Articles of the Day


Facebook Expands Into China– Chinese internet users will now have easier access to the second-largest social network worldwide, as Facebook has launched a version targeting mainland China. A version in simplified Chinese, rolled out this week, will be the default site for new Chinese users. However, Facebook users in Hong Kong and Taiwan can now also access an edition of the site with traditional Chinese script. Facebook has launched versions of the site in several different languages over the past year and is now available in French, Spanish and German. According to Reuters, about two-thirds of Facebook’s 67m users live outside the US.  

Yahoo! Investor Calls For New Microsoft Approach — Yahoo! shareholder Mithras Capital is urging Microsoft to outline terms of its proposed search deal directly to Yahoo! shareholders, reports Barron’s Daily. Mithras Capital, which owns 1.7m shares in Yahoo!, appealed to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in an open letter signed by partner Mark Nelson. In this, Nelson calls on Microsoft to confirm why its search deal – proposed earlier this month but passed up in favour of a Google agreement – would be better for Yahoo!. 

IAC Creates Ad Network With Its Split Businesses — After all the trouble of breaking apart IAC into five separate, publicly-traded entities, the ties between the companies will remain as part of an ad network, AdAge reports. The hope is that IAC will be able to see its current CPMs rise from an average of $1.50 to around $6 or $7 by selling ads across the 63 companies within the five business units, including urban guide CitySearch, time-share business Interval International, shopping channel HSN and Ticketmaster.  While these businesses have little to do with each other in terms offering content verticals, there is one unifying aspect: the affluent users they attract. As IAC Advertising Solutions President Rich Stalzer, who handles Ticketmaster, LendingTree and HSN, says, “Maybe we’re not brothers and sisters, but we’re cousins.” He added that by combining the inventory on those sites, along with the 57 million monthly uniques, the company a top 10 player in terms of web ads. 

ABC-Disney Opens Slightly More: Syndicating Full Shows To Veoh, To Buy More Traffic — ABC, among the most conservative of online players when it comes to syndicating its own TV shows (but among the most progressive in putting shows within its own branded environment, along with parent Disney), has done its second major video deal: it has done a deal with Veoh, with full episodes of prime time shows like “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Ugly Betty,” along with short clips and game highlights from ESPN (NYSE: DIS). The ABC shows on Veoh are here. This is the second such deal from the company after its deal last year with AOL. In this new deal, ABC will pay Veoh based on the traffic it send to the ABC.com site. Also, Veoh will use the ABC media player (with its high quality video through Move Networks) to show ABC and ESPN programming on its site.  

ESPN In Talks With NFL Over NFL Network — No independent confirmation of this yet, but WSJ is reporting that ESPN (NYSE: DIS) is negotiating with the National Football League to take control of the NFL Network. That such a deal is even being contemplated—let alone negotiated at the high levels reported by the Journal — suggests a major change in tactics from the NFL’s heavy-handed approach to broadcasting a slate of eight games on its own network and its push over the past few years to run its own multimedia operations. To make matters even more interesting, Steve Bornstein, the president of the NFL Network, is a former chairman of ESPN and high-ranking Disney exec. One scenario offered by WSJ involves a possible joint venture that would combine the NFL Network with ESPN Classic, using the slate of games to boost rates for ESPN Classic while taking advantage of its current distribution on expanded basic. These discussions follow the NBA’s decision to turn over its TV and broadband operations in the U.S. to Turner Broadcasting.  

Fox Creates Online Community For Viewers — Fox is pairing with social networking service Passenger to launch a private online community giving the network access to ongoing audience feedback on programming and marketing efforts. Made up of some 2,000 loyal Fox Network viewers invited to join, the community lets members preview new shows, interact with TV producers, post comments, engage in online discussions and participate in polls. 

The Mystery Of 56.com’s Shutdown: Beginning Of Chinese Government Takedown Of Video Sites? — Is the Chinese government taking down non-state-owned video sites? That seems to be the prevailing view of what caused the Chinese YouTube-like site 56.com to cease operating on June 3rd, according to WSJ. The site, which has received $30 million—a $20 million second round was closed last December—from early backers Sequoia Capital and Disney Steamboat Ventures, among others. Visitors to the site are greeted with a message in Mandarin indicating that 56.com is dealing with a simple server problem.  Last December, the Chinese government began handing down new rules designed to curtail non-state owned sites, which tended to ignore officials’ censorship demands.

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