Thursday, December 13, 2018

Video Drives Online Display Advertising Spending But With Some Limitations | Forrester

Online video offers marketers and media firms an immersive and interactive form of communication with targeted user groups. Google is constantly refining its content acquisition and delivery tools to grow its YouTube revenue. Three Chinese digital giants — Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (BAT) — are investing aggressively on their online video platforms, namely Baidu’s iQiyi, […] [from]

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Verizon Writes Down Oath | Lefsetz Letter

You’d like to believe the people, mostly men, running America’s companies know more than you do.

Now I’m not so sure.

Did anybody think that Yahoo had value? Or AOL? If you haven’t switched to Gmail, the joke is on you. There’s been no investment in AOL’s e-mail product in seemingly a decade. Change your address now, because chances are you’re not getting all your e-mail.

But I am getting all my phone calls, texts and e-mail on Verizon. Unlike many Americans, I’m willing to pay for the best. And if you believe Verizon is not, you’ve been convinced by advertising, i.e. fake news, or you subscribe to a competing service and don’t want to admit you’re wrong. It’s kinda like driving a Hyundai and being convinced you’re driving a Mercedes-Benz. Then again, those Genesis models are pretty good. America is the land of delusion, where bedrock is unfindable, our whole country is shaking, possibly from fracking. Hierarchy is abhorred, everybody believes they can be a star, and the winners don’t want to sacrifice, nobody in the U.S. wants to sacrifice anymore, you can’t take away their jobs, you can’t make them drive fuel-efficient automobiles, they’ve got to be free to leave the lights on and pollute the air. America is full of adolescents, parading under the banner of FREEDOM! No one gets to be that free, no one gets to do whatever they want all the time, unless they run a Fortune 500 company.

These overpaid nincompoops make one mistake after another, and the Street is too stupid to know what’s going on. Look at the valuations of Uber and Tesla, meanwhile, Warren Buffett is investing in railroads. And somehow, the titans of wireless believe they can become entertainment companies.

We saw this movie once already, when Andy Lack was imported to run Sony Music, because there needed to be order and the music business is run by unprofessional know-nothings who need to be taught a lesson. No, Andy Lack needed to be taught a lesson, and after the rootkit fiasco, he was booted.

The CEO who built Verizon Wireless is long gone, and those who’ve followed in his seat have been so inured to Wall Street that they’ve lost their senses. Does ANYBODY think AOL has value? How about Yahoo?

But Verizon overpaid for those properties. The last bungle this stupid is when HP bought Palm.

AOL was training wheels for the internet, and after you could ride on two wheels, you gave it up. As for Tim Armstrong and his advertising strategy, he was proven a snake oil salesman long before the acquisition, why did Verizon take the bait? Oh, it needed an advertising system, one which never quite worked, to go along with the backward one acquired via Yahoo.

Some products deserve to die, some are superseded. But there always seems to be a mark willing to invest, to grow that which no amount of water and sunshine, and dollars, will ever make live again.

Like the BlackBerry believers. When I see one of those devices in the wild, I laugh. And it’s always carried along with an iPhone. As if the owner cannot type on glass. Hell, I can type faster on glass than I ever could with smartphone keys.

But you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, and youngsters keep eating the world.

That’s the story of Facebook and Google. How they took the ill-formed executions of concepts, social media and search, and refined and built upon them. Facebook switches from desktop to mobile nearly overnight, and Verizon buys dead properties. Hell, give me some of that $4.5 billion, you’re playing with my money, my rates only go up!

But no, the titans of industry believe they’re entitled to their salaries.

But the truth is they’re so locked in their silos they don’t know what is going on. Why didn’t they ask their children about AOL and Yahoo, after all children are our future, the customers coming. But NO, they know better, like the MBAs and Excel experts who never built anything. Isn’t it funny that the biggest corporations were built by college dropouts, maybe they got out before the educational system depleted their creativity. It’s conformity all the time. Meanwhile, we’re led by those thinking outside the box. When you hear about coal and the rest of the retro crap dismiss the speaker, because the future is coming down the pike and what’s successful today may be forgotten tomorrow. Does anybody want a Debbie Gibson CD?

