Posted in New Media
on 12/5/2007 11:29:00 AM by Rob Barnett
I'm using the blackberry as a flashlight to night feed my daughter 2:20 a.m. The twins will be seven weeks old tomorrow. My son smiled at me for the first time last night. Not some kind of fake, I-just-farted, facial fake - but a real bigtime, full expression of happiness! The ultimate Hanukkah present. Even better than uniques, investment checks, and six-figure ad sales deals.
Back in non new media land, we used to say there's no sense waiting for an "atta boy." It's that slap on the back that any boy or girl wishes they could get once in a rare while from the boss. That elusive validation that's says "I'm happy, good, pleased..."
In old media, the boss is rarely visible - usually situated in a different building from where the frontline work gets done. That "other" building is seldom referred to by its address. The working class in most companies almost always use a one-word title/description for the offices that house upper management. This one word moniker is usually invoked with a dose of disdain and disappointment when it passes the lips of the people who make the bosses all their money. Workers call the "other" building: "corporate."
You'd think positive reinforcement was as essential oxygen in any team sport, but if you take a close look at the titans who run old media, you'll usually notice they move too fast to stop and care enough to throw an "atta boy" bone to the workin' stiffs.
Holiday season is a fine time to see what your C.E.Uh.Oh is really made of. But don't sit there waiting too long for that "atta boy." You can find it all on your own - by putting your own content on the web - you're almost on a completely level playing field with "corporate." With the right distribution and promotion - you can generate the kind of numbers that make everyone pay attention - that leads to dollars - and even a few smiles along the way.
Posted in My Damn Channel
, Writers Strike
on 11/30/2007 8:23:00 AM by Rob Barnett
Old media may be starting to fall in love with the bad boys. They've definitely gotten all hot and bothered.
Ever since the strike began, the collective power created by fans of video sites like this are captivating editors to get to the bottom of our business models and find out how and why major Hollywood talent is setting up a new rebel base here in dot-commie land.
I landed in LA late yesterday and learned that a conversation I had with Gary Gentile at the Associated Press about the writers' strike was picked up by over 100 media outlets including Yahoo!, MSN, MSNBC, ABC, Forbes, CBS News, and the Washington Post.
Our recent viral videos racked up millions of views in a matter of days. Advertisers like Lincoln/Mercury and Universal Pictures just bought a ticket on the My Damn Channel bus and this little anti-media machine is picking up speed.
If artists don't win more respect and revenues inside this strike zone, then old media is going to wind up looking like Bruce Willis at the end of "The Sixth Sense."
Here's Gary's piece.
Posted in My Damn Channel
on 11/26/2007 9:28:00 AM by Rob Barnett
When I last worked in corporate American radio, the employees, competitors, and constituents of Clear Channel used to enjoy calling them "the evil empire." Too many radio listeners feel the same way about most commercial music stations in this country.
One fine day, in a plush board room somewhere inside "the evil empire," their generals decided to launch a new strategy designed to win back the hearts and minds of the disenchanted masses. Since most humans hate commercial interruption on music stations, their visionary new plan added MORE interruptions with less individual commercials inside each break. The most expensive suits in old media are cut with the most cynical cloth. They'll tell you the plan produced positive results. But common sense tells you the best way to fix the problem is to re-think the business and play LESS commercials.
Before launching My Damn Channel, I reached out to a few chosen brains to gauge reactions to our evil little plans to disrupt old media by creating original, episodic videos by the best artists from television, radio, and film. One of the first V.I.B.'s (very imp brains) I approached was Seth Godin.
Godin is a new media marketing guru. His books are required reading in our world. His titles pop. Small is the New Big, All Marketers are Liars...
I'd read the books, seen Seth Godin speak, and broke bread with him once - enough contact to that know he'd throw the right kind of body blows to see if our plan was ready to last in the web ring.
He questioned whether or not we'd be able to get our talent to deliver enough professional video on a consistent basis to build a business. This is where I first started to think about re-applying the "less is more" strategy.
When Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion, the new media gold rush began. Most new sites that launched in the wake of this sea change have tried to win by imitating the mothership and putting up destinations with a similar look and feel with a ton of the same content. Megatons. We're fans and business partners with YouTube. But we don't think our audience is looking for another site with hundreds of "channels" and thousands of videos.
Our "less is more" thinking is built to prove Brave Sir Godin wrong. In our first 4 months of life, we've brought a small number of big talents into a tent where they deliver new webisodes every single week.
Here's the current line-up:
Every Monday: DAVID WAIN
Every Tuesday: HARRY SHEARER
Every Wednesday: ANDY MILONAKIS
Every Thursday: DON WAS
Every Friday: BIG FAT BRAIN
Our thinking is that if the best talent delivers the best videos - consistently - then less can be more.
Or, not. Body blows welcome: info@MyDammChannel.com
Posted in Johnny Rotten
on 11/16/2007 2:00:00 PM by Rob Barnett
The new Dylan is here. This one hasn't learned to play guitar, harmonica, bust a rhyme, or carry a tune yet. ("I know what you're thinking.") This one just woke us up - screaming his lungs out.....for baby formula. He + his sister Jessie are about 26 days old this morning. It's getting really hard to count that high on no sleep. But Dylan's primal screams made me think of an old Rotten line: "anger is an energy."
Johnny Rotten was the single most influential co-con of the past ten years. At VH1, we coaxed him out of his ramshackle castle to create + host "Rotten TV." Most of my heroes have an innate sense of how to use anger against all things hypocritical. My heroes all tend to be intense hyphenate-aholics. They can wake + bake up a day that includes aspects of most of the following pursuits all at once:
- a new album
- published writings
- a film (on all formats)
- concert or stage performance
The truly possessed are now waking up to newfound freedoms in NewMediaLand and adding their own, original webworks to the weekly mix of mass communication.
Most of us mortals would consider just one successful hit song or major motion picture to be a happy ending to a lifelong show business dream.
But the stars I've been chasing for years all seem to be able to cook up a near perfect storm with four or five dishes in the oven at the same time.
What have these hyphenate heroes got - dat we ain't got? How much passion + will power does it take to keep pushing pebbles up a mountain? The mountains are often as slippery as slime. Snake oil rolls down from the peak and covers you in stench and goo. But you keep climbing. You're punk in spirit. You're too smart to be stopped by false hearts. This is a sleepless salute to heroes and hyphenates who refuse to stop entertaining n' communicating: