Archive for Reed

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2008 by Dave Liu

Yahoo Board Receives Letter From Ivory Investment Management Urging Salvage Of Microsoft Deal — Ivory Investment Management LP, one of Yahoo’s largest stockholders with 21.4 million, or 1.5% of the shares outstanding, today proposed in a letter to Yahoo’s Board of Directors that the company salvage a deal with Microsoft “and not miss another value maximization opportunity.” Noting Microsoft’s renewed interest, Ivory proposed that the company sell its search business to Microsoft, with Microsoft becoming the search provider for all Yahoo properties. Under the Ivory proposal, Microsoft would own and operate the combined search platform, with Yahoo becoming an affiliate that retains 80% of the revenue generated through searches on its own site. Finally, Microsoft would become the search engine for Yahoo’s existing search affiliates. We believe a search deal with Microsoft could deliver value to Yahoo shareholders of USD 24-29 per share, or more than double yesterday’s closing price of USD 12.19.” Ivory stated in its letter that it believed Yahoo could “receive more than USD 15bn upfront from Microsoft for its search business and increase EBITDA by more than USD 500m per annum.” “On an after-tax basis, the USD 15bn payment from Microsoft would be USD 9bn for Yahoo shareholders, leaving Yahoo with USD 21.2bn of cash and investments (up from USD 12.2bn today) and annual EBITDA of USD 2.4bn (up from the midpoint of current guidance of USD 1.9bn ). Applying a 5x EBITDA multiple on the “new Yahoo” would result in a value of USD 24 per share. If Yahoo were to go a step further and deploy the USD 9bn in new cash for its own shares at a USD 16 offer price, it could reduce its share count by 40% which would leave the remaining shareholders with a stock approaching USD 30 per share (amazingly close to the original bona fide bid from Microsoft).”

CBS Interactive To Merge CBSNews.com and CNET Newsrooms; Some Layoffs — CBS Interactive, under pressure to cut costs after what now seems like an even more costly acquisition of CNET, is announcing some more restructuring tomorrow, we have learned from reliable sources late tonight, and as part of it, will be merging CBSNews.com and CNET newsrooms. Not clear: if it is merging the two main websites CBSNews.com and News.com. As a result of this merger, there will also be some layoffs, but we couldn’t figure out the extent of those.

Time Warner Cable Split Still On Track For Early 2009 — Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says the Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) spinoff “is on track to get executed in early 2009. … We don’t see any problems really from any side of the transaction.” That should mean an $11 billion payout for all shareholders is still on the way—including $9 billion for parent Time Warner (NYSE: TWX). It also means a return to a content-centric company. Bewkes is the lunch speaker at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference.

Bewkes On AOL: Will Do Whatever Creates Most Value; Needs To Be ‘Fairly Soon’ — Updated: Looking for clarity when it comes to Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) and AOL? So are we—Time Warner is exploring just about every variation you can imagine when it comes to AOL, based on the exchange CEO Jeff Bewkes just had with UBS moderator Aryeh Bourkoff, who asked the questions in just about every way possible. The short answer: “I’d like to get it resolved, meaning clear… so AOL can be seen and valued… We need to do it fairly soon and we’ve been working hard on it.” And, no, he won’t translate “fairly soon” into a real time frame. Bewkes isn’t complaining about operations and said if AOL were a TV network, “he’d say the ratings are up. ” But, he admitted to investors, ad sales are not up the same way and have been disappointing to us and to you.” AOL’s performance is further hampered by being “essentially in third place” and not a market leader. “Because of that, even though some excellent work is being done on cost cuts, programming and traffic,” AOL’s value is being lost. The questions: what would be the improvement in economics from a combination and would the result be “reasonably as good or better” than TW can do with any other option?

RBI Sale Cancelled; Reed Elsevier Still Wants To Sell It In Medium-Term — The verdict is in and the answer is: no sale. Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK) has announced that its torturous, nine-month campaign to sell the B2B magazine division is over. Reed announced to the stock market this afternoon that it has “terminated discussions with potential bidders” and that due to the poor economic outlook, shareholders would get more value by the company hanging on to the Farmers’ Weekly and Variety publisher. RBI now remains separate business and will be run by RBI UK CEO Keith Jones as overall CEO of the company.

