TV’s Cry for Help

Welcome to the TV industry's latest bit of magic prestidigitalization. It's a new twist on the old sleight-of-measurement trick. Here's how it works. You buy TV the old-fashioned way because, well, that's how you buy TV. The ratings suck. You want to pay less because you're getting less. TV says, "You're not getting less. Look at our newly crafted, data-driven metrics. We're delivering premium audiences across omni-channel touchpoints and generating better return-on-ad-spends than ever!" If you can brush the buzzwords off your shoulder, you respond, "Yeah, but Nielsen says the ratings are down." And TV triumphantly concludes, "Nielsen sucks! Here's how we prestidigitally measure your success." Artisanal solutions don't scale As it turns out, TV is right. They do have newly crafted, data-driven metrics, and they can deliver premium audiences across omni-channel touchpoints, and Nielsen does suck. (Sorry Nielsen, I love you guys, I really do. I'll Continue reading "TV’s Cry for Help"

Is 4K HDR Just TV-Industry Hype?

Ultra HD (aka 4K) TVs have been widely available (at reasonable prices) for only a couple of years. The sets have four times the pixels of good old-fashioned HDTVs (aka 2K) and come in practical sizes up to 7 diagonal. That's all great, but with the advent of 4K HDR (high dynamic range), about 10 million first-generation 4K sets may experience an extinction-level event. So, should you buy a 4K HDR TV? Like its Ultra HD predecessor, 4K HDR -- which is known as Ultra HD Premium -- has 38402160 pixels. But collectively packaged under the HDR specification, 4K HDR sets feature several enhancements for your viewing pleasure, including whiter whites, blacker blacks, and a zillion more colors (that's a technical term). What Exactly Is 4K HDR? Continue reading at

Who’s Really to Blame for the Rigging of the Mainstream Media?

"The mainstream media is rigged. Big League," to quote a famous media critic. But the MSM is probably not rigged the way you think it is. That said, the MSM is amoral, irrevocably corrupt and, sadly, can never be fixed. The truth is now truthy, reality has transmogrified into wikiality, facts have become flexible, and the thin permeable membranes that used to separate journalism, opinion, commentary and entertainment have disintegrated. To help you understand why, I offer this accurate, albeit oversimplified, description of how the mainstream media is "rigged" and what you can do about it. The News Has Always Been Rigged All news content is edited before it is distributed, which means news content always has an editorial point of view. Consider the following. Continue reading at

Shelly Palmer: The Socialympics? Nope. Just Social and Olympic

Everyone seems to want to talk about how social media is impacting NBC's Olympic coverage. "Look at the velocity of tweets!" "Look at the ratings!" "Twitter must be helping raise awareness and therefore impacting ratings." "Social media is the secret to saving appointment television viewing!"

Maybe, but I don't think so. While it is true that NBC's ratings are high and Twitter velocity is also high, the two metrics are only loosely related at best.

The mass and velocity of tweets, Facebook posts and even blog posts surrounding the Olympics have been extraordinarily high. But, if you analyze the content, you'll see that the high volume conversations are focused mostly on interesting stories.

People are latching on to things that they find relevant. The reality shows called; "Poor Jordyn Wieber Spent Her Life Training For Nothing" and "John Orozco Almost Got It Done" were as compelling as any you've ever seen on Jersey Shore or the Bachelor. The tweet volume is a reflection of the growth of social media tools and adoption of a new behavior called, "I have a connected computer in my pocket and on my lap and I'm going to use both of them." That behavior does not necessarily translate into "I tweet, therefore I watch."

NBC is experiencing excellent (in some case record) ratings for its coverage of the Games of the 30th Olympiad. This has everything to do with the interesting stories and... and this is an important and, there is nothing else on television worth watching.

NBC is doing a pretty good job. Production values are high, the primetime coverage is well curated and Bob Costas is simply awesome at his job. Add this all together and you get comparatively high ratings. Think about it. If you know that the crab pots are coming up empty, the rerun of Deadliest Catch is pretty uninteresting. If you know that the Pawn Stars are not going to buy the fake Elvis autograph, the show is basically unwatchable. So, what's on? Fox News and the Olympics!

