Archive for December, 2006

YouSNL

December 21, 2006

Saturday Night Live has scored a major viral victory on YouTube this week with the release of a hilarious video from last week’s show.  You may think it’s just another stupid video on YouTube, but I’m sure the NBC marketing folks were out for a 3 martini lunch every day of the week.

First, they gained some street cred by making a funny video and releasing it to YouTube.  Immediately, you think, how are they going to make any money giving away the content for free? 

Second, more people watched this video online than did actually on TV.  For a show that has been marginal in ratings for some time, that’s a lot of free publicity.  With the upcoming holiday weekend, more people will tune into SNL this weekend than have in 10 years, hoping to see the video or something equally interesting

Third, the real key to this video is that it was a prepared, produced video piece, not a live improv skit.  That’s not what SNL has been famous for over the past 30 years on late night TV.  Do you think those smart marketing folks at NBC didn’t notice? 

The smell of this success will create a ripple through late night Network TV, whether it’s SNL or a show from ABC, something like YouSNL.  The premise is simple, use your advantage in production to make short videos with talented actors on relevant topics or funny skits.  Test those videos among small focus groups to pick the best for the show.  Feel free to throw in a few live skits, fake news pieces, and musical guests just to keep it interesting.  Even use YouTube as a talent factory for new directors, actors, and writers for one off videos produced by YouSNL.  After you’ve had a great show on Saturday, put the most popular videos on YouTube and repeat week after week.

I saw the video on SNL last week and thought it was great.  I wanted to send it to a couple of friends, so I went to YouTube hoping it would be there.  I’m still emailing with people about it 4 days later.  There was no marketing involved, just good content on the right platform.  That’s the only topic those NBC marketing folks aren’t talking about this week.

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Scott Boras, Matsuzaka, and John Wayne

December 13, 2006

Scott Boras has already decided not to deal with the Red Sox on Matsuzaka, because if Scott Boras waits 2 years, he can collect 10% on $50 million more salary.  Epstein thinks Matsuzaka is worth $100 million total, including the $50 million the Red Sox would owe to the Japanese baseball club that owns Matsuzaka’s rights.  Boras thinks he’s worth $100 million in contract money, which Scott Boras would be entitled to perhaps 10%. 

If A-Rod was already paying for my Ferrari, I think I’d wait 2 years to collect an extra 5 million bucks. 

So the Red Sox party will make their exit from John Wayne tomorrow morning sans Matsuzaka.  Noel Wax is thanking the Red Sox for the radio show material.

Also, if you’ve got a hot baseball prospect in Southern California that you can’t get the scouts to come out and see, send me some info/stats/video at scout@ralstonventures.com and I’ll see what you can do.

MySpace Is Biggest (Ad) Site on Internet

December 13, 2006

There are half-hearted reports today that Myspace has overtaken Yahoo as the Biggest Site on the Internet.  Of course we all know it’s not true because Yahoo! (when they’re not making peanut butter sandwiches) is doing more 1-page-view-style AJAX development and Myspace is forcing multiple page views for simple tasks. 

It makes the news because Yahoo! is struggling with the lack of product strategy, lack of product strategy, and lack of product strategy.  It makes the news because Myspace is probably making more by artificially increasing page views and offering ad “deals” to dumb marketing managers.  It makes the news because in all the Web 2.o haste, no one tackled Web 2.o analytics, and so we’re still using a web novelty called the page view

Techcrunch: Web 2.0 Performance Enhancing Drug

December 11, 2006

Mediocre athletes take steroids to go from average to $20 million payday.  Mediocre companies try to get on Techcrunch to get 23901 beta users and a $20 million buyout.  Mike Arrington is a performance enhancing drug for the Web 2.o world, elevating marginal, copied ideas to super stardom.

But instead of beating up on Arrington and his own version of Digg for Web 2.0 companies, it’s time to blame the readers.  Why do you sign up for every beta?  Would you sign up if you had to pay even as little as a dollar?  Are you reading the company’s own product information, or just listening to the Jim Cramer-style hype about random companies and following the pack?  You’re adding to the false success of companies that deserve at most a cursory look, stop it.

Speaking of false success, I love to hear about people who are self-made without any Harvard buddies or nepotism.  Pretty sure those connections won’t even get you on Techcrunch.

UCLA Revokes John Ireland’s Alumni Status

December 2, 2006

After UCLA’s win over the number-two-ranked USC football team, UCLA has officially announced that they have revoked John Ireland’s alumni status at UCLA.  All records of John Ireland’s link to UCLA will be deleted.  The story goes on to say that John Ireland will be given an honorary degree at USC and sing the National Anthem at a UCLA volleyball game.

See the story below:

Aside from the humiliation of John Ireland, co-host of The Big Show on 710 ESPN, the benefit of USC’s big loss to UCLA is that all the USC alumni will tone down their overzealous self-promotion.  Now maybe they’ll realize that neither has the best business school in Southern California.

Blackstone-EOP Deal Insight

December 1, 2006

Attended UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business Center for Real Estate Real Estate Management Breakfast Series.

For the most part it was the typical real estate networking event, except for 1 great insight into the Blackstone-EOP $36 billion private equity buyout that you won’t find anywhere else.

Bill Halford, formerly of The Irvine Company and now Bixby Land Company, got a lot of disbelief from the following:

“The Blackstone Group buyout of Equity Office for $36B closed in 3 weeks.”

Obviously there’s justification for doing so, but it just doesn’t happen in real estate companies of any size.  Of course, they’re a private equity group, and so they have a different focus.

This was also a great conversation, right after a discussion on real estate market inefficiency:

Guy #1 – With the help of Guy #2, we just bought a 10 acre development site.

Guy #2 – Funny, I thought we bought a 200,000 sf industrial building.