Archive for Glam Media

Articles of the Week

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by Dave Liu

Gijrath Media Group Could Interest Glam Media — Glam Media, the California-based lifestyle media company, would consider discussing a partial acquisition of Dutch peer Gijrath Media Group (GMG), a company
source said. Joint ventures could also be a possibility, the source added.
“We built out our luxury channel not too long ago, so [this] would
definitely be an area that is of interest to us”, the source said. “International [targets are] definitely on the radar in terms of acquisition potential,” the source said when asked about GMG. A sector banker lent credence to the source’s argument, pointing out that the groups could use each other’s content interchangeably in their publications. Other potential US-based suitors for GMG could include Modern Luxury, another American lifestyle media group, a second sector banker suggested. In reaction, GMG’s owner and chief executive officer Yves Gijrath said he “could be open to” approaches by Glam Media or other players. He added that he would have to become better acquainted with Glam Media’s operations before commenting further on the matter. GMG will have 100 full-time employees in 2009. Gijrath confirmed news reports that the recent Amsterdam edition of GMG’s “Millionaire Fair” had revenues of around EUR 200m, according to preliminary figures. He declined to provide further financials. Earlier, Gijrath said the Amsterdam-based company would consider a minority stake sale to an industry player to stimulate growth. Gijrath specified that an external investor must bring more than capital. GMG is also open to joint ventures with industry players, especially outside the Netherlands, he said. A player with a strong profile in the Internet sphere, or a niche player such as Conde Nast, would be an appropriate suitor, Gijrath said. Conde Nast, however, may be scaling back its M&A activity, one sector banker said. He cited the recent dismissal of Kourosh Karimkhany, vice president of corporate development at its sister company, CondeNet, as a signal to this effect. Source: mergermarket.

Hulu CEO: More Global Moves Planned For ’09 — In just a year, Hulu has morphed into what is arguably the most successful television
network online. The co-venture of NBC Universal and News Corp.’s Fox
already is the sixth-most-viewed online video hub, providing insights into
how consumers transfer their television viewing preferences and habits to
the Web. Here’s what Hulu CEO Jason Kilar told MediaPost about that future.

Social Media Wins In Marketers’ ’09 Plans — Marketers are directing their 2009 budgets toward content, custom media and social media initiatives, according to a new study from online marketing resource and vendor-matching tool Junta42. More than half–56%–of marketing and publishing decision-makers plan to increase their content marketing spending next year, Junta42 found after surveying its community of corporate marketers and publishing/agency professionals.

Britain Introduces Movie-Like Ratings For Web Sites — The British
government is looking into rating Web sites in a similar manner to the way
movies are rated by the Motion Picture Association of America in the U.S.
Britain’s Minister For Culture Andy Burnham told The Daily Telegraph that
the government was planning to negotiate age ratings for English language
sites with the administration of President-elect Barack Obama. “The more we
seek international solutions to this stuff — the U.K. and the U.S. working
together — the more that an international norm will set an industry norm,”
Burnham said. “This is an area that is really now coming into full focus.”

Online Advertising To Weather Recession — It matters little what sector you’re in: 2008 was a lousy year for most businesses, particularly
advertising. And if you believe the forecasters, 2009 isn’t supposed to be
much better, either. Just last week, Barclays Capital lowered its
projection for advertising in the U.S. to a negative 10% next year, with
every single traditional media sector receiving a major hit. By comparison,
advertising fell just 1.9% in the 1991 recession, and 6.2% in 2001.
However, while Barclays and others expect the rest of advertising to get
torched, online advertising is still expected to grow between 6 and 10%
next year over 2008 levels. In fact, according to BusinessWeek, advertising
may see the kind of seismic shift next year that is now bringing about
unprecedented changes to the financial and automotive sectors. “The
harbinger of advertising’s radical transformation is the sustained growth
of online,” the report says, noting while the rest of the sector takes a
big hit, “online is holding its own.”

Bonnier Eyeing Six Possible Targets Within Digital Media — Bonnier, the Swedish privately-owned media company, is looking to expand within digital media via acquisitions, according to Svenska Dagbladet. The Swedish daily cited Sara Ohrvall, director at Bonnier, who said that the company needs to grow via acquisitions, especially within new business areas which will help the company move forward quickly. The paper reported that Bonnier is currently eying six possible targets and that most of them are digital media companies and that the acquisitions are to occur both in Sweden and internationally with a focus on the US. The item noted that Bonnier has a turnover of SEK 30bn (EUR 3.1bn). Source: mergermarket.

