Facebook is becoming the new generation of TV sets.

Very shortly, you won’t be hearing this question much longer–”Which movie theater do you want to go to?”  That question will be replaced with — “Whose Facebook account do you want to use to watch the movie?” Crazy isn’t it!!! But, its real and its happening now.

Facebook will become the next movie-house, and in my humble opinion, this utility will make a dent into businesses like Netflix as well as Hulu and the other companies who stream movies directly into your homes. The only difference between Facebook and the others is its available library. It will only take a matter of time for Facebook to cut similar distribution deals like it did last Wednesday with Warner Bros. And sooner than later, you’ll be purchasing movies to watch off of Facebook on a regular basis.  So is Facebook becoming the new TV set? Yes.


I still can’t fully wrap my head about this idea and I personally need to see it in action. I do watch video now on Facebook through services like Ustream or Livestream.  And I have to admit those images are grainy, but that’s because they are live. When I watch posted videos on Facebook, the video is picture perfect, but the video lags and I have to wait for the video to catch up with the streaming…which is annoying.

So I am unsure as to how movies will play out on Facebook. I do have to endure commercial interruptions on broadcast and some cable TV, however, I don’t know if I will be able to tolerate long lag times while watching a movie.  For when the video stalls over the Internet, one is never certain of when it will return. Will be a matter of seconds? A minute or maybe two? And you can’t control when the lags will occur. I’d hate to have the movie stall at a crucial moment in the action. But, I do think that these transmissions will improve over time and that Facebook will become the new choice for movie screenings.

Fewer and Fewer People and Muppets will Patron Movie Theaters, Once Facebook offers more Movies. Flickr Credit: Positiviely Puzzled


Right now I use the services of Redbox to rent recent movies. I like the price (a mere buck) and the number of locations where I can find the rental units.  I do pay for a number of premium cable channels and through that distribution platform I do get my fill of movie choices and movie watching.

But, it doesn’t take a fortune teller to predict the future of movie theaters. They have just out-priced themselves. It has to be a spectacular movie for me to fork out $12 for two-hours of entertainment at a theater. I’d rather wait the 16 weeks for the DVD window. One month after that, it’s everywhere for rent. With the current sub-par movie fare I can wait that long and pay a buck.

But this is huge idea of watching Facebook movies and how you would watch them..on what device.  I do have a 27″ iMac screen, but I do not have an Internet ready television set yet. I could probably seat three comfortably in my office to watch a movie on Facebook, but the thought never crossed my mind to make my office function as a movie theater as well.

In fact, there really isn’t a room appropriate in my current home to transform into a movie theater-like setting. However, with movie theaters fading into the sunset, this new requirement will be need to be in every home. I have seen it done. I have visited two homes recently where the owners have transformed one of their existing rooms into a home theater.  And it was a great room in the house.

Home theaters will be replacing the family den.  They are the new den, where all the games and electronic gadgets are housed. And if I was going to purchase a new home now, I’d make sure that if it didn’t have a home theater, then one of the rooms could be transformed into one.

Now this is a Home Theater! Credit: jdesigngroup

If I worked at one of those home improvement cable networks, I would start producing a show on how to transform an ordinary space into a home theater “den” and of course, I’d emphasize cost-efficiency. This is going to be a real boom. I can just see it.

But this does come with a warning. If you are one of the first to have a home theater, then you must also love to host gatherings at your home. For it may be some time before your friends will be able to reciprocate and invite you over. You are welcome to come here and watch a movie on Facebook with me, but you’ll have to not mind my cramped office quarters er office/home theater.

Oh, how the times are changing.

In closing, I’ve got a few questions for you as I wrap up this post.

How do you plan on watching movies on Facebook. Over your iPad? Mobile phone? Home computer?

Do you have a home theater? If not, do your plans call for one in the future?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.




No Kin of Mine

Kin - a failure or ahead of its time?

So by now, I think we have all heard that Microsoft’s latest device, Kin, which was billed as the first phone built for social networking has been taken off the market after only two months in consumers hands.

As a result, I thought it would be good timing to discuss how to handle PR when products shut down.

Ahhh, the Kin. I was a bit confused by the need for such a device when it was announced, how about you?  I mean smart phones are exactly that now, smart and can handle social networking…so why would I need a special phone just for that?  Its selling points didn’t grab me.  Like Apple products that come onto the market, they are trailblazers and become mainstays in our life.  Can you imagine not having an iPod, iTouch or iPad in your life now?  But, a Kin. It wasn’t a necessity, but a gimmick that Microsoft thought would be the “in” thing for young consumers.

I mean it looked cool and I understand what it did. It shot great photos with its camera and you could easily share videos and text for social sites.  But, with so many other devices capable of the doing the same thing…I guess in two short months consumers didn’t feel the need for it in their lives.

I have recently experienced this myself as I start my own social media agency.  I am finding that if my potential client is not open to social media or an advocate of it – then it’s best for the both of us not to do business together-that is not until that client understands the power of new media.  Therefore, the Kin is a product that probably was ahead of its time and the market was too small to understand its need.

