CNN Beats MSNBC In July, Fox News Still On Top


This post is by The Huffington Post News Team from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


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CNN had its best July ever this month, and reclaimed second place in the cable news ratings, topping MSNBC.

CNN, which may have been aided by its in-depth coverage of Michael Jackson's death, outperformed MSNBC in total primetime viewership with 1.284 million average viewers to 868,000 for MSNBC, a 48% margin. CNN also drew more viewers (430,000) in the key adults 25-54 demographic than MSNBC (274,000).

CNN also performed well outside of primetime, beating MSNBC by 82% in total day viewers (724,000 vs. 397,000).

A number of CNN's flagship shows, including "Larry King Live", "Anderson Cooper 360", "Campbell Brown" and "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" outperformed their numbers from July 2008.

HLN also had its best July ever in terms of both total viewers and the key demographic. It beat MSNBC for total day viewership (147,000 to 144,000) and grew 48% in total primetime viewers over last year.

HLN programs like "Nancy Grace" "Morning Express with Robin Meade" and "Prime News" all showed double-digit growth over last year.

However, the big winner, as usual, was Fox News, which continued to dominate ratings. The network beat MSNBC and CNN combined with 2.071 million total viewers, and had nine of the top ten cable news shows. Fox also grew by 70% in the 25-54 demographic in primetime over last year.


Reviewing in the Dark: Two Pop Culture Devotees Square Off


This post is by Advertising Age - MediaWorks from Advertising Age - MediaWorks


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This week, we've decided to give Media Reviews for Media People columnist Larry Dobrow a chance to find his most compatible fellow reviewer. Inspired by ABC's "Dating in the Dark," we set Larry and Ad Age Managing Editor Judann Pollack against each other to see if their opinions of summer dating shows would match up. Is it a reviewing love match? Or will Larry be left on the balcony?


The difficulties of reader retention


This post is by Simon from Bloggasm


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It is relatively easy to drive bursts of traffic to a website, but perhaps the most frustrating thing for website owners is to see a huge spike, only for the numbers to return to what they were before within only a day or two. Though there are a number of tools to measure traffic and its sources, it can be incredibly difficult to gauge how “sticky” your site is.

Nieman’s Journalism Lab has a piece up today on some of the science and tools that could be factored into measuring reader engagement:

Even on the infinitely measurable web, gauging engagement remains a tricky and largely elusive task. One popular measure is the bounce rate, or percentage of visitors who leave after seeing one page. The Huffington Post, despite its surging popularity, has said the site’s bounce rate is too high, which hurts the value of its advertising. Another metric is return readership. Talking Points Memo boasts that 60 percent of readers, in a TPM survey, said they visit the site more than once a day.

But those are imperfect measures, and tracking engagement within a website is even more difficult. This month, I’ve been playing with new software, already in use on some major news sites, that offers a partial solution by tracking an unusual metric: how many times users copy text and images from each page — and what they’re copying.

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How To Get Brand Advertisers To Spend More On The Web


This post is by Gian Fulgoni from paidContent


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Gian M. Fulgoni is Executive Chairman and Co-founder of comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) Inc. Previously, he was President and CEO of Information Resources, Inc.

It’s high time our industry provide large branding advertisers with metrics that prove that the web offers just as much—if not more—ROI as traditional media. That’s the best way to convince them that it’s OK to shift large portions of their ad spending to the internet.

Consider the following. In a recent blog post, Young-Bean Song from The Atlas Institute (part of Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Advertising) pointed out that if we separate advertising into its two main forms—direct response and branding—and look at the percentage of all measured media that online represents, we see that online direct-response advertising dollars have flowed strongly onto the internet, capturing 30% of all measured direct-response ad dollars) while branding is performing poorly, with only 5% of measured media branding dollars going on online.

Why has the internet failed to attract branding dollars? I lay responsibility squarely at the door of the “click.” Used since the early days of online advertising as an indicator of the effectiveness of an ad, the click originated simply because it could be measured. But not everything that can be measured matters.

