Archive for Bloomberg

Articles of the Day

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

Aegis’ Fay: ‘Not As Bad As You Think’—And Not Done With M&A — Aegis North America CEO Sarah Fay, in a conversation with Andy Serwer, Fortune’s managing editor, at Future of Business Media conference hit on all the touch points facing the ad industry right now: the state of ad spend, the divide between traditional and digital, the Google issue and M&A activity. In general, Fay expressed a relatively sunny take on the turbulent media industry at the moment. Bullish on M&A activity, display: During the audience Q&A, Fay noted Aegis’ eight digital acquisition this year—a company called IF based in Malaysia—and added that the company has no plans to pull back on digital M&A, especially in emerging markets. She added that while search’s accountability is even more crucial to marketers during an economic downturn, the importance of online branding will make display more attractive as well.

Hulu Hopes To Enter UK; Held Up By Kangaroo’s Troubles — We’ve speculated for a while that NBCU/News Corp.’s US VOD JV Hulu would like to launch here in the UK. Today C21 reports the site is considering “a partnership approach” with UK counterpart Kangaroo, with C21 even suggesting Kangaroo could itself get named “Hulu” rather than the rumoured “See-Saw” This is not quite our understanding of the situation. Sources told paidContent:UK the much-lauded Hulu is hoping for a UK launch next year, along with several other territories under consideration. But its plans are on hold until the outcome of the Competition Commission inquiry that’s currently preventing Kangaroo’s launch. That’s because Hulu would be better to launch with a full service, carrying public service shows from Kangaroo’s founders BBCWW, ITV (LSE: ITV) and C4, than a piecemeal offering.

Long-standing Book Search Lawsuit Costs Google $125 Million — How much has it cost Google to scan hundreds of thousands of books and make them available via its Google Book Search? At least $125 million. That’s how much the search giant has paid to settle a long-standing class action lawsuit with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers (representing publishers like McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP) and the Penguin Group). The funds will be used to set up a Book Rights Registry that will let U.S. copyright holders register their works so that they can get a cut of any resulting online retail and ad sales. MarketWatch’s Therese Poletti wonders if the settlement lines Google up as a future Amazon.com competitor, or at least, a contractor—as Google’s scanned books could wind up as part of Kindle’s growing library.

Could A Recession Bring Back The Idea Of Charging For Content? — Economist.com took a pass on the free-content phenomenon first time around – now, just as flares and yo-yos came back in to fashion, the publisher sees pay walls regaining popularity in an advertising downturn. The news mag’s site already charges for stories over a year old and, publisher Paul Rossi told our Future Of Business Media conference, that could be just the right model for a looming recession: ”The growth in online advertising is slowing. Is this the return to paid content online, because advertising becomes less a driver for the business? It will be be interesting to see if paid content comes back online because the model is changing.” The Economist already had something of a disdain for the ad-dependent alternative, vowing never to mix ads and editorial on the same print page: “We start with the premise that a reader is paying us a substantial amount of money for our magazine.” And Rossi, interviewed by our managing editor Ernie Sander, seems never to have considered web ads a truly viable paradigm anyway, saying “to be rely effective online, it has to be interuptive and disruptive” – losing points for user experience. Despite flirting with free, WSJ.com and FT.com have settled on a part-free, part-paid compromise. Economist.com, too, seems to have that base covered as we enter uncertain times.

Bloomberg’s Norman Pearlstine: Acquisitions Won’t Grab Headlines — Norman Pearlstine, chief content officer of Bloomberg, said during his Q&A today that they are indeed looking at acquisitions, while also providing a refreshing take on what’s working with their highly profitable terminal business that charges 290,000 subscribers about $18,000 a year, and the work that needs to be done in its smaller consumer media business, including Bloomberg TV, which reaches 57 million U.S. homes. Bloomberg won’t be buying anything as big as AOL: “Historically, Bloomberg has had a strong preference for building rather than buying, and since I’m coming from Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), the approach makes a lot of sense. But I think that we have shown a number of things—while maybe not in the acquisition area—we have shown the ability to work with others. We also have signaled a willingness to look at acquisitions. The CEO of Bloomberg, who is in charge of the terminal business, created a new group called Bloomberg Ventures, which is looking at a lot of new ventures for potential acquisition. In the immediate future, we aren’t talking about the major kind of acquisition that gets written about. With the difficulties of integration, and again I’m reminded of my AOL/Time Warner experience, I’m with that program.”

