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5 reasons to say “Viva la Television Revolution”


by Cam Clark

Viva la Television Revolution! TV has come a long way since 1926. If you think of the DVR as the Wright brothers’ airplane, then we are on the cusp of the jet engine of TV – a fundamental shift in how we consume, interact with and distribute video media. If you look at recent industry developments, a crystal-clear picture begins to emerge.

John Logie Baird

Jan 23, 1926 John Logie Baird gave the first demo of a television apparatus.

Lets start with a Neilson Poll that states “Online Video Usage was up 45% in 2011″ It increased to “68.2% of US internet users, or 158.1 million people watching video content online each month,” as stated by eMarketer. The site also said that “by 2015, that figure will increase to 76% of internet users, or 195.5 million people and In the same period, online video advertising spending will surge from $1.97 billion to $5.71 billion.” Those are some impressive numbers.

tv graph
More people than ever are turning to online video for their video entertainment. Add in a report from The Diffusion Group that states “Likelihood to downgrade PayTV Services is increasing for those that watch online video” (Netflix in particular in this study.) and you start to see a trend of people moving to online video in masses.

If that weren’t enough, services such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon Video On Demand, Blockbuster Video Online and Vudu, just to mention a few, are rapidly growing in number and popularity. Netflix streaming alone is now the single largest source of peak downstream Internet traffic in the U.S., according to a new report by Sandvine. The streaming video service accounts for 29.7 percent of peak downstream traffic, up from 21 percent last fall.

Finally, many hardware companies are throwing their hat in the ring to make the next box to deliver these services. A few of these devices are: AppleTV, Google TV, Roku, Boxee Box, PS3 and XBox. Sony’s CEO says the company is investing heavily in “a different kind of TV set.” In Steve Jobs’ biography, he was quoted as saying, “I’d like to create an integrated television set, It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud … It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”  Apple has single-handedly changed the music, computer and mobile phone industries, and now has the television industry in its sights. Apple’s had a rumored game-changing TV for some time now. Two big hints of big moves by big companies coming soon.

Let’s recap:

  1. More people then ever are watching video online.
  2. Internet video usage went up 45% this year.
  3. Once people start watching video online, they tend to “cut the cord” of old methods of consumption.
  4. Internet video has become the No. 1 source of downstream traffic on the internet.
  5. Major companies are investing in industry-changing moves.

By now, the picture I was talking about earlier should be transmitting to your brain in high definition. Are you as excited as I am about the revolution that is about to unfold? If the answer is no, why not? If the answer is a resounding yes, then I bid you happy watching!

digital rain

Goodbye paper calendar, hello digital everything!

red calendar
by Brianna McLeod

The year 2011 has been one of transition in many respects. I weaned myself off of a paper calendar/planner that weighed at least three lbs. and was made of red leather (and I loved every ounce of it). At first, I was very skeptical about entering all of my activities, appointments, workouts, birthdays, anniversaries, and basically EVERYTHING only into my iCalendar.

I also became hip and current with my fancy iPhone. Prior to that, I had a cute little slider phone with push buttons, and it was just so adorable. Now I’m a big girl, and big girls use smart-phones. Both of these developments were thanks to 7/Apps LLC.

With today’s awesome technology, I am able to add things on my phone calendar, which is now my planner! I never thought I’d give in and go 100% digital. I love iCloud because when I upload a new event or action item on my calendar, it updates it on my computer and iPad. I can log in anywhere and everything is in sync.

I’m not going to lie and say I don’t miss highlighting my events, birthdays, networking events, volunteering commitments and fitness. I still have these categories color-coded exactly the same; I just don’t get to physically do it. Sad face. I also don’t get to cross things off or place check marks next to them, but I am adapting.

The organization and the convenience pay off when I really sit and think about it. Now I can enter birthdays and anniversaries one time and then have them repeat. I can enter my on-going commitments and they reoccur without me needing to add them over and over. That saves me time, and I can even set reminders! Love that. Thank you iCalendar.

icalTechnology is so fun. There are so many awesome apps you can download and put to good use. Some of my favorites include Shazam and SoundHound, which will recognize a song or artist that you don’t know the name of, and you can even download the cut to your phone right then if you want. I’m also in love with photo editing apps like Instagram and PS Express. You can turn any regular picture into a professional-looking shot. So fun!

When I am out or want to meet up with someone for a movie I use Flixster, which will show you the movie theaters and show times closest to you. Of course getting alerts from Groupon and Living Social is nice because then I can simply purchase a deal from my phone if I want, or send it to someone who I think would love the deal.
It’s exciting to imagine what’s next with technology. There are so many fun things out there that make life more enjoyable, connected and simple.

Brianna McLeod is VP of Operations at 7 Apps, AM:PM PR’s sister firm and office mate.

