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Digital Culture Links: December 2nd 2009

Links for November 27th 2009 through December 2nd 2009:

  • Seven’s FlashForward “leaked” to US [TV Tonight] – “Monday night’s episode of FlashForward was the last for the year on Seven, and screened before the US which took a broadcast break for Thanksgiving. That resulted in the episode being uploaded as a torrent and now “leaked” to America. The Hollywood Reporter notes that “Australians don’t care about our guilt-tinged empire-expanding holiday traditions and didn’t take a break. Whether the US-Aussie FlashForward schedule being jolted out-of-sync will result in future episodes also being leaked isn’t known.” Presumably the episode will be downloaded across the US complete with a Channel 7 watermark. It’s all rather ironic given Disney / ABC went to great lengths to make sure Aussie media didn’t reveal information on the series in the lead-up to the premiere, insisting they attend a cinema screening and sign confidentiality clauses.” (US viewers, welcome to the other side of the tyranny of digital distance!)
  • The hits on iView [TV Tonight] – “Four Corners, United States of Tara, Good Game, Doctor Who, The Chaser’s War on Everything and Media Watch are the most popular titles on the ABC’s iView platform. The online catch-up service has been operating since July 2008. Since April this year there have been 6.2 million views of programs with an annual monthly average of 610,000 visits, up by 140% compared to last year. It averages 206,000 visitors per month, up by 60% compared to last year. In October 2009, ABC iView recorded its highest ever number of visitors and visits. 286,000 visitors and 1.054 million visits to ABC iView.” (Finally, streaming timeshifted TV is making solid inroads in Australia.)
  • Moviegoers 2010 available for download [Marketing Strategy for Entertainment and Brand Clients – Stradella Road] – “Why does movie studio tracking and research so often surprise and disappoint us? The answer experienced movie marketers gave us in private conversations was this: We still don’t know our customers/audience as well as we should.
    Where do moviegoers really spend their time? What are the social dynamics of the decision-making process? How do we synthesize the sea changes taking place with digital technologies in order to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time in the right place? We designed the Moviegoers 2010 research study to answer these questions […]
    • Moviegoers spend more time each week online (19.8 hours) than they do watching TV (14.3 hours)
    • 52% of moviegoers have digital video recorders (61% of the 30-39 demo) and, of those consumers, 71% fast-forward to skip commercials.
    [Download the full report – PDF]
  • Westfield Facebook application draws fire [mUmBRELLA] – Westfield has drawn criticism over a Facebook application that may be in breach of the social networking site’s terms and conditions, despite the two companies collaborating to develop it. The application updates a user’s status with a Westfield-branded message to promote its Gift Card. It requires the user to opt in so that their status is updated to “All I Want for Christmas is a Westfield Gift Card”, with extra copy stating that the user has now gone into the draw to win a $10,000 gift card. […] But the promotion has also attracted a backlash from other users, complaining that the promotion is taking over the social networking site as friends’ status updates that feature the Westfield branding, clutter their screens. Facebook groups have also been created in opposition to it. One group, known as If All You Want For Christmas Is A Westfield Gift Card, I Don’t Want To Know, currently has over 3,300 fans.” (Spam as a Facebook App … great marketing!)
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VegeSmite? Some quick thoughts on #vegefail & #nestlefamily

Twitter hastags are quickly becoming the popular shorthand to express corporate disasters with social media. Two cases in point recently: #vegefail, the dramatic, vitriolic and 100% negative response to Kraft naming a new Vegemite and Cheese product ‘iSnack 2.0’ after opening to public suggestions, and #nestlefamily in which the many, many questionable practices for Nestle regarding infant formula, and other things, resurfaced as the company courted influential ‘mummybloggers’ (a shorthand which, I gather, should really be ‘parent bloggers’ since some dads blog in this fashion, too).

First, Kraft: while having a national competition to name the new Vegemite product actually seemed a great way to harness Aussie love for all things Vegemite, especially when you receive more than 50,000 suggestions, letting Kraft simply pick a winner from all those suggestions was not such a good plan, especially when they picked ‘iSnack 2.0’ (which might be a good name for Steve Jobs’ new toaster, but not for an Australia food icon). Since the announcement last Saturday, there has been complaints, loud, angry, and funny (see one person’s response Downfall meme style! and the satirical iSnack 2.0 Twitter stream) but at the same time, the love for Vegemite was the most thing most central in these responses.  All the complaints may have looked like a massive marketing fail (hence #vegefail) yet Kraft have announced today (a mere 6 days later) that they’re going back to the drawing boards and getting another new name:


In the end, though, I tend to agree that the iSnack 2.0 reaction was far from a PR disaster – whether planned from the beginning, or a clever reaction to overwhelming customer sentiment, in going back to their consumers and letting them vote once again (albeit from six safe and crappy names) Kraft both reminded most Australians how much they care about Vegemite and got more publicity for a new product than you could possibly generate with a traditional advertising campaign. (And despite the cynicism, yes, I’ve voted.)

