Archive for YouTube

Articles of the Week

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

YouTube’s Plan To Gain The Upper Hand With Music Labels — Record labels like Universal Music Group are using YouTube to rake in millions of dollars from their music videos, and yesterday we raised the question of whether Google was making much money from these deals. Well, sources tell MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka that the answer is a big, fat no. In fact, the music clips are costing Google (NSDQ: GOOG) money, even though YouTube is running ads on them. But that is about to change, Kafka says. Currently, YouTube pays the labels either a per-stream fee or a portion of the ad revenue (if there’s an ad on the video) every time a user clicks on one of their music clips; but since YouTube hasn’t saturated the site with ads (yet), most of the time it’s stuck with the per-stream fee. YouTube is in the midst of negotiating new deals with the labels (UMG, EMI, Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Warner Music Group) on very different terms, and Kafka’s sources say the new terms will not add nearly as much cash to the labels’ coffers. The current deals expire over the course of 2009.  

Newspapers Suddenly Adapt To Social Media; Nearly 60 Percent Offer User-Gen Content — Newspapers’ tough times appear to have spurred the industry to adopt the kind of social media habits that have led so many readers away from the traditional news format. In The Bivings Group’s annual look at how newspapers use the internet, the researcher found that 58 percent of dailies offered some form of user-generated content this past year. That’s more than double the 24 percent of papers that had user-gen features in 2007. Other finding’s from Bivings’ report (PDF): The number of papers who opened up stories to user comments also more than doubled in the last year to 75 percent in 2007 versus just 33 percent the year before.

Facebook Continues Torrid Growth — Facebook is growing faster than ever, especially overseas. Active users on the social network have hit 140 million, according to new data released by the company this week. That total is up from the 130 million Facebook reached earlier this month, putting its current growth rate at more than 600,000 users a day, by the estimation of Inside Facebook blogger Justin Smith. It crossed 100 million users in August. Most of that growth–about 70%–continues to be outside the U.S. Inside Facebook pointed out that growth has been especially explosive in Italy, where users have jumped from 572,000 in July to 4.9 million now.  

Warner Pulls Videos From YouTube As Contract Talks Break Down — In another setback for Google’s popular video sharing site, Warner Music Group over the weekend ordered YouTube to remove all music videos by its artists after contractual negotiations broke down. According to Reuters, Warner’s decision could affect hundreds of thousands of video clips. Talks broke down early Saturday because Warner wanted a bigger share of ad revenues. “We simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide,” Warner said in a statement. According to comScore, YouTube had more than 100 million viewers in the U.S. in October, making it the most popular destination for online video by a massive margin. Warner became the first major media company to negotiate a deal with YouTube in 2006. As part of that deal, Warner, Universal Music Group and Sony Music each took small stakes in the online video giant prior to Google’s acquisition in 2006, profiting from its close.

NeoEdge Takes On comScore — NeoEdge Networks will announce today a service to collect survey data to support some of the advertising technologies and online games it develops and supports. The NeoEdge survey, dubbed “NeoMom,” takes on comScore and focuses on females ages 25 and 54. The survey topics are geared toward consumer products. Gathering survey data for the first report begins in January.  

Redstone Gets Reprieve To Restructure $800 Million In Debt — No financial Armageddon today for Sumner Redstone, who gets an indefinite reprieve on either paying—not gonna happen—or restructuring some $800 million in debt coming due for National Amusements. The total debt is about $1.6 billion. Redstone owns 80 percent of the company, which owns movie theaters and controls Viacom (NYSE: VIA) and CBS (NYSE: CBS). (Redstone is chairman of both media company boards.) The reason for the extension: National Amusements is gaining time to finesse a plan that’s already been presented to creditors, it’s current on payments and the deadline was more of a target than anything.  

Study: Almost 10% On Social Networks Via Mobile — The proportion of U.S. mobile subscribers who access social networks on their cell phones nearly tripled to almost 10% over a year ago, according to a consumer study by The Kelsey Group and ConStat spotlighted Monday by eMarketer. Specifically, 9.6% of mobile users were connecting to a social network as of October 2008, compared to 3.4% in September 2007. The rapid growth is due in part to the small base of people who are social networking on mobile. 

