Articles of the Day


Time Warner Warns That AOL May Miss Revenue Targets Due To Ad Slowdown; MySpace Ahead of Target — AOL’s Platform-A, plagued by slowing ad growth, might miss its revenue targets, Bloomberg reports Time Warner CFO John Martin as saying at Merrill Lynch’s investor conference. Up until recently, Martin said, ad revenues were growing like “a weed.” But lately, marketers have been pulling back. He told attendees at the Marina del Rey, Ca., conference: “It gives us pause in terms of our confidence to ramp advertising in the back half of the year.’’ In August, Platform-A forecast that ad revenues would continue to rise through the end of the year. But now the ad slowdown has added to pressures on AOL, which has been dealing with the process of integrating the various ad firms it bought over the past year under Platform-A (NYSE: TWX). As a whole, AOL posted a weak Q2, reporting a 15 percent decline in revenue to $1.05 billion and operating income dropping to $230 million from $350 million, due to a 29 percent decrease related to the the loss of subscription revenue. As for the portal side of AOL, which just unveiled a revamped homepage, it is seen as one way to bring ad growth back.

Google Continues Search Onslaught — Google’s still on top of the search heap, as the giant accounted for just over 70% of all searches in the U.S. in August, according to Hitwise. Yahoo, MSN and Ask.com each received 18%, 5% and 3% of search market share, respectively. Hitwise also found that Google was increasingly driving traffic to social networking and online video sites. For example, social networking sites received almost 11% of their traffic from Google in August, up 44% from a year ago.

Google, Fox Interactive Rank Highest In Video Views — In July, U.S. consumers viewed over 11.4 billion videos for a total duration of 558 million hours, according to new data from comScore Video Metrix. That month, Google sites once again ranked as the top U.S. video property with more than 5 billion videos viewed–representing a 44% share of the online video market–with YouTube accounting for more than 98% of all videos viewed at the property. Fox Interactive Media ranked second, with 446 million videos (representing 3.9%) followed by Microsoft sites with 282 million or 2.5% and Yahoo sites with 269 million (2.4%).

Facebook Braces For Change — Ready or not, Facebook is undergoing a massive redesign. By the end of the week, the social network’s 100 million-plus users will be forced to adapt to a new-look Facebook. For the last seven weeks, the company allowed its users to switch back and forth from the old to the new format. That option is now being taken away. In an interview with The Associated Press, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledges the risks behind the makeover, which include alienating some of its audience. This, in turn, could help drive traffic to rivals like MySpace and Bebo. “Any change can be a big deal to our users because this is how they connect with their family and friends,” Zuckerberg said. “So when you move things around, it can be perceived as being not a positive thing even when it’s a positive change.”

Yahoo Expands Mobile Push — Yahoo on Wednesday launched two new mobile features: a new social communications service for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, and an expanded development platform for developers. The first feature, through Yahoo oneConnect, allows users to marry their cell phone contacts lists to friend and follower lists on social networks like MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and Twitter. The application, now available in the Apple App Store, integrates these lists and their functionality, enabling users to communicate via instant messaging, email, SMS or phone. “We want to create and enable a mobile ecosystem for billions of users,” said Marco Boerries, executive vice president of Yahoo’s Connected Life division. “We’re turning everyone that uses voice today into a mobile data user.”

Waterfront Media, Revolution Health Talking Possible Merger With Everyday Health — The Washington Post is out with a story we’ve also been working on—the possibility of an acquisition by Waterfront Media, owner of Everyday Health, of Steve Case’s Revolution Health in the form of a merger the two are the second and third largest health sites respectively. (I’m thinking of coining a new term for deals like this—acqui-merger.) In the past, when I have approached Revolution about the possibility of a sale, I’ve been told the company was not in sales talks. Since the last denial, word surfaced that Revolution’s banker Morgan Stanley was switching to sales or merger mode from raising capital. No response at all from Revolution to my request this time. As for Waterfront, CEO Ben Wolin tells me the company doesn’t comment on speculation but also said there is no deal to discuss and that he wouldn’t talk “for” Revolution.

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