Multiple press reports are circulating (again)
about the potential spin-off or sale of Time Warner's
America Online division. These reports seem to ebb and
flow driven by multiple factors---rumors swirling in the
investment banking community, Time Warner earnings
reports, the uphill slog for AOL in converting dial-up
subscribers to broadband, ongoing federal probes into
allegations of improper accounting, and the list goes on
Jon Miller, AOL's chief executive officer, is set to brief
Time Warner board members on the division next
month. A few published reports indicate that Microsoft
Corp. has been talking to Time Warner about AOL for
several months with regard to a potential tie-up.
CHEESE WIZZES -- We always thought the
radio medium was ripe for a major food category
campaign, but there's just something about all that
sight- sound-and-motion hype pushed by the TV folks
that has kept radio from getting a fair slice of the pie,
or, as you are about to learn, from a wheel of cheese.
The J. Brown Agency has won the "Grand Winner Best
of Campaigns" at the radio industry's annual Mercury
Awards for its trade advertising campaign
promoting "the power of cheese." But the power the
agency has really demonstrated is the ability of great
advertising to break through the limitations of any
Summiting in Redmond - Not even a hardcore
hit by European Union regulators could dampen the
spirits of marketers, agency executives, and the MSN
folks gathered last night for a cocktail reception kicking
off the MSN Customer Summit.
The EU's action was more than a slap, to be sure.
Microsoft was ordered to pay a $606 million fine (497
euros) for violating antitrust law. Further, the EU
ordered the software giant to sell a version of its
Windows software without Windows Media Player to
ensure that other companies have the opportunity to
compete. The EU sanctions appear to go farther than
the U.S. Justice Department's 2001 ruling.
The MSN Customer Summit attracted more than 500
clients from around the world representing some $50
billion in total ad spending---that's everyone from Ford,
Procter & Gamble, and Adidas, to Nestle, Canon, and
Hewlett-Packard, not to mention up-and-comer
Vonage, the buzz about voice-over-IP service provider.
Nearly 80 percent of the attendees were director level
or above at their companies. And guess what? There
were even some offline/traditional media folks there. I
know, it's a shocker.
Youth Media and Marketing Networks Hits One
Million Subscribers - The College Publisher
subsidiary of Youth Media and Marketing Networks has
passed the one-million-subscriber mark for its network
of more than 250 online college newspapers. The
network includes six of the top ten largest universities
in the U.S., and counts papers from Ohio State
University, Syracuse University, the University of Texas
and Notre Dame University among its members.
According to a company press release, many college
newspapers boast more online readers than print
ones. "During a time when Generation Y newspaper
readership is supposedly on the decline, this marks a
significant milestone in the digital media market," said
YMMN chief executive officer and co-founder John
Fees. "College Publisher's one millionth subscriber
proves there is a strong and growing audience for
online community-based news publications and clearly
demonstrates to advertisers that college newspapers
remain a vital part of any media plan seeking to reach
the collegiate market."
Recent additions to the College Publisher network
include USC's The Daily Trojan, the University of
Cincinnati's The News Record and the University of
Arkansas' The Arkansas Traveler.
Internet Broadcasting Gets Broader: Monthly
Audience Hits 51 Million - The study's findings,
released Wednesday, found that with a monthly
audience of 51 million and growing, Internet
Broadcasting is swiftly becoming a savvy alternative for
advertisers looking to reach a consumer market that is
taking unprecedented action to avoid them. Half of this
estimated audience lives in households with an annual
income of $50,000 or more. One of the study's crucial
findings is that 42 percent of Internet Broadcast users
listen to Internet radio while surfing the Web for
information about products and services. In addition, 27
percent have listened to Internet radio while making an
actual purchase online.
Say 'Hola' to Emerging Markets - By Seana
The fact that Latin America's low-income consumers
represent an annual purchasing power of $120M (USD)
may seem like a shock to some of you. Not only is it
true, but it's also an attractive opportunity for
advertisers and brand marketers to pay close attention
There are many American assumptions toward low-
income Latinos. Most see them as unsavvy shoppers
and dub them "cash poor." In fact, they are the
opposite. They take purchasing decisions to heart and
shop, shop, shop. This is one of the largest emerging
Few advertisers have targeted this market. Even fewer
have done it successfully. Like any other group, we
must rely on consumer insight to successfully appeal to
Sure this group is price-conscious. They tend to steer
away from credit and use cash or short-term cards
offered in their countries for day-to-day items. They
look at the individual price of each product then assess
the overall purchase as it relates to their budgets.
They tend to use credit cards for larger items, such as
It is critical to look at branding and package size when
trying to tap into this market. Put it this way; this
group is not the "super-size" type. They prefer
products that look fresh and wholesome, not fake. For
instance, red waxy apples are a turn off to them, for it
does not look natural.
