How do you market a hot new TV show without the benefit of commercial space that you can fill with network promos? Just ask Netflix. The company has come up with a number of clever marketing stunts to get the word out about the upcoming premiere of Arrested Development ranging from Easter eggs on Netflix.com to this month’s live frozen banana stand in New York, which was visited by hundreds. It even sent around jokey emails to the media, reportedly from “Dr. Tobias Funke.”
The latest to get in on the action is Seamless.com, which has partnered with Netflix to offer an ordering page for “Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana.” If you don’t know what that is, then go watch the show, I guess.
The menu, which went live on Monday, is filled with food and drink items referencing the Bluth family, including the option to buy a double-dipped frozen, or a nice martini to accompany your snack. Unfortunately, the delivery minimum is $250,000.00, so you probably can’t afford to eat there.
Oh ha, ha.
Though these publicity stunts are funny, they do in fact have a serious purpose – Netflix needs to make original content work, and part of that is making sure its users (and potential users) know that content is out there. With a cult classic like “Arrested Development” on its hands – a show with the potential to top Netflix’s most-watched program, the original series “House of Cards” – it’s important to get the word out.
A study from February of this year suggested that Netflix’s quality, original programming has the potential to not only bring in new subscribers but keep current ones from canceling. About 86 percent of those surveyed said they would be less likely to cancel after watching “House of Cards,” for example.
“Arrested Development” was a critical darling and beloved by many, but it didn’t have the numbers to keep it on the TV airwaves. However, Netflix doesn’t need a TV-sized audience to make this model work. It only needs the niche audiences surrounding this show and others who, combined, can make up a significantly sized viewer base. That leaves the network (we’re calling Netflix a network now, right?) the wiggle room to have a little fun with its promotional stunts, instead of having to spend big on mass-media campaigns.
Here is the original post: Now Netflix Is Promoting “Arrested Development” On Seamless.com
Tripshare, an iPad application for travel planning, is joining a crowded space. But its CEO knows a little something about the industry – Bob Dana was the former employee No. 1 and first CFO of Virgin America. He once wrote the business plan and feasibility study for Sir Richard Branson in 2003. And now he’s doing a travel startup.
Dana tells us the inspiration for Tripshare was based on a personal experience he had years ago. As CFO, he spent 10 hours on a plane each week flying back and forth from New York to California. In 2006, Dana was trying to convince his family to come out to California for a vacation, so he put together a proposed itinerary to help sell the idea.
“I ended up preparing this 10-page Word document that included text and photos I cut and pasted from various websites. It was intended to be persuasive in nature, and collaborative, too,” he explains. “I thought afterwards, that collaborative travel planning was something that was rather difficult to do.”
But not only was it difficult to plan, it was also hard to move from the point of inspiration and discovery to actually booking the trip. This idea later formed the basis for Tripshare, which he founded two years ago.
The app was originally built in conjunction with then co-founder and CTO Ken Goto, a former director of engineering at Apple. Goto has since moved on but his ex-Apple development team, including acting CTO Eric Kapke, now continues the work.
The app itself has actually been live in the iTunes App Store as unpublicized beta since August 2012. However, though that app was functionally similar, it drew some criticisms from early users because of its user interface. Today’s version is an overhaul and much improved.
Still, despite having done no publicity or marketing, Tripshare has been downloaded nearly 20,000 times while still a work in progress. In other words, today’s release is technically a version 2.0, but for all intents and purposes, this is the big debut.
Designed for those planning vacations or other complex trips with multiple destinations or activities, Tripshare allows you to browse, collect and share information with others before booking. Using the iPad’s big screen, you can flip through photos of destinations and lodgings, create itineraries and discover flights, hotels, restaurants, activities and more.
Today, the app allows you to explore more than 20,000 cities worldwide, plus 500,000+ lodging options, thousands of flights, and more than 200,000 tours, activities and restaurants.
After creating a sample itinerary, you can then share it to other Tripshare iPad users, or via email, Facebook, and Twitter. For those not using the iPad application, the shared trip displays in the web browser. These trips can include all the details, too – photos, descriptions, reviews and prices – so your family and/or friends won’t have to redo the work on their end before giving you their feedback. Pricing and availability also update in real time, something another new planning app, Pintrips, offers as well, but on the web.
Users can also communicate with the trip organizer within the application using an IM-like chatting function, or leave suggestions if the trip’s planner is offline.