I mean I recently attended a meeting where Sprint’s 4G network was discussed through the use of the HTC EVO android phone.  That phone can do the same things and a few more than the new iPhone 4 can do and it sure can handle everything that the Kin does.  So as Microsoft found out – there really wasn’t a need for Kin.

And as a PR pro, I applaud Microsoft for having the guts and um balls to pull the plug on the device and face defeat. I know corporately it was a hard decision to make for not only did Microsoft face personal embarrassment, but so did Verizon who was the sole carrier.  Verizon supported this concept and thus went down with them.

But, I want to remind you – that there is no such thing as failure.  Look at Thomas Edison, a premier inventor.  He did over 10,000 tweaks to the incandescent light bulb before he perfected it and showed it off.  To him, this is how he views failure.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. T. Edison.

So that’s my PR advice to you. When a product, a TV show or employee is not performing, don’t be afraid to advise your CEO that he/she can pull the plug.  The company will be better off in the long run for it and embarrassment of its demise will be remembered for less than a week. Some other news story will take its place and you will be able to get on with your work as usual.

Look at Toyota…they are weathering the storm and are getting back to work. Cut bait and move on.

Homer Always Shoots Straight From the Hip

If you don’t – then your job as the head of the PR dept. will get quite messy. You will spend a good chuck of your time every day putting out fires from leaks that will arise as news of your product’s ineffectiveness starts to hit the media or is shared through social media.

People have a hard time keeping secrets. And when dealing with television shows, you can never hide the ratings.  Consumers can see how last night’s episode performed or didn’t perform.

Be on top of your game and like Thomas Edison – keep perfecting your product. I’m sure elements of the Kin will remain in the next device that Microsoft launches for it did produce some novel touches.

Soldier on for it takes more courage to admit defeat than to live a lie.

Good job Microsoft.  You did the right thing and deserve respect for trying.  There’s no black eye in this situation.

Charity Begins at Home – The Cable Show Day 2

The Show is Half-Way Over

Good Morning All,

I will be walking the exhibit floor today at the NCTA’s “The Cable Show” to see what is being presented by the major corporations and from new start-up channels and promise to report back later with my findings.

Right now, there is a general session going on discussing Media Everywhere and it is being moderated by Michael Powell, Former FCC Chair.  I am listening in to this session from sitting in the press room and I’m lovin’ what I’m hearing from top media executives, like Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts. He just showed us how they are going to use the ipad as an enabler to watch conventional TV in real-time.  The ipad becomes a large TV remote that is actually a TV.

The panel also featured thought-leader Marc Andreessen, General Partner of Andreesen Horowitz. Andreessen knows what he is talking about for he was the founder of Netscape and co-founder of Ning, among other companies.  He said we shouldn’t just think of the ipad as TV, but think of it as a tool that will bring more to the viewing experience like sharing.  He said that we will be able to integrate Facebook into our process. For example,  while we are watching TV, we will soon be able to tell our friends on Facebook that we’re watching that show and they should join us.  So it’s all converging.

Coming soon to TV

But really, my thoughts from the opening day lie mostly with this thought  — Cable is a charitable industry.  Here’s why…

A Lasting Tribute -Monday night a few great executives like Mike Hopkins (Fox Cable) and Eric Shanks (DirecTV) organized a fund-raiser casino night that was off the official grid of the NCTA formal program…but, still being tied in. The event was organized to raise money for the family of Will Flannery who passed away suddenly at the age of 38.  He was beloved by cable execs and well known and the attendance at the event was off the charts. It was a beautiful, thoughtful event that helped raise nearly $200k for the family. Will’s wife was there to let us all know that Will believed in education and that this money would go toward the college fund for both daughters.  Well done!

Battle for a Good Cause - Then last night I attended “Battle of the Bands.” The “Battle of the Bands” event is annual brought to the NCTA by Cable Cares and this year it was organized to benefit a local Los Angeles youth services organization called “A Place Called Home.” Eight industry bands performed in front of celebrity judges and played their hearts out. It was great entertainment – man those bands played like professionals and you could tell that they enjoyed every moment. This event is unique and on brand as all the musicians represented a company involved with the show.  And needless to say, there are some very skilled communications executives out there who could work full time in music instead of their cable jobs.  Rock on.

Putting Food on the Table – On Monday, a bus full of cable volunteers lent their time to feed over 800 homeless people at Los Angeles’ Union Rescue Mission.  The event, sponsored by The Sportsmen Channel, fed individuals and families as part of its public affairs effort to fight hunger, called Hunt. Fish. Feed.  Kudos to the folks there and to all the 60 or so volunteers. A great effort that helped so many.

Corps to the Rescue – Outdoor Channel today announced Outdoor Channel Corps, its latest effort to mobilize outdoor enthusiasts to the largest conservation volunteer program of its kind, “Serve and Conserve.” This new initiative will leverage the Channel’s brand to engage its loyal base of viewers to volunteer for a variety of outdoor-related projects. Outdoor Channel Corps aims to recruit one million volunteers in the next five years.  Great work in organizing the troops and calling them to action.

