Posts Tagged ‘LA Times’

Latest Social Media Phenomenon: Charlie Sheen’s Record Breaking Success on Twitter

Monday, March 7th, 2011
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Charlie Sheen’s record-breaking success on Twitter is the latest news story that is being fueled by social media. Social media once again proves to be an omnipresent indomitable force when it comes to communicating and marketing. When he isn’t calling his bosses knuckleheads or referring to his “Adonis DNA” or having “Tiger Blood” (as he once proclaimed in an interview), Sheen is setting world records for Twitter followers, according to the LA Times.

When CBS decided to cancel the remaining segments of “Two and a Half Men” due to Sheen’s hiatus and reportedly based the decision on the totality of Sheen’s statements, conduct, and condition. Sheen went on the offensive by lashing out at his bosses on radio shows and more recently joining Twitter. As reported on in the Mashable article, within 24 hours Sheen had 910,000 Twitter followers, and was the quickest to reach 1 million followers, a new Guinness World Record.

“With such a huge following, Sheen could make money from Twitter, said Arnie Gullov-Singh, the chief executive of — a Beverly Hills firm that writes messages on Twitter or Facebook for celebrities who, for a fee, endorse products or brands,” notes this Boston Herald article. “Brands lined up to advertise on ‘Two and a Half Men’ because of the show’s reach, and they’ll do the same with celebrities like Charlie because of who he reaches,” Gullov-Singh said.

Through social media (and with Twitter expected to reach over 200 million followers in 2011) Sheen will now be able to communicate with his fans in an immediate and unfiltered way from the luxury of his own home. A bit scary, yes … But entertaining, for certain. Sheen’s first message on Twitter said, “Winning..! Choose your Vice…” and linked to a photo of him, holding a bottle of chocolate milk, and Bree Olson — one of his two girlfriends — holding a Naked Juice fruit smoothie… Only in America.

As Lou, the older wiser sales associate, warned a young Bud Fox in Wall Street 1, “Kid, you’re on a roll. Enjoy it while it lasts, ’cause it never does.” Right know Charlie Sheen is a nice alternative news story to the economy or the Middle East but in a few days are we really going to care what Charlie’s tweeting about? Maybe.

FCC approves $30 Billion NBC – Comcast deal…with many strings attached

Friday, January 21st, 2011
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The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department approved a pending $30 billion joint venture which allows Comcast to own 51 percent of NBC Universal. The approval comes 13 months after the two sides announced their plan to merge one of the nation’s largest cable and internet operators with a broadcaster whose assets include NBC and Telemundo, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and Universal Pictures. Comcast controls 24 percent of the nation’s cable subscribers and NBC owns 12 percent of what is viewed on television. A match made in heaven? Not so fast… Over the last year this deal was met with heavy opposition from consumer advocate groups who argued consumers would have less influence over the newly formed company while online distributors worried about the possibility of having to pay a premium for NBC’s content, which would be controlled by one of their largest competitors in the distribution space. (Source: LA Times Blog, Entertainment News Buzz, January 2011.)

On paper this looks like an unstoppable combination in the making, and could potentially open the door for similar deals between content providers and cable and online providers. Although some were successful and some flopped, this is not the first time we’ve seen this type of marriage before – CBS/Viacom, AOL/Time Warner, Time Warner/Turner. With Comcast controlling NBC’s network and cable shows as well as their movies, it would seem their 15 million subscription base would be the perfect captive audience to view their content with competing cable and online providers forced to pay a kings ransom for the rights to their shows and movies. The FCC, however, put conditions on the deal to prevent any funny business with the hopes of maintaining as much “net neutrality” as possible.

One of the conditions requires Comcast to make its content available to all rival cable and satellite distributors as well as online distributors, and has to offer it’s content for the same price to everyone. They are also required to sell their internet service as a standalone service – this is significant since online distributors (Netflix) gives you the ability to access content without a cable subscription but requires internet service. The FCC is also asking Comcast to relinquish its day-to-day control of their online site HULU, allowing them to maintain an ownership stake but stripping them of any voting rights or the ability to suddenly make content unavailable from the site. (Source: Reuters, January, 18, 2011.)

So before everybody bows down to this newly formed Media behemoth, let’s remember… a lot has changed over the last 13 months since their initial announcement, and the conditions put on the new merger by the FCC (if enforced) will help neutralize any abuses of power. The consumer now has more options with the rise of online providers (Netflix, Google, and Apple TV) and will ultimately choose their services based on the quality of the entertainment, not the amount of channels offered or where the channel falls on the dial.

The pressure now falls squarely on the shoulders of NBC Universal. Without quality content from NBC, Comcast will quickly begin to wonder why they paid all of that money and went through all of the trouble of diversifying their business. The competition is sure to be fierce between cable and online providers; content providers will continue to fight for better licensing agreements for their content and in the end consumers will also have to ask themselves… is it all worth it?