Gannett’s ContentOne Ties Local Content With National Ads — It’s a tougher time for newspapers, but Craig Dubow, Gannett’s chairman, president and CEO, has a basic answer for the continued existence of newspapers: consumers will always need content and advertisers will need to reach them. As for why newspapers are the best vehicles for that connection, Dubow turned, interestingly enough, not to print, but to Gannett’s web properties. In particular, Dubow, speaking with two other Gannett (NYSE: GCI) execs at the UBS Global Media and Communications (PDF) conference, touted a forthcoming program called ContentOne, which he said “will completely change the way we share content across the company, especially at the local level. It will be created using the web start-up model.” It should be up sometime in Q1. The idea is “local content on a national level,” and will use the regionally focused sites MomsLikeMe and Metromix as the foundation.

CBS Wouldn’t Buy CNET In This Market; ‘Highly Doubt’ Any Acquisitions — CBS CEO Leslie Moonves raved about the value of the CNET acquisition and the integration since the merger with CBS Interactive, but told investors he wouldn’t make the same deal today. “The CNET deal was in May….Life was very different. We would not be doing that acquisition today.” As for other acquisitions, “I highly doubt you will see us acquiring anything in the near future.”

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2008 by Dave Liu

Tribune Files For Ch. 11 Bankruptcy Protection; Cubs Not Included In Filing — Tribune has filed for Chapter 11 protection this morning, in bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware. This comes after the news yesterday that the debt-laden newspaper company and owner of LA Times and Chicago Tribune had hired inv*stm*nt bank Lazard and the law firm Sidley Austin to try and help in this process. From the company release about the filing: Total Debt: $12,972,541,148.00. The company will continue to operate its media businesses during the restructuring, including publishing its newspapers and running its television stations and interactive properties without interruption, and has sufficient cash to do so, it said. The Chicago Cubs franchise, including Wrigley Field, is not included in the Ch 11 filing. Efforts to “monetize the Cubs and its related assets will continue,” the company said.

Facebook Still Valued At $15 Billion? — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sits down with TechCrunch and reveals that the social networking giant is looking for more funding in the $15 billion valuation range, a price that was set when Microsoft purchased a 1.6% stake in the company for $240 million in the Fall of 2007. “We’re not actively going around trying to raise money from a lot of different people. It’s more just a follow on to that (previous round),” Zuckerberg said. However, the Silicon Alley Insider notes that Facebook had to recently cancel an employee stock sale program because it couldn’t find buyers for their shares at a $4 billion valuation, which makes CFO Gideon Yu’s mission to keep the $15 billion round open “ambitious if not downright quixotic”, says SAI’s Nicholas Carlson. That said, preferred shares like the ones Microsoft got are certainly on offer here, which means these investors would their money back first in the event of any sale.

Bain Close To Buying Reed Business; Parent May Keep a Stake — The sale process of Reed Business is in its final stages, as one of the two bidders left in the fray, Texas Pacific Group/DLJ combo, has dropped out of the bid, according to reports. This leaves Bain Capital as the only bidder and with a shot to buy it following due diligence. Sir Crispin Davis, the outgoing CEO of Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK), has invited the Apollo and Zelnick Media combo to bid again, even though it pulled out of the auction last month, and our sources say privately Strauss Zelnick still wants it. A decision likely will be reached by the end of this month, sources say. The sale price is now around $1 billion, down drastically from the starting asking price of around $2 billion when the process started in February. For Bain, the final thorn is that Reed Elsevier is unhappy with some of the complicated earnout conditions of its bid, a move that would effectively tie key executives to RBI for a number of years, says the Independent. RBI global CEO Gerard van de Aast left last month, leading to more speculation that the sale process hasn’t been the smoothest.

