Monday, November 04, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N44) Amazon Data Mining and new Literary Journal, McKinsey Business Strategy, Association Publishing + More

Amazon mines data for the next hot hit (WSJ)
Amazon Studios ramped up in earnest this year when the pilots were posted online in April. Users were able to rate pilots with up to five stars and offer comments, just as they would for a book or a George Foreman grill on Amazon’s site.
The pilot data was sliced in various ways—the percentage of five-star ratings, for example. Users also could fill out written surveys. Executives in May reviewed data for each pilot as well as recommendations from Amazon’s programming team.
Traditional networks test shows, too, but on a much smaller scale—typically focus groups of about 50 people. Amazon is testing on a vastly bigger audience and is collecting a range of metrics unique to its service, such as whether members of its Prime service liked particular shows.
“Amazon has lowered the barriers of getting a script in the right hands,” he says. “I don’t think anyone else would have bought this.” He feels that portrayals of kids on TV can be too simplistic—they’re often very happy—and he wanted to explore a more complex set of emotions.
Amazon pays $55,000 for scripts submitted online. If the pilot is successful and the series goes into production, creators get up to 5% of merchandising receipts and a per-episode fee of $4,000 for a one-hour show and $2,500 for a half-hour show. Deals set up offline with more established creators vary depending on the writer’s reputation. One uncertainty for Amazon creators is how much revenue potential there is from “back end” proceeds such as syndication and DVD sales.
Amazon has launched a literary magazine:
With so many things competing for your attention in this increasingly digital world, it can be tough to figure out what to read next—especially if you are looking for fresh voices and new perspectives.
That’s why we created Day One, a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction from debut writers, English translations of stories from around the world, and poetry. Day One showcases just one writer and poet each week, with issues delivered directly to Kindles or Kindle reading apps. Each issue of Day One includes a letter from the editor, as well as occasional bonus content such as playlists, illustrations, or brief interviews with the authors.
In addition to fresh voices, Day One offers unique visuals—we commission the cover art for each issue from emerging artists and illustrators—and each week subscribers can learn more about the artist as well as the genesis of the cover.
McKinsey Quarterly article on business strategy formulation is interesting (McKinsey)
It’s also easy, though, to go too far in the other direction and make the creation of strategy a rigid, box-checking exercise. Appealing as a formula-driven approach might be, it ignores the truth that strategy creation is a journey—and an inherently messy one at that. Proprietary insights are hard to come by. Shaping keen insights into good strategies requires deep interpersonal engagement and debate from senior executives, as well as the ability to deal with ambiguity in charged and often stressful circumstances. When would-be strategists overlook these dynamics, they cover the essentials in name only. Consequently, they miss opportunities and threats, or create great paper strategies that remain unfinished in practice.
In this article, we’ll outline a middle path—an end-to-end way of thinking that views the creation of strategy as a journey, not a project. This method, developed through our work with some 900 global companies over the past five years, can help senior executives approach strategy in a rigorous and complete way. We’ll also describe some principles that strategists should keep in mind as they use the method to ensure that their strategic-planning processes embody the spirit of debate and engagement, which, in turn, yields inspiration. By better understanding both the method and how to get the most out of it, companies can boost the odds that the strategies they create will beat the market.
Folio Magazine published some results of their annual Association Publishing survey (Folio):
The 2013 association publishing survey breaks down what close to 200 respondents are seeing right now. Some elements, like revenue sources, haven’t changed much over that time. Print advertising is still the dominant source of income, followed by paid subscriptions and online/emedia. Other aspects, like the outlook for the coming year, have shifted dramatically. Respondents didn’t paint a rosy portrait—more than half of the associations surveyed say they’re projecting revenue to stay the same—but it’s a significant improvement from 2009 when 49 percent forecasted declines.  Other changes, like the introduction of digital editions, have altered the association publishing market as well. Five years ago, no one was producing them. Now, two thirds of respondents’ organizations are.
From Twitter this week:

Follett Invests in Campus Quad Mobile Platform for College Campuses -- CHICAGO, Oct. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Courier Bringing Custom Textbook Production to Brazil
Netflix Flirts with a New Idea: “Big” Movies at Your House, the Same Day They're in Theatres :
In the New Economy, Everyone Is an Indentured TaskRabbit  

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