ESPN Mobile Venture Shutting Down

The Wall Street Journal reported today that

Mobile ESPN, a start-up cellphone company backed by Walt Disney Co., will announce as soon as today that it is closing down operations, hoping to reinvent itself as a content partner of bigger wireless carriers, people familiar with the matter say.

The company, which launched earlier this year at the Super Bowl, has developed cellphones that feature a variety of sports-centric content and features.

But it has struggled to build a customer base in a fiercely competitive cellular industry with much bigger players.

Mobile ESPN operates through an agreement with Sprint Nextel Corp., paying for wholesale access to the carrier’s network and then reselling service to its own subscribers.

If any company would have the brand and the content to develop its own branded cell phone system, it would seem to be ESPN. The problem here seems to be that people may be interested in getting the video content and sports scores on their wireless devices, but they make the decision on their cell phone company based on other factors. By trying to own both the content and the distribution channel, ESPN apparently dreamed a little too big. It seems more likely that licensing content to a variety of carriers would find a bigger audience.

NY Times Highlights CEO blogging

Thanks to Jeff Jarvis for highlighting an article by Randall Stross on CEO blogging in today’s New York Times. As Stross writes about Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz:

C.E.O. blogging should no longer be viewed as extreme sport. Mr. Schwartz’s example shows that blogging fits quite naturally into the chief executive’s work week. In an exhortatory piece, ‘If You Want to Lead, Blog,’ published in The Harvard Business Review last year, Mr. Schwartz predicted that ‘having a blog is not going to be a matter of choice, any more than having e-mail is today.’

‘My No. 1 job is to be a communicator,’ Mr. Schwartz told me last week. ‘I don’t understand how a C.E.O. would not blog if committed to open communication.’

Assuming that other chief executives are willing to make their thoughts just as visible as Mr. Schwartz’s, the blog provides a highly efficient medium of publication. Mr. Schwartz, for instance, simultaneously reaches shareholders, software developers and current and prospective customers. With posted responses, these groups easily reach him as well as one another. . . .

Whether the blog is aimed at the diverse external audiences contemplated above, it seems a blog to engage employees in an internal conversation might have some merit.

(Via BuzzMachine.)

Horror Movie Trailer

Check out this post from Chris Anderson, author of “The Long Tail.” It includes a video that, in a humorous way, points out how the media landscape is changing, and how the audience is no longer passively consuming what the networks are feeding.

The Audience is Up to Something

While you’re there, you may want to check out other posts that reflect Anderson’s thesis, that while big hits will always be important, the non-hits collectively are becoming an important economic force. With costs of inventory becoming near zero for digital media, and costs of delivery near zero because of the internet, and with search making it easier for people to find what they want, it’s no longer economically necessary to provide programming designed to appeal to a mass audience.

(Via The Long Tail.)