I hope this piece gives you food-for-thought and does
some of the heavy lifting for you. As you can see,
there are many myths and few realities. They key is to
be educated and sensitive to this market. It is not
something to miss.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Charlie Kaufman needs therapy.
When Joel (Jim Carrey) discovers that his ex-girlfriend
Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had an experimental
procedure to erase him from her memory, he is
heartbroken. When he can't take it anymore, he finds
Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) and has the
procedure done to him, with the help of some
incompetent assistants played by Mark Ruffalo, Elijah
Wood and Kirsten Dunst. As Joel lay unconscious, his
memories of Clementine and their relationship are
gradually stripped away, until Joel realizes he doesn't
really want to lose her. So, trapped in his head, he tries
to smuggle Clementine to other parts of his brain in the
hopes that the procedure will fail.
This is a very creative and clever film with some good
performances and some terrific imagery. Like Robin
Williams, Jim Carrey is at his best when playing quirky
unhappy people in dramatic circumstances - as
opposed to irritating clowns bouncing off the walls. Joel
arguably doesn't have much of a personality, but
Carrey, well, carries him well through the journey.
Clementine also seems to be missing a little something.
It's unclear why she's so messed up in the head, but
Kate Winslet is charming and likeable.
The story starts out a bit disjointed and confusing.
Somewhere in the middle of the film, the beginning will
start to make sense and the end will seem inevitable.
Ultimately, Eternal Sunshine of the blah blah blah is
worth the price of admission. Many are sure to find it
obnoxiously bizarre for no good reason, but at its core,
the story intelligently examines the dynamics of long-
term relationships and their inevitable self-destructive
Dawn of the Dead
Oh, man, was this movie friggin' great. All this week,
I've had zombies on the brain (no pun intended).
The film is a remake of another horror film of the same
name which was directed by the defacto Godfather of
All Zombie Movies, George Romero. Romero made the
original back in the last few years of the 70's, as a
sequel to his most-famous film, NIGHT OF THE LIVING
The 2004 version of DAWN OF THE DEAD is fantastic.
This is a film that stands to make some serious bank at
the box office: The audience I saw it with jumped and
shrieked in all the right places; After almost nothing but
crap having been released since Christmas, this is a
welcome fun time at the movies; And, perhaps most
importantly, it's not a film that you have to debate
about after you've seen it, or one that's going to be
talked about on the news ad nauseum, like some other
films I could mention. Word of mouth will carry this film
for awhile. On a related note, if you're planning on
seeing this flick, go see it now. As in, this weekend.
See DAWN OF THE DEAD as I did, with a packed
audience at a late showing. This is when the more
vocal audience members come to see movies, and
seeing it this weekend will prevent you from possibly
overhearing any plot details and spoiling some of the
fun for yourself.
Any horror geek worth his (or her, in the case of Nurse
Pink) salt knows that having some good, gory scenes
can often make or break a horror flick. The gore in
DAWN is pretty extensive, but wasn't as fetishistic as I
would have expected. That is to say, there are
more "Zombie Headshots" here than in any other zombie
flick I can think of, but it's not like the film is built
around them. In fact, some of the more gory or violent
effects are played with a black humor bent, as when a
big-ass truck crunches over a dozen or so zombies, or
when a speeding ambulance unexpectedly causes
someone standing in the center of a street to...well,
disappear. For the gore fans in the Doctor's Office, you
won't be disappointed; And, for the non-gore fans, you
won't spend half the film covering your eyes. It's middle
ground gore, I guess.
TODAY'S WIDE RELEASES
Starring: Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Lopez
Starring: Tom Hanks
Never Die Alone
Starring: DMX, David Arquette
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
Starring: Matthew Lillard, Neil Fanning, Linda Cardellini,
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seth Green, Freddie Prinze, Jr.,
Putting Pen To Paper: A Journal To Publication
Getting from a stack of blank paper to a published book
can be a daunting experience. We are keeping a journal
online so you can read about our challenges and
achievements as we research and write "The Bestseller:
Success Stories from Top Authors and the Editors,
Agents, and Booksellers behind Them."
If you've ever been curious about how a book is born,
meeting deadlines, how an author works with an editor,
and the all important marketing and promotion efforts,
you can now find out first hand. Every week we'll
update Putting Pen To Paper: A Journal To Publication.
From Brian Hill
Motion picture producers are increasingly looking to
novels rather than original screenplays as source
material for films. This year's Academy Award
nominated films was an illustration of this trend. I think
it must be an enormous challenge to determine whether
a book would make a good film, especially given the
number of wonderful novels written each year. How do
you choose? I have had several people tell me that our
novel, OVERTIME would be an exciting movie, which
surprised me a little bit because I didn't think the story
moves swiftly enough to translate successfully into film.
