Cell phones are disrupting the common phone companies are more people are using cell phones at home as their primary phone and not taking regular phone service. Now the cell companies are being disrupted by wi-fi. Put it on your cell phone and you aren't using cell minuets. The cell companies hate this. It's great to be a disrupter, it's a bitch to be disrupted.
They are scared to death but the movie industry is trying to make digital on-line distribution of movies work. Disney, who has been a real on-line pioneer in the last year, announced they will make movies available on Movie Link at the same time as DVD sales. Usually movies do not come out on Movie Link, if at all, until well after the DVD is available. Of course there is plenty of DRM attached to these movies. They can be put into up to three digital devices including laptops and handheld devices. Movies cannot be burned onto a DVD. It's not perfect but at least it's a step in the right direction.
The Traveler, written by John Twelve Hawks, is a sci-fi triller about a shadowy underworld of mysterious people doing battle for the future of humanity. Yes we've heard this one before. The Matrix is the best known of these stories, but there are many more.
The plot here is that there are special people called Travelers who can move between realms. Travelers are a bit mysterious and spiritual. Harlequins are those who protect the Travelers at all costs. The bad guys are the Tabula who seek to impose a strict order on the world. Human freedom is a bad thing and the Travelers are a great threat. There is much talk in the book about "The Grid". If you live "on the grid", you can easily be found by the Tabula. John Twelve Hawks has much to say about this and the point is made over and over again about the degree of personal privacy we have and to what measures the government will go to get that it needs. The Tabula controls much of the government in this story and, interestingly enough, the fight against terrorism is used as the justification for most of its more totalitarian means. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Despite its almost too much preaching about "the grid" and such, it's a good read and a fun story. It is part one of a three part series.
I love the tv show Lost. It's an intelligent, fun and exciting show full of mystery and suspense. But what is really amazing is how Lost is becoming much more than a tv show. By the second season, more than 5 podcasts were regularly being produced from fans. These shows garnered tens of thousands of listeners. Weblogs and Internet forums followed. A huge Internet community has sprung up around Lost. It's not the first of this phenomenon. Star Wars, Star Trek, Alias and other sci-fi and fantasy shows have similar fans who meet and mingle on the Net.
But with Lost, the producers have embraced the new media and are using it themselves to extend the brand. First was the official Lost podcast with two of the main writers. It's a well produced show with some behind the scenes reflections from the actual writers themselves as well as exclusive interviews with the cast. Then, producers created a website for the Hanso Foundation, a fictitious company that plays an important role in the show. On this website are more clues to the overall mystery. Now, this summer, they are going all out. A brand new Hanso website along with other specialized sites are creating what is being called a "Lost Experience". Clues lead to more clues that lead to other websites. They have linked this on-line experience with the show itself producing a Hanso Foundation ad that runs on tv and directs people to different websites. One ad contained a phone number that connected fans to a voicemail system that provided many tasty clues to the show.
From a marketing perspective, producers and advertisers are getting together and fans will find various sponsors cleverly included in the Lost Experience. Monster.com, Verisign, and Sprite have been early participants. These sponsors are so well integrated into the experience, they hardly seem like ads.
Starting next season, Lost producers will embrace the mobile market and produce special "mobisodes" or special short episodes for mobile phones. This is absolutely brilliant and will be yet another avenue to interact with and market to viewers. NBC now is asking that all their future shows have interactive elements to them as well. Maybe these new on-line, interactive elements for tv will finally break the couch potato mentality of many Americans.