This blog was originally posted to Brianna McLeod’s Digital World


Gen Y - brand agnostics and savvy

Credit unions need to keep it real to woo Gen Y from banks

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) recently invited me to present tips on reaching Gen Y. Like most organizations, they want to know how to attract the largest consumer group in history. With Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day leading the news, there’s never been a better time for credit unions to be heard.

The first step in building relationships with this generation is knowing everything about who Gen Y’ers are and what drives them.

Meet the Gen Y’ers:

  • Believe they can be and do anything.
  • Believe miracles are possible.
  • Want to live first and work second.
  • Care about servicing their community.
  • Don’t like to be told what to do or what’s cool.
  • Want to experience the world for themselves to develop their own judgement.
  • Don’t want to be marketed to.

Gen Y respects authenticity. If you want to be listened to, be real. This generation can see through B.S.

Gen Y socialize on smart phones

Where are they? On their phones. They are more than half of mobile users in the US. Also nicknamed the Connecteds and Net Generation, they’re almost all socially networked. They do everything online, including research before buying.

When purchasing a product or service they look for:
  • Low cost
  • Good quality
  • Fast service
  • An “experience”

Living in an era when information is everywhere and everyone is constantly connected, how can NWCUA members and your organization reach Millennials? Relate to what’s important. Know that they listen to their friends. They care about their community and they care about living life well.

Give them what they want and:
  • Differentiate credit unions from banks. Seize the 99%.
  • Offer tools for living well that Gen Y will want to use. Financial literacy hasn’t been taught to them in schools. Make money management “an experience” with an app that helps them manage their money and reach their goals of buying a house or traveling the world.
  • Communicate credit unions’ community involvement. Offer an online program teaching financial literacy and curriculum for teachers.
  • Engage them on social networks. Let them lead on Facebook, and be a real resource for them on Twitter.

As evidenced by the 690,000 people who dumped their banks in a single month around Bank Transfer Day, Gen Y will like what credit unions offer. Be easy to find, easy to use and make their decision to switch easy.

am:pm pr tips

As for any other organization? Anticipate what members of Gen Y will want from you and what they’ll look for on your website. Don’t add fluff. Make sure to give them something that they can recommend to their friends without sacrificing their authenticity.

grimm poster header

Grimm tidings to you, Sam and Dean

by Jake Ten Pas

Portland has been all a-Twitter about NBC’s new supernatural/fairy-tale-based thriller Grimm filming in town, and with good reason. Given Oregon’s abyss of joblessness, we’ll take any employment we can get. Secondly, for those of us who are tired of unimaginative reality TV, the recent slew of horror, fantasy and sci-fi themed options is like a breath of fresh air straight from an alternate dimension. Whether it’s “American Horror Story,” “Walking Dead” or “A Game of Thrones,” I’ll take it.

Grimm crime scene

But here’s the thing. Whoever scheduled “Grimm” at NBC pulled one of the classic jerk moves in the history of TV programming. He, she, they or it put “Grimm” on at the same time as two of my favorite network shows of the past five years, “Supernatural” and “Fringe.” Obviously, this is no accident. NBC wants to cannibalize the other two, steal their fans and leave the shows to die by the side of the road like zombie victims. If this theory of TV scheduling was, at one time, effective, I sincerely hope it won’t be anymore. I wish this not because I don’t want to see “Grimm” succeed, but rather because I think the notion of trying to kill off other shows that share a common fan base is an outdated, unnecessary, and just plain unwise way of going about the business of ca

rving out a viewer niche.

grimm show
In an era when more people are watching TV at a time of their choosing via DVRs, the Internet and DVDs, why is it necessary to try to gouge out your opponent’s eyes? As a proud geek, I can say that I make time in my week for a multitude of shows, and all you have to do is not A) Make it more difficult to watch your show than it has to be, or B) Piss me off by taking on one of the shows I’m already loyal to. Sadly, the NBC execs have done both. By scheduling “Grimm” at the same time as two of my favorite shows, they’ve shown their total ignorance of the way DVRs work.

While some DVRs will allow you to record three shows simultaneously, most standard ones issued by cable companies will not. With my DVR, we can record two shows and watch a third, but because these shows are on Friday night, I’m never at home to do so. Thus “Grimm” gets the boot, and the only way to watch it later is to hunker down in front of our tiny computer screen and watch it on Hulu. The week that the pilot of “Grimm” aired, NBC did something really smart by rebroadcasting it on SyFy. This not only exposed the show to a wider audience, but it also found a loophole in the DVR dilemma by allowing another time slot at which my DVR could find it and record it. Why they quit this strategy after week one is anybody’s guess.

