Archive for November 4, 2008

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2008 by Dave Liu

Yahoo Media Group Shakeup: Scott Moore and Alan Warms To Leave; Dossett To Join; Khemlani Promoted — Update: See Yahoo’s official announcement on Moore’s departure and Jeff Dossett joining the company. This had been cueing up for a few months now: Yahoo’s media group head Scott Moore and head of Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) News Alan Warms will be leaving, according to a report by Kara Swisher. The departures will be announced internally this week, and no word on where they are going. Moore came from MSN in 2005, while Warms came into Yahoo last year through the acquisition of Buzztracker, his company. Moore might have some plans to start his own company, the report says. These departures come after Yahoo announced laying off about 1,500 employees late last month. Yahoo’s media group has some of the biggest online media sites in its portfolio: News, Finance and Sports, and has been among the few bright spots in the beleaguered company.

NBCU’s Chief Digital Officer George Kliavkoff Leaving; Internal Memo — It is a bloody Monday in big media/Internet land, as layoffs, reorgs and senior exec moves continue: George Kliavkoff, the Chief Digital Officer at NBC Universal and main brain behind conceiving and developing Hulu, is leaving the company. He will be there till the end of this year, and will then move on. The news was first reported by Kliavkoff opted out of the final year of his NBCU contract, allowing him to discuss other jobs with possible employers. In a memo to employees, he wrote: “I believe in my heart that this is a best time to start, run, or invest in digital companies and I am very excited about moving on to my next challenge.” Which probably means startups or inv*stm*nt world, but we’re speculating otherwise: would an MSFT job be in the offing? MSN desperately needs someone to run it, for sure. And of course Kliavkoff has deep Seattle connections, having been at RealNetworks before. He joined NBC as its first chief digital officer in 2006, and prior to that spent nearly three years at MLBAM, the digital arm of MLB (commuting to New York from Seattle).

About Those Rumors That the New York Times Would Sell — We’ve heard the chatter about the New York Times Company possibly selling … let’s start by admitting that what makes sense to me and what makes sense to the people running the New York Times Company doesn’t always dovetail. That said, it’s hard to find any scenario, save an amazing offer, that would make a sale of seem like a close-to-sensible move for NYTCo at this point. Just a few reasons: is the growth story for the company right now. A sale would give up the only true source of cash growth. A sale now wouldn’t come close to multiples that make sense; NYTCo might be lucky to get 10-12x multiples in this environment. is on track for $60 million EBITDA this year. Subtract the debt, etc., and the company would come away with precious little. NYTCo has stressed at every turn its commitment to increasing the amount of its revenues that come from digital. An NYTCo spokeswoman responded to my query with the usual “we don’t comment on rumors concerning potential acquisitions and divestitures.”

SpotRunner Laying off 115 People; Looking For Strategic Options For Local Search Group — SpotRunner, the heavily backed online and TV ad agency based in Los Angeles, is laying off about 115 people from its company, which is 30 percent of staff, we have learned and confirmed by the company. Rumors to this effect started circulating last week, but no decision was made until the internal announcement today. The company CEO Nick Grouf told me that the company is still in a strong financial position, with significant cash in the bank. It raised a big $51 million fourth round earlier in the summer from an international group of investors include UK media group Daily Mail and General Trust, Spanish-speaking media giant Grupo Televisa, hedge fund Legg Mason Capital Management and French luxury group Groupe Arnault/LVMH.

JP Morgan’s Online Ad Outlook Worsens; Display’s Deterioration Accelerates — Since JP Morgan internet analyst Imran Khan lowered his expectations for online ad spending two months ago, the outlook has only gotten more pessimistic. In Khan’s latest revision downward, JP Morgan is now calling for total online global ad gains of 25 percent in F’08 and 13 percent in F’09. Khan previously estimated 28 percent and 19 percent year-over-year growth, respectively–all things considered, online is still looking comparatively healthy, at least for now. Here’s JP Morgan’s breakdown: Display deteriorates: While the category has been limping along since last spring, JP Morgan finds that sell-through rates continue to decline. Also, CPMs for premium inventory are flat to slightly down. Looking forward, Khan says CPMs are likely to remain depressed and sell-through rates will worsen. And so, for JP Morgan’s F’08 and F’09 U.S. display estimates, the analyst expects display dollars to hit $7.95 billion (11 percent Y/Y growth) and $8.45 billion (6 percent growth). That’s down from JP Morgan’s September call of $8.15 billion (14 percent Y/Y growth) and $9.43 billion (16 percent growth). For global display growth, JP Morgan sees F’08 bringing 14 percent Y/Y growth vs. its previous estimate of a 16 percent rise. More on search’s strength and new research from the Rubicon Project after the jump.

Strata Reaches A New One, Integrates With Microsoft Ad Serving Systems – Amid a fierce battle for dominance in the important, but back-office world of media buying systems, a spunky dark horse has been chalking up some important innovations for processing digital media buys. Strata Marketing, the Chicago-based software and systems provider that happens to be owned by cable TV and broadband giant Comcast Corp., Monday announced a breakthrough that will enable agencies and advertisers using its systems to seamlessly integrate with Microsoft’s advertising technologies including its Atlas ad-serving platform.

Adap.TV Launches Program To Serve Ads Onto Video — San Mateo, Calif.-based, creators of OneSource, a platform to help publishers fully monetize their online video content, has launched a product designed to extend the capabilities of top ad display management systems–DoubleClick DART and Microsoft Atlas AdManager–to serve ads onto video. Using OneSource, online publishers can extend the functionality of display management systems such as DART and Atlas.