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Bloom in Tech

Author: David Bloom

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I talk with (and about) smart, innovative people and companies in tech, media, entertainment, VR/AR, esports, AI, blockchain and advertising. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
78 Episodes
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I talked recently with two top NBCUniversal executives about Blueprint, their revamped hobbyist learning site, which combines lessons in nearly dozen categories with lean-back content, community, e-commerce operations and a healthy dose of celebrities and influencers. The site, now a subscription video-on-demand operation, is busy cross-pollinating with other parts of NBCU, and will be the basis for extending e-commerce functions throughout many parts of the media giant, the executives told me. It's a smart and provocative vision of the future of SVOD video sites and one I expect Amazon and others will be copying soon enough. You heard it here first. Give it a listen, won't you?  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
Bob Pittman ran MTV and AOL when it was cool to run them, and has since done a lot of other big media jobs. These days, he runs iHeart Media, the nation's biggest radio group, and its biggest podcast group. At this week's Podcast Movement Evolutions conference in Los Angeles, Pittman sat down with Conal Byrne, his top podcasting executive, to talk about the business. I have a little bit of material from Pittman's talk, and my own observations from the show and elsewhere in a deal-filled week for what's become a burgeoning business. Call it my meta-podcast, the podcast about podcasting.  Along the way this holiday weekend, I take a little detour to smell the roses, with my essay called The Stick and the Box, inspired by some conversations today that got me thinking about the ways dogs and kids have managed to find joy, and how the rest of us could benefit by spending more time finding our own gratitude.  Check it out, and let me know what you think on Twitter (@Davidbloom), LinkedIn (/davidlbloom), and through Anchor.fm's audio comment function. I'd love to hear what you think about the essay, about the future of podcasting, or about your own plans on the frontiers of audio content creation. Is it a fad, or will podcasting's fan base stick around and grow? Let me know your thoughts. By the way, if you want to hear Pittman's own podcast Math & Magic; Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing, you can listen here. Check out Supercast's approach to creating premium podcast options here.  Bill Curtis' CurtCo Media can be reached here.  Emi Norris' Paradiso, the Paris-based (with US operations) podcast production company, can be found here.  And if you want to hear Debra Chen's just-launched podcast, The Great Fail, listen here. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
After high-profile launches in November, and early success with shows such as The Morning Show and The Mandalorian, new subscription streaming services Disney+ and Apple TV+ are now moving into new and uncertain territory. Subscribers may have seen the shows they wanted to see, and may be considering moving on. In this episode of Bloom in Tech, we talk about the Churn Zone, and what it means for Disney, Apple and other subscription video services launching this spring.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
The NCAA's recent decision to allow college athletes to profit from their "name, image and likeness" is likely to unleash a deluge of athlete/influencers, with a long list of unanswered questions about what it's all going to mean for influencers, influencer marketing, advertisers and college sports. I get into some of the issues in the first part of this episode.  In part two, listen to the panel I moderated at  the sprawling Digital Hollywood conference earlier this month on influencers and the influencer lifestyle. The discussion featured  Shaine Griffin, Associate Commercials Strategist for SAG-AFTRA, organizing influencers; Bruna Nessif, Influencer and Author, “Let That Shit Go: A Journey to Forgiveness, Healing & Understanding Love” & founder, “The Problem With Dating;" Gregg Martin, Actor and content creator; Brendan Kane, Author of “One Million Followers;” and YiZhou, Influencer, actor, director & founder of Global Intuition.  It's a great conversation for anyone interested in the future of influencers and influencer marketing, and some of the tools influencers are using to become a success. Give it a lesson.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
Claire Wineland became a popular YouTube influencer talking about the thing that ultimately killed her, cystic fibrosis. But she also became popular because she talked about so much more than just CF, living a remarkable life and teaching us repeatedly that we need to pursue something bigger than ourselves, no matter the challenges life dumps in our lap. I talked with Nicholas Reed about Claire Wineland and "Claire," the YouTube Original documentary he co-directed (You can read my Tubefilter column about "Claire" here, and watch the doc for free on YouTube here). "Claire" has already received nearly 1.4 million views since its Sept. 2 release, and it's worth the watch. In the meantime, Nick and I talk about the lessons we all need to learn from Claire's example. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
My East Coast trip last week included a stop at the Future of TV conference, where I sat down with Viacom SVP Christian Kurz to talk about their new report, Power in Progress, and to moderate a panel of marketing and biz-dev executives on how to get and keep subscribers.  The Power in Progress report looks at the ways traditional power structures are changing and having to adapt to newly powerful movements such as the March for Our Live, #MeToo, the Hong Kong protests, France's Gillets Jaune, and more. Just as importantly, it talks about ways that brands, and Viacom itself, can find new roles in working with and speaking to the young generations who are driving so many of these new power centers. The report details a series of  are lots of ways brands can find a way to connect with and  The panel, meanwhile, talks about strategies for smaller VOD services to make themselves invaluable to their fans, and to find ways to succeed despite competition from more than 300 other services, including big new competitors from Apple, Disney, Comcast, AT&T, and  others. Even if you're in marketing for other kinds of entertainment, or just about any other product (think niche consumer packaged goods), there are tips and approaches of value for you. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