NYTCo Wants To Raise Up To $225 Million From Mortgage Or Sale-Lease Of Times HQ — Last month, The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) board cut the Sulzberger family take-home pay—and increased the flow of money to the company—by cutting dividends. This week, according to the NYT, it’s planning to mortgage or even work a sales-lease on the family “home”: up to $225 million on the 58 percent of the Times Tower owned by the company. CFO Jim Follo told the paper the company has hired Cushman & Wakefield to get the financing through either a mortgage—the NYTCo share of the mid-Manhattan tower is not mortgaged now—or possibly a sale that would include leasing back the space. Developer Forest City Ratner owns the rest of the building.

FOXSports.com Tackles SEO Video Search — FOXSports.com on MSN has tapped EveryZing’s technology to give sports fans the ability to search for specific keywords in video clips online. The Cambridge, Mass. video search company makes speech recordings searchable through its speech-to-text recognition software ezSEO that wraps audio from videos in metadata that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft search engines can index.

ZenithOptimedia Cuts ‘08 Online Forecast To 21.2 Percent Growth; Total Ad Spend Slipping 0.2 Percent –The recession’s squeeze has pushed ZenithOptimedia’s bullish outlook for online ad spending downward a bit, as the Publicis Groupe media shop is predicting global online ad revenues to rise 21.2 percent this year and about 18 percent in 2009. The company will present its forecast on a panel at the UBS Global Media and Communications (PDF) conference in New York this morning, on a panel with Interpublic Group’s Magna and WPP’s GroupM.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , on November 11, 2008 by Dave Liu

Freefalling Lycos Europe Plans Cost Cuts; Clock Ticking On Sale — This one slipped through the cracks amid our crazy conference week last week… Lycos Europe has recorded another big loss, and there is no buyer in sight for the ailing portal. The site lost EUR 17.1 million ($21.5 million) in the nine months to September 30; that’s against a EUR 44.1 million ($55.5 million) profit in the same period last year. The portal says ”cost management will be further tightened in the fourth quarter” – and no wonder: overall income dipped, too, but only from EUR 58.4 million ($73.4 million) to EUR 46.9 million ($59 million), so operating costs are proving to be a big drain.

Marvel Investing $10 Million In Digital Media; First Real Returns Expected In 2011 — Marvel’s investment in digital media, including digital publication of its comic books, is costing some profit on the publishing side, Peter Cuneo, vice chairman of the board, told analysts in today’s Q3 earnings call. According to the transcript (via Seeking Alpha), Cuneo answered a question about lower publishing growth by reminding: “Remember also that we are making a substantial investment in our digital publishing effort and we’ve noted in our press release today that the out-of-pocket in 2009 we anticipate will be around $6 million for that effort. So when you look at the publishing segment as a whole, you will see a decline in the profitability.” The company has invested $2.5 million to $3 million so far this year and plans to finish at $4 million. That would bring the total digital media inv*stm*nt for 2008-09 to about $10 million.

Reed Elsevier Picks Smith For CEO; $5.8M Possible Salary, RBI Sale Top Of To-Do List — Science and business publisher Reed Elsevier has announced who will lead the company following CEO Sir Crispin Davis’ planned retirement. Ian Smith starts as CEO-designate on January 1 until Davis finally leaves in March after nine years in charge. Smith comes with chief executive pedigree – he was formerly CEO of building group Taylor Woodrow and General Healthcare Group. He will get a $1.4 million (£900,000) annual salary but, as the release says, through the company’s incentive and bonus scheme he could get an extra sum worth three times his salary – $5.8 million (£3.6 million) overall.

EA’s Troubles Could Present An Acquisition Opportunity For Big Media — Would Disney consider buying Electronic Arts? That’s the suggestion being floated by Heard on the Street’s Martin Peers at the WSJ. With EA’s stock at its lowest point in more than seven years, competitors and other media giants may decide that now is the time to try to grab the games maker. Any suitor would also gain an immediate upper-hand in the mobile space, with EA becoming the No. 1 mobile game publisher soon after it acquired Jamdat in 2006. Peers argues that Disney makes the most sense because EA’s largest assets include sports titles that would fit nicely with Disney’s ESPN cable network. It would also allow Disney to save the $200 million that it spends each year to develop its own games. Peers: “Disney would be gutsy to step up during the current economic uncertainty. But it might be better than waiting for better times and paying top dollar.”