By contrast, the recent #nestlefamily controversy erupted when Nestle attempted to court influential ‘mummybloggers’ in the US by inviting 20 or so of them to a paid retreat where Nestle could show off their latest products and get authentic mummyblogger feedback.  However, Nestle seemed to give no thought at all to what openly courting social media attention might actually mean. On hearing about the planned event, and noting that some of the attendees were people she respected, PhD in Parenting wrote a long post entitled ‘An open letter to the attendees of the Nestle Family blogger event’ which reminded a lot of people about the many issues with Nestle as a company, including their long history of unethical behaviour, especially in relation to infant products, most notably, of course, being pushing infant formula in Africa.  Needless to say, before the event even started, a massive debate began on Twitter between supporters and detractors of Nestle; the oddest thing, though, was the deafening silence from Nestle.  For most of the debate, they remained silent and let people rage on blogs and Twitter. In leaving others to defend Nestle, some of the most angry defenders have clearly done more harm than good.  I don’t have time to go too far into the details, but I recommend reading the summary by Crunchy Domestic Goddess which gives an even-handed overview of the guts of the debate in terms of the way social media has been used.

Then, in a last ditch effort, Nestle have officially joined Twitter to try and manage the #nestlefamily debates, but they still don’t understand that this is a conversation, not a PR engine.  At the end of the day, this tweet seems to sum up perfectly why Nestle just don’t get social media:


Of course, now that questions are being asked loudly, if Nestle doesn’t answer them, others will.

The difference between Nestle and Kraft is simple: at the end of the day, Kraft listened and that was their salvation.  Nestle could learn from their corporate cousin.

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Digital Culture Links: October 1st 2009

Links for September 28th 2009 through October 1st 2009:

  • Google Wave Overview [YouTube] – A nice and short (8 minute) explanation of Google Wave: it’s a hosted conversation, encouraging collaboration!
  • MPs warned to avoid hasty blogs [BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics] – The next generation of [UK] Labour MPs have been warned to be careful about what they write on blogs and websites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube – as comments made in haste remain on the internet forever. At a packed fringe meeting hosted by Google at the Labour conference, activists, prospective and current MPs were told of the benefits of social networking sites – where politicians can get their message out without civil servants and special advisers getting in the way. Labour’s newly crowned “Twitter tsar”, MP Kerry McCarthy, made a bid to win over the sceptics by saying it did not have to be a burden […] But in a word of warning Adewale Oshineye, a Google engineer, advised prospective MPs to bear in mind they were publishing something that could be dug out years later. “When you are saying something amusing as a prospective parliamentary candidate, in four or five years’ time when you are a cabinet minister and someone digs that up…””
  • Online advertising ‘overtakes TV’ [BBC NEWS | Business] – “Online advertising spending in the UK has overtaken television expenditure for the first time, a report has said. Outlay grew 4.6% to £1.752bn between January and July, according to the study by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The recession saw overall advertising slide by 16% in the period, according to the study. E-mail campaigns, classified adverts, display ads and search marketing are all classed as online advertising. The body representing UK commercial television broadcasters said that the comparison was unfair.” (Unfair … or harder to pitch against?)
  • Aussies call an end to just phoning on mobiles [The Age] – “Using mobiles for just calls and texting is a thing of the past, as a third of Australians now check emails on their handsets and more than 70 per cent access mobile entertainment and information services. In spite of the global financial crisis, the use of mobile phone services has continued to grow in the past year as more Australians buy internet-enabled smartphones, the 2009 Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index reveals. Released today by the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association, the exhaustive survey of 3710 respondents found 36% used email on their mobiles in the past 12 months, and, of those, almost half used email daily – a growth rate of 80 per cent over the previous year. In last year’s survey, just 7 per cent of respondents accessed social networking sites from their handsets, but this figure has jumped this year to 32 per cent, with half of those accessing the sites daily.”
  • Sarah Brown becomes Britain’s highest-profile Twitter user [Politics | guardian.co.uk] – “Sarah Brown [wife of UK PM] has overtaken Stephen Fry as Britain’s highest profile Twitter user, it emerged today. “SarahBrown10” has gained more than 775,000 followers since joining the social networking service in March, outstripping Fry’s 768,000. The number of fans keeping up with Brown’s tweets amounts to almost five times the entire Labour party membership. The prime minister’s wife steers clear of political controversy in her messages, instead giving followers glimpses into her day-to-day life and publicising her favourite charities. … Since joining Twitter, Brown has sent out 1,162 messages, each limited to 140 characters. Ross Furlong, an online public relations expert, said Brown’s tweets could help Labour despite the fact that she does not use them for campaigning purposes. “Although the content is deliberately not party political, she is effectively pressing voter flesh online, as she did in person at the Glenrothes byelection to great effect,” Furlong said .”
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Digital Culture Links: September 21st 2009

