Archive for Chrome

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2008 by Dave Liu

NBC Universal not shopping iVillage; will not be too active in M&A for next 18-24 months, CEO says — NBC Universal, based in New York City, is not shopping iVillage, CEO Jeff Zucker told this news service. He denied a report in Women’s Wear Daily, which cited a banker as saying that iVillage was for sale. iVillage is an online site for women, featuring horoscopes, health and pregnancy information, message boards and blogs, celebrity gossip, beauty and more. General Electric (NYSE:GE) holds an 80% stake in NBC and Vivendi (EPA:VIV) has a 20% interest. GE, with a market capitalization of roughly USD 200bn, is trading close to its 52-week low of USD 12.58 per share, down from a 52-week high of USD 38.52 per share. Vivendi will continue to be a long-time partner and there has been no discussion of an exit, Zucker said at the UBS 36th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference. Regarding acquisitions, the media conglomerate will not be too active on the M&A front in the next 18 to 24 months, he said. NBC is going to be opportunistic in the short and long term and “playing it safe” in the marketplace, Zucker said. When asked if the company could divest its theme parks, which represent 5% of revenues, Zucker told this new service, “not in this market.” Zucker did play up the company’s cable operations, which comprise 60% of its revenues. During the conference, he said the cable networks are expected to grow at a rate in the double digits even in this depressed market. Source: mergermarket.

AOL Makes Bebo Changes, Announces More To Come — AOL this morning unveiled a makeover for Bebo, the social network purchased by the Time Warner company for $850 million earlier this year. The most prominent of the new features is the “social inbox,” a “one-stop destination” which aggregates email accounts, site recommendations and social media feeds from across the Web. Beyond the new look and features, Kara Swisher says “a more radical series of announcements” is on the way from the U.K.-based company, which users can expect to be rolled out in the New Year. The latter series of changes have impressed Yahoo in particular, Swisher says, which continues to negotiate an AOL buyout with parent Time Warner. As part of the changes, AOL will turn its various social media tools — like chat rooms, news feeds and instant messaging — into embeddable features on any site. The service will be called “Site Social” and will be monetized through AOL’s Platform A advertising system. As one person familiar with the upcoming changes says, “we … have all these tools and want to reach out to publishers who need to socialize their sites and find it hard to do so.”

Yahoo Courts Former Vodafone Head For CEO Post — A new frontrunner has emerged in the race to succeed departing Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang: Arun Sarin, the former head of UK-based Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator. According to The Financial Times, Yahoo has approached Sarin with “strong interest,” although the former Vodafone chief has made no decision on whether to join the ailing Web giant, saying he was considering other offers as well. The report claims that at least one possibility would involve the position of chairman rather than CEO. Sarin stepped down from his post at Vodafone in July after five years with the telecom giant. He is credited with leading the company’s expansion into emerging markets, although he suffered a shareholder revolt in 2006 due to concerns about slowing growth in Vodafone’s core European operations. He was later able to repair relations with investors. Sarin is also the former CEO of Infospace, a once-mighty conglomerate of search engines.

Chrome To Exit Beta, Move Closer To ‘Web OS’ — Google will soon take Chrome, the Web browser the search giant launched last summer, out of beta, vice president Marissa Mayer announced recently at Le Web 08. The move is significant, TechCrunch says, because Google already has a number of eager customers who can’t offer the open source browser until it’s out of beta. With Chrome, Google is essentially trying to redefine the browser around open standards. On Monday, the search giant rolled out a new open source software platform called Native Client, which GigaOm says moves Google “even closer to fulfilling the early promise of a ‘web operating system.”‘ This was one of Microsoft’s original fears when Marc Andreessen brought Netscape to prominence over a decade ago: that the browser maker would be able to offer services and features that compete head on with Microsoft’s desktop software products. Famously, Bill Gates and co. countered with the scripting language ActiveX and the browser Internet Explorer, which ultimately clobbered Java and Netscape.

Goodmail Systems Allows Video In Email — A Silicon Valley company is launching a product early next year that gives movie studios and television networks a compelling new marketing tool. Goodmail Systems has developed a way to insert video directly into emails. When a recipient opens a message, they can almost instantly view a move trailer or promo for an upcoming TV episode.

