Archive for NBC Universal

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by Dave Liu

Microsoft’s Role In GOOG-YHOO Delay: Outlobbying — So how did Google move from promising to start its deal with Yahoo with or without the regulators to postponing it all within a matter of weeks? Chief among other factors, Microsoft played the DC chess match more deftly, applying its expensive tutoring to starting—and staying—a few moves ahead of Google and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). One excellent illustration from the NYT’s look at the lobbying that has Google on the defensive: Microsoft launched its protest site July 15, while Google waited more than three months after announcing the deal to put up its own explanation. Another example underscores Google’s traditional public self-confidence and how that can chafe the folks with power in Washington. Schmidt promised reporters on Sept. 17 that the partnership would kick in this month with or without Justice approval, while admitting they hadn’t explained it well enough. But a tech lobbyist tells the Times: “I watched that with some amusement because policy makers don’t like to be told that they’re irrelevant, and what that announcement amounted to was they were told they are irrelevant. … Well, they just found out how relevant policy makers are.”

Yahoo Planning Major Job Cuts; Could Be Above Thousand — Various reports are pointing to an inevitable move by Yahoo to cut a good number of jobs, as many as above thousand. This comes as the company is set to announce its Q3 earnings on Tuesday and the picture may not be pretty. Besides these layoffs, many other cost cutting measures will be announced, reports WSJ. Yahoo managers have been asked to cut operating budgets by 15 percent, and the company has recently let go of two to three dozen external recruiters, WSJ says, citing sources. The company fired about 1,000 workers in January this year. The company had about 14,300 employees worldwide at the end of June. With the economy being in the shape it is, some of this is the usual belt tightening, but for Yahoo, the issues are more dire. With the fallen MSFT deal, the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) search deal stuck in regulatory issues, competitive pressure increasing from all sides, and major slowdown in display advertising online, Yahoo’s time is running out on multiple fronts.

Doomsayers Turn To Online Ads; Space Is Still Resilient, But Affiliate Deals Could Help — When the economy really started heading downhill last year, the thinking was that the migration of ad budgets from traditional to digital would accelerate. Now, with pessimism settling in after another turbulent week in the financial markets, the doomsayers are turning to online. AdAge looks at the prospects of online publishers to sustain themselves on advertising alone and concludes that most will not. It also revisits the outlook for the 400-plus remnant ad networks and finds that consolidation is likely to begin happening sooner rather than later.

NBC Universal Calling For $500 Million Budget Cuts Next Year; Layoffs At Telemundo — Now onto the big media side of retrenchments and belt tightening, NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) CEO Jeff Zucker is asking for $500 million of budget cuts next year, which is about 3 percent of the company’s total budget. He outlined this to staffers in a memo late today, reports B&C. From the memo: “While each business leader has flexibility in how to meet this goal, we have asked them to focus on three areas: reductions in promotion expenses; in discretionary spending, such as travel and entertainment and outside consultants; and in staffing costs.”

Facebook Wants Music, But Doesn’t Want To Tangle With Labels — Buoyed perhaps by the frenzy surrounding the launch of MySpace Music last month, Facebook is revealing more details about its musical ambitions, the New York Post reports. We have heard about this a few times before, but the project is not as much a “me too” play as was previously thought. Differences: Facebook doesn’t want to give away equity: MySpace Music traded equity in exchange for securing licenses to various tracks from its four partners: Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group and EMI. Facebook doesn’t even want to deal with the hassle of acquiring those licenses, let alone offering up equity in exchange. Still Zuckerberg and other execs have continued to meet with label execs to broker some kind of deal. Facebook doesn’t want to build a whole new site: The network doesn’t want to “bog itself down” with the development of an additional property, seeking instead to integrate more deeply with existing music partners like Rhapsody.com, iMeem.com, iLike.com, and Lala.com.

Nielsen To Shutter “Hey Nielsen” Social Network/Market Research Hybrid — Nielsen is shutting down its social network-market research hybrid “Hey! Nielsen,” Mediapost reports. Seems like it was only a matter of time. The community, which officially launched in conjunction with Superbowl XLI in January, was sort of an odd play for the media ratings and research giant. Designed to be both a tool to gauge feedback about various Nielsen products and services, as well as a way for the company to understand the evolution of social media as a whole, it attracted mostly rabid entertainment junkies and media industry insiders—not exactly a representative sample.

