Teenpeople.com premiering a new Sisqo single
May 16, 2001 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Teenpeople.com premiering a new Sisqo single (press release too) seems like another example of media conglomerate cross-marketing. You can hear an entire song from a new album 2 months before release on a single website, before even radio or MTV gets it, but why is one corporation using another for an exclusive distribution channel? Are things like this and Madonna selling tickets exclusively through AOL going to remain experimental in nature or is it the face of things to come?
posted by mathowie (10 comments total)
also from yesterday's news well:

'polls hosted by aol' as a reported hook for a story in entertainment weekly (doesn't that url look like it's calling our little christina a cokehead?), and a piece from cnn reporting on a time article about a warner brothers artist.
posted by maura at 11:35 AM on May 16, 2001

I thought Star Trek: Deep Space 9 was over, anyway.
posted by kindall at 11:52 AM on May 16, 2001

I have a feeling that this is going to become more commonplace.

I have mixed feelings on whether it's right though. On the business side, you're going to promote stuff that benefits your business and not someone else's right?

But on the ethical side, isn't it a little incestuous? I remember in my high school journalism class we were forbidden from interviewing other members of the class for things (with some exceptions, but few). That was to make sure that we (the school newspaper) was providing a balance between what *we* thought, and what the school as a whole thought.

Personally, I'm a little frightened by this type of thing, since it promotes such exclusivity, but how else is a business supposed to promote all of it's divisions?

But I guess that brings us back to the "should there be huge media mergers like this" questions anyway.
posted by melissa at 11:54 AM on May 16, 2001

This is by no means an experiment! If this were another industry -- say, CRM software -- we would simply look at this as another typical channel play. Why should the entertainment/media industry act any differently? I agree with Melissa though -- I have many mixed feelings about this! What's going to reverse this trend though? Will objectivity-in-reporting suddenly become a growth market in a few years?
posted by kphaley454 at 12:15 PM on May 16, 2001

Synergy is great for shareholders, but bad for consumer choice. The only antidote is independents, who conversley must partner up to make any dent in the culture...
posted by owillis at 12:15 PM on May 16, 2001

Although there are a few exceptions, it's still possible to ignore the major media cross promotions. Of course, that won't make them go away (unless everyone did it, but out of convenience, that's not likely to happen), but it is possible. Maybe I'm just one of those people who think that Teenpeople.com, Sisqo, MTV, Madonna, and AOL (amongst many many others) all suck.
posted by almostcool at 1:07 PM on May 16, 2001

i heard michael powell (haha funny homepage :) on c-span (yay!) the other day saying that yeah it's hard to find quality programming on tv nowadays, but it is out there, you just have to look. he also mentioned that compared to other countries the US has a lot more variety. i thought that was a really good point, although i can't say for sure whether it's true or not.

i guess my point is that the same is true for all media, not just broadcast. to me it seems that the bigger corporate media gets the more space they leave for indymedia and stuff (information ecology?), especially with the internet. like you have grand royal and zeepo promoting stuff, too... and then like a lot of people not promoting anything at all.

also now there's dereg that lets newspapers and tv/radio stations get together and stuff so you'll have clearchannel/viacom/nytimes etc providing all our news-entertainment needs. i just think that opens the door further for independent non-commercial media.
posted by kliuless at 3:31 PM on May 16, 2001

Anymore, anything that is "popular" to the rambling herd comes from some type of large corporate conglomerate. It will only be a matter of time until we start to see entertainers with names like Pepsi or AOL.
posted by mrBMsandwich at 4:36 PM on May 16, 2001

There are already musicians named for well-known brands.
posted by kindall at 4:39 PM on May 16, 2001

The meaning of life is 42. Strangely appropriate to douglas adams's passing and everybody's favorite quote from the hitchhikers series, there are 42 corporations from the cjr report that own all commercial media.

This is quite a thought-provoking collection of links and I learned something from all of them (including maura's). First, I'm intrigued by how many executives of very different non-media giants are on the "Board of Directors" of these 42. For example, the CEO of Pepsico is on the belo (mostly radio holdings) board and the CEO/Pres. of Eli Lilly (pharmaceuticals, maker of prozac) is on the mcgraw-hill board.

In the latter case, I assume this is because of mcgraw's "Hospital Healthcare Information Group of publications (Hospital Practice, The Physician and Sportsmedicine, Postgraduate Medicine, Healthcare Informatics, Healthcare Education Group). Everyone knows that the point of most printed media content is to expose viewers to advertising, but this intimate connection seems a lot more insidious than even Eli Lilly's usual free sample sell tactics and ratings of doctors (give over 2000 prozac subscriptions a month? you know you're on lilly's list of rising stars). Advertisers always like to have ads in the same issue that their product is getting critical acclaim. But when that product is a prescription drug and not one but five magazines are partially controlled by the drug's maker, I think the line has been crossed.

It's all about creating hype that doesn't sound like advertising. I remember when TiVo splashed down, I first read about it in a gushing "this will change everything" bit in Rolling Stone. I assumed that Phillips was the only owner of the thing. But no, I forgot that the machine by itself doesn't do anything (and phillips doesn't have a monopoly on that anymore-- RCA and panasonic make them too now, I think)-- you need to pay for the monthly service, as all the winners of the free tivo contest found out.

So actually four companies out of the 42 own the meat of TiVo. But a consumer could never guess that media giants have a large stake in TiVo because of the edginess garnered on the thing by scruffy opinionated media types saying it will destroy the media-tv establishment. The establishment, as with "destroy the establishment" music, is not going anywhere.

Can anybody guess why Pepsico's CEO would sit on the Belo board? All I can think of is lots of free pepsi ads and lots of Britney Spears (who according to the christina-coke article is pepsi-owned) songs on the radio stations. But what does Belo get out of it? Is this synergy, cross-marketing, or is it some larger phenomenon that I'm completely unaware of?

I think I'm going to start calling things by their actual owners: The AOL-Time Warner Braves baseball team, etc. Pretty amazing, that CNN is reporting on Time (both owned by aol t-w) reporting on Michael Stipe's sexuality already written about several years ago by Rolling Stone, I think.

The sisqo site itself is an exercise in what the PBS coverage was all about (he has a "chat dojo")-- the feedback cycle. The new piece that this thread brings up is that media, new and old fused, is really what's driving the whole thing.

Finally, the interesting reverse of targeting specific markets (Lilly with health care magazines, for example) is restricting access in large markets to only cross-promotional participators (the madonna situation). The ticket industry is so iron-fistedly price rigged, but I still think that this is a bad situation-- any true madonna fan will have to join AOL to get a good ticket. this was started by david bowie, wasn't it? it's all economics. If people are willing to spend that extra time and money to get better tickets, it'll happen. If not, then it'll fizzle. $ has complete control.
posted by benjamin at 5:04 PM on May 16, 2001

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