No Flash, Explained

We should have known, but it took a full-time Flash developer to help us focus on exactly why the iPhone/iPad can’t use Flash, via Rougly Drafted

  • Video players where the controls appear on mouseover and hide otherwise. (This seems to be the norm, in fact. Whereas a click on the same video does something different: usually Pause. Try Hulu for instance.)
  • Games where you steer with the mouse without clicking (extremely common).
  • Menus that popup up subpage links when you mouse over a main button, vs. going directly to a main category page when you click.
  • Buttons that have important explanations/summaries on mouseover, which you need to understand before deciding what to click.
  • Functions that use mouseover to preview and click to commit; such as choosing hair colors for an avatar: you mouse over the colors until your character looks the way you like, and then you click to commit.
  • Maps and diagrams that don’t use click at all, but pop up info as you mouse around.
  • Numerous other custom mouseover functions that “just work” with a mouse and need no explanation.
  • None of these things can work right with a finger (or traditional stylus) because on a touchscreen, pointing at something without clicking isn’t a mouseover: it’s just holding your finger vaguely in the air. The device doesn’t even know it’s happening.

We’ll just have to wait for HTML5.

Ski Jumping

If you’ve ever watched TV on Saturday afternoons in the 1970s, you’re sure to remember ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” During the opening, the words “agony of defeat” showed Slovenian ski jumper Vinko Bogataj crashing off the ramp in 1970. Although the opening changed through the years, this crash clip was included in all of them.

If the show was still running, they might consider including Ukrainian Vitaly Shumbarets, who seemed to do OK in practice recently but ended up in the hospital after this practice jump gone bad yesterday

AP Photos by Dmitry Lovetsky

How ironic that the television production team for ski jumping is Slovenia SLV.

Are You Stupid?

I’ve been unhappy about Winter Olympics coverage for decades. Not enough live events are shown, and I don’t particularly care for the “puff” pieces in between taped highlights.

The wide appeal of sports as TV content is that the outcome is unknown. With results being made available from every outlet imaginable, how many of us know who’ll win before we sit down and watch during prime time? There is only one “prime time” for sports: watching it live.

How entertaining it was to watch this interview on Dutch TV!

Hat tip: TVNewser

UPDATE: Sven was disqualified in the 10,000 meter event

Sven weet ook dat hij veel te danken heeft aan Gerard. Dat zal hij met zo’n moment niet vergeten

His coach is in danger once he gets home.

Smithsonian: It’s Time.

In a historical world, way back in a time before mega-mediastars, the former editor of Life magazine, Ned Thompson, started up a new magazine with S. Dillon Ripley. At the time, Mr. Ripley was Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. They called it Smithsonian. It would be sold to “members” of the Smithsonian and sell advertising. Their first salesman was Tom Black, also a former Time Inc. ace, son of Howard Black, Time’s first salesman…

Tom Black was Smithsonian magazine’s first Director of Advertising. He joined the magazine in September 1969 and retired in the spring of 1994. During his tenure, the magazine became one of the major success stories in publishing, mushrooming from an initial circulation of 164,000 to over 2 million, making it the leading magazine in the so-called quality field.

From the beginning, the magazine’s readership ranked high in such demographic factors as level of education and disposable income. Black and his sales force, however, had problems at first trying to sell a magazine which many advertisers associated with a musty, dusty museum complex in Washington, D.C. Just when sales were at their lowest ebb, in the slimmer of 1971, sales turned the corner and took off.

Black’s father, Howard Black, was Time magazine’s first ad salesman, and Tom grew up with Henry Luce, the father of modern magazine publishing, as a frequent guest in his parents’ home. After serving in World War II, Tom Black joined J. Walter Thompson, then the world’s leading advertising agency, as a trainee but soon decided that he was more interested in being a part of a new and growing enterprise. He joined the fledgling sales force of ABC Television and wrote the network’s first rate card. After a short stint with The March of Time newsreel operation, he found himself on the sales force of Life magazine, where he spent most of the 1950s, switching over to Time for much of the 1960s.

In 1969, at the age of 45, Black was looking for a new challenge when he was contacted by former Life editor Edward Thompson, who was starting a new magazine for the Smithsonian Institution. As Black modestly recalls it, Thompson probably remembered a favor Howard Black had done years before for Thompson and his son in making Tom Black Smithsonian’s first ad director.