In fact, the use of clicks on display ads as a meaningful metric sets the internet up for failure as a branding medium. Doubleclick reports that click rates on display ads today have fallen to approximately 0.1%, an unfortunate reality that has created serious doubts about the value of online advertising in the minds of advertisers that have experimented with the internet as a branding medium. It’s now clear that a publisher would have to be insane to continue using click metrics to try to persuade branding advertisers to turn to the internet.

If the industry can move beyond the click, the future of online branding advertising is bright. By using appropriate metrics, the ability of online display advertising—whether in the form of static display ads, rich media or video—to build brands can be shown to rival or even exceed the effectiveness of traditional media. In a white paper “Whither the Click” (published in the June issue of the Journal of Advertising Research), we summarized the hundreds of studies we’ve conducted using the comScore panel and comparing the behavior of panelists exposed to brand display ads with the behavior of those who did not see the ads. Even in the face of negligible click rates, time and again we observed statistically significant lifts among the ad-exposed consumers in the number of visits to the advertised brand’s web site, the number of trademark search queries, and the sales of the advertised brand, both online and offline.

While these metrics are vital for understanding the true effectiveness of online advertising, reach and frequency (R/F) metrics are also important tools for media planning and analysis. Traditional brand advertisers have been using such metrics for decades, and these metrics should also be central to online media planning and analysis. Let me be clear. I’m not arguing that R/F metrics can indicate whether a particular media plan has worked—that can only be determined by measuring the success of the plan in building brand sales, taking into account the particular creative that was used. But R/F considerations – how many people were reached with ads and how many times—are vital when deciding how to structure a plan and critical when one is trying to understand, based on the sales results, why a plan worked or didn’t.

One problem is that measuring an ad campaign’s reach and frequency on the Internet is not as simple as it is for traditional media because there are so many different locations from where an ad can be delivered on an individual web site. For that reason, R/F needs to be measured at the ad-placement level, not at the site level. To that end, this week comScore today announced an offering with Microsoft Advertising to provide R/F planning and analysis tools at the ad-placement level based on Atlas ad server data and comScore panel data. We believe this is a much more precise approach because it shows the reach of the ad campaign that can actually be achieved, the true potential frequency, and the specific demos of that audience. Campaigns planned at a total site level can overstate reach, understate frequency and may not deliver the desired demographic.

Perhaps Ted McConnell, Director of Digital Marketing Innovation at Procter & Gamble, put it best at a recent conference when he said: “Call me old-fashioned, but P&G thinks it’s rather important to know what we say, to how many people and how often.”

When traditional media thinks about branding advertising, it focuses on creative, reach and frequency. These are time-tested factors. It’s time for online display advertising to go back to the future.


Bartman Movie: ESPN To Run Documentary On Cubs Fall Guy Steve Bartman (VIDEO)


This post is by The Huffington Post News Team from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


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Life could get even harder for a man who just wants to fade away.

Steve Bartman, the overzealous Cubs fan whose deflection of a foul ball in the 2003 National League Championship Series made him the most prominent in a long line of North Side scapegoats, is the focus of an upcoming ESPN documentary.

As part of its 30th anniversary celebration, ESPN is commissioning 30 one-hour films from 30 filmmakers on various sports-related topics from 1979-2009.

For his contribution, acclaimed documentary producer Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson) will attempt to answer the question: Can Bartman ever forgive Chicago?

Here's just one reason why that's no given:




Citi Flies “Big Red Flag” Over Akamai


This post is by Liz Gannes from NewTeeVee


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Akamai’s disappointing second-quarter results prompted Citi Investment Research analyst Mark Mahaney to award the company a “Big Red Flag” this morning. Mahaney noted that it’s the first time in at least five years that the content delivery network missed the low end of its revenue guidance. He’s concerned about aggressive pricing, 5 percent-plus customer churn — including at least one big loss during the quarter — and increased competition from other CDNs, especially for media and entertainment customers.

Akamai said after Wednesday’s closing bell that its revenue in the most recent 3-month period rose 5.5 percent, to $204.6 million, and adjusted per-share earnings came in at 40 cents vs. 41 cents in the same quarter last year. Analysts, on average, had expected $211 million in revenue and a per-share adjusted profit of 41 cents. At last check, shares of Akamai had fallen as much as $4.54, or 22 percent, to change hands for $15.86.