My parents kept on telling me someone else knew better, that I wasn’t up to the game. But the longer I live it seems like we live in a nation of Ozzes, and they’re anything but wizards. They’ve been taught how to read a financial statement, yet they know nothing about the real world.

Verizon, the next time you want to buy something, call me first, I can save you a boatload of cash!


D.C. Rap War | Lefsetz Letter

You don’t want to be dissed by a woman. Hell, Carly Simon built her whole career on it. “You’re so vain…”

“After she returned to Capitol Hill, Ms. Pelosi said that for Mr. Trump, the wall was ‘like a manhood thing for him.’

‘As if manhood could ever be associated with him,’ she said.”

5 Takeaways From Trump’s Meeting With Pelosi and Schumer

She’s playing Trump’s game, but better.

In other words, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

The Republicans have defined the debate for decades. They are the ones who kept screaming about Pelosi. It was a very good strategy, to a degree the Democrats bought it, but Pelosi navigated and appears to have emerged victorious, she will be the Speaker.

And the Donald will have to deal with the adult in the room.

Men are afraid of strong women. Their tricks don’t work. Furthermore, most men are pussy-whipped. The woman sets the agenda and the man follows, except for the occasional blow-up, when the woman lets the guy have his way.

Or, you can marry a slave. That’s what Richard Lewis used to do. He got involved with women who would do whatever he wanted. Watch Scorsese movies all day long? NO PROBLEM! But he married a woman with power, who could stand up to him.

With Trump it’s “my way or the highway.” Sure, you can surround yourself with acolytes who never bark back, but when you encounter professionals, especially women, you’re unprepared.

That’s what we don’t like about Sheryl Sandberg. She’s a woman, but she’s playing a man’s game, like a man. Whereas Nancy Pelosi is being a woman, and it’s working for her. She’s not raising her voice, she’s not ranting and raving, and she’s got no problem getting in the ring with power.

Furthermore, she’s experienced.

Somehow, experience has been waylaid. Sure, you need new perspectives, but in every profession time spent playing the game pays dividends. In music, we embrace the young and new and throw the old overboard. And the disses are never over anything important. It’s a girlfriend or misbehavior in a club. Musicians used to be seers sitting atop the social pyramid, now they’re bozos running around in the circus, it’s pure entertainment.

And Pelosi is not playing Hillary’s game. Hillary was like a deer in the headlights, so worried about what people thought of her that she couldn’t and still can’t be honest. We know acts like this in the music business, they have their hit(s) and are forgotten. We’re looking for someone more honest, more singular, evidencing their truth, that’s what we’re drawn to.

And the problem with Trump is the lack of truth. But Pelosi called him on this, she refused to be pushed around and misrepresented.

Guys know how to mess with guys. Women? They don’t know how to play, especially in public. Do they bend over backwards and then stick the knife in in the dark?

It’s been a long time coming.

And it won’t be a long time gone.

It’s here to stay.

One thing’s for sure, Trump has woken up the country. I don’t expect Fox News and Trumpsters to celebrate Pelosi, anything but, but the truth is the game is not one of snapshots, but rather an entire movie.

Fox is running out of ammunition. Fighting the war of Clinton and Obama when the last I checked, they held no political office. Hell, the entire Republican agenda is a blast to the past. And Me Too has evolved. Now it’s not about who you mistreated as much as how you treat women today. And women who embrace their newfound power are the winners.

Come on, a 78 year old rock star?

Who’d you rather talk to, who’d you rather hang with, Nancy Pelosi or Cardi B?

You use your power to move the needle.