Links for September 18th 2009 through September 21st 2009:

  • RIP Facebook Beacon [Mashable] – “Facebook launched its ad platform “Beacon” in Nov 2007, hoping to revolutionize advertising by posting updates to your Facebook profile when you interacted with its partner sites. This week Facebook said that it has settled a class-action lawsuit against the product, agreed to shut it down completely, and will establish a $9.5 million “settlement fund” to fund initiatives related to online privacy. … Facebook Beacon was a system that posted your activity on third-party websites – Blockbuster, Gamefly, Overstock.com and more – back to your Facebook profile. Privacy advocates rallied against it, however, arguing that data was being sent without the users’ explicit permission. The situation worsened after a report claimed that Beacon was collecting data from partner sites regardless of whether users were Facebook members …” (Beacon remains one of those most teachable examples of Facebook’s privacy woes, but I’m delighted with the idea of money being spent privacy initiatives.)
  • Nigeria ‘offended’ by sci-fi film [BBC NEWS | Africa] – “Nigeria’s government is asking cinemas to stop showing a science fiction film, District Nine, that it says denigrates the country’s image. Information Minister Dora Akunyili told the BBC’s Network Africa programme that she had asked the makers of the film, Sony, for an apology. She says the film portrays Nigerians as cannibals, criminals and prostitutes. An actor from the film said that it was not just Nigerians who were portrayed as villains. … But Mr Khumbanyiwa said Nigerians in the cast did not seem worried by the portrayal of their country. He suggested that the film, which depicts people wanting to eat aliens to gain the superhuman powers, should not be taken too literally. “It’s a story, you know,” he said. “It’s not like Nigerians do eat aliens. Aliens don’t even exist in the first place.”” (Well said, Mr Khumbanyiwa, well said.)
  • Welcome to the (anonymous) rabbit hole [Unleashed] – Mark Pesce’s playful take on the largely unsuccessful attempts by Anonymous to take down the ACMA and Australian Prime Minster’s websites on 09/09/09/
  • VICTORY: FCC to Mandate Net Neutrality for the Web [Mashable] – “The Federal Communications Commission has been in the middle of it, as it has outlined loose net neutrality guidelines in the past. But according to The Wall Street Journal, the FCC is about to propose definitive rules that could have major repercussions for the entire web. The new rules, expected to be announced Monday by Julius Genachowski, the FCC Chairman, will outline requirements for ISPs to treat all traffic on the Internet equally. This means that Comcast can’t decide that Google gets less bandwidth and Microsoft/Bing (Bing) gets more for any reason (i.e. one pays for preferential treatment). It’s also expected that the net neutrality rules will apply to wireless services, meaning they would be in effect for Internet data via your phone and 3G networks. The impact of this cannot be understated, especially as iPhones and other smart phones make the mobile web a major part of our lives.” (Excellent!)
  • Google slams Murdoch plan to charge for online news [The Age] – “Publishers of general news would find it hard to charge for their content online because too much free content is available, the chief executive of Google said. Speaking to a group of British broadcasting executives via video link, Eric Schmidt said he could, however, imagine niche providers of content such as business news succeeding in this area. Schmidt was responding to an announcement by News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch that he could start charging for content online. “In general these models have not worked for general public consumption because there are enough free sources that the marginal value of paying is not justified based on the incremental value of quantity,” he said. “So my guess is for niche and specialist markets … it will be possible to do it but I think it is unlikely that you will be able to do it for all news.””
  • Meme Analysis: Kanye Interrupts, the Internet (and Obama) Listens [NewTeeVee] – Everything you ever wanted to know about the Kayne West interrrupts Taylor Swift meme …
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YouTube in Australia (and marketing to Australians)

