Archive for Android

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2008 by Dave Liu

Yahoo Board To Meet, Consider AOL Deal — The Yahoo board is set to meet for the first time since Carl Icahn and two new board members were added. As Kara Swisher reports, there will be much to discuss, particularly the company’s stock falling to a five-year low. What can Yahoo do to boost shares? Swisher says the purchase of AOL from Time Warner looks to be Yahoo’s “most attractive option,” and that the talks are “more serious than (have) been reported.” Other problems that need to be addressed include attracting new top-level talent, reacting to the troubled economy (in which display advertising looks particularly weak), and appeasing disenchanted investors. However, Swisher that Wall Street’s recent meltdown might not weigh as heavily on the Web giant as previously thought. “In relative terms, with a strong balance sheet, the company is quite healthy compared with many firms,” she says, adding that Yahoo may become a reliable place “advertisers flee to in times of uncertainty.”

Antitrust Group’s Advice On Google-Yahoo Ad Pact: Limit Incentives For Yahoo To Run Google Ads — Given the name, it’s probably not a surprise that the American Antitrust Institute has issued a white paper (PDF) calling the Google-Yahoo ad pact “anticompetitive.” But in a glass half-full take, the group does cite some “pro-competitive” benefits to the deal as well. It also has some advice for keeping the deal intact without skirting antitrust rules. The partnership, which is being examined by the U.S. Department of Justice for potential antitrust violations, gives Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) the option of placing Google (NSDQ: GOOG) ads on its search results. The AAI, which describes itself as non-profit education, research and advocate, wants assurances that the deal won’t create “a black hole that swallows up Yahoo, despite Yahoo’s intentions to stay in business.” The AAI’s paper adds that in general, it is more than natural to be concerned about any deal between two such larger players that potentially gives the dominant firm a market share in excess of 90 percent.

Google Android Phone G1 Live: T-Mobile G1 Will Be For Sale In US Oct. 22 For $179 — T-Mobile USA announced today that customers in the U.S. will be able to pre-order the T-Mobile G1, beginning today at http://www.T-MobileG1.com. General availability will begin Oct. 22 at select T-Mobile retail stores and online in the U.S. The G1 will cost $179 with a two-year voice and data agreement. The T-Mobile G1 will also be available in the United Kingdom beginning in November, and across Europe in the first quarter of 2009. Countries include Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Data plans will start as low as $25 and go up to $35 a month for unlimited messaging and Internet browsing.

Amazon Confirms Music Store For The Google Android G1 — As rumors indicated yesterday, Amazon.com (NSDQ: AMZN) confirmed today that it will provide an Amazon MP3 music store for the T-Mobile G1, which is just a half an hour away from being unveiled at a press conference in New York. The store will allow T-Mobile G1 users to search, download, buy and play music from a catalog of 6 million DRM-free MP3 songs from all four major music labels and thousands of independent labels. But wait, don’t get too excited because as you may suspect, the tracks will have to be downloaded over a Wi-Fi connection, however, users can still browse, listen to samples and buy on the T-Mobile network. Still, this is an improvement over even Nokia’s (NYSE: NOK) highly anticipated Comes With Music service, which is expected to be a side-loading only affair. More than 1 million songs cost 89 cents, while albums are priced between $5.99 to $9.99. Engadget couldn’t have said it better when it said: “How you like them Apples, Apple.

AP Moves Online Video Network From Microsoft To thePlatform — Looking to revamp its Online Video Network, the Associated Press is handing over the running of its video player and uploading service from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) to thePlatform, the Comcast-owned broadband and mobile video services provider. The AP didn’t offer a reason for the switch from Microsoft in its announcement. It comes just as the wire service is preparing to rollout a new video platform by December. The two-year-old OVN service sends news video to—and from—AP’s global affiliates. The move also comes as the AP finds itself battling back a rebellion from its members of its fee structure and more competition from online sites like Politico.com, which has struck deals with local newspapers to share its coverage of Washington DC as part of its new ad network.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2008 by Dave Liu