You don’t bitch about the old game, you redefine it. Hell, there are still rockers lamenting streaming. Meanwhile, the game is about audience and touring. How do you develop your own fan base that will support you.

OH NO! I need the help of the label and radio and the press, I can’t do it alone.

Yes you can.

The power of one can never be underestimated. One person changes the world. We’re looking for beacons, we want to follow in the footsteps of leaders.

And every leader has those who don’t support them.

But living in the past under falsehoods never wins.

Martin Mull once said “Politics is show business for ugly people.”

But it turns out show business is politics for beautiful people. All the maneuvering, all the falsehoods, all the TMZ…or, as another performer once said, “Show business is high school with money.”

And I never want to go back to high school, do you?

At some point you have to grow up and become an adult. But the music business is stuck in endless adolescence. And if you are an adult you’re pushed to the side.

I gave up on the circus long ago, hell, it was canceled by society just a few years back.

Meanwhile, the rank and file get caught up in the sideshow, the comic book movies, while the adults rule the world.

Like Nancy Pelosi.


Bob Geldof Part 1-SiriusXM This Week | Lefsetz Letter

Recorded live in Dublin, Ireland.

Tune in today, Tuesday December 11th, on Volume 106, 7 PM East, 4 PM West.

Hear the episode live on SiriusXM VOLUME: HearLefsetzLive

If you miss the episode, you can hear it on demand on the SiriusXM app: LefsetzLive


Killing Eve | Lefsetz Letter

They gave me a free subscription to Hulu so I could watch Beau Willimon’s “The First.”

The female lead was miscast and Sean Penn was so macho it was a turn-off. Penn needs to prove that a little guy can have cojones too, and you just have to laugh, he seems to take himself so SERIOUSLY!

But “Killing Eve” does not.

That’s the confounding thing, the tone, you’re not sure whether it’s serious or comical and then you decide just to run with it.

It was on BBC America and my e-mail implored me to watch it but to be truthful the commercials ruined it and after two episodes, we gave up.

But then I found out it was on Hulu, and I wanted to finish it before my three month subscription ran out.

Now “Killing Eve” is not as good as “House of Cards,” which Beau Willimon ran so well. “House of Cards” was the breakthrough streaming show just like “The Sopranos” was the breakthrough cable show. Oh sure, HBO had “Dream On” and “Larry Sanders” before, but neither of them pushed the format to the point where television eclipsed movies. I still remember Meadow manipulating her parents, telling them to punish her by taking away her gas card. It’s these little insights that bond you. Kids today manipulate their parents, they’re best friends with their parents, nobody in the boomer era EVER said their parents were their best friends, but today…

And “House of Cards” was full of wisdom.

And stunningly, “Killing Eve” is too.

First of all, it’s a small coterie of people who control the world. Forget whether Russia was meddling with the election, the fact that Trump knew these people and interacted with them begs the question…WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

But what if there are no sides. What if the same cabal runs the entire world. Especially those you’ve never heard the name of.

That’s one big point in “Killing Eve,” the TWELVE.

The other is the line uttered by Irina deep into the series, when she delineates the power of information, the world runs on it, and those who have it and can analyze it triumph in the end.

It works on every level, macro and micro. And you can use this information to manipulate or to take a stand but one thing’s for sure, you use it to discover where the game is going. He who knows this continues to play, he (OR SHE!) who doesn’t, is ultimately left behind.

That’s what ages you, when the game overwhelms you, when it’s just too much. When someone starts complaining about streaming and smartphones and social media, know that they’re on their way out, the game has overwhelmed them, they’re never gonna pass GO! and get two hundred dollars ever again.

And “Killing Eve” is a female-dominated show. It’s not about giving women male roles, but creating female roles and letting women shine.

Like Sandra Oh.

I know, she was on that medical drama. But I’ve never seen an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” That’s entertainment, I’m looking for life, the essence. And that was depicted in Oh’s starring role in her feature debut, 1994’s “Double Happiness.” Back when I used to read the reviews and go to the theatre, when being a fan of foreign and indie film was a pursuit, before Sundance led the studios into the territory and it all collapsed.