Financial Portals May Face Audience ‘Burnout’ — The economics crisis has been good to both financial portals, like Yahoo Finance and AOL (NYSE: TWX), while also benefiting niche sites like Seeking Alpha and Minyanville, according to comments made by those company executives during a panel. Here’s what they said about what products work the best, and any potential tie-up between Yahoo and AOL. On the potential Yahoo-AOL tie-up. Is bigger better? In September, Yahoo Finance recorded 20 million uniques and AOL had 14 million: Scott Moore, Yahoo SVP said the two sites are complimentary. Yahoo is a news aggregator and AOL’s focus is on personal finance. “If one company owned both of the sites, it would be a category-killer. It would be game over in terms of metrics.” Marty Moe, AOL SVP of Money & Finance: “I have no idea what will happen, and I don’t have any knowledge of discussions going on, but with that said, any scenario would present enormous opportunities. In this this economy, there are many ways in which bigger is better. In this economy, it’s inevitable that consolidation is happening. I think that it’s a trend that will happen, particularly for international growth.”

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2008 by Dave Liu

AOL Television Thinks ‘Outside The Box’ — AOL Television today is expected to launch a new free on-demand Web series named “Outside the Box.” In it, cast members from television’s most popular programs interview one another using fan-submitted questions. It will be supported by AOL’s digital ad business, Platform-A, which will be expected to identify opportunities for advertisers and provide relevant display advertising and content-targeted links on the sites.

WPP Could Win The Battle For TNS By Week’s End: Report — WPP Group CEO Sir Martin Sorrell’s persistence could finally pay off this week. After months of having its offers rejected again and again by audience monitor TNS Media Intelligence, the ad giant could finally prevail in its bid to take over the company, Ad Age reports. TNS executives have continued to urge shareholders to reject WPP’s 264.2 pence-per-share offer—which values the media researcher at £1.158 billion (about $2 billion). The company says WPP’s offer undervalues it. However, given the calamity in the financial markets, it appears that some shareholders feel that view might not be as true these days. WPP says it has managed to sway the company’s investors to its side, claiming the support of 42.7 percent of TNS shareholders as of Monday.

With Demand For Financial News Surging, Bloomberg Brings Its Online Video To AOL — Just in time for the financial market’s wild ups and downs this week, Bloomberg Television is making a tentative step toward syndicating its videos outside of its own website in a deal with AOL (NYSE: TWX). The business news network will run about 20 videos a day on the AOL Money and Finance channel. The Bloomberg videos will have its own distinct, branded broadband site on AOL’s portal as well. Bloomberg television hasn’t been too active on the online side, but that could be changing. The unit just struck a deal with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) TV Ads, involving audience measurement and targeted ads through satellite company EchoStar’s (NSDQ: DISH) set-top boxes. While that partnership doesn’t have any online applications at the moment, it does represent the beginning of a formal relationship between Bloomberg and the search giant.

Apple Threatens To Shut Down iTunes Store (Really) If Forced To Pay Higher Rates — While we’re on the subject of music royalty rates… Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) says it might pull the plug on its uber-popular iTunes store if the Copyright Royalty Board jacks up the amount it owes per track that it sells. Yep, the company made the “don’t come near me or I’ll jump” threat in a statement submitted to the board last year, now being reported by Fortune’s David Leonard. He notes that the CRB is set to resolve a price dispute between online music retailers and the National Music Publishers Association, which wants to collect 15 cents per track, up from 9 cents, currently. Apple, represented by the Digital Media Association, would actually like the rate lowered to 4.6 cents or 6 percent of “applicable revenue.”

