I finally got around to reading the Sunday NY Times and noticed this article about Converse’s efforts in the music business. Immediately I thought of my friend JT Griffith who works at Nike as their music licensing consultant. These days music licensing is critical for nearly every marketing plan. Previously he was a music supervisor for film and television projects. So why am I writing about a shoe company and why am I interested in what’s happening in the music business?
Because it’s happening in the film and television industry as well. This past May a television movie was shot in Portland titled “A Walk In My Shoes“. The film was financed by Walmart as well as a few other big brands. It’s one of a slate of films planned to be produced under Walmart’s family movie night banner. I have not heard of the exact airdate but the rumor is that the film is due to air on NBC in December. Stay tuned for more info on the film as it was shot and set in Portland!
So what does this all mean? It means that various brands are taking a new look at marketing and brand association. In the past companies and brands have always looked to devote advertising money for content that reflects their values and reaches their audience. Today the brands are beginning to produce the content instead. This trend could be a huge shift in the business model for music, television, film and digital media.
I know you naysayers out there are likely to believe that this is perhaps the beginning of the end of independent creative content. How can artists create something special if they have to answer to a shoe company or the largest retail chain in the world? There is no doubt that this could become a concern and I’m sure some of the content that gets produced will not be good, but we must also look at the reality of the world we now live in. Today film financing and distribution is challenged like never before, television is attempting to reinvent itself thanks to the DVR and the internet, and streaming content on the web hasn’t quite reached critical mass (1,000,000 YouTube hits can net you only $2,000 in revenue). There are going to need to be new models and for some, obtaining financing from a brand could be a good option.
On November 17 we are working with a few other organizations locally to put together a panel discussion “The Brave New World of Media”. We hope this event will try to tackle some of these new issues. Stay tuned for details which should be available by the end of the week.