Mahaney said that Akamai still has a few things going for it, among them $925 million in cash and securities to buy back stock, the leading market share among CDNs, and the rise of HD video. But he called the company’s latest quarterly results “very sobering.”


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Rachel Maddow On Tonight Show: Obama Complimented My Pants! (VIDEO)


This post is by The Huffington Post News Team from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


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Rachel Maddow appeared on the "Tonight Show" Wednesday night, where she revealed that Barack Obama is a fan of her fashion sense.

During their interview last fall, Obama "broke the ice by complimenting my pants," Maddow told Conan. "They're my Obama pants!"

Maddow also poked fun at Obama's beer date with Professor Henry Louis Gates and Sergeant James Crowley — "I don't know whether it's going to be a longneck or a can," the cocktail aficionado told Conan — and explained why she recently copied Sarah Palin by wearing rubber waders on the air.

"It actually was an experiment to see if it's possible, if people can really tell what you're saying and pay attention to what you're saying while you're wearing rubber pants that come up to your armpits," she said, referencing Palin's slate of interviews in her fishing gear. "It's very distracting!"

Maddow, who recently went on a fishing vacation of her own, told Conan that while she isn't very good at fishing she enjoys it because the lures have "really dirty names."

"When I caught a really big fish on vacation, I was fishing two lures that day: one of them was called The Hoochie, one of them was called Mr. Wiggles," she said.

Watch:

Maddow is broadcasting from the west coast this week and will appear on "Bill Maher" Friday.


Two Takes on the U.S.-Pakistan Marriage


This post is by Greg Marx from CJR


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What’s the current status of the United States’s tortured, convoluted, unhappy marriage with Pakistan? If you’re someone who still prefers to get your news in print, your answer to that question may depend on which coast you live on. From the eastern seaboard, the lead story of the July 22 New York Times, which we’ve previously <a...

Journalists Are News Companies’ Most Valuable Asset


This post is by Scott Karp from Publishing 2.0


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Journalists are news companies’ most valuable assets.

That’s what Mike Arrington asserts, and I think he’s right (disregard the “failing old media” rhetoric):

And earlier today I got a glimpse at what AOL is up to – they are hiring all the journalists being fired and laid off by the newspapers and magazines. And they now have a news room 1,500 journalists and editors strong. Amazingly, failing old media is throwing away their most valuable assets. And AOL is eagerly picking those assets up for a song. Before anyone knows it, AOL may be the most powerful news outlet in the world.

Given that NYT has gone to great lengths to avoid newsroom layoffs, I suspect they know full well how valuable their journalists are.

Mike Arrington is TechCrunch’s most valuable asset, for his personal brand and for the quality of the post he writes.

As Arrington points out, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has also realized how valuable journalists are, and is aligning AOL’s new strategy with cornering the market for journalist talent.

But is Arrington right that media companies are blithely throwing away their most valuable asset? Why did newspapers make so many newsroom cuts on their path back to profitability? Is it because they don’t recognize the value of their journalists?

I think it’s because they are still wrestling with the declining value of their other major asset: industrial printing and distribution capacity, i.e. printing presses and delivery trucks and all their industrial staff. While some newspapers have made significant cuts to their industrial operation by not delivering or publishing everyday (and a few have taken the extreme step of ending their industrial operation entirely), most have protected this asset because it is not really variable — it’s mostly all or nothing.

But to say that the value of industrial printing and distribution capacity is declining is not to say it has no value — it of course still generates most of newspaper company revenues. But the decline, while exacerbated to a large degree by the recession, is still secular long-term. (And newspaper companies are surely using the breathing room they achieved through cost reduction-driven profitability to figure out their long-term strategies — and they are focused on digital.)

AOL, in contrast, has no industrial assets, so has the latitude to invest in journalists. They also have another huge asset that newspapers enjoyed in their geographic distribution areas that they entirely lack on the web: SCALE

A notable illustration of the shifting value of news company assets that sits between AOL and most newspaper companies is Politico.

Politico rose to prominence by showcasing its high profile journalists on its website.