Fanscape Projects 15% Revenue Increase In ’09 — At best, next year represents uncertainty for most advertising and agencies. Social-centric media shops, however, continue to wax optimistic over their prospects for growth. Take Los Angeles-based Fanscape, a digital-engagement marketing agency that works with clients to better understand and influence niche audiences online. “The jury’s still out, but I believe that revenue is going to grow by 15% next year,” said Terry Dry, president and co-founder of Fanscape. 

Warner Overplays YouTube Hand — CNet’s Greg Sandoval claims that it was YouTube that actually began removing Warner Music Group’s videos from its site after Warner came to Google with an “11th-hour demand” for better financial terms. Warner over the weekend said that it began asking that YouTube remove its videos after talks to renegotiate its licensing deal broke down, but two sources close to the situation claim that YouTube actually walked away from the deal first. According to the sources, managers at YouTube considered Warner’s demand, only to begin pulling Warner music videos as its answer. YouTube also first notified the public of the split by posting a note on its blog. Warner responded by saying the music labels were building a YouTube competitor, and that YouTube didn’t drive much revenue for them, anyway, and that Warner’s departure was a bad sign for the Google video site.

Friendfinder Networks files to go public, may make acquisitions — Friendfinder Networks, the Boca Raton, Florida-based social networking company, has filed for an initial public offering and anticipates USD 460m in proceeds. The Internet-based company said in an S-1 filing on 23 December 2008 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that Renaissance Capital is the underwriter. “To access technologies and provide products that are necessary for us to remain competitive, we may make future acquisitions and investments and may enter into strategic partnerships with other companies. Such investments may require a commitment of significant capital and human and other resources,” stated the company in its SEC filing. Source: mergermarket.

WaPo Digital-Print Integration: The Fast Track — Reading through some clips in the wake of the news that Jim Brady is leaving WashingtonPost.com, I was struck by the rapid shift from separate but cooperating news operations to Russian nesting dolls following Katharine Weymouth’s promotion to Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) publisher and CEO of the Media Group: Feb. 7, 2008: From the Washington Post: “Washington Post Media is designed to forge a closer relationship between the business functions of The Post newspaper and washingtonpost.com, while maintaining separate newsrooms and editorial decision-making.” 

Online Display Ad Spending Dips 6% Through Q3 — A 27% plunge in spending by financial services marketers led to an overall 6% drop in the online display ad market in the first nine months of 2008, compared to the same period a year ago. The percentage declines in both instances mirrored results from the first six months of the year, according to data released by Nielsen Online. Other sectors downsizing display ad budgets included Web media, down 15% to $1.1 billion; travel, falling 7% to $304 million; and retail goods and services, slipping 4% to $833 million. The declines were offset partly by surging ad dollars in the automotive and entertainment categories, which jumped 32% and 29%, respectively. The continued growth in auto advertising online contrasts sharply with the 8% spending fall-off in the category offline. 

Ad-Revenue Sharing Model For Publishers Emerges In 2009 — Advertising networks will begin sharing ad revenue with publishers in 2009. Attributor, which published a study on the ad-serving market this week, will soon offer a service that lets customers monetize content. Rich Pearson, VP of marketing at Attributor, said the Redwood City, Calif. company will rely on technology to automate the process. “We are working with Politico, but it hasn’t been formally launched,” he said. Last week, Reuters–a division of global information company Thomson Reuters–said it will incorporate government and political news from Politico, a unit of Capital News, into its newswire service in a revenue-sharing deal. The group will allow Politico to sell online advertising on their sites. Ad code attached to the media content will determine the revenue-sharing agreement.  

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Rattle SEO In 2009 — Rival search engines and marketers will continue to fret over Google’s market gains regardless of how the “large actor” acts. Microsoft will “dance and flounder” until cutting a deal with Yahoo toward the end of 2009. The Sunnyvale, Calif. company will need to first find a CEO–which Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land founder, predicts could happen by February. Whether Yahoo cuts a deal with Microsoft or breaks off and sells the search business remains up in the air. “Yahoo’s CEO will first need to learn the landscape, rather than immediately cut a deal with Microsoft,” Sullivan said. “If a deal happens, it will need to go through a review, which would take two months. By this time you’re in the middle of 2009.” Aside from who’s doing what at search engines, tech-related trends will move beyond Web search results and page content, and into video SEO, local search engine rankings and analytics. Marketers will look for ways to dominate local search results based on demographics. Perhaps local listings will appear at the top, video in the middle and blog search results on the bottom, all on one page. 

