Stephen Fry in America [short-movie series]

Amazing what a new perspective on a culture can tell us about ourselves.   I think this Englishman gives us that and–at times–an appreciation for the geography we have in United States.   Perhaps the most telling takeaway I found from, say,  Episode 2, is the relatively great abundance of resources that most of us Americans enjoy.    I think watching this series will help us understand why/how  the rest of the world perceive us to be.   After watching Episode 1 and 2 of 6, I probably would recommend watching the series, but I certainly would recommend episode 2, where he travels to the deep south.   You can watch these episodes on Netflix.

One day, we will look forward to commercial breaks!

As data collection methods grow, advertisers will be able to better predict what information/ads would be relevant to each of us individual consumers.   And as more relevant ads are served to the consumer/individual, higher click-through rates will result, and advertisers will be able to afford an advertising model that has fewer numbers of ads shown to the user.  For example, today, say–on-average–click-through rates on ads are 10%, then this means that an advertiser–on average–has to show the consumer 10 ads before one click-through is generated; but in the future, say click-through rates on ads improve to 50%, now only two ads need to be shown to the consumer before a click-through is generated.  So this would lead us to believe consumers will have to sit through fewer ads; but in all likelihood, advertisers will not be satisfied with the same number of click-throughs per pair of eyes.

That is, say today, 10 commercials are shown to a pair eyes for a given 30-minute television episode, and one click-through is generated per pair of eyes.    Then, I am saying, that advertisers, in the future, when click-through rates improve to 50%, each pair of consumer eyes will likely be shown more than two ads per 30-minute episode.   Advertisers, content creators, and distribution channels will do this because they will know they can.  They will know that we consumers are happy to sit through 4 ads because 4 ads is still a 60% reduction in ads; not to mention these ads are more relevant to the individual.  So what will happen is total number of click-throughs generated per pair of eyes per 30-minute episode will increase from 1 to 2; and advertisers, content creators, and distribution channels will all be making more money off the same 30-minute long piece of content.

In this future state of the world of media and ad consumption, both advertisers and consumers are happier.

Data is what’s needed.

As I understand the state of the art, the artificial intelligence algorithums needed to make the accurate predictions not only already exist, but are considered quite basic now.   What is missing is the data needed by these algorithms to make predictions!

One day, an individual consumer watching TV any day of the week will be like watching the Super Bowl, when we look forward to the commercials; but it will actually be better.   Right now, many people hate ads; but ads actually serve a very useful function of informing us about things we should know about.   The problem with the current advertising system today is that ads annoy us more often then they inform us.   In the future, ads will do a better job of informing us, and will hence be less annoying.

changing the world is heavy stuff

I know this sounds cheezy, but trust me on this one…

I just finished watching Episode 1 of the new TV series The Philanthropist, and well, I was inspired and moved by the story.   Why?  Well I recommend you watch the episode yourself, but I saw what a difference I could make in someone’s life as a rich philanthropist.

Earlier this week, I watched Soccer’s Lost Boys, the story about young African men being sold and deserted in foreign countries where they are forced to endure prostitution, poverty, etc., and I was just at a loss for words.  I just wanted to be able to do something but didn’t know what to think.

It has long been my plan to accumulate wealth so that I can make the world a better place, but the last scene in the episode where the main character, which is based on the real person Bobby Sager, gives the little toy to the young boy who he had been searching for completely made clear how the overabundance of things that most people in the U.S. (including myself) through away would be treasured by people in places like rural Africa.  The look on the boy’s face when he sees the simple toy in action just did me in.  Now I want to work with Mr. Sager, his family, and his foundation as a volunteer.   Hopefully, I can also one day also achieve the level of financial independence I need to properly take care of the mother and grandmother that raised me to be such a caring, loving person and who also are living just above the poverty line here in the U.S.  I owe very much to these strong women.  Without their will and strength, I don’t think I’d be half the person or leader I aspire to be.

Watch the Episode 1, and I hope it prompts you to act, as it has done to me.

I’m going to email Mr. Sager right now, asking how I can help, and then read more on Team Sager website.

Why “TV” is on the way out

You know how commercials are played at louder volumes than the programming segments between which they are played.   I can’t help but think this is done on purpose as a means for trying to make the commercials more affective advertisements.  This is just one of the six major reasons I think internet-deployment of programming content will the business model of the future.   Frankly, why most all the players in the TV commercial industry are not sprinting towards an internet-deployment model, is beyond me.

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The first program on MTV worth watching?

Ok, sure I’m shocked that MTV is actually producing a show I am really looking forward to; but let’s move right along.  The more important point is that the new “The Buried Life” show (scheduled to first air January 19) is about something pretty simple but powerful (Why do I feel like I have to write “but” between the words “simple” and “powerful”?) idea:  “What do you want to do before you die?”.

This kind of show (especially being that it is produced by MTV) could have easily become another kind shallow show covering topics from our consumerism based society, but I am pleased that the show’s producers have realized people (I guess even MTV fans) are interested in more deep human experiences.   In one of the show’s stories, for example, the show flew, via airplane, a daughter who could not afford the travel costs to visit to her parent’s grave that she had yet to visit; and that she wanted to visit before she died.

In Treatment

I watch this HBO original series and am consistently impressed by how well written it is, and how great a job all the actors do, making the characters seem real.   Beyond the quality of the writing and acting, however, I like how the show puts on center stage many societal and cultural changes that are occurring here in the U.S.   Also packed into each episode are behavioral psychology lessons.

Check out the show’s website at

Why haven’t most TV networks posted full episodes of their shows online?

so here is something that is curious to me…

One of my favorite TV shows is ‘The Mentalist‘ and it is broadcast by CBS, and, unlike NBC, CBS does not offer the ability to watch full episodes of their TV shows online.

It would be so great if I could watch full episodes of The Mentalist online, and as much as I hate to admit it, I think it makes a lot of sense from a marketing and advertisers point of view as well.   And here’s why:

As much as I hate commercials, I would actually watch them if I was watching my favorite show online–especially if the network eliminates the automatic increase to the volume of commercials (but that is a different blog entry).    What I don’t understand is why other TV are not following NBC’s lead.   I see it as an easy sell for the network’s Chief Marketing Officer…

Tell advertisers that you’ll be able better target advertisements to viewers because you’ll know who they are after they log into the website.  Then continue by telling them that you be better able to target advertisements to us as a result.   Then close with, “and if you don’t believe me, proof that the online viewer will see your advertisement is the fact that he is there in the first place.  That is, a person does not accidentally find himself watching a full episode of a TV show.  An online viewer deliberately goes online, browses to the TV show homepage, and finds the episode–so you know they are watching.   How do you know if I’m even watching a show on TV?  …couldn’t I have left the room/house and the TV powered on and tuned to that channel?”

This makes so much sense that I wonder why CBS and other networks have not put their episodes online.  Did TV manufacturers tell them that if they do so, that they are no longer going to be friends?  What is it?

If there is a Chief Marketing Officer for a major TV network reading this right now, please correct me by leaving me a comment below.

New perspectives

One of the things I thrive on are new perspectives.  Maybe that is why I like movies so much…?   This blog entry is about a new television program that has stimulated my new-perspective senses, and educated me through it’s supply of new perspectives.    In just one episode, this television show has proven it’s genius ability to supply me with new perspectives on a variety of social concerns, such as interpersonal relationships, charity, what is really important in life, what a beautiful human spirit looks like, etc.  I don’t doubt that this is because I have never traveled to Africa, much less to any of its rural villages, which is culture that the show is based in. Continue reading