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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Live From Hollywood: It's Bing & Ryan Seacrest

Bing’s holding a big press event here tonight in Hollywood, California. We’re live on the red carpet. OK, no red carpet, but we do have Ryan Seacrest hosting the event. Sit back and stay tuned as we live blog what’s to come.

NOTE: See our Bing Entertainment, Unwrapped: Music, Movies, Games & TV story which covers in non-live blog format the changes announced today.

I’m here at the Soho House with Search Engine Land managing editor Elisabeth Osmeloski, who will be both shooting photos and filling in the massive gaps in my knowledge of popular culture (Me: who’s Ryan Seacrest? Elisabeth: He has a million jobs. He’s like the new Dick Clark. Just end the story, “Seacrest out!”).

Along with Ryan — I mean Mr. Seacrest — we’re promised a one hour discussion with (and I quote Elisabeth’s earlier preview article):

Kathryn Bigelow (director of the Hurt Locker) and T Bone Burnett (writer, best original song “The Weary Kind” from Crazy Heart), actor Joseph Gordon Levitt, director of the Hangover Todd Phillips, Mad Men producer Matthew Weiner, plus Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

It all gets going at 6pm with Microsoft senior vice president Yusuf Mehdi talking about new things with Bing. You know, like the new Bing iPhone app (see Bing Updates iPhone App: Bar Code Scanning, Social Integration & More). But also more than that. Much more. We start shortly…

OK, we’re still waiting. Blame Southern California traffic. People are still arriving. But that hasn’t stopped Bing pushing live its blog post about today’s news, new entertainment search options. What have we got?

Crab cake. Sorry, they’re serving food here, and someone came by with one. Yum. Aside from that, music!

Bing has gained links to song lyrics, since as the post says, over 70 percent of people look for lyrics online. Hey, Yahoo had this options years ago. But I think it died over there. Glad it’s back at Bing, along with…

Music streaming! That’s right, search for a song, get to hear it play full length. After that, 30 second preview. And you can buy it.

Sound familiar? Well, there’s this thing called Google Music that rolled out last October with similar features, so Bing’s doing a little catch-up.

But now the actual press conference is starting. So enough of me live blogging the blog post and more with the live blogging the press event. Here comes Yusuf…

Tonight brand new experience called Bing Entertainment. New way to enjoy music, TV, videos and games on the internet.

Bing born out of vision that it could do more than let people just search but instead harness knowledge from the web and make decision. Bold goal, and lots of work still to do.

Now we’re getting the Colbert promotion, where Colbert said Bing like a billion times to raise money for Gulf relief (see Colbert Goes From 0-To-40 “Bing” Mentions In 2 Minutes, For Charity). Colbert does his joke on knowing Bing is a search engine because he Googled it, which gets Yusuf to say as it ends there “that’s what we’re up against.”

Tried to be more visual with the service, which seems to be helping especially with children.

Doing more in specific areas like travel, to give whole solutions such as show you more about an area you’re thinking of going to, weather, whether airfare might rise or fall.

Car shopping, rather than links to car sites, showing reviews or through visual search, ability to navigate through particular car images to information.

That brings us to entertainment, one of the four areas focused on: shopping, health and travel were the others. Every day 1 1/2 billion queries on entertainment every month. Much more than people who buy CDs each year, for example.

World is changing, internet has opened up many new options and channels.

Can they take power of search and marry it with the pleasure of the play button. “If you can type what you want, we’ll make it easy to click and listen, click and play and watch.”

Music, movies, gaming and television are four investment areas.

World is changing, internet has opened up many new options and channels.

Can they take power of search and marry it with the pleasure of the play button. “If you can type what you want, we’ll make it easy to click and listen, click and play and watch.”

Music, movies, gaming and television are four investment areas.

What are the opportunites with music? New bands and acts. Demi Lovato is example of someone his daughter liked. Does a search for her, get what they call the Bing Box that has songs that you can play from her, events where she’ll be singing at, recent tweets about her.

Now does a search for Drake, who will play tonight at the Bing event. Similar thing, you can click and get songs, click and get lyrics. Shows example of the links, I think he said 5 million songs have lyrics in Bing.

Shows how you can click and play. No email needed, no plugin needed. Um, but when I do it just now, I get a “coming soon” message in the window that loads. Hmm.

Not a music service. It’s about music discovery. If you want a music service to buy, link to their Zune service or other places like Amazon (which I might add is awesome for music).

On to television. Some big number of people I didn’t catch go online to see what’s on. Does search for Entourage, detects you’re in LA, shows you local channels and times. I don’t see this live yet myself.

Can they do search click and watch? Does a search for A-Team. Movie highlighted above, but shows how further in the results, you can see a listing of all the A-Team episodes online. Again, I don’t see this live yet. And I can hear the folks at Clicker.com yelling “we do this too.”

On to gaming. There are 175 million active gamers, and they’re not all hard core gamers killing things. No, lots of casual too,. But if you’re hard core, can do searches like Halo ODST and get things like reviews or walkthroughs or get cheat codes.