News Corp Annual Meeting: Questions About Bailouts; A Deal With Redstone? Murdoch: No, And No — Rupert Murdoch began the News Corp (NYSE: NWS). shareholder meeting going through details of the terms of the company’s board of director elections (all were re-elected). The meeting is in progress now at the Hudson Theater just off of Times Square. Over the course of the meeting, Murdoch showed traces of annoyance and amusement with some of the shareholders’ wide-ranging questions, as did much of the audience. During his presentation, he sought to boast of News Corp.’s success in cable, broadcast and even newspapers—mostly outside the U.S. except for WSJ— as a bulwark against an economic storm that looks to be increasingly grim and protracted.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2008 by Dave Liu

Google, Yahoo In Talks To Fend Off Antitrust Action: Report — Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) are in talks with the Justice Department over their proposed ad deal, in an effort to head off an antitrust challenge, reports WSJ, citing sources. While the regulatory investigators are building their case to block this deal, settlement talks are also in an early stage. The drumbeat against the deal has been steadily growing louder over the last month or so, as rival companies and associations have come out against the search ad deal. In settlement talks, the two companies are considering some concessions, including lowering the volume of queries on Yahoo on which Google’s ads would be shown, and that Yahoo would continue to be a search ad player and not abandon it. Also, a reporting mechanism that would ensure compliance (and also monitor ad pricing) is also being considered, the story says.

NBCU Local Sites Look Beyond TV — NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) is widening the purview of its local TV stations’ sites, even as it tries to downplay the sites’ identities as broadcast extensions. The sites, which are being relaunched around station sites in nine cites, are being encouraged to develop their individuality and not have a uniform look and feel. And to achieve that, the sites will go beyond the 6- and 11 p.m. newscasts to begin aggregating content from outside bloggers and news sites. From an ad standpoint, John Wallace, president of NBC Local Media, said that this is all an effort to attract a more narrow group of “influencers” to the sites. The announcement is seen as part of a gradual move to establish the TV station sites as hyperlocal hubs in cities such as LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York.

Joost Launches Flash Version For Browsers: Easier But No Hulu — Online video site Joost is finally, officially easier to use. The Flash-based, download-free version for browsers can be accessed now but the full-featured version is supposed to launch at midnight. Joost boasts of having the “largest online library of legal video programming.” The company says it has doubled the number of videos in the past 10 months to more than 46,000 with a 50 percent increase in hours for a total of more than 8,000 hours. Content partners include investors CBS (NYSE: CBS) and Viacom; Sony (NYSE: SNE) Pictures Television; Warner Bros. Television Group; the NBA; PBS and a number of international providers.

Yahoo Faces Another Seach Ad Challenger: YouTube — While the search ad pact between Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) has been placed on hold until the Department of Justice determines whether to block it or not, YouTube has quietly moved into the number two search ad driver—a spot Yahoo had held since the rise of Google, according to comScore figures. AdAge shows how Google hopes that its latest strategy to prompt YouTube into an important revenue driver involves taking a page from its own successful formula. The move comes on the heels of YouTube’s other recent ad plans, including adding affiliate sales links to its videos.

Nielsen Online Launches Chinese Venture — Nielsen Online has formed a joint venture with the parent of ChinaRank, which publishes Web site rankings in China, to track Internet use in the country. The new venture, CR-Nielsen, will be the first company to provide standard Internet measures such as traffic figures in China. “With more than 250 million Internet users, China represents a significant opportunity for our clients, and there has been a loud call to support this expanding market with high-quality, independent online measurement services,” said Itzhak Fisher, executive chairman of Nielsen Online, in a statement.

Articles of the Day

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

Newspapers Cope With Ad Slowdown: Hold Back On Inventory And Ad Nets — The NYT weighs in on newspapers’ struggles amid the online ad slowdown and surveys a number of different strategies being employed. McClatchy, for one, says they are decidedly reducing the number of online ad units in invetory. “It is a case where yeah, you could probably sell another advertiser by creating another ad space,” but that would tend to depress overall revenue, says Christian Hendricks, VP for interactive media at McClatchy. The publisher’s Q2 internet revs climbed 12.5 percent, which represents about 11.8 percent of its total ad revs from that period.