What readers like about the book is the depth of
the characterizations, much of which was developed
through showing internal conflict rather than external.
In movies, they tend to focus on external conflict,
protagonist vs. antagonist, rather than internal,
dealing with what is going on inside the character. In a
book, of course, you can express what a character is
thinking. You can get inside the character's head,
depict subtle layers of emotion. In movies you are
limited to telling your story through what a character
says and what he does.
One of the skills I have acquired from learning
screenwriting is the ability to write more economically.
The discipline you are taught is roughly like this: if it
doesn't advance the plot, contribute to the
understanding of the characters, or give the audience
critical information-cut it. Cut it-ouch!-that line was
so funny. That little scene was so quirky. That
description was so elegant. Too bad, it has gotta go.
A number of romance writers have commented how
they recoil in horror when they see the results of their
novels turned into movies. The film is not at all how the
author sees her story in her mind. Part of this is
casting, these authors say. The people chosen to play
the lead roles bear no relation to what the author and
her loyal readers have pictured in their heads. Think of
this from the actors' standpoint: the characters
already "live" in the minds of the people who will
probably be watching the film. They have to somehow
figure out how to conform their performance to these
expectations. Tough job. Most likely a no-win
proposition. But, then again, the actors do get paid.
The other factor is the sheer complexity of many
novels. Think of how many twists and turns, subplots,
and minor characters appear in a 400-page thriller
novel. If you filmed the story as written you would
have a 20 episode TV series on your hands, not a 110
minute movie. The screenwriter adapting a novel has to
have the skill of a surgeon, to go into the novel and
take out the most important, most visual, most
dramatic moments. Sometimes this is a matter of
determining who the most important characters are and
cutting the rest out, because many novels have so
many characters that it would be horribly confusing to
have them all show up on the screen. The great
screenwriter William Goldman faced this challenge when
he was writing the script for Absolute Power, based
on the rather long David Baldacci novel. He also had to
change the focus of the story so there was a "star
part" for the actor who wanted to play the lead. A guy
named Clint Eastwood.
On rare occasions you read a novel that seems
engineered from page 1 to be a movie. Jurassic Park
was an example of that. Most novels, though,
require an additional shot of magic from the
screenwriter's wand (or their 'Final Draft' software). I
wonder which novels on today's bestseller list will be
the great movies of 2005
Dee Power(Ms.)is co-author with Brian Hill of
"The Bestseller: Success Stories from Top Authors
and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them"
Spring 2005, Dearborn Trade
"Overtime" - a novel - September 2003
"Attracting Capital From Angels" 2002,
"Inside Secrets To Venture Capital" 2001
Autograph seekers - here's this week's CELEBRITY
1436 Summitridge Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210-2246
8921 Andre Dr.
Las Vegas NV 89113
c/o IMG Models
170 Fifth Ave. 10th Fl.
New York, NY 10010
9255 W. Sunset Blvd. #1010
West Hollywood,CA 90069-3309
Dean R. Koontz
P.O. Box 9529
Newprot Beach CA 92658-9529
13835 North Tatum Blv #9-421
Phoenix, AZ 85032
61-63 Uxbridge Road
Lois Duncan (I know what you did last summer)
Tony Hawks (British comedian and author)
Nanette Newman (actress, author)
c/o Chatto & Linnit
123a Kings Road
C/O 'Mrs. Farnsworth'
The Flea Theater
41 White Street
New York, NY 10013
Louis Sachar (Best selling author)
c/o F Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square W.
New York, NY. 10003
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I just want to thank you for your newsletters. I print
out everyone to keep for my files. You have helped me
so much. Don't know how you keep up with everything
and everyone but you do and I am so grateful. Once
again, Thank you and best wishes on everything you do.
Linda Pannett, author of Silent Killers
Born today? Then you're an Aries - 03/26/04
Fortune Cookie - Take a trip to someplace new.
Current Influence of the Inner Planets - Each
influence lasts from a day to several weeks.
You are extra sensitive, romantic and subject to
changing moods. Relate to people through music and
art. Find your tune and dance to it.... Make plans and
goals for the 12 months. Start a new cycle for self-
expression, leadership, honor and glory. Take three
deep breaths and think deep thoughts. Find a new
focus. You are the star. Communicate-- Your efforts
can bring you recognition.
Current Influence of the Outer Planets - Each
influence lasts from several weeks to a month or more.
Get more power by vowing to become a "master."--
Reach after spiritual goals. Commission a portrait. Live
music brings good luck -- Go with some intense self-
Don't be too quick to point the finger. It only shows off
shortcomings. Taking responsibility for your part gives
you the moral high ground.
Betsie's Literary Page is where readers and shoppers
are respected, books are cherished, aspiring writers are
encouraged and authors are adored.