Politico Blogs

Politico Ben Smith

Unlike most news sites, Politico has real profile pages for its journalists and showcases their bylines on every story (even the lead homepage story):

Politico headline byline

This doesn’t mean, however, that Politico derives no value from industrial printing and distribution. In fact, half of their $15 million in annual revenue comes from a print edition published three days a week when congress is in session, and once week otherwise (via Vanity Fair).

But Politico doesn’t own any printing presses or delivery trucks, i.e. no industrial assets. And the print publication is largely the product of content produced first for the web — and it is very much a “nichepaper,” i.e. it targets the highly valuable audience of Capitol Hill staffers and members of Congress.

The results is that Politico is able to invest in a talented newsroom staff of 100, paying nearly as much as The Washington Post. And Politico is profitable.

But does focusing on journalists as news companies’ most valuable asset mean that news companies should be exclusively in the content production business? That’s a significant shift from the industrial printing and distribution business.

In the digital media world, companies like Google and Apple have taken over, as Columbia J School Dean and former WSJ.com managing editor Bill Grueskin put it, the “profitable front end of the distribution chain,” leaving news companies with the much less profitable back end of the value chain (i.e. content creation).

But what if journalists could also be the key to news companies getting back into the distribution business, in digital media?

The greatest asset of Google, the most successful content distribution business on the web, is its ability to harness the judgment of every person who creates a hyperlink on the web, and to know which links from which sites represent more trusted judgment.

News companies still employ in their newsrooms arguably the greatest collective source of news judgment.

So how can news companies leverage the asset of their journalists’ news judgment?

Hint #1: Collaboration

Hint #2: Scale

News companies are notably trying to figure out how to get into the business of charging for content on the web. As Apple’s iTunes demonstrated, the key to charging for content is in effective and highly convenient packaging.

Could journalists be the key to not only creating the content but also packaging it?

Think about that for a while. More in another post.

Eric Deggans: Why Hasn’t the Media Cut Through the Gates Nonsense?


This post is by Eric Deggans from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


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As media outlets keep chewing over the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, a few things are readily apparent.

Gates overreacted to a cop who was trying to make sure his home was safe. And the police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, overreacted by arresting a guy just for yelling at him.

So why are we still talking about this, nearly two weeks after the arrest and charges against Gates have been dropped?

As the world watches Gates and Crowley convene with the President (?!) for reconciliation over a cold beer today, I'd name three reasons the circus continues: The president, the media and the reaction each person has emotionally to the circumstances, regardless of the facts.

President Obama has already acknowledged he acted clumsily by attaching the word "stupidly" to Crowley's decision to arrest Gates. I agree that the president's words had a high political cost -- distracting the media and the public while he was trying to draw attention to revolutionizing health care.

But Obama was also right. There was no reason to arrest Gates for his shouting, beyond a cop trying to teach a guy he didn't like a lesson. And the police department's failure to admit that -- along with Gates' insistence that Crowley mistreated him because of his race, without much proof -- keeps this controversy aflame.

Another spark, unfortunately, has been media coverage. Cable news outlets and morning network news shows especially like cases like this -- incendiary stories they know viewers will be talking about all day that are relatively easy to report and build interview segments around.

On Wednesday morning, the Today show featured conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, unchallenged by an opposing view, saying Obama was a "race opportunist." This, despite the fact that Malkin is the one with a book to hawk and all Obama has earned from this dustup is the derailment of his health care reform agenda in media coverage.

That couldn't top Fox News' resident hysteric Glenn Beck, who had already called Obama a racist by Tuesday morning, earning national headlines. Besides making you wonder who the real racial opportunist is here, I wondered -- as somebody who has faced folks who wanted to physically harm me for the color of my skin -- whether the wealthy white guys like Beck and Rush Limbaugh now slinging the r-word have any idea what they are talking about.

In their world, it seems, a racist is defined mostly as someone who disagrees with their view on race issues.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson boiled the issue down to the point which divided many; whether police were justified in arresting Gates for yelling at them. This is a question which has made even moderates on race issues like Obama and Colin Powell take notice -- asking why police felt the need to handcuff a small guy who walks with a cane when they knew he lived in the house and he wasn't physically threatening them.

