog/pursuing-content-marketing-how-brands-act-as-media-companies


What happens when artists and record labels build and buy their own media companies? - Music Business Worldwide
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Cherie Hu breaks down the increasing similarities between 'music companies' and 'media companies'

Katie McQueen

This article is my official submission for a future topic. There is so much here to dive in to. It is fascinating. A few quotes:


On the investment of an owned platform:


What’s more, since streaming economics runs on fractions of pennies, many up-and-coming artists feel pressured to prioritize immediate exposure and revenue over ownership to fund creative projects and make ends meet. As a result, these artists opt to rent audiences from third-party social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter instead of building their own media and distribution platforms from scratch.


On the fear of biased journalism:


Multiple commentators have underscored the potential dangers of editorial bias and lack of transparency around sponsored content that comes with non-media leaders owning a media brand.


On the artists' diversifying their voice:


Up to this day, artists have rarely founded or acquired their own media and news outlets outright; the few exceptions have had explicitly political motivations. For example, two members of activist group Pussy Riot founded their own independent media outlet MediaZona in 2014, focused on covering criminal justice reform in Russia.


There are also many positive political forces at play: for instance, Chance pouring much-needed investment into fledgling local journalism… 







Tuck Oden

I’ll be honest. This article just made me feel old. Because I don’t recognize many of these “celebrities.” Then it confused me with an in-depth, name-dropping exploration of how these celebrities are changing the game. But I think those details obscure a simpler picture.


As an artist twenty or thirty years ago, you had to rely on a rolodex of different companies and outlets to handle your business: Recording, equipment, touring, distribution, marketing, etc. Each player was the expert in their field – and the only real gateway to otherwise untouchable gear, supply chains and expertise. But using each of those players also diluted your work. Each had their own interests. Each deal was a compromise.


Today, virtually all of that is at our disposal. A 12-year-old with gumption can start her own makeup tutorial media company in her bedroom with a laptop and youtube. Why should she rely on outside vendors? More to the point, why should Beyoncé or any artist with essentially unlimited means bow to the wishes of a media conglomerate when she can do it all herself – in a way that aligns with her singular vision?

 

But even with access to the greatest gear, software and distribution methods, if you don’t have expertise, creativity and hard-won experience, it’s just a bunch of expensive toys. What’s needed is a true partner. One thoroughly aligned with the artist’s vision. One house with all of the toys – and the people who know how best to use them.

Ryan Winkler-Herr

I agree with you, Tuck, that the expensive toys need operators. I think celebrities should certainly consider this as they are "taking over" these media companies and ventures, and I think they must be. I can't imagine that any of those mentioned developed sudden passions for news and have decided to throw themselves into learning the trade. The article takes care to say that Beyonce's profile was "written in first person." Not "Beyonce wrote it." Maybe she is an incredible writer with plenty of time to sit down and pen a an article, but more likely a ghostwriter made it sound just like her but with grammar, punctuation and flow.


I think the most interesting element to all of this is that while there is kind of a pretense of questioning "bias," this seems to clearly be a play for authenticity. For the personal, "DIY," "everyman" sort of feeling to super corporate, hyper-produced brands like "Vogue" and "Beyonce." Beyonce is humanized by the first person on some articles, by recruiting "her" photographer. She Tweets, she Snapchats, her husband cheats on her, she's JUST LIKE YOU. And she is Vogue this issue. Vogue is just like you, too.


Etsy-Schmetsy. The much cheaper wooden bowls from Target were made by Chip and Joanna Gaines themselves. They're people. And they choose to live in Waco, so they're definitely down to earth...


We are all falling for this. It seems really transparent when you stop to think about it, but it really seems to be working. Even after writing this comment, I will probably read Beyonce's article in Vogue and think she is so cool and real. It's hard to separate and call out the men behind the curtain when the illusion is so well-produced and realized....which I think definitely means there are men behind the curtain.

Tim Herr

I hate that realization that the book or article you're reading is by a ghostwriter instead of the ostensible celebrity author, which is why projects like The Players' Tribune make me cringe. I wonder about the impact that this carefully managed, PR-friendly approach to celebrity has on the public perception of celebrity itself. These days it doesn't seem like the famous people who have the most loyal followings on social media are those with the most carefully engineered brands, they're the ones who are so weird or TMI-prone that you can't imagine any of it being scripted by an intern. Consumers are desperate to believe that the actors and musicians they love are actually real people. Is there a risk that when celebrities partner with/become brands, they stop being celebrities?