Facebook: 50 Billion Reasons to Smile

Friday, January 7th, 2011

by Lauren Shapiro*

Facebook logoMark Zuckerberg has come a long way from his college days at Harvard as he and his company are crowned the top-visited website of 2010. Adding further glory to this victory, Facebook beat out search engine titan Google for the top spot. Furthermore, according to LA, Facebook was the most searched term for two years in a row! With a Time Person of the Year running the show, would you expect anything less? But with Facebook riding a continual high into 2011, what can we expect in the coming year?

Mark Zuckerberg has 50 billion reasons, an estimated worth of Facebook Inc., to happily welcome in the New Year. Thanks to the recent funding by Goldman Sach’s Group and Digital Sky Technologies totaling $500 million, Facebook can continue to expand its already vast reach into the world of social networking, explains this article from With companies like Goldman Sachs investing huge amounts of money into social networking sites like Facebook, is it safe to assume that social networking will only continue to grow as an influencer in business and marketing?

As noted in the same article cited earlier, London management consulting firm, L.E.K. found that “40 percent of social-network users log on [to Facebook] at least once a day, including 27% who check in several times a day.” With approximately 500 million people logging in between once to several times a day, what company wouldn’t want to have some sort of presence on the site? Taking it a step further, the lack of an organization’s presence on Facebook can be detrimental as consumers constantly seek online experience and knowledge.

Taking heed from the recent investment in Facebook – social networks will continue to play bigger and bigger roles in marketing and public relations efforts. Learning and understanding these tools may become imperative to function within an organization. 

Do you think social networking will grow in 2011 or will a new way of reaching the masses take over? How do you see the age of social networking maturing or evolving? Please share your thoughts we me and the readers of BurrelleLuce Fresh Ideas.


*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Will Media Become Like Fast Food: Cheap, Readily Available, and Lacking Substance?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Sunday’s Emmy Awards brought some of TV’s biggest challenges front and center. It was filled with subtle and not-so-subtle quips and jokes about the direction TV is heading. Emcee Neil Patrick Harris summed up some of the challenges. He sang, urging viewers not to channel surf or DVR the show: “Don’t jump online cause this fine mug of mine needs a huge high def screen,” sang the star of How I Met Your Mother. (Read more about the Emmy’s here.)

As much as we hate to acknowledge that entertainment isn’t just about glitzy red carpet award shows or lavish movie premieres, when the cameras are off it’s like any other business. And in a year where we would rather rely on entertainment to distract us from the onslaught of gloomy economic news, business-related stories from content providers have been dominating the headlines. We’ve all heard about how the Internet has wreaked havoc on the newspaper and record industries. Well, the game has also changed dramatically for the television industry, as executives try to figure out how to monetize their content online while the growing popularity of TiVo and DVR technology eats into advertising revenue.

At last week’s Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference, TiVo’s CEO Tom Rogers said “Commercial avoidance is the issue that the media industry wants to avoid.” NBC Executive Jeff Zucker countered with, “We can’t put our heads in the sand and pretend that people aren’t using DVRs – and that people aren’t consuming content online… We don’t want to become the newspaper business. We don’t want to become the Record Music Business.”

A lesson can certainly be learned from the newspaper industry. The drop in advertising revenues caused huge budget cuts, depleting the funds necessary to continue proper investigative reporting. As an example, the Balco/Barry Bonds steroids story took two years and cost the San Francisco Chronicle millions of dollars to investigate. These types of stories may become a lost art. (HBO’ Real Sports Report: Woe is the Newspaper).

Similarly, as noted in the LA Times, TV’s scripted comedy and drama shows are becoming scarcer due to royalty fees and higher production costs and are being replaced by talk shows and reality programs which are much cheaper to produce.  

So are we in for a steady diet of low quality, cheaper content that lacks creativity, authenticity, and most of all substance?

There is a bright side for television: Product integration may start to play a bigger role in combating the DVR’s effect on TV. NBC’s Jeff Zucker promised to make the Jay Leno Show “as TiVo proof as possible by incorporating lots of product integration.” Also, content providers are looking to reversing the flow of their content.” In a business still looking for a workable business formula – a new “windowing strategy” –taking material online and eventually sending it to television and DVD – has shown signs of offering a bright outlook.”  Warner Brothers’ and Sony’s are already exploring windowing opportunities.

Newspapers aren’t going down without a fight either. Last week Variety announced their plans to put some of its website content behind a “pay wall” that will require a paid annual subscription.

 As much as I enjoy a juicy Big Mac, I certainly wouldn’t want it for dinner every night.