MySpace Expands Self-Serve MyAds Display Ad Service — MySpace’s hyping up its expanded self-serve ad service like the second coming of, well, Google AdWords. After being in test for almost a year, the company is launching its MySpace MyAds product in open beta tonight. The social network has been using what it calls hypertargeting to allow its brand advertisers capability to micro-target users with ads. But this expanded MyAds platform will allow anyone to create an account, choose from among 1100 niche categories, upload/choose creatives and start an ad campaign, targeting the 76 million U.S. MySpace users. This is a display ad system, unlike Google’s text based ad system (at least on its own site), but like Google and others, is a CPC system. Also, like Google, it has build an analytics tool for the self-serve users…from the screenshot I saw, it does look a lot like Google Analytics. It hypertargeting service allows advertisers to target ads based on the interest that MySpace users display on their profile pages. The new MyAds service allows targeting parameters such as age, sex, geographical location, combining it with user interest categories including specific keywords within each category. For example, within the ‘videogame’ enthusiast category, a further targeting keyword or phrase might include ‘Call of Duty 5’ if relevant to an advertiser’s campaign, the company explains.

Small Yahoo Investor Asks MSFT To Rebid At $22; Asking For Asia Spinoff; Shares Below $12 — At the rate it is going, $15 per share might sound enticing to Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) after a while. A small Yahoo investor Mithras Capital has put out a proposal asking MSFT to rebid for the company at $22 a share, reports Reuters. As part of a proposed deal, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) would unload Yahoo’s Asian assets and non-search businesses, extract $3 billion worth of cost savings and receive $2.8 billion of tax benefits, which means MSFT will pay $10.3 billion for Yahoo’s search business (about $2 billion less than it was willing to pay earlier in the summer for search portion). It also calls for Yahoo to drop its poison pill, while valuing Yahoo’s Asian assets at $7.2 billion and its non-search business at $4.5 billion. Earlier this year Mithras backed Carl Icahn’s stake in the company. Yahoo’s shares hit a five year low yesterday, and today is down about 2 percent today to trade below $13. The Yahoo-Google (NSDQ: GOOG) ad deal is certainly going to be mired in regulatory issues in a while, and any Yahoo-AOL (NYSE: TWX) combination would also face somewhat similar regulatory issues.

Earnings: GE Q3 Earnings Meet Lowered Expectations; NBCU Profit Up 10 Percent — Late last month, General Electric chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt lowered the company’s Q3 guidance dramatically and today it met those expectations. We’ll see if the inoculation—and the subsequent infusion from Warren Buffett—helped when the market opens. In the meantime, a quick look at the results: Earnings from continuing operations dropped 12 percent to $4.5 billion from $5.1 billion on Q307, with a corresponding 10 percent decrease in earnings per share to 45 cents from 50 cents. (Including all operations, earning dropped 22 percent.) Revenues from continuing operations were $47.2 billion, up 11 percent over $42.5 billion in the same quarter last year. Growth in infrastructure and media were countered by a sharp decline in financial services.

RBI Sale At Risk Of Falling Through As Bidding Price Drops To $1.7 billion — Reed Elsevier’s troubled attempt to sell-off its UK B2B division Reed Business Information appears to be in big trouble with the news that bids for the company since August have fallen about a half-million dollars, according to Bloomberg. Two unidentified sources close to the deal told the news service the bids have dropped to about $1.7 billion (£97 million) from $2.3 billion (£1.3 billion). The company has struggled to attract the financing needed to seal the deal since the sale was announced in February. Merrill Lynch analyst Paul Sullivan said in a note that the risk of the sale “being delayed or falling through has clearly increased”. The markets were unimpressed and shares in Reed Elsevier dipped 6.4 percent to 468.25 pence at 1.34pm in London trading today, its lowest value since February 2004.

Time CEO Anne Moore Rules Out IPC Media Sale; Announces Two-Year Plan to Counter Downturn — She might run the biggest magazine company in the world in a time of falling advertising revenue and dwindling sales, but Time Inc’s (NYSE:TWX) CEO and Chairman Anne Moore doesn’t sound too concerned. She tells The Times of a two-year strategy to get her company, owner of consumer UK magazine publisher IPC Media, through the downturn—which will look to address its nine percent Q208 drop in ad revenue. Digital revenues grew 73 percent in 2007 and now make up 15 percent of the group’s total ad revenue. Moore considers Time not a magazine publisher but a “content company” But as The Times’s Dan Sabbagh writes: “Nevertheless, print magazine advertising is heading south this year, and digital growth in 2008 will miss the previous 53 per cent target”.

