Archive for Nielsen

Articles of the Day

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

In Followup To TNS Takeover, WPP And Nielsen Trade Research Assets — UK ad-holding company WPP Group, fresh off its takeover of audience researcher
TNS, has sold its 50 percent stake in TV researcher AGB Nielsen Media
Research to Nielsen. In return, Nielsen will transfer to WPP the assets of
ad-pricing researcher SRDS and health-care media-planning data unit
PERQ/HCI. Nielsen will also give over its 11 percent share in several
subsidiaries belonging to Brazilian media research firm IBOPE Group. WPP
already holds a 31 percent stake in IBOPE. These assets will be added to
The Kantar Group, WPP’s information, insight and consultancy division. For
the past year, WPP has been ramping up its investments in emerging markets
like Brazil, so aside from unloading its stake in a TV researcher it
doesn’t need after acquiring TNS, the move fits with WPP’s interest in
adding assets in Latin America.

Facebook Triples Mobile Traffic — Facebook has tripled its mobile audience
to 15 million in the last year, according to a recent post on the company
blog. The m.facebook.com site allows users to receive notifications or
update their status with text messages, as well as access applications for
devices such as the Treo, BlackBerry and iPhone. Julie Ask, a
JupiterResearch analyst who covers the wireless space, called Facebook’s 15
million mobile users “a big milestone,” in a blog post. “I think this
number will only continue to grow and everyone in the ecosystem will
benefit.”

ComScore: Everyday Health Is Top Health Site In October — The Everyday
Health Network became the largest health site in October following its
merger with the Revolution Health Network last month. Everyday Health had
25.7 million unique visitors, topping longtime category leader WebMD, which
drew 19.6 million, according to comScore. AOL Health was a distant third,
with 10.4 million. Waterfront Media’s Everyday Health and Revolution
Health–started by former AOL Chairman and CEO Steve Case–joined forces in
a deal valued at $300 million with the expressed aim of toppling WebMD as
the No. 1 online health property.

Will Local Online Slow in 2009? — Flashy formats draw more attention, but
still lag in dollars spent. Local online ad spending growth will reach 7.8%
in 2009, down from 47% in 2008, according to a November 2008 estimate by
Borrell Associates. The company said projections of double- and
triple-digit increases in local media companies’ 2009 interactive budgets
would be tough to meet, and that banner ads would be particularly hard hit.
An October 2008 projection by ThinkPanmure also sees slowed growth for
local online ad spending. The company estimated that growth would slip to
11% in 2009—still double digits—down from 27% in 2008.

Google Unveils Video App For Gmail — Just in time for the recession,
Google on Tuesday unveiled a free browser plug-in that allows Gmail users
to conduct voice and video chat with other Gmail users. The plug-in
requires an Intel-based computer running either Mac OS X or Windows XP or
Vista, a Web cam and/or a microphone. It works with Firefox 2.0+, Internet
Explorer 7.0, Safari 3.0 and Chrome.

Pay-For Content Set To Grow Faster Than Free, With Music Leading The Way,
Forecast Says
— Maybe there are legs after all to that hypothesis on the
return of pay-for content – the one Economist publisher Paul Rossi
suggested at our Future Of Business Media conference last month. Just 12
percent of European web users paid for online content last year, but that’s
due to rise to 19 percent by 2013, a new Jupiterresearch report says:
“While fr*ee content will continue to dominate, as overall online audiences
for all content categories continue to grow, so the number of European

users willing to pay for content online will grow at an even greater rate.”

Vivian Schiller Leaves NYT; Joins NPR As New CEO — This one is a shocker:
Vivian Schiller, the longtime head of NYTimes.com’s digital efforts, has
left the company, and has joined National Public Radio as its new CEO. She
succeeds Dennis Haarsager, who has served as interim CEO since March, after
Ken Stern left abruptly after internal discord. Also recently, Kinsey
Wilson, the executive editor of USA Today and previously the editor of
USAToday.com, left the paper and joined NPR as its digital head. With two
digital vets at NPR, its already formidable online presence and reputation
should grow, if only they can prevent getting mired in all the politics at
the company and its member stations. (Our interview with Schiller is here.)