Microsoft Beats Quadrangle To Buy Research Firm Greenfield For $486 Million; Selling Off Most Of It — In a complex and slightly confusing transaction, Greenfield Online, the online market research and surveys company, which earlier this week rejected a bid by media PE firm Quadrangle, is now being bought by an unlikely buyer: Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), for about $486 million, $60 million more than the previous bid. MSFT is paying through a cash tender offer for $17.50 per share for the Wilton, Conn-based firm, as opposed to Quadrangle’s $15.50 a share bid.  BUT, as part of this buyout, Microsoft will sell off what Greenfield is best known: its online surveys division, and will only retain its European comparison shopping services part. Greenfield, through its Greenfield Online and its European Ciao comparison shopping websites and affiliate networks, collects, organizes and sells consumer opinions in the form of survey responses to marketing research firms and end users. It was founded in 1994, among the first such online survey firms, and current CEO Albert Angrisan is the former COO and president of survey biggie Harris Interactive.

MySpace Passes Yahoo In Display Impressions — MySpace owner Fox Interactive Media has overtaken Yahoo as the top display advertising property in the U.S., according to new data from comScore. In June, 56.8 billion display ads were viewed on the News Corp. company’s sites, giving it a 15.2% share of the total U.S. display market. Yahoo, meanwhile, served 53.1 billion display ads in the same time period, accumulating a 14.2% share. The data represents a rather big change from May, when Yahoo was still top of the display pile with a 15.9% share, compared to FIM’s 13.5%. Dow Jones points out that the June data will raise fresh concerns about Yahoo’s ability to grow its online advertising business. “It’s a continuation of this trend that eyeballs are going to other places on the Internet, and advertisers are recognizing that,” Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said. “It’s a step in the wrong direction for where Yahoo wants things to go.”

Veoh Decision A Boon for YouTube — Analysts and legal eagles watched with a keen eye as Judge Howard Lloyd of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on Wednesday that Veoh did its part to protect copyright holders, thus qualifying for “safe harbor” protections under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Adult entertainment company Io Group alleged that the online video provider had not done enough to stop users from uploading unauthorized clips of its adult sex films. “The DMCA was intended to facilitate the growth of electronic commerce, not squelch it,” Judge Lloyd said. The DMCA protects publishers from being held accountable for the content uploaded by their users, as long as they make it clear that uploading copyrighted material is prohibited, and swiftly comply with official takedown notices. TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington noted that it’s also helpful to have fingerprinting technology in place to detect copyrighted material, in addition to lots of non-infringing content (Veoh only received takedown notices on 7% of its content).

U.S. News’ College Report Online Revenues in Seven Figures — So says U.S. News & World Report president Bill Holiber, talking about the relaunch of its America’s Best Colleges online portal, in an interview with Folio. Its flagship franchise list saw about 15 million page views in the last one week, and online revenue around the story is up 500 percent. “We’re well into seven figures just online for this story,” he said. The publisher has sold major online ad packages on the site to Dell and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Office Student. Meanwhile, the print edition of the mag is still bleeding: ad pages fell 30.2 percent and estimated ad revenue drop 26.1 percent, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. It is dropping its weekly frequency to a bi-weekly by next year, and recently formed a new U.S. News Media Group, in an effort to develop more franchises beyond the weekly under it.

WPP Digital Leverages Global Production System — WPP’s digital investment and operating arm WPP Digital has established a global digital production hub to distribute work among its stable of digital agencies. The objective of the new outfit, Deliver, is to better leverage WPP’s existing production capabilities in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and South Africa in a “distributed model,” according to Neal Prescott, CEO of Deliver.

Wikileaks To The Highest Bidder — The initial idea behind Wikileaks was to publish secretive documents from “oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East,” but the reality has been exposing Swiss banks, Mormons and Scientologists. However, now that the site has started selling secrets at auction, the bigger fish are swimming closer to the harbor. Apparently, a senior official inside Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s administration has some dirt for sale. But the documents aren’t really for sale, per se. Whoever wins the right to the information will only have a set period of time to make use of it before it becomes public. In this case, the leak in question is a series of emails from a senior aide to Chavez, which may or may not contain incriminating information.

