Archive for MTV

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2008 by Dave Liu

Platform-A Extended To France — AOL is extending its Platform-A digital ad business to France, following recent launches of the division in the U.K. and Germany. AOL said Platform-A was the leading ad-repping company in France, with an audience of 24 million monthly unique visitors, reaching 8 out of 10 Web users. Platform-A now reaches more than 80 million unique users in Europe, or 76% of the continent’s online audience. AOL’s ad platform will be expanded to other European countries by year’s end, the company said.

Google Pulls Out Of Ad Deal With Yahoo — Google Inc. pulled out of its proposed advertising partnership with Yahoo Inc. under pressure from regulators and clients Wednesday, leaving Yahoo’s future in question as it struggles to maintain its share of the growing market for search advertising on the Internet.
However, by Wednesday afternoon shares of Yahoo had picked up more than 4%, based on hopes that the company might now revive merger talks with erstwhile suitor Microsoft Corp. In a statement on its corporate blog, Google said four months of antitrust review of the Yahoo partnership made clear that regulators and some advertisers “continue to have concerns” about it. “Pressing ahead risked not only a protracted legal battle but also damage to relationships with valued partners,” Google’s chief counsel, David Drummond, said in the statement. “That wouldn’t have been in the long-term interests of Google or our users, so we have decided to end the agreement.” In response, Yahoo said it was disappointed by Google’s move, and maintained that the scuttled partnership would have been constructive for everyone. Yahoo had anticipated seeing hundreds of millions in additional annual revenue as a result of the deal.

Yahoo’s React: Disappointed Google Withdrew, But The Deal Was Only ‘Incremental’ Anyway — Yahoo has come out with its statement about Google’s decision to terminate the search ad pact the pair announced in June. “Yahoo! continues to believe in the benefits of the agreement and is disappointed that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has elected to withdraw from the agreement rather than defend it in court. Google notified Yahoo! of its refusal to move forward with implementation of the agreement following indication from the Department of Justice that it would seek to block it, despite Yahoo!’s proposed revisions to address the DOJ’s concerns.” Though the deal would have enabled Yahoo to speed up investments “in its top business priorities through an infusion of additional operating cash flow,” Yahoo says the benefits would have been merely “incremental” to its product roadmap, which includes crafting more services around search.

Jerry Yang’s Advice To Microsoft—Buy Yahoo — Now that quasi-white knight Google is out of the picture, Yahoo co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang has some advice for Microsoft: “To this day, I believe the best thing for Microsoft to do is to buy Yahoo.” Yang was the evening headliner for Web 2.0 in San Francisco, interviewed by John Battelle. Earlier, Google made its decision to step away from the search deal used like a wreath of garlic cloves to ward off evil Microsoft, rather than face the DOJ. AP reports that Yang also said there are no talks going on but that he and Yahoo’s board “remain open to everything.” You may recall that Yang and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer still disagree about how their talks fell apart the last time, with Ballmer saying he withdrew at $33 when Yahoo and Yang said they wanted $37 per share. Both numbers seem incredibly remote given today’s close of $13.92.

Echostar-Owned Sling Launching Online Video Portal; Hoping For Multi-Screen Convergence — Sling Media, the place- and time-shifting device company that is now owned by Echostar, is launching something that seems counter-intuitive on the face of it: a free, ad-supported online video portal aggregating video from various professional sources like TV networks, studios and other independents. Sling.com will launch as a video portal on Nov 24. Anyone can use the site—they don’t have to be a Slingbox user/subscriber, though if they do have it, they can plug that into Sling.com site, and watch live TV through their own TV boxes (like they do now through their online accounts, only in this case it is all integrated).

AdECN Invites Networks To Test Exchange — Microsoft’s auction-based ad exchange network AdECN is inviting advertising networks that buy and sell online advertising to test its new Federated System, scheduled for release in 2009. The platform from the Carpinteria, Calif.-based AdECN aims to simplify the process by allowing ad networks to use proprietary technology, such as behavioral and demographic targeting and optimization tools.

MTV Taps Quantcast For Audience Tracking — Web ratings startup Quantcast formally announced Tuesday that MTV Networks has signed on to use the company’s online audience-tracking service. With the move, MTV will now also become part of Quantcast’s Qualified Publisher Progam, giving marketers and media buyers access to audience profiles for the network’s properties including MTV.com, ComedyCentral.com and VH1.com. The program, which lets Web publishers receive traffic and usage reports via tags placed in online content, spans more than 80,000 publishers including NBC Universal, CBS, Hachette-Filipacchi and Fox, and 10 million individual sites.

Digital Media M&A

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2008 by Dave Liu

MTV Buys Remaining Stake Of Social Net Aggregator Flux — MTV Networks has acquired Social Project Inc., the company that runs social media aggregator Flux.com, which has been working with the Viacom unit to build up community tools around its sites over the past two years. Terms weren’t disclosed. The announcement was made at a press conference at MTVN’s offices by Mika Salmi, president, global digital media for MTVN (NYSE: VIA). MTVN first invested in Tagworld, which became Social Project, in November 2006. Flux now has 7.6 million, with 2 million adding since opening up its platform last fall.

