Blog, business, post production for film and video

Where do you watch online video?

MediaPost’s Research Brief has an interesting collection of data from Nielsen Online. Note how much video is watched on Facebook versus Myspace:

Top 5 Social Networking and Blog Sites Ranked (April  2009, U.S. Home and Work)
Site

Total  Video Streams
(000)

Time Spent Viewing
(Minutes x 000)

Myspace.com

120,793

384,030

Facebook

41,537

113,502

Stickam

19,617

54,522

FunniestStuff.net

10,206

34,456

Funny or Die

6,503

17,725

Source: Nielsen VideoCensus, June 2009

So we all thought that Facebook was taking over the world. It turns out that more people are watching video on Myspace, and for a longer period of time (a ratio of 3 to 1!).

What does this mean for us? Not much. I won’t post personal video to either Facebook or MySpace, because I’m scared about the ownership issues involved. Promotional video (movie trailers, band promos) should go up on all of the sites to ensure maximum saturation. And I can’t help but cringe at the quality of video on both MySpace and Facebook; it is for that very reason that I have posted my company’s promotional work on Vimeo instead of any of the top social networking or video sites.

It does have relevance, though, to remind us that the “hot trends” that get reported on often only have a kernel of truth, and the true picture is much more nuanced or complex. While Facebook is having a banner year, MySpace is not losing as much ground as the mainstream media would have you believe; and MySpace actually is “stickier” (people stay on the site longer), something that advertisers are very aware of.

Blog, business, graphic design

MySQL in trouble?

You probably don’t see it every day, but, if you are running a blog or forum, or any web application running on a database, you might have implemented MySQL on your server. I had heard about Sun and Oracle, but I hadn’t heard about what it could mean for MySQL:

Even before the Oracle buyout, there were signs of strain within the MySQL community. Not long after Sun acquired MySQL in 2008, key MySQL employees began exiting the company, including CEO Mårten Mickos and cofounder Monty Widenius. Widenius, in particular, was vocally critical of the MySQL development process under Sun’s stewardship, citing rushed release cycles and poor quality control. Another MySQL cofounder, David Axmark, left out of frustration with the bureaucracy and tedium of Sun’s buttoned-down corporate culture.

Funny: I was just thinking a few days ago on how dependent my work has become on other’s software: I use Adobe products exclusively for graphic design (InDesign and Illustrator and Photoshop), Apple products for film and video (Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro), Digidesign’s ProTools for audio, and now WordPress/MySQL for websites. What happens when one of these major tools stumbles? Let’s look at a case study: Quark XPress.

From 1990 until 2004, I was producing all of my print design using a wonderfully powerful program called Quark XPress. The toll was lean, fast, and tool advantage of Apple and Adobe’s strong support of PostScript — the language that ran every laser printer in the world. And then, the company got cocky. Knowing that they had no competition, Quark took five years to release an update to the program. Their technical support was horrible. It got to the point where I would rather have left graphic design than continue working with their software. So, with a bit of research and some soul-searching, I dropped Quark XPress for Adobe’s InDesign. Within a few months, I was producing all print projects on InDesign, and loving it. The migration costs were mostly calculated in time spent learning new software, and my clients saw a seamless workflow transition from my office.

All that to say: technology moves quickly. If MySQL transforms into something else, or morphs into something that needs more support, we will be ready. It’s easy to forget some software program that’s in the background, but all of these programs are the lifeblood of what we do at Hearken Creative. So we will keep on top of all developments, and make the necessary transitions to whatever is the most recent, workable software solution.

Blog, business

New site, new blog

I started the new website almost a year ago, solicited comments from some trusted friends, and then never finished the project. The website needs to be up-to-date and full of interesting things for people to see. So here I am, trying to incorporate some of the comments from my first-round beta-testers.

Additionally, I am building the new site entirely in WordPress. It’s a bit limiting on the design side, but ultimately useful for its searchability, scalability, and ease-of-use. I hope to be completely done within the next week or two.

Blog, business

Why Wal-mart doesn't get the internet.

I just read an interesting blog post by Sage Lewis over at Search Engine Watch, in which he describes a rather curious action by Wal-mart over early linking to their “Black Friday Deals:”

Wal-Mart told SearchAllDeals and TechCrunch to immediately take down links to Black Friday deals that weren’t supposed to be out before November 24. SearchAllDeals and TechCrunch didn’t publish the content. They just linked to it.

Okay, so Wal-mart is upset that someone jumped the gun and linked to their Black Friday page early. The easy solution would have been to make sure that the infringing information never leak in the first place, and definitely make sure that it’s not on a publicly-available web page. And, last I checked, every retailer in the country would love to have the kind of press that Wal-mart got when those sites broke the story about the cool, incredible deals that Wal-mart was planning for Black Friday. I have always believed that Apple actually wants the bloggers to try and find out what is going on in secret at the Apple labs just because the press those leaks generate is so beneficial to the company.

But even more more disturbing is that this is not a case of plagiarism or copyright infringement, at least by most people’s standards. SearchAllDeals and TechCrunch did not publish the content — they only linked to it. Since I’m not a lawyer or a DMCA expert, I don’t know if Wal-mart’s claim is legit or not. But if it is, that would have a chilling effect on the web as a whole. I link to lots of things — from my blog, from my website, in comments on other people’s blogs — and I’m sure most of them have a “©” copyright line at the bottom of those pages. In fact, most blogs have a copyright line, and for good reason. Someone has written that blog, and it should not be plagiarized. And when I quote someone’s blog, I always make sure to credit the author as well as link to the original piece. Look all over Facebook: half of the news on my homepage are links and comments on outside website/pages/blogs/videos. Are those links legal? If not, we’re all in big legal trouble.

What Wal-mart doesn’t get is 1) free publicity is good (duh!), and 2) the “social media” segment of the web is based wholly on links from one copywritten work to another — there must be a way to legally link and quote sources across the web. If not, a large portion of the fastest-growing segment of the web, the social network, will shrivel up and die.

Solutions? Only one: define infractions/re-write the DMCA to be more specific and reflect the current online climate. It wasn’t written very well when it was enacted anyways, and the web has seen a sea change since the DMCA was passed (Clinton signed it into law in October 1998).