Growth Of Online Video Slows — Is nothing sacred? According to NBC Universal, ad sales for online video are also slowing down in this economy, casting a shadow over one of the few bright spots in the sullen economy. TV executives in particular had pinned high hopes on online video as sales of TV ads grow sluggish. Online video was growing at an explosive rate and was not expected to significantly diminish. But apparently nothing is safe in the current economic climate, as even Hulu ad sales have slowed: While it’s entire inventory was sold out as recently as August, that is no longer the case.
Yahoo Makes Upgrades To Open Strategy — Yahoo on Monday unveiled upgrades to its Open Strategy, which is aimed at opening up the site to third-party developers and other content and service providers. The enhancements include a “smarter inbox” for Yahoo Mail that sorts incoming mail by priority and allows users to see status updates from friends connected through Yahoo’s universal profile service. The new mail offering also allows outside companies to offer communication applications within the navigation panel.
BT Group Plans Rollout Of Phorm’s Webwise Platform — The U.K. Internet service provider BT Group said Monday it has completed its most recent test of controversial behavioral targeting company Phorm’s platform, Webwise, and expects to roll out the system throughout the network. BT and Phorm refused to answer questions about whether they intend to seek subscribers’ explicit consent before deploying the platform, or whether Webwise will automatically monitor Web activity and serve targeted ads unless subscribers opt out.
BitTorrent Renegotiates Third Round; Takes $10 Million Less Than Before — How long before P2P file-sharing service BitTorrent crashes and burns? The company raised $17 million in a third round over the summer, but according to TechCrunch, it has returned most of those funds to investors DAG Ventures, DCM and Accel Partners in exchange for a smaller, $7 million round. BitTorrent has been trying to develop a more advertiser-friendly online video service, but in a shareholder letter leaked to TechCrunch, the company said its products “were not gaining sufficient traction” and that it would “significantly miss its projections”—causing lead investor DAG Ventures to push for the funding renegotiation. BitTorrent has raised about $40 million in funding since its inception in 2004, but said that this latest development “substantially reduces” its valuation to about $28 million. This news comes about a month after a massive exec shakeup in which both co-founder and president Ashwin Navin and CEO Douglas Walker departed, and about half the staff was fired.
Thanks But No Thanks: Ex-Vodafone Head Not Interested In Yahoo CEO Post After All — Last week, we reported that Arun Sarin was showing strong interest in Yahoo’s now-available CEO position, and this morning we reported that private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has asked him to join as a partner. Now what’s the word? The Financial Times says the former Vodafone chief is no longer interested in succeeding Jerry Yang, partly because of the possibility of Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) being dismembered. Sarin is instead exploring other options, such as the post with KKR. Peter Chernin, president and COO of News Corp., expressed disinterest earlier this month and is still working out his contract with News, which is set to expire in June. Whose name will be floated next?