After watching the first two episodes, I can say that the show potentially deserves better. While it owes a big debt to institutions such as “Supernatural,” I was instantly intrigued and wanted to watch more. Which leads me to wonder why NBC doesn’t try to incorporate some truly social elements into its marketing campaign for “Grimm”? Sure, it already has a Twitter account, but the account basically does nothing but promote itself all day long. Instead, why not subtly court fans of “Supernatural” and “Fringe” by putting your show on right before, or on an entirely different night, and then tout the similarities between them?

A truly social presence means giving props (or recognition) to others while saying what you have to say. It isn’t just about riffing on how rad you are. And in case you think that I’m saying “Supernatural” is doing any better of a job on Twitter, I’m not. That show’s Twitter account is full of the same self-aggrandizing nonsense, which is totally opposed to the self-effacing humor the show specializes in.

This is a new age for TV, in which people can watch what they want when they want. Your petty little network ploys and bickering can only get in the way of our enjoyment and support of an array of shows. With the advent of Apple TV – and who knows how many other technologies coming down the pipeline – it’s time to play nice and cultivate an audience of fans hungry for great stories that you can all draw from.

Quickly, before I leave this rant be, my coworker informs me that he can watch any show directly from NBC’s website via his iPhone used in conjunction with his Apple TV. Even if I simply had a newer model of TV, I could hook my computer up to it and watch “Grimm” on the big screen despite NBC’s attempts to make it as difficult as possible for me to do so. Perhaps this issue is indicative of technological growing pains we’re going through as a culture, particularly as they relate to TV. No matter how specific you want to get as to whose fault it is, I fall back to the basic position that it’s a network’s job to get its programming to me, perhaps more than it ever has been before.

So, if you’re reading, NBC, I’m here, I’m weird, and I’m ready to watch “Grimm.” Can you help a geek out?

5 things Occupy Portland needs to do to make a difference

I find the Occupy (insert your city name here) movement intriguing. And I’ve pondered what I’d do if the group were a client. I thought more about it after getting an email last week from an Occupy Portland participant sent to several other Portland PR firms, including AM:PM PR.

“Occupy Portland has recently formed a Policy, Vision and Strategy Committee,” the email read. “The group consists of people from within and without the camp, including several heads of nonprofits, professors, and business and labor leaders. The purpose of the group is to come up with short and long-term strategies on a large scale to help the Occupy movement advance in a positive direction that brings real and lasting change to America for poor and working class people. We would love to benefit from your knowledge and experience. If anyone from your organization is interested, could we meet for coffee so we can talk it over and I can answer any questions you may have?”


occupy portland

Photo courtesy of Crystal Beasley

If you judge PR success by the volume of coverage generated, Occupy Portland is doing well. It’s made the news every day since before its inaugural march and initial encampment October 6. It’s effectively used its website, Facebook (nearly 17,000 likes), YouTube (837 subscribers, more than 161,000 total video views), Flickr (nearly 2,300 photos posted), and Twitter (nearly 6,500 followers) to keep information about the protests moving to, from and among its participants, supporters and the community.

Protestors list plenty of reasons for their frustration: government bailouts of big banks; companies with billions in profits that pay no corporate taxes; shrinking benefits and higher health care costs; pervasive and persistent unemployment; and their key rallying point – the growing wealth of the richest 1% while the 99% are losing ground.

But that may be too many messages, and so far there’s been no clear call to action. As days pass, questions about what’s next are increasing.

Public sympathy for the protests remains high. Still, as the email noted, the group has yet to determine its long-term strategy for achieving real and lasting change. It won’t be easy to shape strategy because participants disdain traditional leadership. Instead, organized political interests have started connecting with the movement, seeking a share of the public stage built by Occupy. The movement risks losing control of its own credibility or having it co-opted by others with a better-defined mission.

To make the real and lasting changes they seek, the Occupy organizers need to move from civil disobedience to civil discourse. And I’d offer the following counsel:

  1. Define the purpose and mission of the movement. If the core of the protests is income inequality, that message is being muddied by the proliferation of other significant but tangential concerns.
  2. Debate the proposed direction internally to honor the democratic processes used by the movement. Vigorous debate will help further clarify the group’s purpose and mission.
  3. Decide. After a fulsome debate, get to the verb. Choose the direction and the primary goal. Accept that not everyone will agree.
  4. Declare to the wider community where the movement is headed. The debate and the decision will allow message clarity and consistency – essentials to developing momentum.
  5. Deploy the talents of the people who are part of the movement. Once purpose, mission and messaging are settled on, there’s a foundation for advocacy and action plans. Many talented people have been empowered by participation so far and their talents should be tapped to energize directed action.

David Sarasohn’s November 2 commentary in The Oregonian notes, “‘What’s next?’ is not a hostile question.” Having the answer could give the movement direction. Absent an answer, it’ll be little more than a crowded campsite stuck in the mud of a Portland park.