Is Apple Playing Games with iTunes Rentals?

Last night, my friends decided to rent Superbad since some of them had not seen the movie already. They looked for it on Comcast OnDemand but it was no longer available. I knew I’d rented it in HD from the AppleTV store, cheaper than Comcast, so we looked there as well. I was surprised to find that Apple now only has Superbad for sale at $14.99 and no HD version.

Where is the rental version of this movie? Why has it suddenly disappeared? The AppleTV was even kind enough to remind me I’d already rented this movie when I tried to buy it.

I wonder what’s going on here… is Apple carrying out some kind of experiment? Do you know of any other movies removed from the rental pool?

Chime in with your comment. We’re now using the Disqus system for your convenience.


[image found via]

Go Viral with the 3 Stripes

Who knew the graffiti scene was so complex? This successfully-viral ad from Adidas, takes us behind the scenes with a graffiti artist:

The production quality of the ad is top-notch, the content is interesting (did you know there are several types of paint can nozzles available? I didn’t) and branding was subtle but effective. I have the Adidas brand burned into my head – even though I don’t recall them selling any particular product with this ad.

I found this via Chris Brogan’s blog.

Did you like the ad? Pass it around then and tell’em where you found it.

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5 Mindset Shifts Every Media Executive Needs to Make

Media executives thinking about distributing their content online (and they all should) need to make important mindset shifts in order to understand what the digital revolution is all about, how it affects their business and what benefits it can bring to their operation.

I’ve outlined five mindset shifts every media executive needs to make:

1. Digital Is Your Battleground

OLD: We sell advertising space on television and throw in a bonus on our internet properties.

NEW: We sell advertising space on our Internet properties and throw a bonus on our television network.

Drastic? Yes! But you need to start thinking this way if you want to understand where your company is headed. Digital content distribution will eventually be your main revenue stream.

You need to start thinking digital:

  • Have all your content ready in digital formats suitable for distribution via downloads, podcasts, iTunes, streaming and cellphones.
  • Convert your advertising rates to digital format and train your sales people in the new lingo: figure out how much you charge per minute per thousand viewers and use this as a starting point.
  • Think about how you’ll monetize your shows online and plan accordingly: pre-roll, mid-roll, banners, page sponsors, and subscriptions are all valid.

2. Engagement Is The New Rating

OLD: What matter is the size of our audience.

NEW: What matters is how engaged our audiences are.

You’re used to thinking about how many million viewers your shows garner. You need to start thinking about how many ways your shows intersect with your viewers’ lives. Study Lost and look up how many online communities have grown around the show.

Let your audiences interface with your content. Make it shareable in a way that lets you track views and advertising. Turn your content into a social object. Make it either:

  • part of the conversation,
  • a conversation starter, or
  • a gathering place.

If you’re creating content for TV or film, plan ahead and create additional content for digital distribution: side stories, character background, games, behind-the-scenes footage. There’s only so much you can tell in a one-hour show… develop your story online.

Don’t be afraid to listen to your audience, or to talk to them.

3. Your Earnings Will Come From Elsewhere

OLD: How are we going to make money online?

NEW: How are we going to make money if we don’t go online?

Of course you need to make money. And enough people have lost their shirts online to make even the bolder ones worry (think of them as the pioneers, with the arrows stuck on their backs). But look at it as an investment… just like you invested in HD technology, Beta SP, Nielsen reports and new studios: make a business plan, plan a strategy, hire a consultant, set-up a team, start small, think big, or not. Your current market is shrinking, it’s time to look elsewhere.

4. There Are More Than 24 Hours In A Day, There’s More Than One Distribution Channel

OLD: We deliver content 24 hrs a day on one channel.

NEW: We deliver unlimited content via unlimited distribution channels.

Forget about a 24-hour day. You now have access to unlimited audiences willing to watch any content at any time. Many of them are even willing to consume multiple content simultaneously. The programming grid is a thing of the past. You still need to offer quality content, but when it’s always 5pm somewhere, the meaning of prime-time changes.

5. What You Think You Know About Your Audience No Longer Applies

OLD: We must adapt our programming to our audience.

NEW: We can distribute any content to any number of audiences.

Want to create a news show, a sports channel or a cooking network? Why not all of them? If you’re a general programming station. think niches. If you’re a niche-content producer, think multiple niches. You have the know-how and production capability, you don’t need to constrain yourself to one particular audience. Experiment with old content, new content, new versions of old content, old versions of new content… it’s the Internet, there’s an audience for anything.