Economic Meltdown Strikes Viacom, CBS Corp.; Both Warn Investors On Lowered Outlook — It looks to be a brutal Q3 reporting season: Both Viacom (NYSE: VIA) and CBS (NYSE: CBS) Corp have cut their respective outlooks, warning investors that they have been taking a hit on the ad slowdown and the wider economic pain touching all businesses right now. Reuters: Viacom’s Q3 earnings will come in at least 10 percent short of Wall Street estimates. The company pinned the decline on the worsening ad revenue picture. That news quickly shot Viacom’s stock down 20 percent. Viacom Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman issued a statement saying the media giant, which owns MTV Networks and Paramount, was “moderating our near-term targets” in light of the dismal economy. In its Q2 earnings report, Viacom pointed to both retail and automotives categories as the reason for lower than expected revenues at its cable TV properties. While they held back on strong prediction for Q3, it’s clear they couldn’t foresee how bad things have gotten. Neither have financial analysts, who keep revising their forecasts downward. In a statement, the company is forecasting a 2 percent drop in global ad revenues, with a decrease of roughly 3 percent in the U.S. and an 8 percent gain internationally. The company will release its full Q3 results on Nov. 3.

Articles of the Day

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

Yahoo’s New Board To Meet Next Week — Yahoo’s newly reconstituted board will meet for the first time next week, giving activist investor Carl Icahn his first chance at seeing the company workings from the inside, reports WSJ. The two other Icahn-supported board members, Frank Biondi and John Chapple, will also be there at the meeting this Tuesday. WSJ says it is not yet clear if Icahn will show up personally. At the meeting, the board members will get an update on the still-ongoing talks between Yahoo and Time Warner/AOL (NYSE: TWX), and a possible combination. For now any talks are on a slow burner. Also, for sure, the Google-Yahoo advertising partnership and potential regulatory issues will be discussed.

Facebook Plotting Beacon’s Full Return? Users Continue Rebellion Against Redesign — While the number of Facebook users that have signed up to protest the social net’s redesign represents only a fraction its 100 million members, the movement continues to gain attention. Over the past few months, dozens of groups have popped up on Facebook to voice displeasure at the changes. As USAT notes, one group has attracted 1 million members. The changes include separating members’ profile info into different areas of the site. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he’s seen this kind of thing before—such as when the site first introduced the “news feed” feature two years ago. And it doesn’t appear as though the protests are going to lead to any mass defections. But one change that did quickly blow up in the social net’s face was last year’s Project Beacon ad program. A number of reports in the past week indicate that Facebook might be reviving Beacon.

Microsoft Rushes To Defend Display Ads; Now If Only Marketers Would, Too — As recent online ad spend reports have shown, the display business has been having a tough year—and this past week’s market shocks suggest it’s only going to get worse. Companies like AOL (NYSE: TWX), Yahoo and Microsoft have made big bets on display taking off, and the pain of display’s decline could become acute. Microsoft, for one, feels enough is enough, and is stepping up efforts to convince advertisers to consider display, WSJ reports. Microsoft says it can prove that display is a better motivator of consumer behavior than search. The company plans to present its data, which was compiled by its ad serving unit, Atlas Institute, to agencies in round of upcoming meetings. While Microsoft has a search ad business too, it is more dependent on display sales. That said, the company says that the Atlas’ research on display began two years ago, long before it bought the ad serving firm. While Microsoft hopes its numbers will convince advertisers, the company has been oddly silent about promoting it publicly and in detail.

China’s Focus Media To IPO Its Allyes Internet Ad Business; Valued At $1-$1.5 Billion? — Chinese advertising firm Focus Media is primarily engaged in the out-of-home market, but it does have a fast-growing, internet business that it acquired just last year for $300 million… And now the company plans to do a spinoff of the unit (Allyes Online Media Holdings) via an IPO. The company said in a release this morning that it would commence the IPO following an F-1 filing and “as market conditions permit”, which could be a while. The internet business at Focus is hot. In August the company said revenue grew 201 percent in the quarter, accounting for $76.1 million of the company’s total $211.7 million in revenue. Given this growth and the market’s longstanding love of all things Chinese internet, it’s no surprise that the company would want to take this business out from under the parent company’s umbrella.