This is far from a new phenomenon, as evidenced by the way that the old Hollywood studio system micromanaged the personal lives of its stars. But that system fell apart and the public embraced the idea that celebrities should be flawed people with (seemingly) authentic appeal. Are we approaching a level of backlash that will bring about a similar shift in our concept of celebrity? This is a cyclical phenomenon, but I feel like we're nearing the end of this pendulum swing.

Ashley Hackler

We live in a day and age where people, particularly younger generations, are wising up to the offerings, or lack thereof, of big traditional industries who are facing disruption on an unprecedented scale. They no longer have control of the market due to increased competition as a result of the internet and new tech. So, these industries are realizing that they need to adapt if they want to remain relevant and stay alive.


Artists, particularly financially independent established ones who already have a fanbase have wised up to the unfair deals they have been making with traditional big record labels, which are weighed largely in favor of the labels who felt they had more to offer the artist than the artist could offer them. Unsurprisingly, those established artists are looking to their labels to ask, what are you doing for me that I can’t do myself in an even better and more thoughtful way?


And sure, one could argue that the record labels do have something to offer, predominantly for unknown and up-and-coming artists who don’t have the capital to get something going or aren’t quite there in terms of development and having music that’s marketable. On the other hand, we have all seen that new artists with enough talent and knowledge of how to reach people with their music through social media, etc. don’t need record companies as they have in the past. And established artists who also realize they don’t need these labels, have been acquiring media companies or starting their own to have control over the way their art is created and distributed, among other advantages and opportunities that come with ownership. But where there’s threat, there’s also opportunity, and I think record companies still have something to offer, conceivably to a greater extent as they acquire and become their own media companies.


This article has many facets but one of the things it reinforces in my mind is the importance of trusted partnerships to a brand, and while they’re service-oriented, they’re still partnerships that benefit both parties. Think about the valuable partnerships we have with our clients. The long-term strategic thinking and internal collaboration we go through to elevate our client’s brand and turn awareness of that brand into action. The client needs to see a continuance of innovative thinking and results that support their agenda to see value in the partnership, and we need to get paid for the valuable service we provide.  


Artists having creative control over their work, arguably the most important thing to them, has been something they have relinquished control of when signing with these major labels. Now that labels are seeing the leverage these artists have, perhaps they will be open to a more of a service-oriented partnership with the artist as opposed to having ownership of the artist. If the deal structure between artists and labels had historically been set up to be more of a fair deal for both parties, making it more of a unified partnership, it makes me wonder if said artist would be less inclined to branch out on their own. It’s difficult to hypothesize with so many changing variables in nearly every industry right now but it goes back to the importance of trusted partnerships, and one should not underestimate the influence that comes with such partnership.  

Tim Herr

Just to add something since I didn't touch specifically on artists owning their own distribution platforms, as a consumer I don't care much in principle whether a media company is celebrity-owned. Where it does start to affect my life is when exclusivity comes into play, and then I have to start making choices I'd rather not have to make. Do I like Star Wars enough to pay for Disney's new streaming service, as long as it's cheaper than Netflix? Sure. Do I like Jay-Z enough to subscribe to Tidal so I can hear his new album before the rest of the world? Nope. But I do feel some resentment that now I have to make these kinds of decisions and, more importantly, keep tabs on whose content I can access on which platform.

Peloton CEO: We're becoming a media company akin to Netflix
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John Foley, Peloton co-founder and CEO, discusses the fitness company's latest funding round, its push for streaming fitness content and new hardware subscription model.

Jesse Greenberg

Interesting to hear John Foley discuss Peloton's investment into becoming a media company and activating media that goes beyond just the hardware they own. Also they are truly developing global talent in their trainers and giving them a global stage. Wonder if they will ever try to take a piece of that talent management action.

Debby Johnson

I wonder if this will work for them. This is either a really good idea (captive audience and all that) OR they are going to go the way of another device company that claimed they were going to become a media company. Remember when GoPro tried this? I don't disagree that content is king (who can deny that?) or the importance of brands becoming their own media companies, but... I wonder just how limited this vision is.