What do you think?

(Disponible en español en

How companies that learn will take your lunch money

In an age of constant innovation, it’s important to identify behaviors within your company that may hinder its chances of success.

Do you belong to a learning organization? Is anyone keeping up with innovations? Are employees encouraged to do so? When an employee comes up with a new idea, does that idea make it through the organization and reach the right people?

David Garvin and Amy Edmonson, authors of the HBR article on Learning Organizations, define a learning organization as one “skilled at creating, acquiring, interpreting, transferring and retaining knowledge” and capable of “modifying its behavior to respond to those new knowledges and insights.

So, how does your company cope with innovation? I came up with the following chart to depict what I see as the four types of learning organizations:

The 4 types of Learning Organizations

Is your company an Early Adopter of innovative ideas? An Early Adopter is a company that innovates, stays up-to-date with new ideas and technologies that may impact its operations and has a system in place to reward innovation, experimentation and implementation throughout the enterprise.

A Late Adopter tries to stay up-to-date with innovation on a longer cycle. Late Adopters experiment with innovative ideas when they’re a bit more mainstream and tested. Being a Late Adopter is not necessarily a bad thing, as you can sometimes lose focus of your core business by over-innovating or following too many new ideas without ever integrating them to your operation.

A Laggard company is one that incorporates new ideas when strictly necessary. A Laggard won’t adopt a new technology until it’s vital for its continued survival. While this may work for certain niches with enormous barriers to entry, this behavior eventually catches up with them (or actually, their competition does).

Flunkers are simply blindsided by innovation. Not having any mechanisms in place to look at new ideas, or convinced that their idea is simply the best, they wake up one day to find that a competitor owns their market or that they’ve simply become obsolete.

Ray Stata, cofounder of Analog Devices, Inc once said that:

The rate at which organizations and individuals learn may well become the only competitive advantage.

In order to remain successful, individuals and organizations must learn faster than their competition in order to get ahead and stay ahead of the pack. If the rate of innovation in your particular industry is greater that your rate of learning, you’ll invariably fall behind.

Are you or your company geared for learning? Is someone in your company keeping you informed of new technologies that may affect you? Will you know what hit you?

Leave your comments… I’d love to take this conversation forward and refine some of the concepts presented in this article. Do you have a story to share about how innovation affected your company or life?

Additional info:

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A List of News Organizations using Twitter

Several traditional media organizations are using Twitter to distribute breaking news and alerts in a timely manner. Many media employees are also using Twitter to inform their followers of news as they happen, before they get back to the newsroom.

I’ve tried to condense a list of traditional media organizations using Twitter, with links to their Twitter accounts and graphs of their Twitter usage. I’ve only included those that have recent activity.

If you know of a news organization using Twitter as a distribution outlet, drop me a message through the comments form below, indicating their name and Twitter account.

You can follow me on Twitter at @cgranier.

A Spanish-language version of this post is available on my regular column at Technosailor.


Charlotte Oberver, Charlotte, NC @theobserver (stats)

Clarín, Argentina @clarincom (stats)

Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia @cmbreakingnews (stats), @cmail_breaking (stats)

Diario Correo, Ecuador @diariocorreo (stats)

El País, Madrid, España @el_pais (stats)

El Porvenir, Monterrey, Mexico @El_Porvenir (stats)

El Siglo Web, San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina @elsigloweb (stats)

El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia @eltiempocom (stats)

El Universo, Ecuador @el_universo (stats)

Financial Times @FTmedianews (stats), @FTfinancenews (stats)

Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu, HI @starbulletin (stats)

Knoxville News Sentinel, Knoxville, TN @knoxnews (stats)

LA Daily News @ladailynews (stats)

La Nacion, Chile @nacioncl (stats), @lanacioncl (stats)

La Tercera, Chile @latercera (stats)

LA Times @latimesbreaking (stats), @latimesworld (stats)

Milenio, Mexico @Milenio (stats)

Nashua Telegraph, Hudson, NH @NashuaTelegraph (stats)

The New York Times, NY @nytimes (stats)

The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC @newsobserver (stats)

The Oregonian, Portland, OR @oregonian (stats), @OregonianBiz (stats), @OregonianTraff (stats), @OregonianSports (stats)

The Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, FL @orlandosentinel (stats)

Times Online, London, UK @timesonline (stats), @TimesNewsUk (stats)

USA Today @ondeadline (stats)

Radio & TV

BBC @BBC (stats), @bbcsa (stats), @todaytrial (stats), @BBCClick (stats), @bbcmundo (stats), @bbcbrasil (stats)

CBC News, Canada @cbcnews (stats)

Channel News Asia, Singapore @ChannelNewsAsia (stats)

CNN @cnn (stats), @cnnbrk (stats), @CNNNewsroom (stats)

Fox News @foxnews (stats)

KOAT, Albuquerque, New Mexico @KOAT (stats)

KPBS News, San Diego, CA @kpbsnews (stats)

News 2 Colorado, Denver, Colorado @News2Colorado (stats)

NPR News @nprnewsblog (stats), @nprnews (stats), @bryantpark (stats)

Radio Cooperativa, Santiago, Chile @Cooperativa (stats)

RNZ Radio New Zealand News @rnz_news (stats)

RTÉ News, Ireland @RTEnews (stats), @RTEbusiness (stats)

VenezuelaPress, Venezuela @VenezuelaPress (stats)

WICU 12 News, Erie, PA @WICU12News (stats)

WLWT, Cincinnati, OH @wlwt (stats)

WOSU Public Media, Columbus, OH @WOSU (stats)


47 News, Tokyo, Japan @47news (stats)

ABC News, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia @abcnewsbrisbane (stats)

AgendaTwiMedios @agendatwitter (stats)

AmericasReport @AmericasReport (stats)

Breaking News Alerts @BreakingNewsOn (stats), @LivePressAlert (stats)

CNET News @CNETNews (stats)

ESPN Headlines @espn (stats)

Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles, CA @LAFD (stats)

Mahalo News @mahalonews (stats)

MarketWatch @MarketWatch (stats)

Marketwire @marketwire (stats)

Motor Awards, Venezuela @MotorAwards (stats)

MSN Noticias, España @msnnoticias (stats)

MSNBC @msnbc_world (stats)

Noticias Emol @twitter_emol (stats)

Poynter, St. Petersburg, FL @Poynter (stats)

Sina News, China @sinanews (stats)

Sunchales Hoy, Sunchales, Santa Fe, Argentina @sunchaleshoy (stats)

Thailand News @thailandnews (stats)

The Potsdam News, Potsdam, NY @ThePotsdamNews (stats)

Correspondents, Media Employees

Adam Boulton, Sky News, London, UK @SkyNewsBoulton (stats)

Darren Waters, Technology Editor, BBC News @djwaters1 (stats)

Ginny Skal, WNCN NBC 17, Raleigh, NC @ginnyskal (stats)

Jim Long, NBC @newmediajim (stats)

Wayne Sutton, WNCN NBC 17, Raleigh, NC @waynesutton (stats)

Let me know of any other news organizations using Twitter as a distribution method… Use the comments form below the article.

You can follow me on Twitter at @cgranier.

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How to Send Keynote Presentations

Ever tried emailing a Keynote presentation? Uploading it? FTP? The progress counter just stays there, counting, but nothing ever gets uploaded.

The problem lies within Apple‘s .key file format. Keynote files are actually folders (or Packages, as Apple likes to call them) containing all the different files used in the presentation.

Right-click on any Keynote file and you’ll see “Show Package Contents” as a menu option:


Selecting “Show Package Contents” will open a new Finder window with all the files used in your presentation:


Keynote (.key) files behave the same way Application (.app) files do. Go to your Applications folder and try right-clicking on one of your apps: you’ll see the “Show Package Contents” option.

In order to be able to send someone a Keynote file, you first need to compress the file into a .zip archive and then send this compressed file. The recipient simply needs to uncompress the file to retrieve the original Keynote file and all its contents.

To compress a file simply right-click on the file and select the “Compress filename” option:


That’s it.

Remember, to send (e-mail, upload, ftp, etc) a Keynote presentation, simply compress it to a .zip file and send the compressed version. If the recipient does not need to edit the presentation, you can always export to PDF (or any of the other export options).

Got any productivity tips? Drop us a note using the comments form.

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Kluster to go live on Monday

Kluster, a website where entrepreneurs will be able to promote their ideas, receive input from users, vote on the best improvements and then share the profits is set to go live on Monday.