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 August 5, 2008 by Dave Liu

MySpace Banks On ‘Hypertargeting,’ But Plain Targeted Ads Continue To Suffice — Although MySpace continues to maintain that its hypertargeting solution will ultimately lead to higher revenues, significant hurdles remain. A day before the Fox Interactive Media unit’s parent News Corp (NYSE: NWS). releases its Q2 earnings, WSJ outlines the challenges to greater ad spending on MySpace. While FIM has touted the importance of hypertargeting, executives are taking care not to talk it up too much. Keeping investors in mind, the company often highlights its $900 million, three-year deal with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) for featuring sponsored links on MySpace. And ads that take over the site’s home page are also a source of value. Executives also argue that the hypertargeting program is beyond being able to charge high ad rates. Placing the emphasis on the long-term benefits for advertisers who use the program over time, by offering broader insights into consumers’ offline behavior beyond the basic targeting on the site.

Lycos Europe Freefalling En Route To Sell-Off — Another Lycos Europe earnings update, another terrible showing. The once-mighty portal, a separate company from Lycos US, swung to a big EUR 9.8 million ($15.2 million) loss in the half-year to June, from a EUR 48.7 million ($75.8 million) profit a year ago, after revenues collapsed from EUR 41.2 million ($64.1 million) to EUR 33.3 million ($51.8 million). Again, we have the now-familiar pledge the company ”will mainly focus on the product offensive in order to stabilise the traffic”, and, like most the of recent updates, the focus is on Lycos iQ – a clone of Yahoo Answers, which itself is pretty dominant on Lycos’ European turf – as well as behavioral advertising and German shopping guide Decido.

With No IPO On Horizon, Facebook And LinkedIn Let Employees Sell Some Shares Early — Employees of social networking giants Facebook and LinkedIn aren’t likely to get any liquidity event (IPO, sale) any time soon. By this point some employees would be understandably anxious to cash in. At Facebook, there have been a few ex-employees selling shares on the private market, though current employees are enjoined from selling. At VentureBeat, Eric Eldon offers separate reports, saying the two companies have recently announced plans to let employees sell some shares. Facebook employees will be able to sell 20 percent of their vested shares at a $4 billion valuation, according to the report. LinkedIn will let employees sell some shares at $500 million (half of what the company valued itself at after its latest $53 million round). No details on how the share sales would be transacted at either company—it’s not clear whether they could sell on an “open” market, or if there will be some rules about who can buy. Again, with no near-term IPO plans, it makes sense that both would find ways for their employees to cash in without having to leave the companies.

Friendster Closes $20 Million Round; Focuses On Asia Now; New CEO — Friendster has closed its new round of funding, in progress for most of this year, and it is a big one: it has raised $20 million in a new round, and the pioneer is now shifting its focus, wisely, to where it is strongest: in Asia. The round was led by IDG Ventures, which has a lot of experience investing in Asian countries, and included previous investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Benchmark Capital. Also, the company is appointing a new CEO, a position vacant for almost two years: Richard Kimber, previously the head of South Asian operations and business partnerships for Google (NSDQ: GOOG), will become its new CEO. The business head till now, former president Kent Lindstrom, has now become SVP of corporate development.

Nielsen Business Media and Hollywood Reporter: Finally For Sale? — That’s been the speculation for a long time now, and Sharon Waxman, the former NYT reporter, says that Hollywood Reporter and the other 41 trade papers in Nielsen Business Media division is up for sale, citing “two solid sources.” If true, this means that both the major Hollywood trades are on the block, with Variety (as part of Reed Business Information) being in the middle of a sale process as well. THR’s revenues have declined from a $20 million EBITDA to $9 million, and may drop as low as $6 million in the coming year, according to Sharon. Compare this to Variety, which is doing about $100 million in revenues, though not sure of the profits. THR has been cutting positions of late, and retrenched as much as one-third of its 135 strong staff.

