Star Trek Online, Where ‘Fleet Action’ Means ‘Massive Space Battles’

Star Trek Online features many of the tropes commonly associated with MMOs, and among them are massive raids (called fleet actions in the game). The latest one involves the defense of Deep Space Nine in a recreation of a classic moment from the series… if you’re not a Trekie, simply admire the massive space battles unfolding.

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Avatar Blu-Ray Sells 1.5 Million Copies First Day

A lack of special features in the initial home video release of Avatar hasn’t stopped consumers from snapping it up readily. The Blu-ray sales were the best in the medium’s short history with 1.5 million copies, and overall James Cameron’s sci-fi epic saw about 4 million discs sold, making it the best selling home video for the year to date.

A Fox rep claimed that retailers sold out of 60 percent of their Blu-ray inventory on average, and merchants moved roughly 50 percent of their DVDs.

“While the original releases do not have commentary, outtakes or other things now typical on disc release, it is expected to be available in a special edition release this holiday season. “We could not have had the special material we wanted to have but will have it for the special edition,” said Avatar producer Jon Landau.

Fox knows that the young entertainment junkies who love Avatar will possibly buy the movie twice (or even a third time once the 3D Blu-ray finally gets made), so this strategy makes sense from that perspective.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Alien Prequel Discussed By Ridley Scott

More than 30 years after creating the original Alien, Ridley Scott is looking to do a prequel film. The main story is already finished; a female will be the main character and hopes are to get the film out by late 2011 or early 2012. Alien is one of those movies that really resonates with the gaming audience, so we could certainly envision some interesting marketing tie-ins as this project progresses.

“It’s set in 2085, about 30 years before Sigourney [Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley],” described Scott. “It’s fundamentally about going out to find out ‘Who the hell was that Space Jockey ‘ The guy who was sitting in the chair in the alien vehicle there was a giant fellow sitting in a seat on what looked to be either a piece of technology or an astronomer’s chair and our man [Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas] climbs up and says ‘There’s been an explosion in his chest from the inside out what was that?’ I’m basically explaining who that Space Jockey we call him the Space Jockey I’m explaining who the space jockeys were.

When asked about appearances by the Weyland- Yutani corporation, Scott said, “It’s Weyland. Weyland hasn’t joined Yutani yet, so they go and see Weyland. [The film] is about the discussion of terraforming taking planets and planetoids and balls of earth and trying to terraform, seed them with the possibilities of future life.”

Source: MTV

Movie Studios, Game Makers Still Not Seeing Eye To Eye

Video games based upon movies have been around almost as long as the gaming industry has existed, and for almost as long they’ve had a reputation for being poor in quality. James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game was sadly not an exception, perpetuating the same issues of poor communication between game makers and movie studio heads.

[Developing movie-themed games] can’t be studio-driven, said Avatar movie producer Jon Landau at the 3D Gaming Summit. It has to be filmmaker-driven. I think [game companies] need to go find the Jim Camerons, Steven Spielbergs and Peter Jacksons of the world and develop the relationships with them.

Despite the growing pains that are still going on between the movie and gaming industries, Landau thinks that 3D in games will become as common as it’s becoming in movies. 3-D is the cheddar on the ice cream sundae, he said. Down the road everybody s going to expect it for every game.


Social Media, Its Evolution And You

Social media is a powerful medium for advertisers, particularly the way it allows them to connect with younger demographics.  While many marketers talk about the importance of social media, they fail to grasp its true significance.

“Instead of discussing the profound impact the phenomena is having within businesses, society and brands, the conversation is often focused on setting up a Twitter account or the next ‘viral video’ — tempting eye candy that shifts the attention away from the transformative nature of this emerging form of human communication,” writes Rob Key, CEO of Converseon. “It can be argued that the term ‘social media’ itself is stunting the potential of the very force it is trying to describe and, hence, has outlived its usefulness.”

“A large part of this is the fact that high-level executives still do not understand the significance of social media for the most part. They don’t understand its importance in external uses like media customer care and branding and internal uses like risk management, market research and HR.”

“Social media is driving greater collaboration and forcing organizations to reexamine their business processes so they can be agile enough to react to the real-time social intelligence being infused into the organization,” notes Key. “The primary value of social media doesn’t come from the tactics or the technologies — many of which are transitory — but from infusing its value across the enterprise to drive real and sustainable business advantage. And the examples of its power are tangible.”

“Examples of this include HP, who saved $10 million by using social listening in its customer service, Procter & Gamble noting that InnoCentive initiative is pushing innovation from the outside and IBM launching their famous real-time social intelligence for making a smarter planet.  Indeed, social media gives marketers the immediate feedback on what works and what does not in a way never possible before. It will be key for all companies sometime very soon to infuse these very tactics into their business practices or get left in the dust.”

“This is an opportunity for agencies to help facilitate that transformation by becoming enterprise-wide solutions and helping create fertile environments internally at brands so that social can flourish. For brands to become social organizations, simple outside-in approaches are doomed to fail over time. Indeed, a growing number of organizations are beginning to have conversations about how social can transform organizations, but this is largely still in its infancy,” continued Key. “Language is power. Language isn’t only what we use to communicate; it also determines how we think. In a post-social media world, we look forward to working with others to articulate a new, elevated vocabulary, and concepts that the C-suite can appreciate while giving the concept of ‘social media’ the respect it deserves.”