These are just a few of the great things that cable companies and executives are investing in-there really are numerous more.   But, the bottom line is that cable does care.

More From The Floor

Wired Up – I toured the special “My World” exhibit yesterday on the exhibit floor.  Man, its incredible-it’s a city. Actually it is a  27,000 square-foot exhibit built to resemble a movie studio lot, and it includes  homes, schools, parks, and businesses like a bar, hotel and gym.  The special exhibit is being produced by NCTA in cooperation with Time Warner Cable – the cable system operator in Los Angeles – cable programming networks, technology solutions providers, and other select partners.  I’ll try and add more later.

And then the highlight for me was getting MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews autograph. I usually do not do those type of things, but the line was short.  He is one happy guy who is serious about the world and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him.  He gave me a compliment and I told him to “fight on.”

Today, I hope to stop by Karmaloop TV and learn more about that channel geared to the young entrepreneurs and tech saavy generation and after that, say hi to old pal Fox Sports’ Joe Buck.

Be back in a few.


iPad Revolution

For a Good Time Visit Your Nearest Apple Store and Play with the iPad

The iPad is revolutionizing the computer industry and then some.

When did the Apple Store become an amusement park?  I tell ya…if you are looking to be entertained for relatively no cost at all other than the price of gas to get you there – go visit your local Apple Store to try out its new iPad electronic device. But, depending on the time you get there, you may have to wait in line to touch one. They are just that popular.

I am an advocate of Apple products – I find them all extremely useful, practical and made with quality.  So I wasn’t surprised by its latest invention, the iPad.  I had lunch this week with one my favorite “tech” friends, John Chambers – you may know him as the host of  Anyway, I’m always inspired by our lunches for they center around the latest in technology. He so gets it.

So last week our discussion was about the iPad. He had a chance to play around with one and so, after our chat I just had to see one for myself. So I trekked off to my local Apple Store and yes, did indeed, have to wait in line to touch one!  But, I had fun while I waited for everyone who was trying it out was so enthused about using it and checking out all its functions. I wish you could see how everyone who used it was smiling.

The iPad adapts to You

After about 10 minutes, it then became my turn to use one and I too was amazed at how easy it was to operate.  And it had some really cool features. For instance, I loved how the screen automatically changed from vertical to horizontal depending on how you were holding it. I loved reading a book on it and watching videos. The only thing that I still am not a fan of is typing directly on it.

I'm not a fan of the keyboard.

The keyboard is larger and more real-life on the iPad than Apple’s iPhone, but it still was hard for me to type on and then go back and make corrections. But, I’m sure if I got used it – that I would become more proficient in this area.

For what its worth, I will now not invest in a net book, but purchase a iPad when it becomes multi-functional (meaning more than one screen can remain active at a time). But, it definitely is a game changer.  I must say the iPad may result in bookstores going by the wayside, just as movie rental companies did with pay-per-view or music stores as a result of the iPod and iTunes.

So, if you find yourself with some free time, go out and have fun at the Apple Store.  It will be just as fun as any ride at Disneyland.  I’d love your thoughts about the iPad – please share what your experience was like and how you plan to use an iPad in your life.

Still a laptop gal, but hopefully someday an iPad user-


Brilliant Organic Marketing-Ipad and ABC’s “Modern Family”


Ipad + Modern Family = Brilliance

Last Wednesday’s “Modern Family” episode on ABC was absolutely brilliant for its organic insertion of the soon-to-be-released Apple iPad. Even though this topic has been covered by the major publications, I too, as an entertainment marketer had to tip my hat to this outstanding product placement.

For those of you whom were not one of the 9.5 million viewers who saw this episode on March 31, basically, the geeky, clumsy, hilarious dad, Phil Dunphy, wanted a hard to get present for his birthday which is April 3.  April 3 just coincidentally also happens to be the launch date for Apple’s iPad, the all things device bringing music, the library and the movie theater into your lap.

Per the Wall St. Journal (article linked here), the producers of the series thought this idea up and had their network’s sales team approach Apple.  Apple loved the idea and apparently, no money exchanged hands.  The iPad was treated like any other prop in a episode.  It was just written in as a character, if you will.

But, why I did I love this – because it never felt like a commercial.  I totally believed that Phil’s character would have been geeky enough to “jones” for one of these new gadgets.  It fit his profile. The producers apparently were kicking around him purchasing a new video game – but that wouldn’t have been in line with his character.  Phil is always fiddling around with his flat screen TVs or wearing sound-proof headsets. He has always the latest gadgets. It was perfect.

I am so glad that an idea involving big conglomerates wasn’t killed on a lawyer’s desk. This was a nice moment for the viewers.

Bravo Apple and ABC!


Cindy (who too wishes she could get an iPad) Can I come over and see your’s? I’ll bring cookies.

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