Google Adds Indie VC To M&A Division — Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has added indie VC Karim Faris to the ranks of its M&A division, peHUB reports. Faris will focus on funding and acquiring smaller companies in the media and Internet space, but his background also meshes quite nicely with Google’s recent forays into energy technology. He sat on the board of Lilliputian Systems, a startup that develops portable fuel cells for electronics, during his four years as a principal at Atlas Venture. Faris also held positions at Level 3 Communications, Intel (NSDQ: INTC), Generation Partners and Morgan Stanley.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2008 by Dave Liu

Google Chrome Passes Opera For Marketshare By One Account — We’re not going to follow this manically but it’s worth checking in on how much-hyped Google Chrome is doing since its Sept. 2 launch. Net Applications puts use eight days in at roughly 1 percent of surfers, compared with 0.74 percent share for Opera in August, according to NewsFactor.com. Or for another comparison, IE 8 beta 2 had 0.34 percent use on Wednesday. Firefox, which recently upgraded was at 19.73 percent. What does it mean? Nothing really except that Google with its wide reach can get from zero to 1 percent and higher when it wants. (That reach would be one of the aspects the Department of Justice is exploring now.) Can it keep share and keep building? I stopped my first trial after a few video crashes and will wait a while before giving it another shot. Chrome has a lot of appeal for those who want fast loading and the Google brand. But, as Yahoo’s (NSDQ: YHOO) David Filo mentioned earlier today, Google has had mixed success.

Yahoo Press Day: Yahoo Music Opens Up, Third-Party Content, Home Page Tweaks — Yahoo to open music site to other services: Scott Moore: “We are going to completely open up Yahoo Music in the next few weeks.” The site will feature info about songs and artists from other services. Liveblogging From Yahoo’s “Open House”: Sexy Email and Barbara Mandrell!: “Moore showed off a new look for Yahoo’s news properties, including substantially more third-party content integration and interchangeable modules. It’s not a new idea, by any stretch, but it looks like a good change. ‘Our users are in control,’ said Moore. ‘We’re not doing this open thing because it is the flavor of the month.’ David Filo: No browser for Yahoo: No Jerry or Sue but co-founder David Filo was on hand and talked to CNET (NSDQ: CNET). Filo: “”I don’t think you’re going to see a browser from us….We’re getting to the point where everything we do is a completely open platform.” As for Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Chrome, too soon to tell: “They’ve been trying a lot of things, most of which won’t go anywhere. This is another thing they’re throwing against the wall.”

Burst Media Launches Entertainment Network — Online ad services company Burst Media has launched a network consisting of some 150 Web sites that reach 21 million unique visitors and deliver nearly 70 million ad impressions each month. The Burst Entertainment Network is designed to appeal to marketers looking to reach film and TV fans, as well as gamers and music aficionados. Sites in the Burst Entertainment Network offer a range of entertainment content and are categorized by genre to allow advertisers to reach distinct audience segments. These genres are Action and Sci-Fi (men 18-34 years), Kids and Family (women with children in household), Comedy and Romance (men and women 18-34 years), and Independent (adults ages 35-54).

Reed Business’ Auction Running Into Trouble? — Reed Business Information’s second round auction may be running into trouble, as bidders are lowering their prices, reports Times UK. There are no bids close to its £1.25 billion ($2.5 billion) asking price and there is talk the unit may be worth as little as £800 million ($1.6 billion), the report says. Yet, there is still hope that Reed may be able to sell as a whole, with Bain Capital believed to be particularly interested, the story says. Is the piecemeal sale still possible?

NBCU’s Strategy On Women’s Sites Appears To Work; Collective Traffic Up 28 Percent — NBC Universal’s strategy to link its women’s sites together in a content and ad network seems to be paying off, traffic- wise at least. The company’s cluster of women-oriented sites operating under the Women@NBCU banner– iVillage.com, BlogHer, Oxygen.com and BravoTV.com—attracted a collective 19.8 million uniques last month, ClickZ reported, citing stats from Media Metrix. That number represents a 28 percent increase over the 15.4 million uniques it had in August 2007, signifiying the 25th straight month of year-over-year growth. Full story —

Dailymotion Selects Poke For Brand Assignment — Video entertainment site Dailymotion has appointed digital specialist agency Poke to assist with positioning its brand for international growth, including branding, digital strategy, Web and interactive marketing initiatives. The activity will be managed internationally, and led by Poke New York. The agency was appointed in a three-way pitch.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , on September 5, 2008 by Dave Liu