Nicole Capossela

I’m with Debby on this - I’m curious how far their vision will expand. Identifying and developing talent across the world is attractive to both the talent and the consumer, but will their vision of being a media company go beyond specific workout content and maybe address new comprehensive health trends?  It’s great to say you are becoming a media company, but when I see Peloton compare itself to Netflix, there is a level of content and creativity that comes to mind. To stay relevant, this brand need to constantly evolve and stay at the forefront of the conversation.  What type of content will they develop and will this content expand outside of workout classes and hardware?


For example, the topic of “health and fitness” is a dynamic topic that is moving more toward overall wellness or comprehensive fitness today. The mental aspect of training is increasingly emerging in the market and, as a media company that is investing in actual studios and content development around health and fitness, Peloton has an opportunity to expand their reach to address the other aspects of overall fitness or wellness training.  For example, will they offer more comprehensive classes that include topics such as meditation, mental conditioning or nutrition? Will they hold interactive workshops or classes? As they adjust their payment structure to make their products more accessible to a broader audience, will they position their brand to be the global authority in fitness and wellness? They are already starting this with boot camp classes, but from a consumer standpoint, what will set them apart from others like Beach Body?  It will be very interesting to see where they go… 

Henry Martin

I read an article the other day discussing this very subject, and I thought it made some good points:


"Whereas Netflix and HBO and Disney control millions of people at their most dazed and couch-ridden state, Peloton’s audience is, by definition, sweating.


Not just sweating, but drugged. The good way.


From WebMD:

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.


Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.


If you could map a person’s positivity, confidence and self-esteem throughout a day, it would peak, or come near peak, during and immediately following a workout.


If Peloton owns content delivery during that window, then they potentially own the most unique asset in media.


Don’t be surprised when they start co-producing shows with brands that are willing to pay a hefty price to be in front of their audience. Brands that care about healthy living, high achievement and positivity. Brands that want to engage with people when they feel the most motivated, most optimistic and most proud of themselves.


In other words, a whole boatload of brands."

Craft-Beer Company Taps Streaming Service for Growth - WSJ
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Scottish beer company BrewDog is offering a streaming service featuring more than 100 hours of video centered on drinking culture, the latest effort by a brand to launch its own media venture.

Henry Martin

They say they need 50,000 subscribers in the first six months for the network to be viable. I wish them luck!


You can view the network here: https://brewdognetwork.vhx.tv/

Henry Martin

They say they need 50k subscribers in the first six months for the network to be viable. I wish them luck!


You can view the network here: https://brewdognetwork.vhx.tv/

How Netflix sent the biggest media companies into a frenzy
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Netflix is valued at a far higher multiple than its competitors, and it's causing angst among media companies that feel they can't compete. Some should be changing their business models instead of focusing on getting bigger, says Netflix CFO David Wells.

Katie McQueen

All of this disruption looks like a bunch of blind giants playing red rover. While they fight out who can break whom, we (AM) would say: "you all just wait until Johnson & Johnson decides to get in your game. Not at some ‘branded content on the internet’ level, but in the exact same playground in which you’re all buying and selling each other. What happens when they pull just one month’s worth of advertising from your networks to go pilot their own show? Then hell will really have broken loose!" (Or so says Henry.)


I read an article recently (posted over here, worth a visit when your brain gets too scrambled by blockchain) discussing the trend of musicians building or buying their own media companies. The apparent fear of non-media media enthusiasts was funny:


Multiple commentators have underscored the potential dangers of editorial bias and lack of transparency around sponsored content that comes with non-media leaders owning a media brand.


Non-media leaders owning a media brand. (Hey, Toyota, that means you!) One day the media “professionals” will wake up to the fact that not only do you have money, but you have just as much – if not more – grip on your audiences. But that’s only if you wake up to it first. Never forget the deep, emotional level on which your audience connects with and trusts you. There’s a whole lot of media opportunity in that.


As a consumer, I just want great content. Increasingly I don’t care who it comes from. If what you make is good, I will likely develop a pretty rabid sense of loyalty to you. And when it comes to loyalty, I can think of quite a few “non-media leader” brands that wrote the book on the concept. How will they use it to their advantage and throw a massive wrench in the big boy media game?


