Filmmaker: Forget Festivals, Go Online Instead

Film festivals used to be the go-to-place for aspiring filmmakers. Nowadays, they’re a place to go and have some fun with your crew. If you’re serious about getting your films in front of an audience, you have to release them online, says Andrew S Allen.

Today in Social

Let’s put a NewNet spin on Nokia-Microsoft. How about inviting Facebook to the party? As the biggest handset manufacturer in the world, Nokia’s pretty social already. Sure, Facebook will need to stay neutral across mobile platforms, but it concedes that is challenging, and Microsoft has some favored-nation status already. If it’s all about apps, the first five – or fifty – should be social. Microsoft integrates Facebook and Twitter feeds nicely, but could double down on that bet. Here’s some pretty examples. And get on that social search thing, at least for local entertainment. Foursquare can’t do recommendations very well, yet, but Google’s investing. You might have heard that Facebook has a bit of a rivalry with Google. After that, implement a publisher-friendly app subscription system. Here are some guidelines. Get to it, guys!

Today in Social

News Corp.’s iPad-only “newspaper,” The Daily, debuted today. It’s got a slick, coverflow-like interface and prominent video, and it will even read some articles to you. It’s 100 pages of original content, published in the morning, but will be updated during the day. Sports will be a big focus, as well as establishing its editorial voice. It’s priced like a magazine, not a newspaper (99 cents a day, $40 a year via brand new Apple iOS subscriptions), and it has interstitial ads. Alley Insider estimates it will be profitable with a few hundred thousand subscribers, which will be easy to achieve if not hold on to. But it misses on some key Modern Media Manifesto mandates: although it links, it’s not very social, and although it’s multimedia, it’s not multi-channel. That means it will miss out on cross-channel advertising opportunities, and sponsorships with social media components.

Media Apps and the iPad: Surprise! Free Is Better

Will the iPad help or harm media companies? Early indications are that iPad users prefer downloading free media apps to paid ones, with a few notable exceptions. Some publishers are also reticent about the device because they are nervous about how much control it gives Apple.

Grey Lady’s Troubles With the P-Word

Is charging users for online content an act of slow-motion seppuku? The New York Times may be about to find out. But the real risk is that it is neither a runaway success nor an abject failure, but rather a slow, steady decline.

Is Google Dinging Music Search Results With Promo Songs?

mos defBeginning tonight, Google’s (s goog) new enhanced music search results will feature promotional songs from record labels, opening the door for Google to treat music search as a paid-content opportunity rather than just the shortest path to a song. Partner site revealed last week that it would feature exclusive content in search results, and is set to announce tonight that about 20 artists will offer exclusive promotional songs on Lala with featured placement in Google search results. Artists involved include Mos Def, Arctic Monkeys, Green Day, Lady Gaga and Norah Jones. Read More about Is Google Dinging Music Search Results With Promo Songs?

Sponsored Tweets: What’s Your Take?

sponsored_tweetsPaid tweeting is nothing new. We’ve all seen spam users and posts in our Twitter feed and our following list, but usually the attempts are painfully obvious and easily dismissed. A new venture, Sponsored Tweets, by IZEA founder Ted Murphy (the guy with the tongue, in case you, like me, didn’t recognize the name but know the face) is bringing sponsored tweeting to the mainstream, and he has a pack of celebrities, both traditional and online,  to back him up.
The idea is simple: companies pay Twitter users to mention their products in a favorable light. It’s paid content, not uncommon in the blogging world, brought to micro-blogging for the first time in a concerted, organized and coherent way. It even includes an attempt at transparency, via a “disclosure engine,” use of which is required for Sponsored Tweets posts. Read More about Sponsored Tweets: What’s Your Take?

News Corp. and the Great Not-Free Experiment

374716426_b3808965cf_mRupert Murdoch is picking up his toys from the playground and going home, and kicking sand at the “free” model touted by Wired’s Chris Anderson on the way out. The News Corp. (s nws) chairman has announced that, due to poor advertising revenue on the company’s numerous news properties, the company will begin charging for all online news content within a year. News Corp. lost $3.4 billion in the just-ended fiscal year, after a massive $8.9 billion in one-time charges.
The pay-wall strategy, which is still lacking many, many details, has more than a little bit of David Farragut’s “damn the torpedoes” mentality to it, but Murdoch noted that if his plan is successful, “we’ll be followed by all media.” Could this be the beginning of the end for free news on the Internet? Read More about News Corp. and the Great Not-Free Experiment

Maybe “Paid” Is the Future of Online Business

[qi:110] In 1988, “Saturday Night Live” aired a parody commercial deriding clumsy business models. “At First CityWide Change Bank, our business is making change,” said actor Jim Downey, portraying a naive “service representative.” After listing various ways in which his company could break a five, he explained how money is made. “The answer is simple: volume.”

More than 20 years later, I wonder if some digital entrepreneurs think the same. “Simple: we’ll make money on volume of traffic, at some future date,” they promise, even if the math doesn’t add up right now. Despite a knee-deep recession, the idea of giving away something for free and charging for something else later is bigger than ever. But is “free” selling? Read More about Maybe “Paid” Is the Future of Online Business

Why Guardian Media Bought paidContent for $30M

Rafat Ali, founder of ContentNext Media, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based new media startup and publisher of the blog paidContent, puts the blame for his inability to sleep last night squarely on Kara Swisher’s shoulders for breaking the story of his company being gobbled up -– for a rumored $30 million — by Guardian Media Group (GMG). He admits on his blog to being steamed over being scooped on the biggest story of his life – and as a lifelong reporter, I know how that feels.

In a very early morning call he explained that a sale had not been part of his plan; he had been raising another big round of funding to grow his company.  The company had previously raised $1 million for Graycroft Ventures. But the offer to be acquired by a company he respects as much as GMG was simply too good to pass up. The company is going to be run independently from the U.S., he said, and he expects to expand aggressively in Europe and India.

This is a great outcome for a guy who has worked tirelessly to build paidContent over the last six years, one blog post at a time. Rafat is also a long-time friend and — ever since we each started our businesses — a great resource. From a personal perspective, I can only imagine his elation, no matter how short-lived it might be.

Read More about Why Guardian Media Bought paidContent for $30M