Google Android App Store: Like iTunes, With One Big Difference — Google has unveiled its long-awaited answer to the iTunes app store for the iPhone: The Android Market, which will sell programs for the upcoming “Gphone” from T-Mobile, and every other handset that runs on Google’s mobile OS. The big difference: Apple runs it own store with a pretty firm hand. If you want in, you’ve got play by their rules. But Google has an open door policy: Developers who want to put their program on the market just register, upload, and they’re in business.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2008 by Dave Liu

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 Forbes.com 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.”

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , on August 13, 2008 by Dave Liu

AOL Launches Widget Ad Tool — AOL is launching a new marketing tool that helps publishers make money from ad widgets users can spread across the web. “Once a publisher places a widget on their web site, consumers can grab it and distribute the widget to other locations on the web, including social network pages, desktops and blogs,” says AOL. “The publisher earns revenue for each sale driven by the widget, even if it´s several download-generations away from the publisher’s site.” The new solution uses technology from widget specialist Goowy Media and ad network buy.at, two media firms that AOL bought earlier this year. The launch comes as part of AOL’s plan to integrate its ad properties into Platform A. Last week, the Time Warner-owned firm terminated its Tacoda advertising contracts and transferred them to Platform A’s Advertising.com. It has also launched a mobile ad-serving tool that lets publishers display ads from third-party networks.

Social Networks Surge On Growing Global Audiences — Facebook and other social networking sites are enjoying rapid growth worldwide thanks to a surge in social media activity outside the U.S., especially in emerging regions. A notable exception is MySpace, which Facebook surpassed in April as the world’s biggest social network. The comScore data roughly parallels findings presented in April by Universal McCann showing online social network membership in countries such as Brazil, Russia, Taiwan, and Mexico growing at more than 70% compared to less than 49% in the U.S.

Google, Others Discuss Their Ad Targeting Secrets; Push For Legislation Is ‘Bipartisan’ — More than a dozen of the 33 companies asked by Congress to describe their behavioral targeting activities say they do not engage in the practice, WaPo reported. But lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle say they’ve seen enough in the responses of those who do target to say that legislation guaranteeing “online privacy bill of rights” will be introduced next year. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA.), who created the House’s Privacy Caucus 12 years ago, said the law would stipulate that consumers give their consent before companies can legally monitor, collect and share data on their web usage. Speaking on the wide support for a bill that would curb some of that activity, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is holding the hearings: “A broad approach to protecting people’s online privacy seems both desirable and inevitable.”

Google’s Android Delayed To 2009 — Google’s much anticipated Android open source mobile software and the new devices that support it are expected to be delayed until the first quarter of next year, says Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdry. Originally, Google promised that the new mobile OS would be ready by June but then said its release date had slipped to Q4. Chowdry claims that High Tech Computer (HTC) will not be ready to ship its Android-based smartphone until early next year and this will have an effect on Google’s release date for Android.HTC is reportedly having problems incorporating all the features Google requires for Android device makers and is also, reportedly, having difficulty settling on a minimum revenue guarantee with Google.

Why All The Interest In Russia? Try 10x Online Ad Growth In Next Decade — We’ve definitely noticed increased interest in the Russian internet market, marked notably by Google’s acquisition of a contextual ad firm from Rambler and the planned IPO of Yandex, the Baidu.com of Russia. It’s not hard to figure see what all the fuss is about. A recent report said the Russian online ad sector grew 73 percent last year. Geopolitics aside, the future looks bright too. In a new report, Lehman analyst Viktor Shvets predicts the online ad market there to grow from around $400 million in 2007 to $4 billion by 2017. (If you add other non-Russia Russian speaking states, the total is $5 billion) As a percentage of total ad spend, he predicts it will grow from 4 percent to 13 percent.

Financial Publisher Source Media Restructures Its 60 Mags, Lays Off 20 — Financial content publisher Source Media is reorganizing its roughly 60 magazines and sites into four categories—banking, capital markets, technology and professional services, Folio reported. Editorial staffs will be grouped into each of those four sections. Rolling editors will work across groups, who will be headed by four executive editors. They will all report to American Banker editor-in-chief David Longobardi, who has been named EVP/chief content office and will oversee all Source Media editorial, which also includes Broker magazine and financial municipal finance newspaper The Bond Buyer. Despite the expansive restructuring, only 20 staffers are losing their jobs out of a total 1,000 employees.