And sure, she’s got that wonderful hair, but first and foremost, Sandra Oh can act! Can do things with her face the models cannot. She illustrates acting is a profession.

As for Jodie Comer, she was hard to figure out. Was she too cute, or not quite beautiful enough. Was it her awkward, unbelievable smile? But when Sandra talks with Anna and you find out Jodie’s history, it all comes together.

And speaking of Anna, Susan Lynch embodies Russia in this role. She’s not classically beautiful, she’s got some miles on her face, she’s not stick thin, she’s a working woman, who is passionate and fulfilled by her work, but it doesn’t eclipse the absence of her husband.

And the episodes in Russia make the series. Maybe it’s just our preconception of the country, but the imperfection, the shabbiness, it rings true. And when I was there eight years ago, I was stunned that there was a window open in the Hermitage, right by a Picasso, whereas climate control is key in western museums, and our guide was playing the game of payoffs to get her daughter into a good school, and this is what makes art, when it’s more than story.

And when it takes you away.

Like I said, you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry, whether to be engrossed or skeptical, but eventually you go with the flow. It’s almost like a James Bond movie starring women, but with a Bond not as bogus as Roger Moore or as one dimensional as Daniel Craig.

And what is life anyway?

As Villanelle says, it’s about a great flat, a fun job and having someone to lie in bed and watch movies with. That’s it. Sure, accomplishments are fun, fame can pay dividends, but neither necessarily make you more happy.

And Villanelle wants to be happy. She can never quite get there, but she wants it so bad.

And so do we. We’re searching for it all the time.

A fun job. What a concept. Not a status job, or a well-remunerated job, but one that makes you smile and laugh. Is being an assassin fun?

To Villanelle it is.

So I’m not saying to put “Killing Eve” on your must-list.

And now that I’ve got Hulu I haven’t bothered to watch “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Funny, the bigger the buzz, the more I don’t want to catch up on it. If everybody’s watching it, like “Game of Thrones,” I don’t need to. I’ll catch up a couple of years after the series is completed, when it’s all not dribbled out episode by episode, when no one’s talking about it at the water cooler and viewing it will seem like going down into a rabbit hole alone, having a private experience.

But limits are being tested on television all day long. Sure, it’s overwhelming, sure there are too many shows, but it’s like having too many websites, no one complained about that during the advent of the internet.

Enjoy it. It won’t last forever. Just like blockbusters killed the movie business. Imagine if there was no “Jaws,” no “Star Wars,” imagine if film continued to be about real life, story…

Then you’d have television.

Then you’d have “Killing Eve.”


Certain Songs #1398: The Only Ones – “Another Girl, Another Planet” | Medialoper

Album: The Only Ones
Year: 1978

Almost three years ago in the entry for Eddie & The Hot Rods “Do Anything You Wanna Do!“, I wrote about how in 1979 — after reading about it in Trouser Press — I bought a soundtrack to a film I’ve still never seen called That Summer! which doubled as an amazing sampler of what was then called “new wave” music.

In any event one of the head-spinning songs on that soundtrack was today’s entry: the stone cold utter motherfucking classic “Another Girl, Another Planet” by The Only Ones.

Led by mercurial singer-songwriter Peter Perrett, The Only Ones were never even close to punk rock in any way, shape or form, but there was no doubt that punk rock kicked open the door that allowed them to get a record deal and therefore release a rock ‘n’ roll single that was instantly timeless and almost without peer.

What “Another Girl, Another Planet” was not, however, was a hit single. Obviously not here in the U.S., where “Another Girl, Another Planet” was the lead track for the Only Ones U.S. debut, 1979’s Special View, which was really a best-of masquerading as a debut, but even stranger, not in the U.K., either, where songs like this could top the chart.

