Articles of the Day


Yahoo Q2 Weak; Revenue, Income Below Estimates — Maybe the bar was still too high… Here’s the quick read on Yahoo’s just-released Q2 numbers. Revenue ex-TAC came in at $1.34 billion, up 8 percent from last year, but a little behind analyst estimates of $1.37 billion. Adjusted net income was $139 million, just shy of the $140 million analysts had been expecting. It’s also down from $163 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue on Yahoo’s O&O network was up 14 percent to $1.01 billion, again, a little shy of the 15 percent some analysts had been anticipating. Why the miss? Not totally clear yet. CFO Blake Jorgensen touted the company’s “solid results” despite the weak economy.

Netflix Backs Off Original Content Investment; Closes Red Envelope Unit — This falls into the Casablanca category as in the police captain being “shocked” to find gambling going on at Rick’s … Netflix is closing its nascent Red Envelope Entertainment unit because it competes with the studios it relies on for its main business. Red Envelope invested in more than 100 films and had four employees who are leaving the company as a result of the closure, according to a spokesman, who said the original staff count published by Bloomberg and others was wrong. The departures include Liesl Copland, who joined as head of acquisitions in 2006.

Omnicom Group Says It’s Finally In Buying Mode — After reporting that Omnicom Group’s Q2 net income and worldwide revenue both rose 11 percent, the ad holding company’s CEO John Wren told listeners to the company’s earnings call that the company was finally ready to get serious about acquisitions. As Omnicom expects to do more deals, its rivals’ acquisitive streak has weakened their balance sheets because they “aggressively paid, in our opinion, uneconomic prices.” Therefore, they will be hard-pressed to challenge the company for the independents that are still left.

ESPN Rolls Out New Search Platform This Week; Foundation Of Forthcoming Site Redesign — ESPN.com is planning a major site revamp, but first, it wants to get search right and will then build around some of its new functions. On Thursday, the Disney-owned sports news franchise will begin beta testing its ESPN Sports Search. The platform was about a year in the making. Those with an ESPN Insider account, which includes a magazine subscription and access to special online content, will be invited to begin testing the new search features on Thursday. ESPN wouldn’t say how many “insiders” there are—only that they number in the “hundreds of thousands.” A wider beta test is planned sometime in August.

BSkyB, Universal Form JV To Launch Subscription Music Service — Pretty soon, everybody will be offering a subscription music service. Latest is UK satcaster and ISP BSkyB, 39 percent owned by News Corp. it’s secured Universal’s Total Music repertoire (which includes Amy Winehouse) for a new launch that will allow unlimited MP3 downloading and on-demand streaming for a monthly subscription in the UK and Ireland. And it’s starting a new joint venture company for the purpose, in which it will be the majority partner. Universal is becoming a shareholder.

Comcast Unit Cuts Web Deals To Handle Online Video — The Seattle-based subsidiary of Comcast, thePlatform, has reached deals to deliver video to Web sites aimed at subscribers to the high-speed Internet services of Time Warner Cable Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Cox Communications Inc. Cable operators are increasingly seeking to become destinations for online video, as consumers spend more time watching television shows, movies and other clips that they download from Apple Inc.’s iTunes, Google Inc.’s YouTube and other Internet sources. ThePlatform provides a service that functions as a management system for converting TV shows into the latest online-video formats, inserting promotions from online-advertising networks and transmitting the content to distribution networks that speed up the delivery of Web video to consumers. The company earns money like a utility, charging clients an undisclosed fee for the amount of video they store online and a usage fee every time a user clicks on the clients’ videos.

AOL’s Propeller News Site Launches 2.0 Today — Propeller , AOL’s Digg-like news site, launches version 2.0 later this morning. The site sports a new design and logo and now has a mascot. But the biggest feature change is the removal of a pure Digg-like vote count. In its place is an algorithm based popularity ranking of 1-10, which takes into account “many more aspects of participation” when determining popularity.

TiVo And Amazon Team Up — TiVo will introduce a “product purchase” feature today in partnership with the Internet retailer Amazon.com. Owners of TiVo video recorders will see, in TiVo’s various onscreen menus, links to buy products like CDs, DVDs and books that guests are promoting on talk shows like “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Daily Show.”

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