NYTCo Lays Groundwork To Raise Funds Through Debt, Equity — With a $400 million revolving credit line expiring in May, the New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) continues to put its fund-raising ducks in a row. The latest: an SEC filing setting the stage to secure debt or raise equity. The terms in the prospectus are as vague as possible—an unspecified amount, indeterminate price—and meant to allow the company to move fast should it go this route. Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis explains: ‘In these difficult markets, the company wants to ensure that it has maximum
flexibility and, accordingly, is filing a shelf that would permit it to
offer both debt and equity.” The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) filed a similar prospectus in November for possible debt securities.

Blinkx Debuts ‘Un-Roll’ Streaming Video Ad Unit — In the ongoing pursuit for the killer Web video ad, video search engine blinkx has introduced a new ad unit that allows users to engage with a brand continuously throughout the duration of a streaming video. The Un-roll unit, as the company has dubbed it, was developed in-house by blinkx in response to the industry’s need for an alternative format to traditional pre- and post-roll ads.

Arrington: January Spending To ‘Fall Off A Cliff’ — The U.S. may have been in recession for a year now, but TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington says the fact is that most Internet-base companies haven’t seen their revenues drop yet. Amazon, for example, recently recorded its “best ever” holiday sales period. Of course all that’s about to change for content sites, he says,
starting this week. “Display advertising revenue is going to fall of a
cliff in January according to a number of content sites I’ve spoken with
who rely on advertising for revenue,” Arrington says. One sales exec said
that sales through December remained strong as advertisers used up their
marketing budgets, but “there are few buyers for this next fiscal quarter,
and those few that are buying are looking for steep discounts.”

Digging In To MySpace And Facebook’s (Projected) Slump In Ad Sales — Earlier this month, eMarketer lowered its social media ad spending outlook for 2008 through 2013, with revised forecasts for News Corp.‘s MySpace and Facebook. In an update, the online research firm offers details for why the two nets will take in less money this year: Slower growth overall at FIM: eMarketer lowered its MySpace ad revenue forecast for 2008 by more than 22 percent—from $755 million to $585 million—partly because of slowed revenue growth at parent company Fox Interactive Media (NYSE: NWS) (FIM). Over the course of News Corp.‘s past fiscal year (which includes half of 2007 and half of 2008) FIM’s year-over-year revenue growth sputtered from 87 percent at the end of Q2, to 55 percent in Q3, to just 23 percent in Q4. The downward trend continued in the company’s most recent earnings report: for the quarter ended September 30, 2008, FIM’s revenues were up just 17 percent year-over-year, and eMarketer expects the trend to continue. Just don’t tell that to MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe: at the Reuters Media Summit he said that the social net hadn’t really seen “any impact” from the financial crunch and that he expected revenues to grow next year.

Internet Tops Newspapers As News Source — The Internet is now the most popular source of news after TV, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which released its year-end roundup of news media consumption last week. While TV is still king of the hill, its steady
decline in the face of Internet competition bodes ill in the long term.

ComScore: First Drop In Online Holiday Sales Since 2001 — E-commerce sales fell 3% this holiday season, marking the first drop since 2001, according to data released by comScore. The Web measurement firm attributed the falloff to five less shopping days in 2008 between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the impact of the recession on consumer spending. ComScore had predicted sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 23 would be flat to last year, at $26.3 billion. The total came in shy, at $25.5 billion.

2008: Worst VC-Backed Liquidity Year Since 2003 — With no initial public offerings (IPOs) and just $3.9 billion generated via mergers and
acquisitions (M&As) of 65 venture-backed companies in the fourth quarter,
2008 proved to be the worst year in terms of liquidity for U.S. venture
capitalists since the post-tech-bust doldrums of 2003, according to
official statistics released today by Dow Jones VentureSource (
http://www.venturecapital.dowjones.com). Overall, U.S. venture-backed
companies generated $24.1 billion in liquidity through IPOs and M&As in
2008, down 58% from the $57.6 billion in liquidity produced in 2007. Just
seven companies completed public offerings in 2008, raising $551 million —
a far cry from the $6.8 billion generated through the public listings of 76
companies in 2007 and the lowest totals recorded since VentureSource began tracking the industry in 1992.

