Warner Brothers spins someone else’s web


Way back in the old days, say, 2008, people worried about losing their personal identities and companies fretted about competitors gaining their customer lists. The new valuable asset in play is your personal social network.

Case in point: Warner Brothers, eyeing the $59 billion in annual U.S. TV advertising up for grabs as consumers shift from cable, is about to launch a “Digital Everywhere” network that allows you to aggregate your entire video library in the cloud. Digital Everywhere combines flavors of iTunes (you buy or rent movies and TV shows), Amazon Cloud Drive (you store your stuff online), Netflix (the service personalizes recommendations), and Facebook (it pushes recommendations to your friends). If that sounds confusing, think of Digital Everywhere as a new hub that links to all your other entertainment hubs — a Dyson vacuum to suck up all your cluttered video content so you can find it in one place. Warner Brothers has a vast library to stir interest: everything from Peanuts, Sesame Street, Looney Tunes and Charlie Brown to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Austin Powers, the Harry Potter film series, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Mad Magazine and Ocean’s Eleven.

Groovy, except this brings up an interesting competitive point. This app works with the rest of the entertainment industry, but also lifts data from those players. CNBC reports that if you plug in your password to Netflix, Digital Everywhere can scrape your history there to personalize recommendations. Digital Everywhere also plugs into iTunes and Facebook, where it can parse all the purchases you made through Apple and then share what you’re doing with friends.

In essence, Digital Everywhere is building off the entertainment and social networking equity competitors have accrued elsewhere. Often, this “network scraping” technique helps new services scale — Instagram, a clever social media photo application, grew to more than 2 million users in just 6 months by linking seamlessly to Twitter, for instance. Riding the web of others is a fast path to growth. The hard lesson for companies like Apple and Facebook rushing to build the future’s new entertainment platform is if they build wide enough, competitors may not stand on that stage — they may draw a circle around it and push a new platform under it.

Ben Kunz is vice president of strategic planning at Mediassociates, an advertising media planning and buying agency, and co-founder of its digital trading desk eEffective.

Image: Zxgirl

2 thoughts on “Warner Brothers spins someone else’s web

  1. I like the idea behind this. But they kind of don’t have proper perspective here.

    I don’t think people want to be as social as everyone in the Social Media Tech Industry thinks we want to be. Can you imagine if beacon had gone through and our feeds had every single bit of content and purchases made by our network? We would all quit social media.

    But accruing the info could be helpful. Meaning I don’t want to be alerted Ben Kunz watched 7.5 Men on TV. But if I was browsing TV Shows and wondered if my friends liked 7.5 Men I would want to see that.

    But the real utility to me would be access to all my stuff on any platform. Mobile. Home. Car etc seamlessly along with access to catalogs based on what I pay a subscription for.

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