Articles of the Day

Yahoo To Unveil New Ad Management Software — Yahoo is slowly emerging from the Microhoo mess, ready to finally unveil “what could be its company-saving ad system,” according to the New York Post. Formerly known as “Amp,” the new ad management platform will roll out this quarter. Yahoo claims it will make it easier for publishers, advertisers and agencies to buy and sell space across its network, by eliminating the need to use the phone. In fact, unlike Google’s DoubleClick, with which the unnamed system will compete, Yahoo’s system will be free. More than 800 publications that belong to Yahoo’s newspaper consortium will use it. The San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose’s The Mercury News will be the first publishers to test it next month. The truly unique thing about Yahoo’s system is that it allows publishers to sell inventory on other sites, including Yahoo properties. The Merc, for instance, could theoretically sell space at the Chronicle and on Yahoo News. At the same time, everybody will benefit from the revenue sharing scheme.

Google Explores Putting Android On Cable Set-Top Boxes — Even before it hits mobile phones, Google is exploring the possibility of putting Android on cable set-top boxes. According to VentureBeat Google wants Android to become a “universal operating system that will span set-top boxes for televisions, mp3 players and other communication and media devices and services.” Also, Frommer makes the point that cable companies won’t exactly be falling over themselves to sign up for having Android run their set-top boxes. Why would they need a Google OS? Will Android widgets make people watch more TV? Probably not, says Frommer.

LA Times Names Former DirecTV Head Hartenstein As Publisher; Zell Says LAT’s A Keeper — The embattled newspaper Los Angeles Times has named Eddy Hartenstein, the former head of DirecTV, as its new publisher, a story first broken by DHD last month. He will fill in the position left vacant when David Hiller resigned on July 14, after parent Tribune began implementing the latest round of staff cutbacks at the paper. Hartenstein said that Zell approached him a month ago. He said his new boss made no demands concerning future staff cuts…Zell “basically said, ‘You’re the publisher and CEO. It’s yours to run,’ and that was pretty much it.” He then asked Zell if he wold keep the paper or sell it…The answer “was a strong, affirmative ‘Yes. This is a keeper.’ ” Words spoken too soon?

Battelle: Google Ad Planner No ‘comScore-Killer’ After All — Complaining about how comScore undercounts unique visitors compared to their internal numbers is a fairly constant refrain from web publishers. So when Google Ad Planner was released with the promise of better figures (i.e. higher unique visitor counts) than comScore, Federated Media head John Battelle was initially enthused. But after comparing the first set of numbers between the two, Battelle writes on his Searchblog, that Google Ad Planner is hardly the hoped for comScore-killer. While the comparison data Battelle received is from comScore, he says given that comScore’s reputation depends on not juicing the stats, he is inclined to trust that the research is bias-fr*ee. Battelle’s review follows others, such as ad agency and web publishers, who also found that Google Ad Planner was, in the words of CEO Jim Spanfeller, “are as bad or worse as anybody else’s out there.”

Pandora To Pull The Plug? — One of Internet radio’s most successful services is on the verge of pulling the plug, Ars Technica reports. Thanks to the hefty Internet royalty rate hike pushed through by SoundExchange last July, Pandora founder Tim Westergren says the music subscription service won’t last beyond the first round of payments. As Ars points out, SoundExchange heaped massive royalty hikes on Internet-only radio stations, imposing per-user fees for each song. Worse, these royalties are set to double for big stations by 2010 to an estimated 2.91 cents per hour per listener. Satellite stations, meanwhile, pay just 1.6 cents, and radio stations have a different royalty structure altogether. Despite its best efforts to petition SoundExchange’s tough decision, Pandora’s pleas have fallen on deaf ears. According to The Washington Post, Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.) is attempting a last-minute deal to save Internet radio — a deal that would lower the per-song rate set last year — but he isn’t optimistic. “If (the negotiations don’t) get much more dramatic quickly, I will extricate myself from the process,” Berman said. What does this mean for Pandora? The music service will now have to pay 70% of its projected 2008 revenue of $25 million. As Westgren told the Post: “The moment we think this problem in Washington is not going to get solved, we have to pull the plug because all we’re doing is wasting money.”

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