What I do find interesting about the social media coverage of the Olympics is the content that NBC doesn't have and, to be fair, can't get. People who really know Michael Phelps are starting Twitter conversations and discussion threads that are personal and fascinating. Of course, there's no way to know if any of it is true -- but it's really interesting.

So here are the questions we need to ask about the Olympics, NBC's ratings and Social Media:

What does it mean when tweets exceed ratings? I don't know, but if I owned a television network, I'd want to find out.

When a huge thread is a result of a network shot of the athlete's super hot girlfriend, or the loving mom, does that help or hurt ratings? Do advertisers care?

Will social media mass or velocity affect programming? Is this a feedback mechanism that will affect production? Is there even time for this process to occur?

Is there an advertising role in tweet velocity?

Is social media a new form of instant replay?

What, if anything, does social media do to a commercial pod?

I have a few hundred other questions. But these will do to start our conversation. There are two big numbers associated with NBC's Olympic coverage: Tweets & Ratings... I'd love them to be closely correlated and causal, but I don't think they are.

Shelly Palmer: Truthiness In A Connected World – Part 3

By Shelly Palmer and Jared Palmer -

Over the past few weeks, we've been discussing the concepts and constructs of Truth (with a capital "T"), truth (with a lower case "t"), truthiness (as coined by Stephen Colbert), reality, wikiality (also coined by Stephen Colbert) and facts as they apply to our connected world. You can read part one by clicking here and part two by clicking here.

It's time to look at trust circles, truth clusters and the way information travels. We'll try to map Truth, truth and facts, and think about ways to navigate the body of knowledge as we continue to explore truthiness in our connected world.

In part two, I highlighted a story in the New York Post about the John Concepcion case. The Post reported that Concepcion (a convicted murderer who had damaged his own liver by attempting suicide) had somehow made it to the top of the transplant list ahead of seemingly more deserving people, and been given a liver transplant.

If you remember, I had a Socratic debate with Judge Jeanine Pirro in the make-up room at Fox 5 about how this happened and what could be done about it. We had a lively discussion. Both of us retained our point of view, no minds were changed and the facts of the case were never in dispute. Sadly, this story was not a Truth, truth nor fact. On July 28th, 2010, the Post corrected itself, saying that they could not actually verify that the transplant took place. The correction was made in a tiny 2×3 box on the inside flap. (Author's note: I read the paper version of the New York Post almost every morning, it is one of my guilty pleasures. It is not my intention to beat them up over a mistake. This particular incident just happens to work perfectly for our truthiness thesis.)

This week I also ran into Judge Jeanine Pirro in the make-up room just before our respective segments on Fox 5. We chatted about stuff and then I asked her if she saw that I mentioned her in last week's piece. Remarkably, Her Honor had not seen the Post's retraction and she did not know that Mr. Concepcion had not received a liver transplant.

The facts didn't change Jeanine's opinion about how the hypothetical situation should have been handled, but it did render our discussion moot. Now, Jeanine Pirro is very smart, and she had no trouble adjusting her worldview to incorporate the new evidence. But, there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people who did not see the Post's retraction. And they are still operating under the assumption that John Concepcion received a liver ahead of other, possibly more deserving, people.

I'd like to examine how this information traveled around the InterWeb, but first, we need some definitions. Let's define a "trust circle" as our immediate, must trusted sources (friends, relatives, colleagues, thought leaders). Our test being that we would trust their opinion over Brian Williams'. (You can use your own benchmark for trust, we trust Brian!!!) Let's define a "truth cluster" as a group of trust circles with similar beliefs. And, just for fun, let's imagine a "super cluster" as a group of truth clusters.

Although this story was initiated in print by a New York Post credentialed journalist -- within a remarkably short time, it was broadcast in the local market using both radio and television. While it was not known to be true, the Post's standards and practices allowed it to print the story as fact. And, due to the sensationalist nature of the story, emotions on both sides of the issue instantly came into play. Significantly faster than the story was translated from print to broadcast media, it put the InterWeb in OverTweet. There were dozens of blog posts, tweets, status updates, comments, emails, smoke signals, and carrier pigeons flying all over the place telling all kinds of stories about this story.