While there are quite a few trip planning applications and services on the market (and that’s an understatement ) what makes Tripshare stand out is not the uniqueness of the idea, but the overall package. The app’s user interface is easy to use, which is critical when planning complicated trips where you’re trying to pack in a lot of activities and outings.
At first glance, Tripshare seems inspired by Khosla-backed social travel app Jetpac, which uses smart technology to index photos from social networks, allowing you to see where friends have traveled in order to find inspiration for trip-planning purposes. It has the same general layout, and it shares some common features, such as the idea of making a list of places you want to go.
But Tripshare’s photos don’t come from Facebook. They’re high-resolution images from its travel partners, including HomeAway, Fly.com, the Expedia Affiliate Network, and Viator.com. Plus, the overall vision for the application is not one of just inspiration, but converting that inspiration into an actionable itinerary by actually allowing you to book the trip, including the flights, hotels, outings and more, directly in the app.
Dana says the company plans to integrate content from more travel aggregators and services into the app in time, including things like vacation rentals from Flipkey, car rentals, restaurant reservations, cruises, safaris, and even travel insurance. By year end, the plan is to have many of these live, as well as an iPhone-optimized application. Afterwards, the goal will be to further build up the social community.
Tripshare is backed by $1.47 million in angel funding; some of that is founder money, and the other part comes mainly from the New York angels community, including David S. Rose.
The app itself is free to users, as it will earn revenue via a percentage of the bookings users make. Tripshare is live here on iTunes.
Continue reading here: Social Trip Planning App Tripshare Converts Travel Inspiration To Bookings
Gillmor Gang – Robert Scoble, Paul Davidson, John Borthwick, Douglas Rushkoff, and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live from New York City BetaDay conference 11am Pacific/2pm EST.
See original here: Gillmor Gang Live 05.16.13 (TCTV)
“House Of Cards” proved that great, exclusive content can create loyal customers. While Facebook isn’t about to produce TV shows, it tells me that it plans to ramp up production of its Facebook Live original programming starting with a talk with Star Trek celebrities today at 5:15 p.m. PST. Comedian Andy Samberg will interview film director JJ Abrams and classic cast member and social media maven George Takei.
Randi Zuckerberg, CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, started Facebook Live in 2010. A website and Facebook app powered by Livestream, Facebook Live streams talks and offers an archive of past video clips. Users can discuss the videos in real time with other users and ask questions. Facebook Live moderators then pick from submitted questions, name-check the people who ask them, and pose them to the celebrities.
It featured Randi’s interviews with celebrities, as well as instructional talks on Facebook’s products and marketing tools. Later it would host Facebook’s election coverage, including Barack Obama’s town hall talk at Facebook headquarters in 2011. Over the years, Oprah Winfrey, Vin Diesel, Madonna, astronaut Ron Garan, and Israeli President Shimon Peres all came on the air.
For the last six months, though, Facebook Live has been pretty quiet. Since Bravo’s Andy Cohen interviewed Rihanna in November, the only video it’s added was from the Facebook Home launch event. While fascinating to tech insiders, there wasn’t much wide appeal.
But now, the social network is putting Facebook Live back in gear. A Facebook spokesperson for the project tells me “Facebook Live is something we’ll be utilizing more.” While more shoots haven’t been lined up, they should come at a brisker pace.
Why invest in original programming? “The purpose of Facebook Live is to give fans an opportunity to interact with public figures and give the public figures a global platform to present how they are using Facebook [or are engaged in conversations happening on Facebook] in an authentic way,” is the rather dry answer I got from the spokesperson.
But digging a bit deeper, Facebook Live accomplishes several strategic goals for the team at 1 Hacker Way. First, it can turn fans of the stars that Live brings on air into more frequent Facebook users. On the flip side, it can turn celebrities into more hard-core Facebook content creators. Facebook wants to be the place where people follow their favorite public figures, but it needs them posting frequently.
Most importantly, though, it demonstrates Facebook’s potential as a live events discussion platform. Becoming the second screen to important global events can generate tons of time-on-site and engagement. This has historically been Twitter’s domain thanks to its unfiltered, real-time feed, but Facebook wants a piece of the pie.
If you have a great time chatting with other Star Trek fans today, maybe you’ll choose Facebook to discuss the next Star Trek TV show premiere rather than on its 140-character competitor. With the potential to promote them to a billion people, Facebook shouldn’t have much trouble getting the world’s VIPs into the revamped Facebook Live studio.