A Google search for Kluster reveals nothing more than their website (and a bunch of links to a long forgotten music band), which is quite remarkable. Google News has some additional details here, here, here and here.

Ben Kaufman, of mophie fame, is behind this interesting venture.

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Counter-Strike vs. Wii: Two Sides of the Same Social Coin

Counter-Strike and the Wii offer two very different social experiences that you should study when planning your social media strategy.

Exosocial Networking

Counter-Strike is an online cops-and-robbers game where you collaborate with and compete against players around the world to complete missions. Real time chat and voice communications keep the team on the same page, while your screen shows the position of every other player in the game. Counter-Strike is the type of social experience considered anti-social by the rest of your family members: you’ll forget most of them even exist. But you’ll forge great new friendships with your squadron teammates (and your enemies too).

Endosocial Networking

The Wii, on the other hand, is the ultimate in-house social tool. You’ll find yourself enjoying countless hours with the rest of your family and even get to know unknown facets of your significant other’s personality. I’ll bet it’ll bring most of you much closer. You can even invite friends over to join the fun.

While both Counter-Strike and the Wii will keep you at home, one will connect you with people across the world while the other will connect you to those close by.

Why is this important to your business?

When planning a social strategy for your business, you need to keep in mind both examples.

Are you connecting with your customers but failing to create the in-house bonds that will turn your workforce into a team? Or are you focusing on in-house, team-building exercises but failing to create a strong, lasting connection with your clients?

It’s important that you explore both sides of the Social Networking coin, building a strong team that knows each other’s strengths and creating a strong relationship with your client so that you can anticipate his needs and improve their experience with your product or service.

Which tools or techniques are you using to create social bonds in your business? What’s your Counter-Strike and your Wii?

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Recreating the Places folder in Firefox 3 Beta 2

I recently upgraded my browser to Firefox 3.0B2 and, while importing my previous bookmarks, inadvertently deleted the Places folder.

Firefox 3 offers new Smart Folders that automatically track stuff like your Most Visited Pages, Recently Starred Pages, Recently Used Tags, etc. These folders require a special syntax to create them, but I was unable to find any information about the original settings online.

So I used the handy Restore Bookmarks function and then copied the Smart Folder settings, re-imported my bookmarks and added the Smart Folders by hand.

Here’s what you need to do if you deleted your Places folder:

  1. From the Bookmarks menu, select Show All Bookmarks to open the Places Organizer.
  2. Create a folder named Places in your Bookmarks Toolbar folder and drag it to the top of the list so it shows up as the first item from the left in your toolbar.
  3. Inside the Places folder create new Bookmarks (right-click, New Bookmark…) and use the following settings for Name and Location:
    • Name: Recently Starred Pages
      Location: place:folder=2&folder=2&sort=12&excludeQueries=1&excludeItemIfParentHasAnnotation=livemark%2FfeedURI&maxResults=10&queryType=1
    • Name: Recently Visited Starred Pages
      Location: place:minVisits=1&folder=2&folder=2&sort=4&excludeItemIfParentHasAnnotation=livemark%2FfeedURI&maxResults=10&queryType=1
    • Name: Most Visited Starred Pages
      Location: place:minVisits=1&folder=2&folder=2&sort=8&excludeItemIfParentHasAnnotation=livemark%2FfeedURI&maxResults=10&queryType=1
    • Name: Recently Used Tags
      Location: place:folder=3&group=3&sort=12&resolveNullBookmarkTitles=1&applyOptionsToContainers=1&maxResults=10&queryType=1
    • Name: Most Used Tags
      Location: place:folder=3&group=3&sort=16&resolveNullBookmarkTitles=1&applyOptionsToContainers=1&maxResults=10&queryType=1
    • Name: Most Visited Pages
      Location: place:sort=8&maxResults=10

Have you found any cool Smart Folders? Share the code/links in the comments below.

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The MiamiTwits Twitter Group

Following Technosailor‘s lead, and using his code, I’ve setup the MiamiTwits Twitter group for people in the Miami, FL area (and anyone else, really) who wish to subscribe.

All you need is:

  • a twitter account (of course)
  • follow @MiamiTwits
  • send a direct message to the group (e.g., d MiamiTwits Hello Miami!) and it will be automatically broadcast to the entire group.


Digital Video Strategy