NYT Online Ad Revenues Decline In November — It appears that even online advertising–long a growth engine–has started sputtering for the beleaguered New York Times Co. The company said Wednesday that Internet ad revenues across its Internet properties dropped 3.8% in November, compared to a 4.6% gain in October. It marks the first monthly decline in online ad revenue the Times Co. has reported to date. 

MySpace’s Berman: More Ad Products To Come — MySpace has introduced a flurry of new applications and services as it transforms into an advertising-supported social portal, chasing the big bucks spent on Yahoo and Google’s YouTube. It is aggressively leveraging its 75 million active monthly users, each with about 111 friends and spending an average four hours monthly in ways that Madison Avenue and Hollywood cannot ignore. When you can claim nearly 12% of all Internet minutes in the U.S., people will listen. Jeff Berman, MySpace president of sales and marketing, discussed future plans with MediaPost. 

Liberty Media Could Sell Shares Of IAC/InterActiveCorp Until April 2010 — IAC/InterActiveCorp. (NASDAQ:IACI), the New York Internet company, could have Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LINTA) sell shares until April of 2010, reported the Wall Street Journal. The unsourced report in the Heard on the Street column, said the rate at which Liberty Media is going in selling shares of IAC, the company could continue stock sales until April of 2010. According to the report, to avoid the pain of Liberty Media slowly selling its stake IAC could issue a dividend or a buyback of shares. IAC has a market capitalization of USD 2.2bn. Source: mergermarket.

Articles of the Day

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

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?

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2008 by Dave Liu

Jerry Yang To Step Down As Soon As Yahoo Board Finds Replacement — Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang will step down from his post as soon as the board finds a suitable replacement, and BoomTown broke the story. The official release from Yahoo is out. Kara also has his full memo to the Yahoo team, in which Yang says he’ll participate in the search for his successor. Once the new CEO is in place, Yang will go back to his role as Chief Yahoo—and he will retain his seat on the board.The board has retained Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm, to assist in the process. Yang will participate in the search for his successor.

Google Brings Voice Recognition To Mobile Search — Google was scheduled to launch a voice recognition tool for Apple’s iPhone last Friday as part of a free mobile application allowing users to perform a Google search by speaking a query into the phone. The voice-recognition application, made available for free through Apple’s iTunes Store, is an update to the search tool that is already available for the iPhone. Google uses the technology for Goog 411, too. The voice query passes through algorithms converting to text.

Hulu To Match YouTube In U.S. Revenue Next Year — eHulu, the joint online video venture from News Corp. and NBC, looks poised to match YouTube in U.S. advertising revenues next year, according to a new estimate. This is shocking, considering that YouTube has more than 10 times as many monthly visitors as Hulu (83 million vs. 6 million). Nevertheless, Screen Digest is forecasting that both Hulu and YouTube will earn $180 million in revenue in 2009. The research group estimates that YouTube will make $100 million in U.S. revenue this year, compared to Hulu’s $70 million. Silicon Alley Insider points out that Screen Digest is most likely talking about gross revenue. Hulu actually passes along about 70-80% of revenue through to its content providers, so Hulu’s net revenue is probably closer to $14-$21 million. YouTube also shares some revenue with content providers, but a far smaller percentage.

Why Yahoo Still Matters — Yahoo shares may have fallen from $33 to $10 in the past twelve months, but the Web giant is still far more valuable in the eyes of Madison Avenue than it is in the eyes of Wall Street. Indeed, size still matters to Madison Avenue. “Advertisers are looking at where’s the traffic, volume and value is today. And today is very positive for advertisers at Yahoo,” said Chris Moloney, chief marketing officer at Scottrade. “Google is considered to be the 800-pound gorilla of the internet but it doesn’t have content the way Yahoo does. It receives a massive volume of traffic.” In fact, so big is Yahoo’s audience base that Chrysler’s chief marketing officer, Deborah Wahl Meyer, says she considers Yahoo “almost as a fifth (television) network.”