There were no facts, just the "truth" with a small "t" printed in the New York Post. However, this truth became a Truth, with a capital "T" to some and was assumed to be a fact by others. The idea that a convicted murderer who damaged his own liver while trying to commit suicide was somehow put on the top of the liver transplant list, made people's blood boil. Trust circles embraced the idea and a huge super cluster of complete misinformation appeared within hours.

In a physical explosion, the energy would have dissipated by now. And so it did with this story. It's no longer in the news cycle, practically forgotten by all. Except, the misinformation can never be unpublished and the rhetoric can never be unsaid -- it is all part of the body of knowledge of the InterWeb, the blogosphere, the tweetosphere, Facebookistan, etc.

We have all seen this kind of behavior before. It's not new. People make mistakes or simply lie all the time. Storytelling is an art form and there is always plenty of artistic license taken no matter who is telling the story. However, this is the first time in history that we have seen trust circles empowered by instantly scalable technologies. In the next and final installment of this series we will look at message management in the information age and explore the techniques that may help us find truthiness in our connected world.

Shelly Palmer is the host of "Digital Life with Shelly Palmer," a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world which can be seen on WNBC-TV's NY Nonstop. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC an industry-leading advisory and business development firm and the President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards). Mr. Palmer is the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV (2008, York House Press) and the upcoming, Get Digital: Reinventing Yourself and Your Career for the 21st Century Economy (2010, Lake House Press). You can join the MediaBytes mailing list here. Shelly can be reached at For information visit


Shelly Palmer: BlackBerry Steps Up

August 4, 2010 - Today's most interesting stories in technology, media and entertainment:

BlackBerry Steps Up: Research in Motion unveiled its new BlackBerry today, BlackBerry Torch, which you can buy from AT&T starting August 12th. The Torch features a touchscreen as well as a slide-out keyboard, plus lots of other cool features. The Torch will also feature RIM's new operating system BlackBerry OS 6. Can the Torch compete with the iPhone or Android deices?

Electric Grid Easy Target for Attack: According to the Energy Department, the electric grid is an easy target for cyber-attacks. Computer networks that run the grid have security loopholes that could make the U.S. vulnerable, including the potential threat of shutting down power in parts of the U.S. The good news? Many of the security issues, like poor password management, are rather basic and inexpensive to fix.

Use Multiple Gmail Accounts, At Once: Do you have multiple Gmail accounts? If you do, good news: Google has finally enabled some accounts with the ability to sign into multiple Gmail accounts within the same browser. As of now, only select accounts have been blessed with this feature.

Data Thieves On the Loose: A botnet, code-named "Mumba", has stolen bank account numbers, credit card information and social networking login credentials from over 55,000 computers. The attacks have hit computers around the world including systems in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Spain. The data thieves have made off with over 60GB of sensitive data so far.

Today's Video -- Shelly talks about BlackBerry security on Fox 5's Good Day New York

Shelly Palmer: BlackBerry Users Are Not Loyal

August 3, 2010 - Today's most interesting stories in technology, media and entertainment:

BlackBerry Users Are Not Loyal: According to a recent Nielsen survey, 89 percent of iPhone users said they would buy another iPhone and 71 percent of Android owners said they would purchase another Android device. However, only 42 percent of BlackBerry owners said they would buy another RIM phone. Where will the defectors go? Half of current BlackBerry users said their next smartphone would be either an iPhone or Android device.

Android vs. iPhone: Google's Android phones have outsold the iPhone in second quarter of 2010. In addition, worldwide Android sales are up 866 percent since this time last year. Rapid growth in the U.S. is helped by Verizon's robust promotions of both the Motorola Droid and HTC's Droid Incredible.

iPhone 4 Jailbreak Released: The jailbreak for the iPhone 4 has finally arrived. Released by Comex and available on their JailbreakMe web page, the hack works right from the iPhone. However, you may have to wait to jailbreak your iPhone, as the servers struggle to handle the large number of iPhone users eager to make the break.

No More Credit Cards? Want to make in-store purchases with your smartphone? AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have started a joint venture and are working with Discover Financial Services and Barclays to eliminate the need for credit card purchases. The mobile payment system is being tested in a few select cities including Atlanta, Georgia.

Today's Video -- Shelly talks with Jim McCabe from Tera Networks