Sunday, January 29, 2006

iTunes U-Podcasting in the Ivory Tower

An article yesterday on technology talk about how Apple just introduced "iTunes U," a service that makes course lectures and other educational materials accessible via Apple's iTunes software.
For over a year, Apple had been working with 6 universities on the pilot project and just started inviting other universities to sign up.

Will listening to lectures on iPods catch on?  It reminds me of a scene in an 80s movie where the prof. plays a taped lecture in a room full of students' tape recorders.  There is value added for the universities.  The University of Missouri offered lecture podcasts online before it signed up with Apple last summer as a pilot school.  iTunes U offers a free bundle (software and service package), but why?  Selling new uses of the technology besides music?  

In any case, students are tech naturals, so allowing value propositions to develop in the podcast arena makes sense.  The market dominance of iTunes and iPods makes Apple a natural leader.  
Plus, schools and universities tend to be fertile ground for Apple sales.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

WGA on Product Placements

In a NYTimes article, The Writers Guild of America, West, a union representing writers in the movie and broadcast industry, has been particularly vociferous in denouncing the practice.  The union issued a report in November on the topic and demanded a code of conduct for producers that requires the disclosure of advertising deals through clear disclaimers at the start of programs. Failing that, they say, they will seek increased federal regulation to prevent what they call subliminal, stealth ads.

In addition, the writers' group argues that when shampoo becomes part of the narrative of a show, it is no longer product placement but "product integration." In a survey of its members last March, 73 percent said the line between advertising and content needed to be drawn more firmly.