Facebook To Earn $35 Million From Virtual Gifts — Venture capitalist Jeremy Liew claims that Facebook will make about $35 million from the sale of virtual gifts this year, equating to roughly 10% of the social networking giant’s revenue. This is just an estimate, of course, as Facebook is a private company with financial details that aren’t easily scrutinized. That said, it has been widely reported that the company will make roughly $300-$350 million this year. The San Jose Mercury News first reported Liew’s analysis, which the paper says he came up with by crunching Facebook’s available data over the last several weeks. Earlier in the year, Liew pegged virtual gift revenue at $15 million, following a similar analysis over a seven-week holiday period. “Ten percent is nothing to sneeze at,’ said Liew, adding that his ‘ballpark’ estimate may be off by 25% or so.

WSJ.com Redesign and Relaunch Coming on Sep 16; May Start Charging Lot More For Tiers — The Wall Street Journal, which is basking in the glory of launching its luxury magazine supplement WSJ, also slipped in a reference to the relaunch of its real WSJ., meaning Wsj.com: after a year and change of redesign effort, it is being launched on Sept. 16 19, with “lots of wonderful gizmos” and a new design providing easier access to fr*ee content, according to Robert Thomson, managing editor of the Journal, speaking to AP. We also expect other DJ online brands like Marketwatch, Barrons.com and others to be better integrated within this relaunch.

JP Morgan Cuts Online Ad Outlook; Gap Between Search And Display Widens — JP Morgan internet analyst Imran Khan is lowering his online ad spend forecast into next year due to the worsening economy. Sensing that marketers are becoming more conservative with their ad spend, Khan expects that long-tail advertisers will shift toward performance-based advertising forms. Therefore, display ads will suffer more than search. And so, JP Morgan is lowering its ‘08 US display market estimate to $8.2 billion from $8.6 billion— or 14 percent year-over-year growth, versus its previous call for 20 percent growth. Looking to ‘09, the analyst is dropping its projected display forecast to $9.4 billion from $10.0 billion (representing 16 percent growth compared to his prior estimate of 17 percent gains.).

Google’s Chrome Already Ranks 12th, Per Hitwise — On Tuesday, the news of the launch of Google’s browser, dubbed Chrome, flooded the major news outlets, both online and off, adding a new competitor to the browser wars between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Firefox. In one day, Google Chrome reached the number twelve ranking in Hitwise’s “Computers & Internet – Software” category out of 2,553 Web sites. Additionally, the market share of visits to Google Chrome was higher than to Mozilla on Tuesday — ranked number 19 — but still fell behind the Microsoft Download Center. The average visit time for the day on Google Chrome was 2 minutes and 48 seconds.

Online Revs Also Falling For Newspapers — We knew things were bad for the newspaper industry, but we didn’t know they were this bad. The Newspaper Association of America on Thursday said that not only did print revenues fall precipitously in the second quarter, but online revenues also fell 2.4% to $777 million. Really? Online revenues? There may be a recession going on outside, but online ad revenues haven’t actually been falling anywhere, not even at AOL. As TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld notes, the common practice of bundling print and online ad sales probably has something to do with the declines, as advertisers trained to buy the entire bundle are probably abandoning the whole package due to budget cuts. “The advertising recession is in full swing, and no segment is safe any longer,” he says.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2008 by Dave Liu

Google To Launch New Web Browser Chrome Tomorrow; Open Source — Update: Google has posted about the new browser on its official blog, and it has posted the comic-book describing the browser online here.. It will launch tomorrow in about 100 countries. From the post: “What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build…Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today’s complex web applications much better. By keeping each tab in an isolated “sandbox”, we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers.” For now, this is Windows version only, and Google is working on Mac and Linux versions too.

Google Ramps Up Madison Avenue Charm Offensive; Agency Reaction Remains Mixed — At best, Google’s attempts to woo agencies and convince account teams that the search giant’s ad moves will not undercut them are getting mixed reviews, a NYT piece suggests. Of course, in some cases, almost nothing will soothe the ire of those like WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, who has only marginally softened his view of Google in recent months—that is, if you consider calling Google a “froe” instead of a “frenemy” is a sign of endearment. Over the course of a year, Google has formed a 40-person contingent charged with working some diplomatic magic with the agencies. The team’s goal is to coax agencies into getting their clients to purchase search ads, YouTube video spots, DoubleClick display ads and other Google products. And so, Google has dispatched the team in the form of a traveling agency show called Campus@, where Google demonstrates new products like its recently released Ad Planner. The presentations resemble the TV network upfronts of past years, with fr*ee food and prizes.