Yahoo React: Analysts Expect Board To Get Aggressive On MSFT, AOL Deal — Yahoo’s stock had another down day—its last trade dropped $0.19 to close at $10.63—but it could have a nice lift as word of Jerry Yang’s decision to step down as CEO takes hold. In the meantime, analysts following Yahoo shared their reaction in quick notes sent to investors and in press interviews: EO will come from outside: UBS analyst Ben Schachter looks at the list of possible successors and concludes that the company’s board will go outside. In particular, Yahoo president Sue Decker is unlikely to be selected for the top job because she doesn’t represent significant enough change by investors. Yang’s departure as CEO—he’ll revert to his role as “Chief Yahoo” and will retain his board seat—could also spur other board members to pursue “a more meaningful restructuring of YHOO.” Finally, expect the volume of the never-ending talk of a Microsoft deal to rise. Schachter adds: “We still believe MSFT will eventually own YHOO.” Even if a takeover doesn’t happen, the potential for news around restructurings, tie-ups with some combo of News Corp., Time Warner/AOL, Google and others “could be catalysts for shares.”

ESPN To Get Football BCS Starting In 2011; Deal Includes Digital, International — The details are still sketchy and the official announcement has yet to be made by ESPN (NYSE: DIS) and the Bowl Championship Series Group but Fox Sports said today that it will not be hosting the premiere college football games after its current contract expires in 2010. That leaves ESPN, which I’m told is willing to pay $125 million annually for four years to carry the games. This amount has not been confirmed with ESPN but represents the 50 percent increase the BCS governors are said to be seeking. Fox, which is paying $82.5 million a year currently, offered about $100 million a year during its exclusive renewal period. The BCS opened negotiations with ESPN, then, as per the current deal, returned to Fox with the material differences, which decided none of them– including the addition of international rights—were worth the considerable uptick in price.

Articles of the Day

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

Mindshare Wants A Lotame, And A Lot Of You: Cuts Deal Based On How We Spend Time Online — In a Madison Avenue first, WPP’s Mindshare unit has cut a
deal to begin serving ads to social media users based on the time they
actually spend engaged on social media sites, and the advertising content
surrounding them. The deal, details of which will be announced today with
Lotame, the developer of an advanced audience behavior targeting system, is
another step by a major agency away from the classic advertising model of
placing ads based on the context of media content and instead moving to one
based on the context of the audiences consuming it.

AT&T’s VideoCrawler: Part Of A Bigger, Three-Screen Content Distribution
Plan
— A strange launch at a strange time, and from a strange source: AT&T
rolled out a beta version of VideoCrawler, an online video search and
aggregation engine. The public beta comes about three months after an even
softer launch designed to help the company work out VideoCrawler’s kinks,
and AT&T partnered with video search tech firm Divvio in its development.
Divvio founder and CEO Hossein Eslambolchi is AT&T’s former CTO.

FT.com Relaunching This Week: Pink Front Page, New Name Target ‘Obsessive’
Users
— FT.com will tomorrow roll out the latest installment of its
long-term web redesign with a pink front page and a region-specific
homepage for its growing Middle East audience. Those are some of the
immediate changes but, as a redesign, it’s more like a war of attrition:
more changes are on the way but the whole process won’t be over for some
months. In an interview with paidContent:UK, FT.com editor James Montgomery
spoke of his long-term goals and why there’s no money to be made in
attracting casual users.

Facebook Launches New Ad Product, Still Lags Behind MySpace — Facebook may
have passed MySpace in terms of worldwide audience, but the social
networking giant has struggled to sell ads as effectively as its
competitor. Today, the Palo Alto company is unveiling its latest ad format,
called “engagement ads” which prompt a user to do something within the ad
unit, such as post a comment about a product or RSVP to watch a TV show.
Once a user engages with an ad, a message would then be sent through the
news feed to his or her friends list. As the Journal points out, Facebook
has a lot to prove with the new format, which is being made available to
all of its advertisers after four months of testing. According to comScore,
Facebook’s share of U.S. online display spending was just 1.1% in June. By
comparison, News Corp.’s Fox Interactive Media unit, which includes
MySpace, was the market leader in display spending with 15.9%.

