Netflix and Thrill - does the streaming TV company face a rocky future, or are its traditional competitors, desperatly trying to pin down its ratings, just suffering from jealously?
Big Pot: the California Democratic party added marijuana legalisation to its party platform - "Earlier this year Founders Fund, a venture capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel, led a $75m investment round into Privateer, a private equity group focused on cannabis. It is the biggest single investment in the US cannabis industry to date: 'What Privateer is doing is looking like a Procter & Gamble or a Coca-Cola approach. The real value in the market is going to be having the Coke-calibre brand...' Meanwhile, a distinctly California-style backlash is already growing [and] the US has become an exporter of illegal cannabis to Mexico, as cultivation in the US has increased." [more inside]
Writing at FiveThirtyEight.com, Sam Dean argues that until very recently, there has been no way to meaningfully measure web traffic. For advertisers and site owners, "just having a number that everyone can point to as an acceptable proxy of reality is more important than how accurate that number may be." [more inside]
Producer Michael Shamberg Wants to 'Invent the Future' With BuzzFeed Motion Pictures - "I don't think there's ever been a Hollywood R&D model like we have here." (previously 1,2,3) [more inside]
Scott Kurtz draws and writes one of the Internet's oldest webcomics, PvP. He launched it in 1998 and, since then, has won two Eisner Awards and a Harvey Award for his work. Scott has been a trendsetter for webcomics before, infamously (and frequently controversially) brash in defense of its business model, especially in the face of criticism from old media. Today, he announced that he will be selling product placement in his strips, starting with an arc focused on Magic: The Gathering. This is a webcomics first. Will it prove a boon to the financial success of artists, or a burden on the freedoms they've won? Or will it catch on at all beyond PvP?
"Developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no." - Not long after saddling it's own iOS client with some unpopular new "features" Twitter is saying no to the development of new competing clients. Existing clients such as Twitterific and Echofon should be unaffected.
A US Senate Committee just released its report on online loyalty programs. Combined, Webloyalty, Affinion, and Vertrue have made $1.4 billion in the past ten years charging customers $10-$20/month for marketing program memberships. Unfortunately, many of their customers (4 million this year) have no memory of authorizing the charges. [more inside]
Business Guys on Business Trips. Cool set of web cartoons about the 'creative' field. Clients and projects and corporate doublespeak, oh my!
Sports Business Journal has a detailed look behind the buzz over "The Emperor’s New Clothes: How ESPN’s Multi-Platform Strategy Hasn’t Improved Ratings," a sharply critical PowerPoint presentation making the rounds of sports league offices and advertising buyers in recent months. A good read for folks interested in the business of sports, decreasing TV ratings for many leagues, the blurriness of the ad/news line and the difficulty of measuring eyeballs across media. [via Romenesko]