Women and money take center stage in Visa's marketing rewrite | Campaign US
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Millennial women are more comfortable talking about their sex life than money.. From Campaign US

Jesse Greenberg

This a huge narrative for Visa to take on, but one that they could truly own if they do start to think like a media company. Creating some nice digital display ads, infographics, commercials and having a couple media companies write a piece or two will not suffice. If Visa wants to be successful in something more than co-opting culture, then they really will need to think about integration with influencers, development of long-form documentary content and hosting large events around this subject. It will be very interesting to monitor and see how this develops, or if this is just a quick hitting campaign. I think they lost a lot of potential momentum by not coming out of the gates with a larger content roll out.

Henry Martin

Strikes me as a major flop, indicative of focus-grouped nonsense with no respect for the people they supposedly want to reach.


A great way to identify when a conversation is less than honest is when someone says "we're kicking off an honest conversation." You know, because no one ever says that.


The one thing they did very well is land on a fascinating and relevant subject. The relationship between women and money is changing, indeed, as women take on new and different roles in society. But Visa utterly fails to do the hard work necessary to add anything new.


You don't get people to talk by loudly saying "TALK."


Give them something to talk about!


You should know that, Visa, it's what you did with your focus groups! You walked into those awkward rooms and said, here's something new, now what's everyone's take on it?


People talk about stories that provoke them, or stories that open their eyes to different perspectives.


Visa has as much ability as The New York Times or Slate or Netflix to go tell compelling stories about women and money. But they don't have the vision.


As an aside, if you go to the Youtube page for their video for this conversation-starting campaign, you'll see that comments have been disabled.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUn3RwUA93w




Katie McQueen

There is such little meat to this "campaign" that I doubt it will be around for very long. Some marketer will tell Visa It worked! because it engaged 14.21% more women that would never have cared about Visa before. And of those women, .03% became Visa customers. NICE!


Is this a worthwhile discussion to have on a larger scale? Yes. Should women be more open to discussing their finances with each other? Sure.


But one of the reasons why this won't be effective, why we can't seem to have an adult-like conversation on the subject, why perhaps some of these cultural barriers even exist ... is due to the juvenile way we address them.


Take Henry's point - there is no effort here to tell any real woman's story. No humanizing of this beyond one research study, a few focus groups, slick infographics and (probably) a bunch of internet comments of women saying "It's crap we don't get paid as much as men!"


Where is the reality? Where is the journalism? Instead, we get this naive, super-fun animated video made for empowered women everywhere.

Putting aside real issues we face regarding this topic (again I agree it needs to be addressed) my main beef here is the single piece of content that was produced to introduce it. I can just imagine the room of marketers: "Let's pick upbeat music so women find this fun. Let's use animated graphics that their kids would like. Let's give them stats that really get them thinking. Let's have a meeting where we all agree and get nothing done!"


It's been two months since Visa posted this animated video. No subsequent content or message forums have been launched since.


We'll wait and see but in the meantime, it's sure been fun talking about talking about it!


‘Living and breathing gaming’: OMEN by HP launches long-form video series for the esports community - Digiday
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The show is part of HP’s effort to attract competitive gamers and fans with the hope of selling them products and services.

Jesse Greenberg

This is a solid example of an endemic gaming brand developing long-form content that adds value to a community and tries to own a narrative. While it is unclear how many different episodes will be released, it is at least being talked about as an overall series with additional content to follow. The content is not pushing product and is really focused on "making gamers better." This content release is tied to HP's build out of their OMEN brand and products. All brands need to think about storytelling as a necessity as they launch new products, divisions or initiatives.

The Ontario government just launched its own news channel
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For someone who aligns himself with the whole "fake news!" crowd, Doug Ford seems to be putting a lot of time and money into the producti...

David Beebe

The "brand" is the Ontario Government. Doug Ford, the new elected premiere, also started his own news channel to get elected.

Jesse Davison

This is interesting. I looked into his campaign channel “Ford Nation Live” to see if it’s still a thing. It’s still up, but it doesn’t look like there’s been much activity after early June. 


It appears “Doug Ford the Brand” has evolved into—as you said—“Ontario Government the Brand.” 


No harm, no foul when using donor money while running a campaign to fund his personal brand as he sees fit. It becomes something entirely different when his personal brand becomes the government’s brand at the taxpayer’s expense. In my opinion.


Regardless. He clearly understands the value in owning and controlling a narrative.