Articles of the Day

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

Publicis Launches Centralised Ad Platform With Tech Giants — France’s Publicis Groupe has reached agreements with AOL, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! to create a technology platform that provides a unified resource for its agencies to more easily buy large-scale digital advertising campaigns. The world’s fourth largest advertising group owns media-buying operations such as ZenithOptimedia and Starcom, as well as creative agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi and Digitas. The company says it is launching the platform, called the VivaKi Nerve Center, to allow an advertiser to access all publishers, other ad networks and ad exchanges through a single interface.

Google, PayPal And Microsoft Launch Digital ID Scheme — Google, Microsoft and eBay-owned PayPal want to make online authentication simpler and safer by introducing what they describe as digital wallets. The companies are among 15 founding members of the Information Card Foundation (ICF), which is officially launching this week. Other founders include Equifax, Novell and Oracle. The ICF wants to bypass the need for login and password details when accessing secure sites or purchasing items online. Instead, using digital information cards, users will be identified by simply clicking on an ICF logo on any partner site. The foundation says such a system would eliminate the need to have multiple login identities and reduce the risk of phishing from hackers.

Microsoft Offered $1 Billion For Yahoo Search; Plus $8 Billion Investment; Wanted 10-Year Exclusive — Yahoo has sent another open letter to its shareholders, in an attempt to allay any fears about renewed talks with Microsoft, following the Google deal. Besides a repetition of why the Google search deal makes sense, it has disclosed some new details of what MSFT proposed in a sub-set deal following the first proposal of outright buyout of the online company. Some details from the letter: “Rather than acquire our whole company as it had been proposing for months, Microsoft now proposed to acquire only our search business for $1 billion and a share of future search advertising revenue. This proposal also included an $8 billion investment in Yahoo but required Yahoo! to commit to a 10-year exclusive arrangement that would have made us dependent on Microsoft for all of our search business.

Meebo Joins Forces With Social Net App Developers — Instant-message site Meebo today is expected to announce partnerships with social network application developers Buddy Media, Commagere Ventures, FrozenBear, K-Factor Media, Mesmo TV, Rockstarted, Spicerack Media, Trippert Labs and Unit 501. The deals allow Meebo to syndicate its API-powered embedded chat rooms — Meebo Rooms — inside their social applications. 

Microsoft, Google And Others Agree To Electronic Health Records Standard — In a move designed to prompt more people to store their medical records online, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and several others have agreed on privacy standards to protect patients’ information. The list includes WebMD (NSDQ: WBMD), MedicAlert, AARP, Consumer Reports publisher Consumers Union, BlueCross BlueShield, and other insurers.

NBCU Will Provide Advertisers With Streaming Metrics For Specific NBC.com Shows — Trying to carve out another space where it differs from the competition, NBC Universal is claiming first-in status when it comes to providing metrics on streaming media to advertisers. Starting next month, NBC Digital Entertainment says it will use Nielsen Online’s VideoCensus to provide online streaming data by show in addition to the more common network-wide stats for NBC.com. The rationale: advertisers have been asking for it and NBC, the first broadcaster to tag streaming video for VideoCensus, thinks the numbers are accurate.

WPP Revenues Grow 4.5% Despite European Slowdown — Advertising giant WPP say like-for-like revenues grew 4.5% in the first five months of 2008 but warned of slow growth in developed markets. The growth figure, which excludes currency fluctuations and acquisition impacts, was aided by faster growth in emerging markets. However, WPP warned that growth in Western and Continental Europe, started slowing down in Mar, despite some recovery in Germany. WPP’s overall revenue growth was down 0.3% over the five months, compared to Q1 growth of 4.8%, reports the Financial Times. However, revenue grew 20% in the Middle East and 14% in Latin America.