Online Video Syndication Service Voxant Acquired By Anystream — Online video encoding and content management firm Anystream has acquired another small vendor in its sector: it has bought out online video syndication service Voxant. Financial details were not disclosed. Both of the companies are based in Virginia, and share two venture investors SoftBank Capital and Court Square Ventures, which probably helped in the deal.

Online Streaming Delivery Firm Abacast Buys P2P CDN — More activity in the CDN market: Abacast, the streaming media delivery firm, has bought out a smaller P2P-based CDN Tukati, for an undisclosed sum. The two companies had been partnering for a while… combined they will offer streaming; on demand video, game, and software distribution; progressive video delivery; and push delivery.

BankRate Acquires Bankaholic For Up To $15 Million — Financial info site BankRate is expanding its financial product listings, as it’s acquiring Bankaholic, which provides info on deposits, savings accounts, and money market accounts. The company will pay $12.4 million up front, with another $2.5 million possible earnout over the next 12 months. Bankaholic’s sole employee John Wu will assist in the transition and remain for an unspecified period of time. BankRate, of course, is exposed to some of the nastier aspects of the economy, though it’s held up fairly well and continued to grow. It’s also made acquisitions in order to diversify its range of financial products—last December it acquired Savingforcollege.com and Nationwide Card Services for at least $29 million. The company has also seen competition from TheStreet, which acquired BankingMyWay, a much smaller site with a similar service.

Interactive Marketer ClickSquared Buys UK’s Rocket Science — Looking to expand into Europe, lead gen and email marketer ClickSquared has bought UK online marketing services provider Rocket Science. Terms weren’t disclosed. Waltham, MA.-based ClickSquared says it had been searching for the right European complement for over a year. The company’s European base will operate from Rocket Science’s existing UK offices in Leeds and Middlesbrough. As part of the merger agreement, all of Rocket Science’s 27 staffers will report to Andrew Campbell, managing director ClickSquared Europe.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , on September 16, 2008 by Dave Liu

McClatchy Eliminates Another 1,150 Jobs Or 10 Percent Of Workforce; Sees $100 Million Cost Savings — McClatchy (NYSE: MNI), whose shares have fallen from around $21 to about $3 in the last year, has announced its second big job elimination of the year: The newspaper publisher is cutting 1,150 jobs, or about 10 percent of its workforce. About half will come from “voluntary programs and managed attrition.” Excluding $20 million in severance costs, the company expects the move will save it $100 million over the next year; that represents about 6 percent of trailing twelve month expenses for the company. In June, McClatchy said it was eliminating 1,400 positions (which then also represented 10 percent of its workforce). There had been some hope that further layoffs might be avoided following a wage fr*eeze announced last month. The announcement doesn’t offer a breakdown between editorial and non-editorial eliminations, though CEO Gary Pruitt mentioned efforts to “sustain editorial quality and meet its public service journalism obligations despite some staff reductions.”

Wall St. Turmoil Not Likely To Touch Online Ad Spend; WPP’s Sorrell: Too Soon To Tell — Today’s news about the fall of Lehman Brothers, Bank of America’s planned rescue of Merrill Lynch and insurer AIG’s debt problems isn’t going to have any immediate affect on online ad spending, though residual impact could eventually cause advertisers to pullback somewhat. But for the moment, online ad expenditures are expected to remain stable, since the industry has already been bracing itself for a wider economic retrenchment that started in earnest last year when the mortgage lending crisis first hit ground. For the moment, most agencies are pretty reticent about reacting, opting for the wait and see approach. Responding to a question for what the impact of all this news is likely to have on spending, WPP Group CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said via email: “Far too early to assess, but expect continuation of current trends.”

Time Inc’s Maghound Service Launches Under the Radar; Some Majors Missing — Time Inc has quietly launched its much delayed and much-anticipated online magazine subscription website Maghound. The service, in beta, borrows concepts heavily from Netflix, in that it allows users to choose up to 15 magazines from a broad range of titles for one set monthly fee, with the ability to switch titles at any time. At launch, it has 240 titles, about 40 less that what Time Inc said at a trade show in June, Folio notes. In addition to all Time inc titles, of course, it has titles from Conde Nast (not all), Rodale, and others. Notably missing is any magazine from the Hearst stable, including Esquire, Cosmopolitan and others. Some of the other notables I checked on which are missing are The Atlantic, Business Week, Wired, The Economist, Reader’s Digest, and National Geographic .