But it didn’t get airplay there either, possibly because one of the interpretations of the song was that it was about using heroin, and therefore untouchable by the BBC. Boo!!!

That said, where “Another Girl, Another Planet” was a hit was with anybody whosever heard the fucking thing, which over the next four decades has attained the stature initially denied it.

And why not? From the opening muted strums of Perrett’s rhythm guitar, the big build by drummer Mike Kellie and initial guitar duel between Perrett & lead guitarist John Perry, “Another Girl, Another Planet” is firing on all cylinders even before Perrett opens his mouth and sings about smack or is it love sweet love?

I always flirt with death
I look ill but I don’t care about it
I can face your threats
And stand up straight
And tall and shout about it

Either way, Perrett comes to exactly the same conclusion every single time:

I think I’m on another world with you
With you
I’m on another planet with you
With you

It’s such a great chorus, so indelible and catchy, that it doesn’t even matter why: all you wanna do is sing along with it, and if it was just a bunch of organ-filled verses that mix drugs language with love language and that all guitar lead chorus, “Another Girl, Another Planet” would be pretty fucking great, but it’s just getting going.

After the second chorus, the song breaks down so it’s just Perrett slashing his rhythm guitar and singing “Another girl, another planet” and then he rushes it as he sings it a second time while drummer Kellie pushes him with a couple of quick rolls: “anothergirlanotherplanet, uh-uhhh!”

It’s at that point where lead guitarist John Perry takes over the song, doubling Perrett on the “uh-uhhhh” and then aiming for the fucking stratosphere with a solo that just keeps going and going and going and going, especially when bassist Alan Mair starts doing some pretty awesome counterpoint runs his own self. This is why they weren’t punks: it’s not that punk guitarists like Mick Jones or Paul Weller wouldn’t take long solos, but even at their most conventional, they weren’t playing solos like this.

Perry’s solo was way more like, oh, I dunno, the solo on “Two Tickets to Paradise” or Michael Schenker’s solo on “Rock Bottom” than any solos coming out of punk rock. It simultaneously makes no sense at all and all of the sense in the world, especially in a song about being transported by smack or is it love sweet love? Either way, Perrett is hooked.

Space travel’s in my blood
There ain’t nothing I can do about it
Long journeys wear me out
But I know I can’t live without it

“Another Girl, Another Planet” is one of those songs that continues to bring it right until the very end, as after the final chorus Perrett is still trying to figure things out while while Perry is still fucking around with his guitar and Kellie is spinning some vicious drum rolls.

Another girl is loving you now
Another planet is holding you down
Another planet

And wham! It just ends, after 3:00 of complete and utter rock and roll bliss that would have killed in the mid-1960s and will still sound great in the mid-2060s, when people are singing it to each other on Mars.

This was why, by the way, The Only Ones were a pretty good choice to open for The Who during their post-Keith 1980 U.S. tour: they were a new band so The Who got some points with those of us in the fan base who were paying attention what was rushing through the door that punk kicked open, but they didn’t present or sound like anything too radical for the older folks in the crowd. Some of whom were probably in their thirties!!!

And indeed it was a combination of my love for “Another Girl, Another Planet” and knowing that I was going to see them open for The Who that led me to purchase Special View in the spring of 1980 — I wanted to be aware of their music, and I was hoping that maybe they had any other songs as good as “Another Girl, Another Planet.” Of course they didn’t, which is fine, because hardly anybody else did, either.

“Another Girl, Another Planet”

“Another Girl, Another Planet” official video

“Another Girl, Another Planet” performed live, 1979

“Another Girl, Another Planet” performed live 1996

The Certain Songs Database
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

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Small town rejects Comcast, ISP org takes issue with El Reg | The Register

And the FCC and AT&T claim everything is hunky dory

Just how much do you hate Comcast? Enough to spend $1m of your own money to escape its clutches?…