virtual crack dens

as much as i love running around in virtual worlds and experimenting in new online places, i read an article about marketing virtual worlds to kids today and was reminded of some words in a review of there will be blood that i read yesterday.

 It is this addiction that Anderson focuses on.

America was built on addiction.

Addiction to money. Addiction to tobacco. Addiction to slave labor. Addiction to sugar. Addiction to grain alcohol.

Indeed, the first laws ever written in America, in Virginia in 1619, were against public drunkenness. By the early decades of the 19th century, Americans drank roughly three times as much alcohol as they do today. Purchase any item in a 19th century general store and you were permitted a free ladle of grain alcohol and your child was allowed a free spoonful of sugar.

It kept customers coming back.

i have witnessed how my friends’ kids are transfixed by disney and nickleodoeon’s products (among others). i also have an appreciation for the ginormous sums of cash these companies are pulling in, marketing to kids and creating a generation of überconsumers. virtual worlds, in the hands of these experts, are going to be some of the more addictive things out there. they will definitely keep customers coming back.

“There is a massive opportunity here,” said Steve Wadsworth, president of the Walt Disney Internet Group, in an interview last week.

Behind the virtual world gravy train are fraying traditional business models. As growth engines like television syndication and movie DVD sales sputter or plateau — and the Internet disrupts entertainment distribution in general — Disney, Warner Brothers and Viacom see online games and social networking as a way to keep profits growing.

But more is at stake than cultivating new revenue streams. For nearly 50 years, since the start of Saturday morning cartoons, the television set has served as the front door to the children’s entertainment business. A child encounters Mickey Mouse on the Disney Channel or Buzz Lightyear on a DVD and before long seeks out related merchandise and yearns to visit Walt Disney World.

Now the proliferation of broadband Internet access is forcing players to rethink the ways they reach young people. “Kids are starting to go to the Internet first,” Mr. Wadsworth said.

and i love the last line of the piece. although speaking a language i can appreciate as an investor, it would ring hollow to me were i a parent.

“Parents know they can trust our brand to protect kids,” said Steve Youngwood, executive vice president for digital media at Nickelodeon. “We see that as a competitive advantage.”






One response to “virtual crack dens”

  1. ru Avatar

    I have not seen the film, but the idea that Americans are strung out on consumption and the media apparatus reinforces it with the idea that net worth = self worth is something i used in some of my old justifications.

    i’ve always seen the “person” known as corporation to be like a junkie whose fix is profit. more more more and blind to consequences.

    people will fix on anything, and if you’ve got the bag…

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