MTVN Aims For ‘Tribes’ With Online Ad Net For Its Cable Channels — MTV Networks is readying Tribes, an online ad network tied to its various cable channels, Mediaweek reports. Tribes will pull in outside sites to establish ad sales and content syndication for MTV, VH1, Spike TV and CMT over the next several weeks. At some point after the new year, Comedy Central will get the Tribes treatment as well. Tribes is modeled on the ParentsConnect ad net, which MTVN’s Nickelodeon set up in February, with less than a dozen blogs and sites related to children’s entertainment. The company tells Mediaweek that ParentsConnect now has 46 sites, with more to come. At launch, Tribes is connected with Echo, which is comprised of several fan sites focusing on particular artists like Alicia Keys and Kanye West.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2008 by Dave Liu

Google Search Deal: Clicks On Yahoo Could Cost 22% More — Advertisers could end up paying 22% more for search terms on Yahoo if the Web giant’s proposed paid search partnership with Google comes to fruition, according to new data from SearchIgnite. The search management tech and services firm released a report just hours before the two companies’ top legal brass met with the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee to make the case for their deal.

AOL, Universal Team For Marketing Via Gaming — AOL and NBC Universal Pictures have teamed to market “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” through a series of eight online games dubbed “The Dragon Emperor’s Challenge,” it was announced Tuesday. The games such as “Yeti Throwdown” and “Silk Road Race” aim to build anticipation and buzz for the latest chapter in the “Mummy” series directed by Robert Cohen. Moviefone.com, AOL’s movie news and ticket online destination, will host the games and run the marketing promotion and sweepstakes. The site will release one new game on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next four weeks. Several versions of the ads will appear in theaters, as well as on the NBC networks: NBC, USA, Bravo and SciFi, among others. Game registration and page views for return visits per individual user are benchmarks that will determine success on moviefone.com, according to Kristin Rolla, the site’s director of business and content. “We’ve created a pretty strong template to promote other movies with games, if we had the right partner,” she said.

AOL Launches New Personal Finance Site, Image Gallery—But The Brand Is Absent — Despite shifting focus to an ad-supported business and ad network years ago, AOL can’t seem to shake the image of being known as that dial-up ISP. So rather than continue to fight, AOL is finding that it might just be better to erase it, or at least downplay it somewhat. Case in point: two new channels, a personal finance site called WalletPop and a fr*ee professional images site, Pixcetera, debuted this morning—both without the AOL brand prominently featured on its site (scroll way down) or in the URL. That said, the sites do have the same look and feel of others and AOL’s main page features a link that does connect directly to WalletPop—but the link only says “Money” and doesn’t identify the site by name. As AOL continues its site rollout—the company is in the process of creating a new one aimed at younger women for launch later this year—expect the AOL name to be less and less prominent as the portals become less popular in the minds of users. More details on WalletPop announcement is here.

Yahoo Combining Sports, Entertainment Under Pitaro In Gilford’s Wake — And the winner is James Pitaro … the head of Yahoo Sports gets an expanded portfolio in the wake of Entertainment head Karin Gilford’s departure to Comcast. Pitaro and Gilford each directly reported to Yahoo Media Group’s Scott Moore. Instead of replacing Gilford, a Yahoo spokesman tells us Moore is adding entertainment to Pitaro’s responsibilities by creating a Sports & Entertainment division. Day-to-day operations remain with the GMs of the various entertainment teams: Sibyl Goldman, Yahoo Movies, Yahoo TV, and omg!; Michael Spiegelman, Music; Brandon Holley, Yahoo Shine; and Lauren DeVellier, Yahoo Kids.

TechCrunch To Sell To News Corp.? — Valleywag’s Nicholas Carlson on Tuesday floated the rumor that Michael Arrington’s blog TechCrunch will be imminently sold to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.  Carlson claims that a startup founder over the weekend overheard TechCrunch writers celebrating the sale of TechCrunch to News Corp.’s Fox Interactive Media unit. He said that the deal had been signed but won’t be made public until TechCrunch’s summer party. Another unnamed source corroborated the rumor, but News Corp. flatly denied that a deal was on. Carlson claims Arrington is desperate to sell, but joining FIM “makes little sense on the surface” because, for one thing, FIM chief Peter Levinsohn is far from being one of Arrington’s fans. In fact, he suggests that Arrington’s volatile personality might be the biggest thing standing in the way of a TechCrunch sale. Time Warner’s AOL had been interested in buying TC only for the deal to fall through because AOL “worried about Arrington’s mental stability and doubted whether the brand would survive if the mercurial blogger left.”

MTV Gets Back Into Music Recommendation With ‘Soundtrack’; Rhapsody To Handle Download Sales — MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA), now better known for creating series like The Hills than bringing the world the next Thriller video, is launching a new social net site tomorrow called Soundtrack. The company previewed the site at a small briefing in a plush, living room-like setting at its offices in the Viacom building Tuesday afternoon. While executives sought to avoid any comparisons to MySpace Music or Last.fm, the main point of differentiation is that the song and artist selections on the site are based largely on tunes used within shows on the cable net.