Google Australia have released the results of a survey of 3000 Australian YouTube users which is interesting in its statistics, but also for its main message: corporate marketers should be on YouTube, because well-made entertaining advertising content is just as welcome as user-generated content.  I wonder how many user-generated content creators really agree?  Take a look:

It’s a nifty little presentation, but in case you just want the stats, here they are from the Google Australia blog:

We’re large and diverse

  • Includes all the family – 14-17 year olds only make up 7% of Australian YouTube users, 18-29 = 32%, 30-39 = 20%, 40-49 = 18%, 50-59 = 13% and 60+ = 10%
  • Are workers, students, stay-at-home mums and retirees – 57% are working, 19% are stay at home, and only 15% are studying
  • Encompasses all life stages – 55% are married, 35% are single and 9% are divorced
  • Are not just techies and nerds – 61% of YouTube users are not tech-savvy

We’re active and engaged

  • 86% of the community say YouTube is their favourite place to watch videos and 63% agree YouTube is one of their favourite websites
  • 79% stay longer than they intended (on average 1 hour and 09 mins per week).
  • 62% visit at least once a week
  • 47% share videos when they find a video which they love
  • 86% spend time on YouTube for entertainment
  • 2 out of 3 people do more than just watch videos in YouTube
  • 20% uploaded video

We watch a broad range of content:

  • 51% music videos
  • 31% movie trailers
  • 27% user-generated content
  • 26% TV shows
  • 25% TV ads
  • 22% news clips
  • 18% sports news/highlights

[Via Mumbrella]

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Digital Culture Links: September 8th 2009

Links for September 4th 2009 through September 8th 2009:

  • Paul McCartney, Elton John Oppose Music Piracy Plan [WA Today] – “Some of the biggest names in the music business, including Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney, have slammed the record labels’ plans to disconnect from the internet people who are caught repeatedly downloading music illegally. The artists label the plans backward, illogical, expensive and “extraordinarily negative”. The movie and music industries have been pushing ISPs to implement this “three-strikes” scheme voluntarily for years but talks have stalled. In Australia, the film industry is now suing iiNet in an attempt to have the courts force ISPs to do more to prevent illegal downloading over their networks. Behind the scenes, the content owners have been pressuring the Government to step in and resolve the impasse through legislation.” (Good to see the big-name musicians explaining to the record companies that taking legal action against their fans doesn’t engender goodwill or increase sales!)
  • Online advertising overtakes traditional media [SmartCompany] – “Small and medium businesses in the US are now more likely to advertise online than in traditional media, shows a new study from the US. Research from The Kelsey Group and Constat and reported on Digital Media shows that for the first time online advertising has overtaken traditional media. About 77% of US SMEs used online for advertising in August 2009 compared with just 69% that used traditional media. A year before 73% advertised online while 74% used traditional media. Steve Marshall, director of research at The Kelsey Group, says the milestone of digital/online surpassing traditional media among SMEs is an indicator of the broad shift to online platforms.” (All that targeted demographic stuff is starting to make a difference!)
  • STATS: Young People Are Flocking to Twitter [Mashable] – “One of the most actively discussed topics in the Twitter universe over the past couple months has been the idea that teens don’t tweet – at least not as much as older demographics, and certainly not as actively as teens who use other popular social networking sites. Now, it appears that this story may be shifting. According to new data from comScore, younger users – specifically those in the 12-17 and 18-24 year-old demographics – are Twitter’s fastest growing audience segment.” (So … teens do tweet. Is this the mashable equivalent of a retraction, then? :P)
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On the Importance of Dating Felicia Day’s Avatar in Australia!

If you’ve glanced at YouTube, or your iTunes store, or Twitter, or even Facebook in the last few days you may very well have noticed people talking about and linking to this video:

What you might not have realised if you’ve only just heard of The Guild or Felicia Day, is that this little video represents something of a leap forward in terms of indie-based web productions finding a way to make a healthy amount of money while still giving away their content predominantly for free.  For those of you who’ve not come across The Guild before, it’s a comedy web series created and written by Felicia Day (of Dr Horrible and Buffy fame), looking at the ‘real’ lives of six  MMO (videogame) players.  The ‘game’ is never explicitly named, but the characters and situations are largely based on play in and around World of Warcraft.