Lee Enterprises Says Does Not have Sufficient Cash Flows To Meet Both Its Requirements For 2009 Operations And Repayment Of Pulitzer Notes — In its Form 10-K filed on 31 December, Lee Enterprises made the following disclosure: The Company generated cash flows in 2008 sufficient to reduce net debt by USD 102,225,000, pay dividends totaling USD 32,573,000 and acquire shares of its Common Stock in the amount of USD 19,483,000. The Company does not have sufficient cash flows to meet both its requirements for 2009 operations and repayment of the Pulitzer Notes. 2009 principal payments required under the Credit Agreement totaling USD 142,500,000 are expected to exceed the Company’s cash flows available for such payments. As a result, the Company expects to utilize a portion of its capacity under its revolving credit facility to fund a portion of the 2009 principal payments required. At September 28, 2008, the Company had USD 207,000,000 outstanding under the revolving credit facility, and after consideration of the 2009 Amendments, letters of credit and other commitments, has approximately USD 162,000,000 available for future use. Principal payments under the Credit Agreement totaling USD 166,250,000 are due in 2010. The Company expects to utilize the remainder of its capacity under its revolving credit facility to fund a portion of the 2010 principal payments required. The Pulitzer Notes mature in April 2009. The Company is actively engaged in discussions with the Noteholders, and to the extent their approval may also be required, the Lenders under the Credit Agreement, to extend or refinance the Pulitzer Notes. The Company has also initiated discussions with the Lenders related to changes to the Credit Agreement to maintain sufficient long-term liquidity. However, the timing and ultimate outcome of such discussions cannot be determined at this time due, in part, to the abnormal condition of the domestic credit markets and the overall recessionary operating environment in which the Company, Pulitzer, and other publishing companies are currently operating. Continuing instability or further disruptions of these markets could prohibit or make it more difficult for the Company to access new capital, increase the cost of capital or limit its ability to refinance existing indebtedness. There are numerous potential consequences under the Credit Agreement, and Guaranty Agreement and Note Agreement related to the Pulitzer Notes, if an Event of Default, including expiration of existing waivers, occurs and is not
remedied. Many of those consequences are beyond the control of the Company, Pulitzer, and PD LLC, respectively. The occurrence of one or more Events of Default would give rise to the right of the Lenders or the Noteholders, or both of them, to exercise their remedies under the Credit Agreement and the Note and Guaranty Agreements, respectively, including, without limitation, the right to accelerate all outstanding debt and take actions authorized in such circumstances under applicable collateral security documents, any of which would impair the ability of the Company to operate its business as a going concern. Source: mergermarket.

Microsoft To Lay Off 17% Of Workforce? — Fudzilla, a tech blog, reports that Microsoft may lay off 17% of its work force, or 15,000 people, on Jan. 15, but Silicon Alley Insider contends that a cut of this magnitude is
unlikely. “Unless Microsoft’s business has been absolutely crushed in the
past two months, there is no reason for the company to suddenly cut this
much cost,” writes Henry Blodget. He points out that Microsoft’s margins
are actually fine, as much of the company’s revenue is generated from
multi-year contracts that aren’t expiring anytime soon. Blodget says the
only way Microsoft would lay off this many people is if decided to
eliminate whole businesses, but again, this is unlikely, because the
software giant would be more likely to sell rather than shut down any
divisions it no longer wanted. This includes MSN, which Fudzilla cites as a
major recipient of the pending job cuts. Blodget adds that if Microsoft
wanted to get out of the Internet biz, the best way would be to combine its
online operations with Yahoo and then take a majority stake in the combined entity. However, Microsoft just hired a new head of MSN, and while it’s possible he will make some cuts, “15,000 sounds extreme,” Blodget says.

Publicis Continues To Bet On Internet Ad Spend, Despite The Risks — Looking back at the growing strains on the traditional ad business over the last year, Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Lévy expresses his continued enthusiasm to the NYT that the rise of digital media will save the
industry. Lévy, who spends most of the article professing his ardor for
Barack Obama, says that despite the global economic downturn, online growth will remain solid. As he has maintained since last year, by 2010, Lévy expects 15 percent of global ad spend will be tied to the web. He has also previously said that 25 percent of Publicis’ revenues would be related to the internet by next year, but the NYT interview didn’t include an update
on whether or not Lévy still holds that view. Risks to betting on internet
ad spend: To be sure, banking on the growth of online as traditional ad
spend was cutting back was a fairly safe one when Lévy first made it in May
2007, a Morgan Stanley report on Publicis says that the company might want to rethink its past bets internet gains. “This has recently become a
higher-risk strategy,” the Morgan Stanley report says, pointing to the last
downturn, when online spending suffered the most. Still, the current signs
suggest that even with the significant economic pitfalls, online appears
fairly resilient, although that’s mainly attributable to lower cost search
ads.