Source: iMediaConnection

NFL Draft Sees Ratings Spike In Prime-Time

The NFL draft moved to prime-time television for the first time this year, and it looks like the results are a success. ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer indicated the first round of the draft was watched by 5.4 percent of U.S. households in the top 56 television markets, which is a 26 percent increase over the 4.3 rating for the first round a year ago.

“Competing with the draft for prime-time sports coverage was the NBA playoffs on TNT, featuring exciting upsets like the Chicago Bulls beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-106 and the Oklahoma City Thunder topping the Los Angeles Lakers 101-96. Still, preliminary indications are that the NFL draft did better in the ratings. Very easily topped NBA playoff games,” noted Hofheimer.

While there were no big game trailer premieres this year like in years past at the draft, these ratings imply that prime demographics for gaming are still tuning in, perhaps more than ever. EA or Activision (or someone else) might want to look into buying an ad spot for one of their premiere franchises next year.

Source: Bloomberg

New Model For MMS Advertising?

While mobile video is still appealing to most marketers, its ubiquitous nature is making it lose some of its initial luster. One increasingly used method is 2D mobile codes, which is what Sports Illustrated did for their recent swimsuit issue; they bucked the trend of a pre-roll ad with a much shorter slide indicating sponsorship from Trojan Ecstasy.

“All puns about good fit aside, the ad is effective in its brevity and placement. Unlike a pre-roll, it is neither tedious nor avoidable. You get it before you even have the opportunity to drop out of the video. It has the benefit of frequency, a simple message that occurs at the end of every video in the SI/JAGTAG sequence,” writes Steve Smith. “I think the potential for short, short form video sent directly to the phone via MMS is incredible. But we need someone to start thinking beyond video for video’s sake and make the content match the format and the use case. The ad model is already here.”

Source: MediaPost {link no longer active}

Green Support Fading, Says Survey

As could be noticed by the number of companies making reference to the recent Earth Day, there’s still support for the environmental movement. That said, if a Gallup survey is correct, the support for green efforts is waning a bit.

19 percent percent of respondents said they were “an active participant” in the environmental movement and 42 percent said they were sympathetic; this combined total has been decreasing from its peak of 71 percent in 2000. Meanwhile, 10 percent said they were “unsympathetic” – a number which has doubled since 2000.

Even more telling is that the number of people who feel the environmental movement has done more harm than good has increased to 36 percent from 21 percent in 2000. Women and younger respondents were shown to be more sympathetic to the environmental movement.

Source: Ad Week {link no longer active}

Mobile GPS Study Revealing Clients’ Habits

A study of users via GPS enabled mobile phones showed some interesting insights; for example, those who went to Whole Foods are twice as likely to work out as people who shopped elsewhere. And while half of Starbucks users went to Dunkin’ Donuts,  two-thirds of Dunkin’ Donuts customers went to Starbucks.

“Armed with this level of insight, competitors in this category could consider what drivers, including coffee taste, product mix, location atmosphere and customer experience, contribute to this behavioral preference,” says the report.

Of course, privacy concerns mean that incentives will likely have to be given to users, especially older ones. A lack of focus can also make such a study unmanageable. “Stringing together the GPS paths of thousands of participants, overlaying time of day, day of week, as well as targeting advertising by content, quickly becomes a large task,” warns the study.

Source: MediaPost {link no longer active}

Facebook: Has It Already Won?

Facebook has introduced its Like button, which will further integrate the site with others around the Internet. Its personalization could be a powerful tool for Facebook in the future, even a decisive one over its competitors.

“It’s a simple yet powerful feature — one that delivers a significant blow to rival Twitter,” writes Pete Cashmore. “Once the network effects take hold, it’s frankly hard to imagine how any company could unseat Facebook’s social networking dominance in the months to come. Without a counterattack, even Google may one day be dethroned.”

“Facebook’s large user base of 400 million also gives it a strategic advantage over Twitter’s 100 million users. Twitter has also upset developers by moving towards official apps, whereas Facebook is inviting new partners in with the Like button and other new tools.”

“Google is also potentially targeted by Facebook’s new push. While Google dominated in the era of interlinked websites, its personalization is limited because it lacks access to your personal interests the way that Facebook does.”

“Google makes the vast majority of its money from ads — these ads typically match your search terms, or the content of the Web page you’re viewing,” writes Cashmore. “Google has certainly worked to personalize these ads, but its knowledge of your friends and interests is more limited than Facebook’s. The data gleaned from thousands of Facebook Like buttons around the web could make for an ad network that rivals Google’s AdSense.”

“Still, there are no guarantees for Facebook, particularly if Google does something like buy Twitter. While Facebook is perfectly positioned to lead the next charge, success is by no means guaranteed. Twitter is set to release ‘annotations,’ a way to append extra information to Tweets. Google has enough money on hand to buy, well, whatever it wants. And Facebook’s user base is volatile: They may one day decide to embark on a mass exodus, causing Facebook to fall like MySpace and Friendster before it,” concludes Cashmore.

Source: CNN