Articles of the Day


Yahoo Shares At Five-Year Low; Below $19 — Yahoo’s shares fell to a five-year low today, dropping below the $19 mark for the first time since the aborted takeover bid from Microsoft. On Feb 1, MSFT offered to buy Yahoo earlier this year for $31 per share, and in May, upped its offer to $33, and then pulled the offer after failing to reach an agreement. Things have certainly gone south after that…then the shares were trading slightly above $19 then. MarketWatch: Wall Street analysts have a mixed view on Yahoo’s current prospects. Most carry neutral ratings on the shares despite the company’s relatively low valuation. Price targets on the stock range from $14 to $33, with the median at $24, according to FactSet Research.

And Yes, Rupert Would Really Like To Own New York Times. Really — The professional contrarian Michael Wolff is coming out with his Murdoch biography The Man Who Owns the News early next year, and Vanity Fair runs some excerpts ahead of the launch. Among other juicy bits, as if you needed more proof, Murdoch really, really wants to own the New York Times, and was possibly the one responsible for spreading the rumor about Bloomberg being interested in buying NYT. This despite everybody around him continues to tell him that buying the Times is pretty much impossible. Writes Wolff: “It’s obviously irresistible to him. I’ve watched him go through the numbers, plot out a merger with the Journal’s backroom operations, and fantasize about the staff’s quitting en masse as soon as he entered the sacred temple. It would be sweet revenge–because the Times for so long has made him the bogeyman and vulgarian. And wonderful to own not just one of America’s most important papers but both (he believes in monopolies). And the realization of his destiny: because the Times represents the ultimate in newspaper proprietorship…”

Google Studies Self-Serve YouTube Platform, Display Ad Quality Scores — Google’s advertising teams are working on a self-serve ad platform for YouTube and a system for measuring the effectiveness of display ads akin to the Quality Score system for paid search. That’s according to Tim Armstrong, the company’s president of advertising and commerce, North America, who spoke with attendees of the Citi Investment Research Technology Conference on Tuesday. He said that Google was working to bring the same level of ad quality and accountability to the display marketplace that it has brought to search. “We’ve been working hard with the DoubleClick team to measure display ads in a more effective manner,” Armstrong said. “It took us a little while to get up to speed on industry standards, but we’re thinking about what we can do beyond that. And we’ll have announcements in the future.”

AOL Dials Up iPhone-Specific Ads — AOL will let advertisers serve iPhone-specific ads through its Platform-A digital ad division, the Internet company said Wednesday. The move marks the latest effort by AOL to expand its mobile ad offerings after acquiring mobile ad company Third Screen Media last year. In August, AOL began letting publishers offer inventory across multiple mobile ad networks via Third Screen through “partitioning” technology.

Tom Brettingen, Chief Revenue Officer, AP: ‘Returning $20 Million To The Industry’ — As we’ve been reporting here, in the weeks since the Associated Press began notifying papers about the new rate plans that go into effect Jan.1, 2009, a number of newspapers—including the Star Tribune—have exercised the two-year opt-out clause in their contracts. The Spokesman-Review has taken it a step further, challenging the two-year clause itself. I spoke with Tom Brettingen, chief revenue officer for AP, about the cancellations, the challenge and the changes. Brettingen was at AP in 1984, the last time the co-op dramatically changed the way rates were handled by shifting the scale from population to circulation. That went over better, he recalls, in no small part because business was better for the industry then. “What’s different (now) is the economy isn’t very good and the newspaper industry is having a hard time for all the reasons know so well.” The other difference: this time, the AP is changing services as well as rates, moving to a breaking news basic package with broader licensing rights and services like state wires that are add-ons in the current plan, a premium package or premium a la carte.

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