Social Gaming: Challenges And Opportunities For ’09 — Social gaming may be a growth sector, but GigaOm’s Wagner James Au warns the coming year will bring challenges as well as opportunities for social gaming startups. One of the biggest challenges, he says, is that the majority of startups are still at the mercy of top social networks like Facebook, which have a habit of suddenly changing their policies. Such changes can have an adverse affect on third party application makers. There’s also unpredictability in competition. Most social networking games are easy to reproduce, so developers often find themselves competing with knockoff versions of their own app. Also, the proliferation of poor quality games could hurt the sector as a whole, says Kristian Segerstrale, CEO and co-founder of Playfish: “Poor quality user experiences or misleading monetization mechanisms like some of the aggressive CPA practices we’ve seen in 2008 could jeopardize the perception of social games and our growth potential as an industry.”

Online Or Bust: Why 2009 May Be The Nail In Newspapers’ Coffin — Optimistic newspaper proprietors like Sly Bailey and Tim Bowdler blame the business’ current malaise (we’ve covered over 1,000 newspaper job losses in UK since October alone) on an advertising downturn that’s merely
“cyclical”. In reality, 2009 is more likely to bring more layoffs, further
consolidation and the death of certain long-running titles than it is a
cyclical upturn in fortunes, as publishers grapple with the truth that
their businesses have changed fundamentally and forever. In 2008, every
newspaper group either cut regional budgets, closed offices, shut titles or
cut staff – in some cases, all of the above. In one way, this is nothing
new – cutbacks are part of life for most newspapers and magazines nowadays. But there’s a strong case for saying 2009 will mark a shift from seasonal, sensible belt-tightening to the long-term shrinking of the newspaper industry in Britain.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2008 by Dave Liu

Google, Yahoo Keep Talking To DoJ On Ad Deal; Strategic Costs From Yahoo’s Side: $73M This Year — Despite some rumbles about the Google-Yahoo ad deal being in regulatory trouble, the two companies insist they are still talking to the U.S. Justice Department about it, CEO Eric Schmidt said today. The companies have extended their discussions with DoJ, it announced earlier this month, though Google had previously said that it would move ahead with implementing the deal in October, with or without approval from antitrust approval. The anti-trust decision is expected anytime now, maybe as soon as this week.

HLTH And WebMD Could Make Buys, Now That Merger Is Canceled — HLTH and WebMD, the two listed medical portals that called off their merger agreement, could make buys, reported the Wall Street Journal. The report, part of a story looking at HLTH and WebMd’s move to call off the merger, cited Martin Wygod, chairman of both companies, as saying that by ending the merger, both companies are in a good position to pursue buys. HTLH of Elmwood Park, New Jersey owns 84% of WebMD of New York. HLTH has a market capitalization of USD 1.7bn. Source: mergermarket.

CBS Interactive Hopes To Gather TV Viewers And Web Users In ‘Social Viewing Rooms’— While the data on how many viewers are watching TV and surfing the web simultaneously has been a little thin the past few years, CBS Interactive (NYSE: CBS) feels it has little to lose with a new service that aims to capture those viewers doing both. Its new Social Viewing Room service will encourage users to watch shows on TV, find like-minded fans and participate in chats around a particular program. This is something that MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA) has pursued for awhile, with shows like The Hills. But CBS, which has historically attracted the oldest audiences of the major broadcasters, has been a little late to the game. At the launch, there are about a dozen shows in the Social Viewing Room. As part of a promotional campaign around CBS’ new service, Intel (NSDQ: INTC) is having its brand “weaved” into the room’s content, which are grouped into three channels—primetime, daytime and CBS Classics.

Music Social Network Imeem In Play; Hires Bank; Laying Off 25 Percent — Online music-focused social network Imeem is on the block, according to our sources, and has hired investment banker Montgomery and Co. to lead the sale. Coincidentally, we have also learned that the company is announcing some layoffs internally today—as much as 25 percent of its around 80-strong workforce. These layoffs are mainly on the technical back end and services side. The company has done its on-demand streaming music deals with all four majors, and has also been working with a slew of indies. As it has built out its platform (it recently relaunched its site/service), and done most of the biz dev deals, the focus now is on growing audience and monetizing the platform…it won’t be needing as much technical expertise going ahead, the sources say, and hence the layoffs.