Digital Media M&A

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

Social Messaging Apps Firm BigString Buys IM Firm Buddystumble — Two companies I had not heard of before, but I guess they exist: BigString, an OTC-traded provider of social networking messaging apps, has bought out Buddystumbler, an IM-based social network that integrates all other major IM clients in an online environment…both of them are similar to the much bigger and well-known Meebo. The deal was done as an all-stock transaction, and future rev share.

Twitter Buys Micro-Blogging Search Site Summize; Reportedly $15MM Cash+Stock — Twitter announced today that it has officially acquired Summize, according to a post written by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. All five of Summize’s engineers will move to San Francisco and take jobs at Twitter, according to the company. “This is an important step forward in the evolution of Twitter as a service and as a company,” Stone wrote. Summize will help users search Twitter and keep up to date with news real-time (which they have already enabled, as shown above and on their site)—two examples they use is keeping up to date on Mars, and what people are thinking of the new Will Smith movie. As for the details, the company says the Summize service and API will be merged with our own and integrated under the Twitter brand. To get an idea of how search works, it can be checked out at search.twitter.com. The terms of the deal were not announced, but Silicon Alley Insider is reporting that Twitter paid $15 million in cash and stock. Twitter has received a lot of criticism recently for its ability to handle all of its traffic, but as of recently seems to be making a bit of a turnaround.

Expedia Buying European Hotels Site Venere — Expedia is following its acquisition of a majority of India’s TravelGuru site by buying Venere.com, an Italy-based travel site listing about 29,000 hotels in Europe and the US, for an undisclosed amount.. All told, it means an extra 10,000 Europe, Middle East and Africa hotels for Expedia. Venere, which has offices in Rome, London and Paris, has been majority-owned by buyout house Advent since 2006, though the four founders retained stakes and still keep hold of those shares. Originally started by Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Expedia was later acquired and spun off by IAC and is steadily building (or, rather, buying) a big footprint, also owning TripAdvisor and Hotels.com. Expedia CEO said Dara Khosrowshahi (via release): “Acquiring Venere will bring a well-known, respected European consumer brand to the Expedia portfolio.”

Merrill Reaches Deal To Sell Bloomberg Stake: Report — And it sounds like earlier details were basically correct… WSJ is reporting that Merrill has reached a deal to sell its 20 percent in financial news service Bloomberg for $4.5-$5 billion. The buyer is Bloomberg LP, which had a right of first refusal. News of an imminent deal at this prace was first reported last week. There’s no word on when the announcement will be made, but it could come as early as tomorrow, when capital-hungry Merill announces quarterly earnings to much anticipation.

Comcast-Owned thePlatform Buys Social Media Apps Firm Chirp Interactive — thePlatform, the broadband and mobile video services provider that is now part of Comcast,, has acquired assets from San Francisco-based Chirp Interactive, a provider of social media applications…some of Chirp’s employees are transitioning into the bigger company. Chirp’s standalone service will not continue, but its community and content discovery features will be integrated within thePlatform’s media publishing system. In addition, thePlatform, based in Seattle, is now expanding into Silicon Valley, including opening a branch office.

Glam Media Uber Alles: Expanding Into Germany, Buying Munich’s Codex Media — Glam Media is opening a German site with help from its backer Burda Cross Media. Glam is also getting some extra assistance from its latest acquisition, Munich-based digital marketing firm Codex Media, the company announced. Terms were not disclosed. The move is part of a wider European expansion Glam has been pursuing lately, including last month’s acquisition of London-based online ad sales rep firm firm Monetise.

Google Buys Russian Search Firm For $140 Million — Fresh from its poor second quarter earnings report, Google is aiming to boost overseas revenues through the acquisition of Russian contextual ad firm ZAO Begun. TechCrunch reports that the search giant has agreed to pay UK-based Rambler Media $140 million for the firm. Rambler owned a 50.1% stake in Begun, but agreed to by the rest of it in order to sell to Google at a profit. The UK company will net about $50 million from the deal. As part of the deal, Rambler will now use Google AdSense for its search and contextual services.