With one simple word, Apple may have unleashed a path to a huge user base for TV+, the streaming service it plans to launch Nov. 1. That word: free. The impact, possibly 100 million or more subscribers. During the first part of this episode of Bloom in Tech, I'll give you my reasoning for this possibly game-changing deal here near the start of the Streaming Wars.  For the show's second half, I sat down recently with Mike Keyserling, chief operating officer for Philo, which offers 58 channels of TV networks you probably like a lot, at a price you'll almost certainly like even more. Philo is one of several so-called skinny bundles jostling for the subscription dollars of cord cutters looking to get off traditional cable, while still getting most of the channels they like watching there. Mike and I talked about what makes Philo different, building your own pay-TV bundle in the streaming age, and why college campuses have been an ideal testing ground for the service's development the past several years. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
Apple's big week of announcements included some bargain prices  on its new TV+ and Arcade video- and  game-streaming services. In turn, I suggest that may be a source of headaches for competitors such as HBO Max and Quibi.. As well,  last week I moderated a panel of executives from several smaller online video services (Condé Nast Entertainment, Whistle, Ellation, and College Humor's Dropout). We talked about what companies such as theirs need to do to thrive amid all the new big-name competitors. One big hint: be everywhere. And I talk about how. The next few months will see the business of online video move to a very different new level. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
The Worldz conference starts this week, or at least the biggest expression of what's a year-round experience called Worldz, and a related professional network called PTTOW! (it's their exclamation point, not mine). The mothership  launches Tuesday, Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 at the Long Beach Performing  Arts Center, an unusual mix of marketing conference, self improvement, conscious  capitalism, world-changing tech prognostication and more. It packs a ton of  highly intimate  conversations between about 2,500 attendees and maybe 250 "masters"  and "titans," top-dog talkers from companies such as  Mastercard, Hyundai, Estee Lauder, IHeartMedia, Vans, Marvel, T-Mobile, and Facebook. To learn more about Worldz, I connected with founder Roman Tsunder and Samantha "Sammie" Rabstein, the conference's senior director of programming. It's a conference,  and really a year-round experience, I strongly endorse that you take advantage of, if you can. In the meantime, listen to my conversation with Sammie and Roman here. Some good  stuff.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
After winning four Oscars last year, Netflix is betting even bigger this year with special theatrical runs and awards handling for a whopping 10 films. Martin Scorsese's pricey mob picture, The Irishman, might be the most expensive bet, but there are plenty of other contenders in the Netflix portfolio, including films from Steven Soderbergh, David Michod, Fernando Meirelles, and Noah Baumbach, featuring a large truckload of Oscar-winning actors.  Netflix is giving all these prominent films a longer exclusive run in theaters (usually, films just appear on Netflix, like everything else). But this year, with more competition coming and stalled-out subscriber numbers, the stakes are bigger than ever for Netflix  this Oscar  season.  We'll have plenty to watch for beyond just a batch of extremely promising movies.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
Ken Jennings made a name as the No. 2-winningest player on Jeopardy,  while Richard Garfield was the creator of Magic the Gathering, one of the most successful card games ever. Now they've teamed up for a new trivia game called Half Truth, designed to be a lot more accessible to an audience far beyond the usual trivia traffickers. I talked with Jennings and Garfield before their game's Kickstarter launch this week to talk about how you make a game for non-trivia players, the history of trivia, why use Kickstarter, and more. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
A flurry of deals and deal-related news this week, led by the Viacom-CBS merger's long-anticipated merger and Verizon's dumping of former social-media giant Tumblr got me thinking about what it all means for the tech-centric entertainment world we're entering. I also have lots to say about a deal that didn't happen, Facebook's acquisition of Houseparty., among other hijinks at the social-media giant. Can ViacomCBS survive even as a combined standalone unit? Is Tumblr really only worth $3 million? And could the fear of antitrust keep Facebook on some sort of straight and narrow path away from jerkdom? Give a listen, then share your thoughts through Anchor.fm's audio comment function, or send me a Tweet and LinkedIn message.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
Ninja (Tyler Blevins) has been the best-known star in the booming business of live-streaming online about games. Until the first week of August, he did that for Amazon-owned Twitch. Then he turned the business of live-streaming upside down when he announced he would jump to Microsoft's Mixer service, which has been in fourth place among game streaming services. The move has lots of implications, and I talk about them on this episode of Bloom in Tech. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