Glam Media Finds Its Male Side, Launches Brash.com — After offering a hint about its plans last month, female-centric Glam Media has released Brash, its new male-focused lifestyle and entertainment online hub. Brash is being targeted to men 18-49 years old and is beginning life with more than 25 sites including ArtistDirect, DigitalTrends.com, Squidoo and SpirlFrog. Samir Arora, Glam’s CEO, claims that the Brash network has more then 10 million uniques at launch. The network is comprised of five channels: Men’s Lifestyle (Style, Fitness, Travel, Food & Drink), Entertainment (Music, Movies, TV, Games), Tech (Audio, Gadgets, PC & Macs), Auto (Luxury, Sport, SUV, and Sedans) and News (World, US, Politics & Tech). In addition to the site network, Glam has also created BrashTV, a DRM-protected, video distribution platform built on GlamTV. Partners on that offering include Entertainment Studios, CINELAN 3-Minute Films, Howcast.com and VIDCAT.com.

Interwoven’s Adaptive Targeting Personalizes Ads, Content — An optimization platform that delivers targeted ads becomes available today from Interwoven. The Optimost Adaptive Targeting service allows businesses to offer the best combination of advertisements and content based on click patterns and characteristics of those visiting their sites.

Articles of the Day

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

Liberty’s Malone: We’ve Held Limited Talks To Get AOL Access — Talk of a Yahoo-AOL combo has once again heated up, but what becomes of the access business? Its final home could still be Liberty Media. CEO John Malone told the FT that his company and Time Warner have had “limited talks” to swap the declining (but profitable) dial-up business in exchange for Liberty’s stake in Time Warner (NYSE: TWX). Of course, as Malone notes: “Time Warner still needs to divide the business.” Yeah, the process of splitting access and portal isn’t exactly “done” yet. The other party that’s clearly interested in AOL access is EarthLink, which has had some success in improving dial-up profits by cutting costs.

McClatchy Loan Deal Wins It Flexibility—With Costs — The McClatchy Company, like just about every other newspaper publisher, has found itself even more squeezed by the current economic convulsions. On Friday, the Sacramento company announced it has renegotiated $1.175 billion of debt, which includes banks loans and available lines of credit. While the company insisted it was in no danger of default, it needed to amend its debt agreements to alleviate the pressure from falling ad revenues, particularly in its California and Florida markets. But as the company’s SacBee points out, McClatchy will be faced with higher interest rates—about 25 percent extra—and the amount of credit it can access has been reduced. Ultimately, McClatchy’s borrowing costs could increase by $11 million annually, treasurer Elaine Lintecum told SacBee.

Glam Media Readies Male Version; Tries 7 Percent Solution, Cutting Workforce By 14 Jobs — Glam Media, the women’s fashion and entertainment ad net, has had a lot of activity lately. It’s now prepping a men’s channel and ad net with the working title CodeBlue, Venturebeat reports. The content will be comprised of in-house posts and videos in addition to bringing material from outside. The channel is being readied for a November launch under a different name—CodeBlue. NBC/*News Corp.’s* Hulu, Sony Music and MTV are rumored to be signed up as content partners and Glam is said to be talking with other media companies as well. Venturebeat is uncertain as to whether Glam will own CodeBlue completely or if this is to be part of a joint venture. This comes as Glam is cutting 14 jobs, or 7 percent of its 200-person workforce.

Auto Site Autobytel Cuts Staff; Puts Up a For Sale Sign — Online auto site Autobytel, based in Irvine, CA, has laid off about 75 employees under a cost-cutting plan it began last year, it said, citing, as usual, the economy. These represent about 35 percent of its work force. It has also hired RBC Capital Markets to explore a possible sale of the company. “We believe our current stock price as well as overall market conditions are conducive to, and have driven, increased interest in Autobytel from various third parties,” Autobytel CEO Jim Riesenbach said in a statement. The company will record $2.2 million during Q3-Q4 related to severance and other employee-related costs. It expects to save about $10 million each year as the result. In Q2, the company reported revenues of around $19 million, down from $21.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

Health Sites Aim To Stave Off Economic Ills — Health information sites have continued to show growth even as more and more players crowd into the category. Data released earlier this month by comScore showed that traffic in the segment increased 21% in the last year, four times the growth rate of the U.S. Internet audience. But as the wider economic weakness spreads to online advertising, will health sites be immune to the downturn? Driving that surge have been newer properties such as Revolution Health Network–launched by former AOL chairman Steve Case, which nearly tripled traffic to 11.3 million as of July, the rebranded AOL Health, almost doubling to 11 million, and Everyday Health Network, jumping 63% to 14.7 million. Longtime category leader WebMD grew only 3%, but was still comfortably on top with a monthly audience of 17.2 million. The site also boasted the biggest share of views for display advertising, at 18.6%–compared to almost 13% for Revolution Health, 12% for AOL Health, and about 10% for Everyday Health.