Informa Bid Collapses; Consortium Could Not Raise More Cash — The leading bid for Lloyd’s List B2B publisher and Datamonitor operator Informa has been scuppered by the state of the financial markets. Providence, bidding with Blackstone and Carlyle, offered 450p per share (£1.9 billion), but the trio said they were unable to get financing to fund a higher offer. Informa will now be betting it can weather the economic storm – its shares closed 32 percent below the offer price yesterday at 342p. With so many other B2B outfits in play right now, it’s testing times. Reed Elsevier said in August its planned divestment of Reed Business Information could take place as early as October.

Sugar, Inc. Launches Blog Platform With Retail Rev Stream — An interesting move from Sugar Inc. following its mid-summer course correction with NBC Universal … the blog network opened its publishing platform to its readers today with OnSugar beta promising “sweet & simple publishing.” The concept: give users the tools to do what the Sugar pros do, increase engagement and add to revenue starting with retail links served up with the new blogs. CEO Brian Sugar said the move doesn’t preclude a Sugar ad network but this and other recent actions suggest that Sugar is still focused on realizing its own potential as a network.

Articles of the Day

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

Cuil’s Too-Cool Valuation: $200 Million — At least it has a valuation worthy of the hype… Cuil, the recently launched search startup, mainly known for the yawning gap between the quality of the site and the amount of press it got, is valued at $200 million by its investors. The number was determined by PE Data Center (via VentureBeat), using public records, going back to its incorporation in late 2006. Besides the eye-popping headline price, the analysis provides a good glimpse into the mechanism for achieving this valuation, which jumped rapidly from $32 million in early 2007, to the latest price, set later that year, when it raised $25 million, for a total raise of about $33 million. The amount raised had been publicly known, so the story isn’t just that they raised a lot (which they did), but that the founders (with Googly resumes), could get such favorable terms. Meanwhile the chief investor, Madrone Capital, which manages the money of the *Wal-Mart* heirs, did a rather un-Wal-Mart job of getting a bargain.

Content Partnerships Set, Linkedin Now Readies Ad Network — Over the past few months, LinkedIn has sought to make itself more than just an online directory for professionals by striking various content-related deals with the likes of BusinessWeek, NYT and CNBC. With those in place, it’s time for the next step: forming an ad network. Dubbed the LinkedIn Audience Network, the social net is promising to make it easier to reach its 27 million members. The company’s announcement was fairly reticent on the details, such as what other sites it is including in the network. The new program is primarily about expanding existing ad targeting through LinkedIn’s inCrowds—which lists members according to pre-defined and scalable audience segments such as corporate execs, small business professionals and IT workers. Advertisers can also can work with LinkedIn to create their own custom audience segments. The company says the non-personally identifiable data it will make available to advertisers includes industry, job function, seniority, company size, gender and geography.

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? As for who’s in and who’s out in second round.

EA Terminates Acquisition Discussion With Take-Two — After seven months of back and forth, Electronic Arts has terminated its takeover talks with game publisher Take-Two. It announced in a statement today that “while EA continues to have a high regard for Take-Two’s creative teams and products, after careful consideration, including a management presentation and review of other due diligence materials provided by Take-Two Interactive Software, EA has decided not to make a proposal to acquire Take-Two and has terminated discussions with Take-Two.” This after FTC cleared EA’s bid in August, and it seemed the two were in confidential negotiations to come to some agreement. EA first offered $26 per share in February, and then lowered to $25.74.

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.

More MySpace Music: Raising PE Money?; Not 15th; CEO Shortlist; Advertisers — MySpace Music, which was originally expected to launch Monday, is now pushed to later in the week, and other drib drabs about it are leaking out. We had some details earlier on Friday. New PE Funding?: Very much like Hulu. the other digital video JV, MySpace Music, which has investments from the three studios, is looking to raise PE money, reports TC. The post says it is looking to raise “well over $100 million, at a valuation of $2 billion or more.” Providence Equity Partners, which invested $100 million in Hulu at $1 billion valuation, is reported to be looking at investing. Staci adds: Well, yes, News Corp would love a $2 billion-plus valuation—think Facebook—but that doesn’t make it so; that’s their number, not something anyone has agreed to but again, think Facebook and Microsoft. Call it a case of headline valuation versus real valuation. Providence would be a natural investor given that the two already have a good relationship aided by the way Hulu is so far delivering on its promise. MySpace Music is different, though. As one person familiar with the thinking explained it, Hulu is its own company for the most part while MySpace Music is really like a company with MySpace—and with more parties involved. On the other hand, unlike Hulu, which has had to build an audience, even though the music itself is fairly ubiquitous, MySpace Music could launch as the number 1 music site or pretty close to it.

