January 9, 2008
Updates on Stories: Soulja Boy, Radiohead, LinkedIn, Christianity, and Quarterlife

Now that we're in a new year, and with so many stories slipping by us during the time of our conference and the ensuing onslaught of holidays, I wanted to give some updates on stories we've run in the past that have had new developments over the past couple of months.

Since many of the daily hits to the C3 blog continue to come from people seeking further information on the Soulja Boy phenomenon (see Xiaochang Li's posts on the issue here and here), I thought you might be interested in Andy Hunter's post about the Family Guy Soulja Boy reference. Andy, who used to work for C3 partner GSD&M Idea City, has blogged here in the past (look here).

Following up on Ana Domb's piece on Radiohead's experiment with letting downloaders choose the price of their album, you probably saw the news that most paid nothing. Several have pointed to this as proof of an overwhelming failure of the idea, but I still wonder how many of these people would have even been potential consumers of the album, had they not been able to listen to it for free.

I asked back in October the value of LinkedIn, based on a discussion started by Peppercom's Steve Cody on his blog. Continuing that thread of discussion, see consultant Linda Ong's take on the value of maintaining a business network through the site here and here.

For those who may have been interested in my interview with a Baptist minister from back in November on crossing multiple media for church sermons, you might be interested in this site that a C3 reader sent along. The McLean Bible Church has an Internet campus with three live services on Sundays, with live streaming of both gospel music and a sermon. The site even has a virtual "lobby" for the online congregation to chat before and after the service, in an attempt to tie the online experience of the sermon with participation in a physical church environment.

Finally, at the beginning of fall, I wrote about Quarterlife as one of several new online video series. I wrote at the time, "The Quarterlife team say they will have a freedom they never had on a traditional television lineup, but will that mean more provocative or higher-quality content? Time will tell, but the question still stands...what does online video mean for more autonomous television production? Even though MySpace is a major player in this equation, the revenue model that Herskovitz and Zwick have set out leaves the control squarely in their hands."

Where it took them was right back to network fare, as the team responsible for My So-Called Life and thirtysomething ended up getting the online series based on a failed pilot picked up for a six-episode run on NBC. As Bill Carter wrote in his New York Times piece back in November, NBC has become partners in the product, and the eight-minute episodes will be edited together into hour-long blocks when they hit the network in February.

However, see Mary Anne Simpson for an interesting take on what might have caused the Internet series' drop in popularity, and it will be interesting to see how this affects its transition onto NBC.