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.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2008 by Dave Liu

Yahoo Spells Out Latest Rejection; Icahn Goes Back To Proxy Fight, Says Yahoo Misled Investors — In a new slideshow filed with the SEC, Yahoo has put out the exact details of the fresh offer from Microsoft and Icahn, with an explanation of why it was inadequate. The basic details: Microsoft would pay $1 billion upfront for Yahoo’s search assets. That’s the same as before, and Yahoo says it would be too complex to separate these assets, and beyond that, the money is taxable. Microsoft and Yahoo would enter into an exclusive search ad agreement guaranteed for the next five years. It would pay Yahoo at least $2.3 billion. TAC (traffic acquisition costs) for the first three years would be 85 percent, dropping to 70 percent for the two years following. Yahoo still says this is below its own revenue estimates and that TAC is below market. After the first five years are up, Microsoft could renew for another five years at 70 percent TAC if it’s willing to guarantee at least $3 billion in annual revenue. Yahoo has the right to renew for five more years, but with a guarantee of just $1.6 billion.

NBC And Online Olympic Ad Sales: 85 Percent Sold Out — NBC Universal says advertising inventory for the roughly 2,200 hours of online Olympics coverage next month is about 85 percent sold out, according to tells Mediaweek. Although many popular events—like swimming (Gold Medal finals), volleyball, boxing, track and field and gymnastics —won’t be streamed live, Zach Chapman, director, digital sales for NBC Sports and Olympics, is convinced that office workers will be glued to NBCOlympics.com, its dedicated site for showing the Beijing games, which begins on August 8th.

Netflix Without the DVD: Now Integrated Within XBox; Also NBCU Shows on XBox — After its Roku box integration, which received critical acclaim for ease of use, Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) is continuing on its digital service integration within others: it has just announced a deal with Microsoft, where Xbox 360 will be able to stream thousands (well 10K, compared to its DVD collection of over 100K) of movies/videos onto their TV sets…The service will be free to Xbox Live Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers. Xbox had its own movie collection for streaming and download, but not as many. This surely gives it another boost on its fierce competition with Sony’s PS3. XBox has about 12 million users, so this also give Netflix a big user base, though of course with some duplications. Then of course there’s Apple TV, which competes with these combo services. As an aside, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is a member of Microsoft’s board, so that helps.

Online Ad Prices Fall For Third Consecutive Month — The average price of online advertising inventory dipped slightly between May and June, marking the third consecutive month that online ad prices have fallen. While June’s decline was modest — just a penny per ad — the downward trend signals that the online medium may be suffering from the same economic malaise as the overall media economy. The latest data from PubMatic’s AdPrice Index shows that overall online ad pricing made a less than 1% change, moving from $0.37 to $0.36, but there were a few surprises. Small Web sites (those with less than 1 million page views per month) in June dropped a significant $0.32 from May, landing at an average CPM of $0.81, down from $1.13. Medium Web sites (those with 1 million to 100 million page views per month), however, made a moderate $0.13 jump from $0.33 in May to $0.46 in June. Large Web sites (those with 100 million-plus page views per moth) also rose, but only slightly, moving from May’s $0.21 to June’s $0.23.

AdTech Strikes Deal With Gannett For Online Ad Service — Significantly increasing its U.S. presence, AOL’s AdTech has won the right to manage online advertising for the Gannett Co.’s entire network of Web assets. The rollout ultimately will include all of Gannett’s local newspaper Web sites, the digital properties for its 19 local broadcast markets, and USAToday.com, along with various targeted-media properties, such as Gannett’s network of mom’s sites. Apart from Gannett’s properties, AdTech is presently delivering about 15 billion monthly ad impressions stateside, and 85 billion worldwide.

Glam Media Launches Daily Email Platform — E-publisher and ad network Glam Media on Monday announced the launch of Glam Today, a daily email newsletter and platform. Glam Today, a part of Glam Publisher Media Services, curates and distills the more than 5,000 articles created daily by its network of some 500 sites, including Bag Snob, Simplyrecipes.com, Shake Your Beauty, Glam.com, to name a few.