Of course, when the New York Daily News reported on the interview with CNN's Larry King where Powell talked about Gates' arrest, the focus was Powell's admonishment that "I was taught that as a child. You don't argue with a police officer."

And, once again, the circus keeps on spinning.

For more essays of this sort, check out my own blog, The Feed by clicking here.


Eileen O’Neill, TLC Chief: Past Year Has Been “Heaven & Hell”


This post is by The Huffington Post News Team from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


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"Heaven and hell" is how Eileen O'Neill describes her first year at the helm of TLC, the cable network that is home to the controversial hit reality show "Jon & Kate Plus 8."

"Heaven" is TLC's spectacular growth over the last 12 months, with its prime-time audience leaping 43% and now pulling in an average of more than 1 million viewers every night. And "hell" is that the show driving much of that growth has become a lightning rod for critics who say that TLC is profiting from a family's misery and obsession for publicity.


The Economy Today: Feeling Beige


This post is by Greg Marx from CJR


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The Federal Reserve’s latest “beige book,” a summary of economic indicators from around the country, shows “a few more glints of hope” that the economy is stabilizing, reports The New York Times. Pessimists will still find plenty of support amid the data—including continuing weakness in the labor markets—but overall, “It tells me we’re on the cusp of a...

t.o. night: Free Evening Newspaper To Launch In Toronto


This post is by The Huffington Post News Team from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


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A new daily publication targeting afternoon and evening rush hour commuters will launch in Toronto on Sept. 8. Known as t.o.night, the daily will have an initial print run of 100,000 copies and be distributed between 3:30 and 6:30 pm at public transit stations. A portion of the copies will be handed out by paper boys and girls, dressed in poorboy caps and white oxford shirts yelling "Extra! Extra!" in order to attract more attention to the headlines and the brand, explains John Cameron, managing director, t.o.night.


Chris Wallace, Don Imus: Lou Dobbs Acting Like “Grassy Knoll Nut” (VIDEO)


This post is by The Huffington Post News Team from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


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Lou Dobbs, whose flaxen locks change color and hue depending on how terrified he is that day of the coming Mexican reconquista, is all about the birthers now. And everyone is yelling at him, save his boss, Jon Klein, who's busy pretending that Dobbs is covering the controversy instead of fanning it. Who's yelling at him today? Chris Wallace and Don Imus, for starters!

[LISTEN]

WALLACE: You know, I guess what surprises me is that one of our competitors, I'm not going to say their name, but their initials are CNN, they're saying, well, we really can't decide for the public what a legitimate news story is, so we'll cover it; what if a bunch of people decided the earth is flat, we're now going to report that story and let people vent on that? That's what news organizations are about, is debunking and editing and deciding what's relevant and what's worth talking about, and what isn't, and clearly the birth certificate story isn't worth talking about because it isn't true. And I think to everybody's satisfaction it's been demonstrated it's not true. I'm a little surprised -- you know, I'm not surprised that people will do things, because some people will do something for ratings every time.


IMUS: Like, uh, I guess leading the charge is my friend, by the way, Lou Dobbs, who appears on this program on a regular basis, and I like -- love Lou, known him for years, but it makes him look like a grassy knoll nut.

WALLACE: Well, exactly, exactly. But either grassy knoll nut or just so calculating in his sense, well, there's some audience out there and I'll chase it.

IMUS: I can't believe Lou Dobbs would do that, do you?

WALLACE: Oh no, no --

IMUS: Or you either.

I know. You're going to want to take a minute to wash that thick film of irony off of your hands and face. Go ahead. I'll give you a minute.

Also yelling at Lou Dobbs? Time Magazine's Mark Halperin, for Pete's sake! You know you've messed up when Halperin's walking around with the upper hand on you.

[LISTEN]

Mark Halperin reserves the right to revisit the issue if at some point in the future he can construct a list of nine random factoids about it.