As the magazine’s circulation rose rapidly, so did their ad revenue, peaking at over 1,000 pages in the early 90’s. They were successful in ad sales for many reasons. A quality editorial product attracted boatloads of devoted readers. Their national sales rep network was outstanding and the ad sales staff in New York included many former Time Inc. stars. With retirement benefits provided by TIAA-CREF, it was an attractive option for those who made a killing at Time in the 60’s and 70’s to join Smithsonian and rollover their nest eggs. In the ’60s, you only had to answer the phone at Time and you sold a few pages.

When I worked for Smithsonian, we’d joke about how former Time Inc. people we had, calling it a “Time Inc retiree halfway house.” The success, however, was no joke. Circulation rate base peaked at 2,100,000, and it was sold against both the luxury/high-brow titles (The New Yorker, Gourmet, Condé Nast Traveler) and the weeklies (Time, Newsweek, Business Week). It’s natural competitor was National Geographic, which was written for a 7th grade reading level.

The business side of Smithsonian got reorganized in 1997-8 (that’s why I’m here), and the ad sales equation never recovered. All the stars moved on. Ten years later, Smithsonian ad space is now being sold by Time Inc.

“We are pleased to join with Time Inc. in this endeavor, as both Smithsonian and Time publish truly iconic, legendary brands,” said Smithsonian Enterprises president Tom Ott in a statement. “I’m confident that advertisers will be receptive to this new opportunity.”

Folio: picked it up first. See if you can read into it like I can…

“The opportunity is strictly an advertising partnership,” Leslie Picard, president of Time Inc. corporate sales and marketing told FOLIO:. “We felt it was a great opportunity to develop multiple programs with Smithsonian as part of what Time Inc. can bring to the table. The brands marry up well for a number of our advertisers.”

The partnership is not meant to replace the Smithsonian sales operation, but the publisher will benefit from Time Inc.’s entre into the bigger corporate deals. Picard said the travel, pharmaceutical and technology categories are particularly well-suited for a Smithsonian-enhanced sale.

Smithsonian, which has a rate base of 2 million, dropped 26 percent in ad pages in 2009 versus 2008, per PIB.

Nevertheless, the brand’s reach was an attractive match, said Rosie Walker, associate publisher of marketing and sales development at Smithsonian. “On the flip side, we fill an important demographic for them, we have a readersihp of nearly seven million, which is a nice size to hit that baby boomer demographic,” she said.

Ad revenue is down across the board. I hope this deal helps ups the ad page count for a still-great magazine, Smithsonian.

The Drumbeat of Social Media

Bet you can’t help but hear the drums of social media. If you’re in marketing, you’d better get used to it.  The drumbeats are getting louder and louder.  Can you keep a beat?

Seems many are getting it, with “social networks/applications” a top priority for top marketers, according to a study released by the Society of Digital Agencies, released last month…

Social Media is propelling the rise of the Consumer:

“Rather than spending another misguided year trying to “engineer” viral campaigns that will propagate themselves, regardless of consumer intentions, it’s time to refocus our marketing efforts to align with the way that people actually behave.” – Ivan Askwith, Big Spaceship

“2010 will be the year that social media-fueled technology and behavior is responsible for more content consumption choices than ever before. As the media landscape becomes increasingly fragmented, marketers will need to become more nimble than ever, and start getting on the leading edge of trends, as opposed to waiting for them to emerge.” – Ian Schafer, Deep Focus

“The most effective digital platforms have shifted from “disruptive” to “productive” by providing a service or utility…[They] fundamentally change the approach from “how we reach our customers” to “how we make their lives better.” – Ken Martin, Chief Creative Officer, and Ivan Todorov, CEO & CTO, Blitz

81% of brand executives expect an increase in digital projects in 2010, so it’s no surprise words like “social media” are included in almost every communicator’s job description. If not, it should be.

Social media gives marketers an alternate,  better way to communicate and interact with their customers, prospects and various publics (employees, investors, vendors and communities where they operate). This has become the norm for many successful companies and organizations. Some are doing it right, while others start, for example, a Twitter feed or a Facebook page and fail to update it consistently.

Thousands more have yet to realize the benefits, so I’d say the outlook for us “drummers” is indeed very interesting and exciting. What does every good band need? A drummer!