New Yorker Launches Digital Edition; Free To Print Subscribers — At first I thought the ad in last week’s New Yorker was a mirage, a promise of a digital edition that would arrive when the magazine was published—not a week later like the print edition. And when the post-registration response was a promise to let me know when the first edition was ready, let’s say I didn’t hold my breath. Turns out the wait was much shorter than expected: the first web-based digital edition arrived in my inbox late yesterday and I finally had the chance to open it today. Exactly as promised, it’s the complete print New Yorker in digital format. (Yes, I know some of you are anti-replica but some people want the magazine experience online.) Much of the magazine already appears online but timing varies to encourage newsstand and subscription sales; the cartoons are all online via CartoonBank.com.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2008 by Dave Liu

AOL Hands Off Video Duties To Brightcove — After years of handling video content management internally, AOL is expected to announce today that it is bringing in Brightcove to take over those duties. The transition, expected to be completed by early next year, will leave the thriving online video platform with control over AOL’s video content management, publishing, and playback duties.

NYTimes Partners With Brightcove For Video — NYTimes.com late last week relaunched its video platform with a high-definition, wide-screen format, redesigned video library and individual playback pages for each video. The Times’ new video platform rests on Brightcove’s online video technology platform, Brightcove 3–which is designed to help the Times reach new audiences through SEO, and syndication, and improve streaming experiences. “In layman’s terms, Brightcove’s technology brings more stability and flexibility,” said Nicholas Ascheim, vice president of product management at NYTimes.com. “What you want is for a user to able to click play and the video plays, which is harder than you think.” Brightcove’s technology also introduces new advertising inventory and opportunities for brand marketing, according to Ascheim.

Online Retail Traffic Declines — U.S. traffic to retail Web sites has fallen for eight straight weeks as of Oct. 25, marking the first such decline since June 2007, according to a new study by Hitwise. Visits to retail sites dropped 4% in September compared to an increase of 14% from June through August. Hitwise said the fall-off reflects consumers’ cutting back on spending as a result of the current economic climate. “These declines have strong implications for the upcoming online holiday season as well as offline sales,” said Heather Dougherty, research director at Hitwise. “Everyone is aware of the role that the Internet plays to influence offline sales through research, so this slowdown may indicate a further ripple effect in sales in retail locations.”

Three Bidders Left For Reed Business; Former Publisher of WSJ Involved In One Group — We noted earlier today that the Reed Business Information auction is being sweetened again, with parent Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK) planning to to offer a bigger vendor loan to finance the struggling sell-off. Now we have learned that there are three parties left in the auction, and interestingly, one group is working with the former Publisher of the Wall Street Journal Gordon Crovitz. Crovitz is working with the consortium of Apollo Management, the PE firm, and Strauss Zelnick’s PE firm Zelnick Media. The other two parties left in the auction are Bain Capital (which has taken on Helen Alexander, the former CEO of The Economist Group as an advisor on the deal) and the group led by TPG and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners. As has been reported before, Reed had been offering vendor financing from its own coffers to $330 million, besides helping bring in other banks for staple financing, and now it may pony up more its own money.

Mansueto’s Koten: Breaking News Doesn’t Bring In Ad Dollars, Aggregation Does — When Fast Company and Inc. publisher Mansueto Ventures laid off 20 staffers, mostly on the online side of the business, earlier this month, it seemed like a curious move. While the magazine side of business has been healthy, Mansueto had spent a much of the past year building up the digital side, including high-profile hires like Robert Scoble, starting Fast Company TV, and creating a social media initiative around Fast Company as well. So why defenestrate a chunk of the online side? In a Q&A with Forbes.com, Mansueto CEO John Koten elaborates on the company’s rationale behind the cuts, which he says was to tear down the walls between the digital and print sides.