But want to play checkers or blackjack? Do a search for that, and you can play right within the search results. One click play. Today, over 100 casual games at launch.

Now to movies. Doing search for toy story 3. You get showtimes near you. But added updates from Facebook and Twitter through Bing’s partnerships with them, so you can see links shared and comments made.

Beyond that, pick a theater, you can see what’s nearby that area, such as restaruants, to help you plan your night. Showing how street level photography can then be used to preview where you’re going.

OK, that’s it for the Bing presentation. The entertainment panel with various celebrities will follow in about an hour or less, and I’ll pick up here when that starts. Stay tuned. While you wait, check out some our pictures from the event: Bing Paparazzi Photos. OK, there are only two now. But more to come.

And we’re about to begin. Various Hollywood celebs are filtering in, including Sam Trammell, who plays Sam Merlotte on True Blood. He’s not on the panel, just very interested in Bing I guess.

And everyone is here. Yusuf does some opening remarks, hands over to Ryan and says how about something easy, like the future of entertainment.

Ryan says we look at things like social networking to see how things are going. It’s a positive. Like a big focus group for him. But how about you Joseph [Gordon Levitt]?

Thinks it’s a very good thing. Better stories will be told because more people get to tell them. Rather than be limited by narrow minded Hollywood industry, many can make it.

Next to Kathryn. I’m really content driven, she says. Technology is there as a delivery system, and a fabulous delivery ssystem, but her emphasis is on content and idea. Constantly looking at how you challenge the medium. Is entertainment there to let us escape or inform us. It’s a place to her where the news leaps off. An avenue into the future.

To Matt. He agrees. You’re doing cave painting, you’re doing novels, your relationship changes with the audience. This helps close the gap for production where you can’t get direct feedback as in a theater. If you have a thick skin, Ryan says, and Matt agrees. Now that we’re movign into this world where we’re getting stuff streamed to us, you start thinking about I’m going to do what I’m doing. The experience can be intimate. I didnt’ design my work to be viewed on a phone, but I know people are doing it and enjoying it.

As network TV disappears, thing he finds interesting about Bing is that something needs to replace the channel, a space where people can go to be entertained.

Ryan asks T Bone about music and where things might be going. T Bone says machines will replace human intelligence, he jokes. I try not to entertain people. I try to engage people. Entertaining people is wasting their time. Technology is incredible editing device for him on music, but that’s it. Distribution not so much a change. Sound is terrible and degraded.

Ryan makes a remark about Bing. T Bone says he uses Bing because you can turn your search history off. Now I wonder if everyone is required to say Bing at least once.

Joseph talking about HD film but says he loves that two people can make a movie and not having to hit mark, that you can just run around. “There’s good stuff too with ugly video.”

Todd says most exciting thing to him is the access it gives new people.

Biz says doing a start-up in Silicon Valley is a lot easier and cheaper these days. Friend of his just shot finale of House on camera that’s only $2,000. Also have to talk about how the process can be improved and optimized and get people home on time. That’s what we’re seeing in some of the start-ups I’m advising. Maybe there’s some of the optimize element that can be introduced into the entertainment industry.

Phil (who’s last name I didn’t catch, sorry, gaming from Microsoft, I’ll add later). Now you see things like Farmville go up and nine months later you get millions of users. Talking about letting community tell the story with you, that maybe you don’t know the ending when you put it up.

Things like Genius on music tell you what you might want to listen to, entertainment is becoming more of a two way street.

Yusuf then asks about the human element. How do you know when you’ve got that magical moment with people.

Todd, one painful thing is this immediate reaction where you can get feedback on your work. Matt, Todd says, spoke before panel came out that his wife has banned him from looking. In business, he used to think there was a free weekend for movies, in the opening, before anyone knew what anyone else thought and it was the following weekend when reactions would have an impact. Now the word gets out quicker.

Matt, I always said if you go in a room with two jars, one filled with terrible things about you or one with nice things, which one are you going to go into. Am I alone in that, he says (indicating I think that most go for the good stuff).

Kathryn says had movie with limited marketing profile. If it hadn’t been for the transparency of the SMS systems, no one would have known about the movie.

Ryan, did you feel that?

Kathryn, yes, you had to be plugged into it by necessity. It was a slow growth process but made up for a more limited profile than we wanted but gathered its own momentum.

Ryan to Biz, did you have any idea there would be a Twitter effect at the box office.

Biz, of course, he jokes. Seriously, he says first year had no idea would be a success. Wasn’t until being at SXSW in 2007 when hairs on back of neck, seeing people getting it. Guy saying bar too loud, I’m leaving to another place, people retweeted and followed. We said holy crap, there’s no other communication system like this. “It’s word of mouth amplified.”

That’s what we saw organization doing, created products to add them more momentum such as promoted tweets and trends. Toy Story 3 had first promoted trend. “Not a bad opening” he says.

