Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, September 18, 2021

After watching the trailer, Virginia Heffernan has soured on the prospects of MySpace’s forthcoming Webcasted television offering, “Quarterlife”.

No offense intended toward Heffernan, who I love reading, but it occurs to me that she’s probably too far past the quarterlife mark herself for this sort of thing to resonate with her.

As am I, actually. It doesn’t work for me either. But even before I saw the trailer, I thought the concept was solid enough for the same audience that scarfs up quasi-amateur online videos. Frankly, I think the conditions — especially the activist social-networking component — are right for this to take off in a major way. Perhaps — holding hyperbole in check — finally effecting the large-scale shift in eyeballs from TV to Web.

Naturally, the money has to be right as well, and enough of the commercial elements are buying in to make that feasible. Plus, MySpace is well-positioned to be the hub of this activity:

“What MySpace has to deal with right now is a ton of inventory that advertisers don’t find very useful,” said JupiterResearch analyst Emily Riley in reference to the site’s sea of member pages…

MySpace is not unwise to be using its platform as an entertainment hub, added Riley, as its highly connected community is fertile ground for a show’s popularity to spread like wildfire.

“If they do find the right content for their audience, it would probably spread very quickly.”

So I’m not too concerned about the Web being ready to support television-like content. Rather, I’d worry about the ability of the creative folks to pull it off. According to the comment reaction at IMDb.com for the previous incarnation of the show, “1/4life” didn’t exactly come off as authentic/compelling.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/18/2007 10:18:10 PM
Category: Internet, TV, Pop Culture | Permalink | Feedback

So what’s Ashton Kutcher up to lately? Aside from being married to Demi Moore?

Improbably enough, he’s working as the Creative Director at a Web-telephony startup called Ooma.

No, really:

On Wednesday, Ooma will launch an 80-second YouTube advertisement produced by Ooma creative director Ashton Kutcher, the Iowa-born model who starred in the sitcom “That 70’s Show.” Kutcher wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press that Ooma “opened my eyes” to technology’s power.

Even if Ooma’s business model of a one-time-fee for unlimited VoIP phone calls works — and I don’t see that happening — this comes off to me like Kutcher’s slumming. Has he run out of television and film projects to produce?

Also, despite Kutcher’s academic background, I have to wonder: If Ooma was going to roll with a Hollywood star as part of its team, wouldn’t it have made more sense for the company to tap Uma Thurman? Name recognition would be strong.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/18/2007 09:32:01 PM
Category: Internet, Celebrity, Tech | Permalink | Feedback

You have to hand it to Southwest Airlines. They’ve deftly defused a potentially nagging publicity problem by co-opting the situation: They’ve re-apologized to Kyla Ebbert for threatening to kick her off a flight for wearing an “inappropriate” miniskirt, and used the incident as a jumping-off point for a self-deprecating fare-decrease sale.

You have to admire the corporate adroitness. Most companies would have buried their heads in the sand and just ridden it out, hoping the negative press would go away. Southwest used it as an opportunity to make amends and reinforce its mostly customer-friendly brand.

One thing that was lost in this telling:

Ebbert’s account, and a similar one by another woman this week, led to unfavorable news coverage and Internet chatter about Southwest. Newspaper columnists and bloggers derided the airline — which in the 1970s put its stewardesses in hot pants and called itself “The love airline” — as prudish.

That “Love Airline” was actually a double-entendre by itself. It was an oblique reference to the Wright Amendment, which restricted Southwest in flights to and from its hub at Love Field in Texas. Apparently, even then the airline was making lemonade out of lemons, which hints at an especially creative corporate culture.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/18/2007 05:59:55 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Fashion | Permalink | Feedback