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]


The Windows 7 Upgrade Story


This post is by John Gruber from Daring Fireball


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Walt Mossberg on the differences between the many versions of Windows 7, and how to upgrade to them:

However, there’s another complication. For each of the three main consumer versions of Windows 7, there are actually two editions. One is meant for PCs with standard processors, called 32-bit processors, and the other for PCs that sport newer processors called 64-bit processors. The 32-bit version of Windows can recognize only 3 gigabytes of memory, but the 64-bit version can use much, much more. For most average users, 3 gigabytes is plenty, but some consumers have 64-bit Vista machines, which can move faster when lots of programs are being used at once, or when doing tasks like playing back high-definition video.

The problem is that you cannot directly upgrade 32-bit Vista to 64-bit Windows 7, or vice versa. So that adds another layer of complexity to the upgrade process.

Times Finds More Mortgage Industry Conflicts


This post is by Ryan Chittum from CJR


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The New York Times has an important story on page one about the conflicts of interest at mortgage companies that may be slowing down efforts to modify mortgages. I have to say this seems so blatant I'm wondering why we're just now reading about this. That's not to take away at all from reporter Peter S. Goodman's effort—it's dynamite....

Hugh McGuire: Piracy vs. Availability: A Parable


This post is by Hugh McGuire from Media on HuffingtonPost.com


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A Parable of the Past

A friend of mine heard an interview on Fresh Air with Scottish director Armando Iannucci about his new film In the Loop (IMDB). He'd never heard of Iannucci, or the movie, or the TV show upon which the movie is based. The audio clips from the movie were so great he then went to Youtube to see if he could find more clips. He could. The clips video looked even funnier than the audio.

The movie -- it appears -- "comes out" on August 14. In the old days, that meant my friend had two choices:
1. Wait two weeks to watch the movie in a theatre
2. Wait six months (?) to rent the movie and watch it at home

It always annoyed my friend that he had to wait to watch movies he wanted to see, because movie studios liked to release movies at different times in different cities; and then wait months after that to release the DVD for rental.

The studios did (and do) this not because they surveyed their customers, and found they preferred having to wait to watch movies they wanted to see in the way they wanted to see them. The studios did (and do) this for various business reasons, that have proved, over time, an effective way to increase revenues on a movie.

Times Are Changing

But these are not the old days, they are new days. And a few things have happened. My friend watches 95% of the movies he watches on his computer; he rents DVDs using zip.ca (Canada's Netflix); and occasionally when he wants to watch a certain movie right now, he looks for it online.

The movie studios so far have decided that he should not watch movies online when he wants to watch them.

Which in the old days, meant he just had to wait, despite being more excited about this movie than any other movie he'd heard about in past year or so.

A Parable of the Present

But it turns out that other people (not studios) can get their hands on copies of movies as soon as they are available -- often before they are released in theatre -- and those people make them available online. This is especially true for movies that lots of people really really want to see, right now.

So my friend now has a third choice:
3. Watch the movie when & where he wants.

It turns out that my friend much prefers option 3. It also turns out that movie studios don't want to give my friend option 3 - which makes my friend shrug a little when he hears them talking about piracy.

Not because he wants things for free, but because it seems to him that "digital" means studios and moviegoers no longer need be constrained by the two choices of the old days. Option 3 is easy and cheap, and that's the option he wants.

He often says: If you, as providers of content, give me what I want, when I want it, at a reasonable price, I'll be happy to pay for it. But if you don't want to give me what I want, when I want it, I'll be compelled - when I really want something - to find other ways to get it.

Lessons

  1. If there is demand, there will be supply.
  2. In the digital world, media is infinitely copiable & distributable at rougly zero cost
  3. Media companies have long built their business around a restricted supply
  4. If demand exceeds restricted supply in the digital world, someone -- not necessarily the owner of the good -- will meet that demand by making & distributing infinite copies at zero cost
  5. Trying to stop # 4 is like trying to stop water going down hill
  6. If restricting supply is no longer a viable business, then something else must be
  7. When supply is unlimited, other factors drive the choices people make
  8. Those drivers include: ease, quality, curation, attention, service, connection
  9. Media companies - including book publishers - should stop thinking about business based on phony restricted supply
  10. Media companies - including book publishers - should start thinking about how to build business around the actual drivers that will bring their customers to them (see #9 above), instead of sending them to the pirates
Epilogue

It was one of the best movies my friend has seen in a long while; and he has urged me to urge you to watch it. You'll love it (he says).