"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
In the wild kingdom of
media breed with other media in
the mating rituals of the marketplace.
which again begat TV, which begat a
It's cross-pollination of data,
and the whole loop depends on
the Viacom-piped opiate of the
masses, which fastens itself,
remora-like, onto other
audiences to sustain life.
Entertainment Tonight will go
"behind the scenes" and hype
just about anything that
twitches and draws a significant
audience: blockbusters, video
games, Vanity Fair, the sweeps.
But not everything works on the
tube - there's no Siskel and
Ebert of the book world. Those
darn books: too much to explain,
not enough to show. Note also
that nothing plays worse on the
small screen than the smaller
screen - don't wait for Leeza
Gibbons to fawn over your website
And the Web was drained of
news value long ago, so even if
you cached them all ahead of
time, your gifs would still make
for lousy local color. To a TV
producer, the Web is strictly
talking head territory.
To get play, you gotta pay, and
TLC, Computer City TV, ThinkPad
TV and so on, a new generation
of infomercials promises to
evangelize your Intranet
Solutions in terms the Heartland
can understand. The Web's own
Ron Popeil plays so-called
spokesperson Mark Bunting, who
shills hardware, software, and
webware for cable and the
viewers aboard United Airlines.
With sanitized cyberfunk theme
music and a John Tesh
Bunting's Window to the Net is
Incredible Inventions for
bitheads. When you hear him gush
"Apple is solving some pretty
unique problems for IS
Managers..." the echo is the
sound of Cupertino opening its
wallet. It's what Bunting
himself calls a "closed-loop
marketing program. A television
show, print supplement and
massive direct mail campaign is
what the program is all about."
Then there's Mark Hamill. The
comic book star and video game
producer came to our attention
four days after we registered a
domain name, when we received an
invitation for our
as-yet-nonexistent website to be
included in "fall programming of
hosted by Star Wars celebrity
Mark Hamill. The show is seen
nationally on CNBC and The Bravo
Network featuring the best Web
Sites on the Internet ...
including Kodak, UPS, Ragu,
NationsBank, and many more..."
Realizing we visit Mama's Dining
Roomevery other day, we
pretended we were launching a
video game site, and tried to
get Hamill interested.
Associate Producer Garrett Miller
was interested, provided we
shelled out a pre-production fee
of between $1,500 and $130,000,
depending on "how [we] fit into
the storyline and how much time
is needed in order to properly
promote [our] website." For that
kind of coin, we expect more
than talking heads, and Garrett
assures us we'll get it. When
they go to closeup, says
Garrett, Hamill is "physically
inside the website." Thanks to
blue screen technology, Hamill
appears "inside a gridded globe
that is traveling through
space." We love that grid; it's
so Tron. So holodeck. It's
Gibson's vacuum of cyberspace.
Just add Death Star.
If the Web - itself trying to
make a decent living with ads -
must resort to infomercials to
get the attention it needs, then
what's the medium really worth?
That's a philosophical question
we're much too busy to
answer. If we're not ready for
prime time, then maybe we're
ready for heavy rotation at 3 am.
Hey, go with it, we say.
We've just signed John Tesh
into a banner exchange deal, and
there's a videocassette series
we'd like to tell you about.
courtesy of James URL Jones