Matt saying his show had little advertising bought but lots of publicity by critics and indidivuals. We had people at Twitter twittering as the characters. “I couldn’t believe it.” The success of the show … the mass audience is a tricky thing, and it’s a sin to have contempt for the masses … but I’m in a form that does a particular thing, and that’s not for everybody … that’s not a snob thing, Barney’s not for everybody … but our show was seen because it had to attract only 2 to 3 million to be seen. I don’t compete with Toy Story or Lost. But I do compete with HBO that has a really different model. The fact that you can make a lot of money on something that specific, that HBO can be in 1/10th the homes of ABC and still be worth billions.

Whatever the formats are, there’s money to be made. The more eccentric projects, it happens all the time. Turns to Kathryn, you’re movie is a miracle. The fact that it ends up in the theater is really sustained by individuals telling about it, trumpting about it, saying you should see this.

Biz says notice many TV shows before about to air start to trend. More people enjoying watching a show togetehr and twittering about it in the back channel. Not just sports. Lets watch the show together.

Matt, that bugs the crap out of me. Turn off the lights, pay attention to what you’re doing. Give the artist the attention for what they’re doing. Just watch it and talk to people after.

Todd but when people talk in a theater….

Matt … and you hate it….

Todd but the reason these experiences you have is the shared experience, the laughing or screaming together. That’s something television doesn’t have.

Matt, oooh ahhh is one thing.

Ryan, doesn’t it make you a little happy to know the audience is engaged.

Matt, it sounds really ugly but part of being a writer is that you do want to speak uninterrupted for a period of time … then when it’s over, then maybe you could talk to people.

Ryan, you have kids? Matt, yes. Ryan, how do they watch TV with those rules. Matt, they hate watching it with me.

Interaction he gets from his shows and stories blows his mind. That is the joy of being an artist. But the idea that you’d want to write your own version of things while it’s going on or have your ichat on one side and your porn on the other side and mad men in the middle, just watch it. You can’t talk on the phone and drive. How low functioning are those things.

Phil, but is it for the entertainer or the person being entertained? (wow, I’m back in Critical Theory 101 now, who’s in control of the text, the author or the reader). Story telling has been community experience from the start of time. There’s back channel of telling you what they think and the back back channel of knowing what people are watching or searching on.

Phil, but is it for the entertainer or the person being entertained? (wow, I’m back in Critical Theory 101 now, who’s in control of the text, the author or the reader). Story telling has been community experience from the start of time. There’s back channel of telling you what they think and the back back channel of knowing what people are watching or searching on.

Yusuf shifting gears, where do you find what feels right, speaking to T Bone.

That’s art, he says. I know when it’s not art. Talks about concept of time washing off a pyramid, artists job is to put things on the top. Lady Gaga, who is very good, has 220 billion hits on one video and total income from streaming last year was $10,000. Speaking of the bottom of the pyramid. There will be no music industry unless there’s an investment. The creators of the music are not getting rewarded at all. Tahts’ somehting dangerous for society. Talks of Google making billions, top search is weather, second search is music [not true, though maybe for all music terms being combined]. Talks how copyright owners got broadcasters to share revenue, because broadcasters were paying the music.

Ryan cuts him off, sadly, because I think the point he was going to finish was how do the new media feed some of their revenues to the old media.

Kathryn asked the how do you know if it’s right question. We have an audience. We’re creating content. There’s a certain responsibility that goes with that, so I think of that in terms of making those decisions.

Ryan to Joseph on his technology. No, he says, we use technology to create stuff. But Joseph looks at Matt and says the tradition of story telling is communal. It’s a bunch of people hanging around the campfire and talking and singing over each other. His company, Joseph’s, makes things collaboratively. We make awesome stuff. I love it. Anyone can download and remix and make something new

We’re in the middle of growing pains as a culture. People when they watch a show like yours want to say something, and that does conflict with a form I love. But I think we’re heading back to wehre storytelling came from, a communal thing.

Ryan asks Biz about notes he’s taking. Ryan also jokes when a whale comes up, do they call you at home. Biz, actually they do.

Biz continues and says Math should be liek Twilight Zone and say OK everyone, turn off the lights, the show is about to begin. Says he’s been writing down a lot of what people are writing about in terms of shared experiences. There’s more opportunities now for distribution and industry people to take the pulse out there and react accordingly or not. It must be fun I would think to work on something for a year and have it premiere and look at the real time stream and see how peopel are reacting to it almost like a play. Thinks there’s a real complement to all this.

Matt, entertainment is a communal experience. His show takes 800 people to put together. But there has been a tradition of the person who could not hunt that well but who might be able to sing, or the first potter who did an amazing relief on a vase and the first agent who said I can sell these for twice as much and people will never put water in them … as much as I want to ehar the voces of the audience and applause and what they don’t like … part of the creation is in isolation. I also like to give myself over to a book and not have my friends faces on the side of the book saying did you look at the bottom of the page you’re not going to believe it. All that time he put into it was not for you to not be engaged at all. There’s nothing better than watching a basketball game and talking to people about it … but I think we should accept that the audience has a voice with their dollars but let’s not say they have a right to how it will end.

And that’s the end of the panel!

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