WSJ.com Relaunches During Financial News Meltdown; Glossy New Look, Business Song Remains The Same — It’s either the best of times or the worst of times for the long-awaited relaunch of WSJ.com. With all the tectonic shifts on Wall Street—Lehman Bros. on the verge of bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch in buyout talks with Bank of America, AIG starting a massive reorg, just to name a few—if all goes as planned, WSJ.com readers will see a completely new site Tuesday `morning. Ditto for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network as Dow Jones implements a massive online makeover in the works even before News Corp took over. The familiar blue and white no longer dominates, making way for a glossier look with charcoal backgrounds and beige accents, presaged by the microsite for the new WSJ. magazine. Even the masthead is charcoal. Even though this redesign moves the site further away from the newspaper, the overall look has the kind of elegance of the print Journal at its best. From a usability standpoint, the most dramatic changes are the elimination of the left-hand navigation and the shift from mirroring newspaper sections to an online-centric organization.

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 August 4, 2008 by Dave Liu

Microsoft Reveals Post-Windows Plan — Microsoft has kicked off a research project to create software that will take over when it retires Windows. Called Midori, the cut-down operating system is radically different to Microsoft’s older programs. It is centred on the internet and does away with the dependencies that tie Windows to a single PC. It is seen as Microsoft’s answer to rivals’ use of “virtualisation” as a way to solve many of the problems of modern-day computing.

Yahoo Vote Reveals 85% Back CEO Yang And 76% Support Current Directors As Chairman Defends Stance On Microsoft — Yahoo’s shareholders have demonstrated their support for the California-based internet company yesterday at its AGM, The Times reported. The report from the meeting, said shareholders controlling 85% of shares voted to support chief executive Jerry Yang while 76% backed the current slate of nine directors. The item quoted Roy Bostock, chairman, who defended himself against allegations he mishandled a USD 47bn takeover proposal earlier this year from the software giant Microsoft. Bostock said the Yahoo board had always been open to doing a deal, had actively engaged with Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and had never resisted the idea of the proposed transaction. He added that shareholder value had been discussed at every meeting between the two sides. He went on to say that Microsoft had not formally presented Yahoo with the prospect of an increased offer, although a slightly revised bid was mentioned verbally in a casual way. He added that he did not have any idea why Microsoft ultimately walked away from the negotiations, the item reported. It said he also believed Microsoft had never fully engaged with Yahoo when it requested deeper talks on a potential alliance.

GE: No Plans To Sell NBC Universal — General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has no plans to sell its NBC Universal media unit and is on track to double its China annual revenue to $10 billion by 2010, a top executive said on Monday. Some investors have said they would like Chief Executive Jeff Immelt to consider selling NBC after the Olympics because it is growing more slowly than GE’s infrastructure businesses. NBC, which is 80 percent-owned by GE, is broadcasting the August 8-24 Games in the United States. France’s Vivendi (VIV.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) holds the remaining 20 percent of the media company. GE has generated $1.7 billion of total revenues from Olympics-related business, of which $1 billion is from advertisements for NBC and $700 million from other GE divisions, she said. Her predecessor, Daniel Henson, said in July 2007 that GE expected $500-$600 million worth of revenue from the Olympics. GE generated $150 million of the extra business by dangling the Beijing Games as an incentive for its sales teams, Comstock added.

AOL Relaunches Video Site — AOL is relaunching its AOL Video portal today with new features and increased integration into the Web giant’s varying programming sites. Timed to the second anniversary of the original launch, the newly redesigned site provides access to over 200 million videos and a new feature to assist in finding relevant clips, as well as new advertising capabilities.

AOL’s Dial-Up and Portal Split Done; Cue Up the Candidates — Time Warner has completed the financial work necessary to split AOL’s business into two: one its fast-declining dial-up business, and the other one is a mix of its portal and advertising businesses. The process was started earlier this year, and was delayed by about a month, but will now be announced this Wednesday along with TW’s Q208 earnings, reports WSJ. The company has indicated it wants to sell off the dial-up part, and EarthLink indicated last week it wants to buy it. As for the portal-ad side of the business, with the Yahoo-Microsoft possibilities diminished, AOL (NYSE: TWX) is a target for both the companies.