Netflix had a bad couple of weeks, for several reasons. In this episode of Bloom in Tech, I talk about the implications of Netflix's stumbles, and what it means for the looming streaming-video wars. And as all that was going on, I sat down onstage at the OTT_X Conference in Los Angeles to talk with Adam Lewinson, the Chief Content Officer for Tubi, the biggest of the ad-supported video-on-demand services out there. AVOD services  such as Tubi have a very different set of challenges and user expectations than do the subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and CBS All Access. We talk about why, and where Tubi is headed. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey have been running World of Wonder, their Hollywood-based TV production company, for nearly three decades. For the past 10 years, World of Wonder has produced RuPaul's Drag Race, featuring perhaps the best-known drag queen ever. The show's format has now been copied into local versions in several additional countries, just one of the ways Barbato and Bailey have diversified, survived and thrived in an era increasingly hostile to independents. In my conversation onstage with Barbato and Bailey at the recent VidCon in Anaheim, they talk about opening a retail store on Hollywood Boulevard, launching DragCon events in New York and Los Angeles, creating a social-media powerhouse, nurturing outsider creative talents, getting into long-form documentaries, and turning those docs into scripted programming. It is indeed a wondrous world for World of Wonder. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
Joey Graceffa has spent a decade as one of the most influential of online influencers, with more than 1.9 billion views of his YouTube videos by more than 9 million subscribers, along with a big footprint on Instagram and Twitter. I sat down with Joey at VidCon, the big influencer convention that just concluded  in Anaheim, to talk about his long-running YouTube Premium show, Escape the Night, his fixation on escape rooms, and his desire  to turn his trio of dystopian YA novels into a movie,  but without him as director. How refreshing. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
During the recent E3 game conference, I sat down onstage with Zach Wigal, the founder of Gamers Outreach, which provides games and video game equipment for kids stuck in hospitals facing long-term care for serious and life-threatening conditions. It was one of four panels I did as part of the E3 Esports Zone, run by Subnation, and a series of partners and sponsors. We were on the Content Stage and also had our conversations streamed live across the web. Just in case you missed all of that, here's my conversation with Zach about helping kids facing serious illness with the therapeutic escape of video games. They do good work. Maybe you can find a way to support them as well. In the meantime, many thanks to Subnation, E3, and their partners for the opportunity to take part  in this and several other great conversations.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
I've been gone for a little while, undergoing a huge move that's left me without virtually any of the traditional physical media that I've gathered over many years. That's all great. But as I and millions of others go full KonMari, are we giving up some crucial ways to signal to others around us the culture, books, music, film, TV that matter to us? This is a quick episode, just some thinking stimulated by days and days of getting rid of much of my physical belongings, and tipping into a headlong embrace of the digitally based life I already have been in and around years. Give it a listen, and let me know what  you think. You can leave an audio message through Anchor.fm's tools around this podcast. Please rate, review and share the episode if you like what you hear. And if you really like what you hear, you can become a supporter of it through Anchor.fm, throwing a few bucks in the kitty.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
At the recent E3 video game conference, I sat down with Victor Pool and Ruben den Boer, the Dutch duo behind the electronic dance music act Vicetone. They grew up in small Dutch towns, spent time in Amsterdam, New York and Los Angeles, but even as they started creating more EDM hits, they yearned for a  quieter place to live. The answer: two years ago, they moved to Nashville, found a house and set up a production studio. And it seems to be working out.  When we talked, their single “Something Strange”  was doing something strange.: Six months after its November release, the single  finally hit No. 1 on Sirius-XM’s BPM channel, while their latest single,  ‘Waiting,” had just been released.  They were about to fly to Tokyo to start a six-country, three-week tour across Asia.  The duo are big gamers, and took in all the new video games on display at E3. But they were at E3 because they were performing at the opening-night party sponsored by Subnation, which created  three days  of esports-related events in partnership with the E3 conference.  As part of all that, I moderated several panels at the E3 Esports Zone. When I get the chance, I’ll share some of those conversations here on Bloom in Tech in subsequent episodes.  In this episode, Victor and Ruben talk about their love of video games, being a Dutch  dance-music duo in the country music capital, finding collaborators on Spotify, and maybe doing a  K-Pop crossover song, Give a listen. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
Long-time pals Danny DeVito and Michael Douglas sat down together at the recent Produced By conference on the Warner Bros. studio lot to talk about, well, a lot.  They met when Douglas was still in college in Santa Barbara, and have worked together as actors, producers, directors and friends for half a century since. In this conversation, they talked about making the Oscar-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Taxi, Streets of San Francisco, The Kominsky Method, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Romancing the Stone and so much else. Along the way, they have some great advice for producers and would-be producers of film and TV, and some thoughts on the challenges and opportunities of the streaming-video era, and what Quibi means. It's funny, fond, occasionally Falstaff-ian and a downright entertaining conversation. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/davidlbloom/support
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