Anyway, one of the most important things is that after the first season of The Guild, Day very cleverly managed to strike a deal with Microsoft which would allow them to co-produce The Guild and thus season two was initially, exclusively available via the Xbox Live, MSN and Zune websites.  Significantly, Day retained all intellectual property regarding The Guild, meaning that the show remains under her ownership and control (about which Day is rightly proud).  Indeed, just striking that deal is a significant business move for an indie web media creator.  Of course, Day ensured that episodes also appeared on YouTube and other venues after a period of time, ensuring fans could access The Guild in whichever manner they preferred. The Guild has built a very healthy following (as has Day herself, with over a million Twitter followers) and after initially being available for free, Day released DVDs of season one and two via Amazon, which have sold reasonably well.

However, the music video which I’m focusing on today is The Guild’s ‘(Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar’ which was written by Felicia Day, features the cast of The Guild, and was directed by Jed Whedon (one of Joss’ brothers, who also co-wrote Dr Horrible).  Initially revealed at Comic-Con, the music video playfully engages with pretty much every stereotype that there is about gamers, electronically dancing a fine line between knowing parody and unadulterated fandom.  Following the deal with Microsoft, ‘Avatar’ was available exclusively on the Xbox and Zune websites for a week, before hitting the rest of the web both for free on YouTube and as paid download via iTunes stores, Amazon and elsewhere.  And that’s where the story gets impressive, as  the music video has hit number one on the US iTunes store and on Amazon as an mp3 download. More to the point, Day has learnt from the successes and problems that Dr Horrible hit last year.

While Dr Horrible was a huge hit in the US iTunes store, there were problems even viewing Dr Horrible outside of the US for the first few days, and it took months before Australians had a legal option to purchase Dr Horrible onlineaustralia_itunes_musicvids_19Aug2009.  In contrast, Day seems acutely aware that The Guild’s fans are spread all across the globe and that all ‘national’ versions of the iTunes store (all of which have separate licensing agreements) should be ready to spread The Guild’s musical talents.  [Update: To distribute the mp3 versions, Day used the Tunecore service which lets artists release their mp3s across a range of international stores simultaneously for a small fee.] The image visible on the left shows today’s Top Music Videos in the Australian iTunes store, with (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar [feat. Felicia Day] sitting proudly at the top of the charts; it also topped the UK iTunes store (and elsewhere across the globe, too, I’m sure).  While there was a delay of a day or so getting some versions of the music video or mp3 into particular national online stores, Day has no doubt affirmed the loyalty of fans across the globe by ensuring they have access to ‘Avatar’ for free, or to buy, on exactly the same terms as fans in the US. While we may never know exactly how much ‘Avatar’ earns (or even what the music video cost to make) even the $2.59 a pop for the music video in Australia, or $1.69 for the mp3 single, will surely combine with sales across the globe to make a very respectable amount.  Indeed, I’d guess it could make more than a full season of The Guild webisodes!

Most importantly, though, Felicia Day has shown the sort of foresight that comes from being a clever media creator in the digital era: rather than bowing to the tyranny of digital distance, and letting the globe be arbitrarily cut into different regions in which different media companies can license and re-sell content, Day clearly views her loyal fans as a truly global, participative audience who all deserve equal access to the highly enjoyable media she creates! Felicia Day is someone who understands that digital media can, and should, also mean global media.

Now, after all that, if you’ve not done so already, stop listening to me, and check out ‘(Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar’!

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Annotated Digital Culture Links: April 21st 2009

Links for April 17th 2009 through April 21st 2009:

  • Courts throw Facebook at digital navel gazers [WA Today] – “Const Robert Hogan claimed he was just playing around outside a nightclub when an off-duty military commando bit his face so hard that he drew blood and a five-centimetre gash. A judge ultimately punished his assailant with a suspended jail sentence but not before Constable Hogan’s private life was tendered to court as evidence, courtesy of his Facebook site. … These digital collections are so convincing to a jury, fed a constant diet of television forensics, that a Sydney University law professor, Mark Findlay, believes it is leading to cases being increasingly won on circumstantial evidence. “You are going to see a trend in trials away from oral evidence to documentary trials,” Professor Findlay said. Such a trend was concerning because documentary evidence was easier to fabricate than that provided by a witness, he said. Juries were also less likely to doubt the quality of the information. For example, they do not doubt that a text belongs to the owner of the mobile phone.”
  • Telstra cracks down on Twitter, Facebook mischief [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Telstra is the first major Australian company to tell its employees how to behave on social media like Twitter, Facebook and Myspace …. there’s a decidedly old-fashioned flavour to its “3 Rs” document. It’s not reading, writing and arithmetic in this case though – Telstra employees are implored to observe responsibility, respect and representation. The guidelines tell employees who are using social media for personal use – a far more common and risky situation for the company – to include a disclaimer if they talk about Telstra. They say if someone plans to comment regularly about the company then they should post a permanent disclaimer but if they post infrequently they should use one on a case-by-case basis. A disclaimer would be similar to those attached to company emails, with words to the effect of “the views in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Telstra”. The guidelines are backed up with the threat of disciplinary action.”
  • With Oprah Onboard, Twitter Grows [NYTimes.com] – “One small message from Oprah, one giant leap for Twitter. On Friday morning, Twitter received the blessing of Oprah Winfrey, one of Middle America’s most influential tastemakers, when Ms. Winfrey tapped out her inaugural message using the microblogging service as the cameras of her talk show cameras rolled. “HI TWITTERS,” Ms. Winfrey wrote, using all capital letters in the Internet equivalent of shouting. “THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21st CENTURY.”” (Good to see Shaq calling her out for using caps! And how can Twitter remain kewl now? :P)
  • House, FB: A Consideration of Convergence Marketing [Jacqueline Vickery / Flow 9.11] – Fascinating look at how the death of a character on House in the US was followed by a seemingly real commemoration page on Facebook. After a thoughtful article, Vickery notes: “Once users were on Facebook however, Fox was provided with an instant demographic snapshot of House viewers – their gender, age, location, sexuality, and probably even their political and religious affiliations (since all of this information is privileged as “basic demographics” at the top of a Facebook profile). It is important to note that this snapshot is of course limiting and limited (by those with computers, internet access, and maybe a higher level of fan motivation), but nonetheless extremely valuable to Fox.”
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Will web leaks hurt Wolverine or Caprica?

wolvieposterstory2 So, in the wake of the much-discussed and widely downloaded leak of the Wolverine workprint,  the direct-to-DVD BSG prequel pilot Caprica has also found its way online over a week prior to any official release (on DVD or via direct download).  Yet, while media corporations decry the sales supposedly lost and the evils of piracy, any real evidence that these leaks will hurt either the film or the prequel series pilot is hard to come by.

The Wolverine workprint is an unusual case, as the leaked version is unfinished – while it is feature length, many of the special effects shots are either absent or only partial and a series of pick-ups shot earlier this year are missing.  While one Fox reviewer got the boot after admitting downloading, watching and liking the workprint, some reports suggest that the leak has actually worked as great publicity amongst the key demographics most likely to see Wolverine in theatres.  More importantly, in my view, this unfinished and thus can-be-improved-upon version may just lead some people to review the film more favourably – while folks won’t admit seeing the workprint, if the official release is better, and reviewers’ expectations were lowered by the workprint, I’d guess they’re going to give relieved and thus warmer reviews.  More to the point, the workprint might also function as the most in-depth audience screener ever, which has resulting not just in mixed reviews, but in useful advice on how the film might be improved. A canny producer might just collate these suggestions and get some free tips on what the film-going public would really like to see in Wolverine!

Caprica is a different beast altogether – anyone who believes that any distribution of the Battlestar Galactica prequel series pilot will hurt its sales of the series are fooling themselves.  It has long been argued that the US release of Battlestar Galactica was aided by the enthusiastic word-of-mouth generated by peer to peer sharing of the first episodes when they were released in the UK before the US.  The direct-to-DVD pilot (no, it’s not a movie any more than Razor made sense as a standalone movie; it’s clearly a pilot) is there to do one thing: get audiences interested in the coming series. The DVD release is happening primarily because of the success of Battlestar Galactica, and the desire of BSG’s fans for something new in that franchise, albeit a very different sort of show from BSG.  From the studio’s perspective, it’ll also help gauge the level of audience interest. Yet Caprica is, more than anything else, an advertisement for the coming series. The fact that the Caprica pilot DVD will clearly make money (it was 22 on Amazon’s best selling DVD chart today, for example) is candy, and perhaps one way the producers could get a special-effects heavy pilot created, but this is definitely an addition to the normal process of shooting a television pilot.  Sharing the pilot on bittorrent will produce another metric by which the studio can see how popular the coming series will be.  That word of mouth (presuming it’s positive) will be amongst the best advertisements Caprica can have.

Update: The workprint leak clearly didn’t hurt X-Men Origins: Wolverine: it clocked an impressive $AU221 million globally during its opening weekend!

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We’re in a viral.

“Everything is fake.”
“Look’s good, though, doesn’t it!”

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