ValueClick COO Yovanno Jumps To Widget Analytics Firm Gigya As CEO — Widget distribution firm Gigya has named ValueClick (NSDQ: VCLK) COO David Yovanno CEO, Venturebeat reported. Yovanno told Venturebeat that after nine years at ValueClick, it was simply time to move on. ValueClick has been struggling over the past year. Back in February, ValueClick settled a suit brought by the Federal Trade Commission that accused the company of using fraudulent tactics for online lead gen activities. More recently, that company has been hit by the downward trajectory of the display business. Aside from helping preside over that, Yovanno also managed ValueClick’s comparison shopping businesses and oversaw the company’s acquisition of 14 firms. News of Yovanno’s departure comes just ahead of ValueClick’s Q3 earnings report this Wednesday.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2008 by Dave Liu

Will GE’s Buffett Cash Quell NBC Sale Talks? — In case you haven’t been following it, shares of GE have been taking it bad lately. On one side, you have the industrial division, highly exposed to a slowing economy and any difficulty among customers in financing big purchases. The other side is finance, and everyone fears it’s sitting on a hand grenade. In a bid to stem the decline and reassure the markets, the company took a $3 billion investmemt from Warren Buffett, in part to raise cash, and in part to say “Look, The Oracle trusts us!” It also announced a $12 billion common stock offering—diluting current shareholders, but giving it an injection of much-desired cash. So where does this leave its 80 percent-owned NBCU unit, which fits awkwardly between the industrial and finance sides. Besides the fact that GE executives are pretty consistent about not wanting to sell it, the fresh capital raise diminishes the need to move the unit. Beyond that, you have to wonder who would be the buyer here. A year ago, it was estimated that the business could be worth around $40 billion, but it’s probably declined a bit since then, given the diminished valuations among its peers.

Msnbc.com Offers Self-Service Via AdReady — Msnbc.com is jumping on the self-service online display ad bandwagon via a partnership with AdReady. The news Web site is in good company, joining a slew of others that are now offering the DIY option including Yahoo, The New York Times, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, NaturalPath Media, Zillow and Trulia. AdReady, the Seattle-based technology company which powers the ad platform, also works with Yahoo and the Times.

Signs Of Life For Sling’s Video Portal, Other Services; Sling.com Starts Limited Beta — Nearly two years after Sling Media announced it had a video portal and the Clip+Sling video sharing in development, the services are finally nearing release. First up, a private beta of the Sling.com video portal started today, although not private enough since TechCrunch has the invite. At the core, it’s SlingPlayer for Slingbox customers built into the site along with content from over 60 partners. It’s not part of the beta yet, as SlingPlayer 2.0 doesn’t currently incorporate it, but Clip+Sling is coming too, according to Sling’s Brian Jaquet. Clip+Sling allows users to record and share video via the portal. Next up: SlingCatcher, announced last year, ships later this month; it allows TV to be shown room-to-room and brings online content—including the premium content from Sling.com—to TV.

Reed’s RBI Sell-Off In The Balance? A Victim Of Credit Crunch? — When Reed Elsevier last spoke on the subject, it told the market it hoped to sell off its Reed Business Information (RBI) B2B publishing unit as early as October. But that was August – in the intervening period, a little thing has happened called “the credit crunch”. Could the crunch munch the planned divestment, which Reed announced a whole seven months ago? paidContent:UK has been told Reed is finding it much harder to sell the Variety and New Scientist publisher than it was even three weeks ago. Not even a $1.6 billion “sweetener” loan offered to potential bidders is helping much. There’s now some question over whether the sell-off will go ahead at all, we understand.

On Second Take, Take-Two Decides To Remain Independent — Not that this wasn’t expected after last month, but Take-Two, after fighting off an unsolicited bid by EA and talking to other potential suitors, has decided to stay independent, or at least it has completed a formal strategic review for now. The publisher of Grand Theft Auto said its sees itself as “strongly positioned creatively, financially and competitively to benefit from the opportunities we see in the fastest growing segment of the entertainment industry”. According to Ben Feder, the CEO, consider the cash position of the company strong: “Our strong cash position – with no debt and an undrawn USD140 million credit facility – gives us the financial flexibility to continue to do what we do best: innovate and create the great games that our customers have come to expect.”

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.