Coming to a galaxy near you: Star Wars video mashups

Lucasfilm, not known for it’s relaxed attitude to copyright issues, will tomorrow release Star Wars footage for users to mash up and post on their myspace pages. The deal with the online video editor Eyespot is interesting as it goes beyond the photo masher available on the official site, which requires photoshop skills (and your own copy of photoshop).

According to Mashable, Lucasfilm and Eyespot are splitting the revenue generated, but I don’t think George is doing it for the money. Lucasfilm have realised that copyright paranoia isn’t a good strategy for engagement, and if the UGC party is going to happen anyway, you may as well have it at your place. That way you keep a little control, get the website traffic, the brand kudos. And perhaps just keep the brand alive – according to a Lucasfilm exec quoted on the WSJ: “We’re really trying to position ourselves for the next 30 years.”

The next Special Edition DVD box set could have your name on it.

Star Wars Photo Masher

How big is your… er… contact list?

Is it just me or are social networking sites like LinkedIn and Friendster becoming the virtual equivalent of owning a fast sports car… its all about the size of your contact list. What happened to the old adage “quality not quantity”?

Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users

Having read the categorisations from the “Pew Internet Project’s Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users” report I had myself down as a “Lackluster Veteran”. So much so that I thought I’d better start some blog posts here and get a Facebook account, just to see where it takes me.

However when I did the test it rated my as an “Omnivore”!. Really not sure about that.

Incidentally, in a recent corridor conversation I was told “Unless they have something completely interesting to say then all bloggers should be shot”. So this is now a matter of life and death!

Read the report

Do the quiz

Summary of categories below (the percentage is of Americans in each group according to the poll)

Continue reading “Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users”

Less is more for Teletext

Teletext blah blahI am intrigued by the recent Teletext “no more blah, blah, blah” brand repositioning campaign. Lets face it, its not the easiest brief in the world…make what is seen by many as an outdated – now almost defunct since the advent of the Internet – TV broadcast based information service which first launched in the 70s relevant to today’s consumers:

And whilst there have been many improvements to the Teletext product which bring it into the digital world, including mobile content delivery and the integration with Freeview to provide electronic programme guides – there is still an abiding memory out there of the clunky interface, retro ZX Spectrum style graphics and bargain basement holidays.

So its an interesting approach to focus the proposition on their editorial approach, tapping into the whole information overload malaise and positioning Teletext as offering bitesized, succint information. I have to say though, I am still left asking the question – how is that any better to the bitesized, succint online information sources i already use? But I guess this is a first and necessary step for them before differentiating themselves further within the category. And I can’t help but be pleased to see such a well loved, truly useful in its time, brand getting a bit of a facelift! Let’s not forget – at the time of the London bombings when many websites were falling over due to excessive demand – Teletext, which being a broadcast service isn’t effected by traffic volumes, was still up and running and reporting.

Can a community design a car?

Open source car designCommunity and collaboration concepts are all the vogue right now amongst brand owners and agencies alike – but what are the limits of what a community can achieve? Are there any limits? This is the interesting question which comes to mind when considering the OScar project:
set-up to enable car enthusiasts to come together to colloborate and design the ideal car to increase world mobility.

We all know how with a few rules individuals can group together into self regulating online communities focused on creating and sharing content, even developing and editing code as with the open source movement. But to extend this to something as complex and more importantly “physical” as designing a car is an intriguing extension of the concept. Business gurus have pondered for many years on whether or not the principles of open source could be applied to other areas of life than software development. Will be fascinating to see how this and other such projects fare in the quest for “mass creativity”.

dotSUB – ‘Any film in any language’

dotSUB enables users to upload a video for online translation from anyone else. So you can view Bugs Bunny in Arabic, or Rocketboom in Hebrew, Mandarin, Esperanto, Finnish, Japanese.

The tool is wiki-based, and should prove quite a good resource for improving the accessibility of video content in any language.

The Rocketboom episode below describes how it works. To switch between the various translations available, click on the up and down buttons (to the left of the speaker icon below).

‘Traditional media may face extinction’ FT report

Here’s an interesting article in the Financial Times weekly review of the Fund Management industry, where Alastair is quoted extensively on the technological revolution taking place in the media sector:

“It’s harder for brands to control their message on the internet”

“The best brands allow the consumer to get involved”

UK versus US agencies

Robin Grant in Brand Republic infers that the UK digital agencies are shockingly small compared to US ones. Probably fair to comment that if you compare the size of the US economy to the UK economy, we compete quite well in relative terms, and the AdAge listings show roll up numbers for the networks so will always scale up. It’s also pertinent to note how much investment in online is predicted as a proportion to marketing expenditure. The UK does pretty well on that score, and so should the UK digital agencies.