Eric Schmidt: Google-Yahoo Deal On For October — Various state and federal regulatory bodies are still looking into Google’s ad relationship with Yahoo, but CEO Eric Schmidt says the deal is on for October. Schmidt made the remarks in an interview with Bloomberg, while in Denver hanging out at the Democratic National Convention. That regulatory body may seek to block the deal has been a remote, but possible obstacle since it was announced in early June. The companies have always maintained the opinion that they don’t need regulatory approval to go ahead, but that they wanted to give regulators some time to voice any objections now. From the beginning, Google and Yahoo have said they’d wait 3.5 months, about 100 days, to go forward. Meanwhile, in addition to potential trip ups from domestic regulators, Canada’s Competition Bureau is looking into things as well. Fortunately, the companies don’t have to get the blessing of the EU’s hard-nosed regulators, since the agreement only applies to ads served up in the US and in Canada.

Napster: ‘We’re Open To A Sale’; Vote No On The Ice Cream Franchisee — Troubled online music retailer Napster has hired UBS (again) to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. The news was made in a letter to shareholders, urging them not to vote for three outside activists, looking to get representation on the board. In the letter, the company notes that the candidates’ previous work experience—musician, nursing home executive, ice cream franchisee, middle management banking executive—is “irrelevant to a company like Napster.” It also notes that contrary to suggestions, it is open to a sale if that turns out to be the best option. If this all sounds familiar, it is. The company said exactly two years ago that it had retained UBS to explore strategic alternatives. Unfortunately for shareholders, who have seen the stock decline precipitously, that didn’t go anywhere. The difference this time: The stock has gotten so low—trading close to cash, even—that it would be a cheap pickup for many companies. In the meantime, Napster is still doing what it can to breathe some life into its business. It recently launched an ‘everything must go’ sale, temporarily slashing prices on its core service by nearly 50 percent.

Yahoo Shutters Social Net Site Mash — Yahoo is closing down its one-year-old social networking site, Yahoo Mash. The site, which has been in private beta, will shut down Sept. 29. In a post on the site, via the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Matt Warburton, Yahoo Community Manager, writes that the company may have accidentally contacted non-Mash members about the site’s demise. No word was given as to why Yahoo was abandoning the project. As for the actual users—the number of those taking part in the test was not immediately clear—all of the content on their Mash profile will be unavailable after next month. But Warburton said those who have an account with Yahoo 360, the company’s current social net portal, will not be affected. Elsewhere, Yahoo says that users’ 360 profiles will be transitioned to a new system sometime in the second half of the year.

Russian Search Firm Yandex Delays IPO Till Next Year — Yandex, the big Russian search engine, has delayed its much-anticipated IPO until next year, according to local reports. Earlier this year reports came out that Yandex was planning a US IPO and will seek to raise $1.5-$2 billion, at a total valuation of $5 billion. For 2007 Yandex’s revenue was up 130 percent to $167 million from $73 million in the year-ago period. The timeline was expected to be about late fall this year, but with the market conditions being what they are, it is now expected to be next year. All this while, the company hasn’t officially announced anything on the IPO.

Hulu Vs. YouTube — It’s no secret that Google’s YouTube is under-performing in the advertising department. Forbes estimates that YouTube’s ad revenues will reach $200 million this year and $350 million in 2009, while Citi analyst Mark Mahaney thinks the video giant can make $500 million next year if it does a better job selling display ads Even so, TechCrunch contributor Don Reisinger says the question marks continue to hang over YouTube, especially compared to Fox and NBC’s joint venture, Hulu. Hulu served about 88 million videos in May, compared to 4.2 billion for YouTube, but the old media startup has the advantage of being able to serve ads on the vast majority of its videos, whereas YouTube can only serve ads against a paltry three percent-or 126 million videos per month. This, Reisinger points out, nearly levels the playing field. In fact, according to one estimate, Hulu could rake in as much as $90 million in revenue in its first year, which roughly equals YouTube’s domestic revenue. And Hulu largely caters to an American audience, anyway.