For Professional Content, YouTube Pales Next To Hulu — New York Times
technology writer Saul Hansell says Google’s recent move to put
feature-length films and TV shows on YouTube is — like most of the online
video giant’s forays into professional content — more show than substance.
Hansell claims that Google is merely intimating that the professional video
market could become a core moneymaking strategy for YouTube, without really
making the commitment to it. Meanwhile, Hulu.com, the joint venture from
NBC and Fox, is starting to establish itself as the most prominent site for
professional TV shows and movies. As Jim Packer, MGM’s co-president, tells
the Times, “We will have some long-form videos up on YouTube, but I don’t
think that’s the platform to have 30 or 40 movies up at once. I feel much
more comfortable doing that on a site like Hulu.”

Advertising Earnings: Miva Raises $10 Million Credit Line, Posts Q3 Loss;
Marchex Fares Better
— PPC-centric ad network and media company MIVA has
secured a $10 million credit facility from Bridge Capital Holdings
subsidiary Bridge Bank, NA. America’s Growth Capital arranged the credit
line, and MIVA was eligible to borrow $6.5 million of it as of the end of
Q3. The Fort Meyers, FL-based company will use the funds to expand
distribution of its ALOT toolbar, roll out a new media platform (and likely
stave off potential buyers like Blinkx). MIVA seemingly needs all the help
it can get. In today’s Q3 earnings report, the company posted a $10.5
million loss (or 32 cents per share), in contrast to a $3.3 million loss
(12 cents per share) in Q307. Part of the loss stemmed from the company’s
restructuring program—which resulted in a $2.7 million charge in the
quarter—but revenues were also headed the wrong way, down 21 percent to
$28.1 million. CEO Peter Corrao said that MIVA’s restructuring program and
the new ad platform should get the company profitable in 2009.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2008 by Dave Liu

Razorfish CEO Kokich: Microsoft’s Not Selling Us—But Ask Me Again In Two Years — Clark Kokich, the CEO of Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) online ad agency
Razorfish, is downplaying rumors that its parent Microsoft is shopping it
around. He tells Techflash pointedly that Microsoft has no plans to sell
the company, which became part of the Redmond company when it paid $6
billion for Razorfish parent aQuantive in May 2007. However, he did leave
the door open to sale in the not-too-distant future. Just because there are
no plans at the moment, doesn’t mean that in “two to three to four years
from now, it might not happen,” Kokich said.

UK’s Virgin Media May Sell Content Divison — Days after negotiating an
improved deal to bring Sky’s basic TV channels back to it’s 3.5 million TV
customers for upwards of £30 million, Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) is now
considering selling its content division, according to sources quoted by
FT.com. The division includes digital channels Virgin 1, Dave and Watch,
and though FT.com’s sources stress the company has not been “hawking the
business around” to potential buyers, a sale has been discussed at board
level. Conversations ran along the lines of turning the business into “a
series of communication platforms rather than producing any content of is
own”, the story says.

YouTube’s Content Thaw: MGM Posting Full Shows and Movies On It — Frozen
out of most of mainstream full length content, YouTube’s repository is
beginning to thaw a bit, as traction among competitors such as Hulu and TV
networks’ own sites begins to grow: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) is
tying up with the Google-owned video site, and will start posting episodes
of its decade-old “American Gladiators” program to YouTube, along with
full-length action films like “Bulletproof Monk” and “The Magnificent
Seven” and clips from popular movies like “Legally Blonde,” the NYT
reports. Some would point out that the financially troubled MGM has nothing
to lose from these experiments, unlike other studios still sitting on the
sidelines.

Blockbuster Changes Its Mind: To Roll Out Set-Top Box For Holiday Rush
AppleTV, Netflix flicks on Xbox 360, and now … a set-top box from
Blockbuster? Consumers can expect one this holiday season, according to Jim
Keyes, Blockbuster’s CEO and Chairman. The company plans to roll out a unit
that will deliver movies on demand from its Movielink download service.
Keyes made the announcement during an investor call this week, Home Media
Magazine reports, though he didn’t offer any details about the
manufacturer, pricing or availability. It’s a complete about-face from what
he told us back in August: namely, that Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) felt no
urgency to launch its own set-top box any time soon. Perhaps the continued
success of rival Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) sparked the change of heart—after
all, Netflix had a stellar Q3 (in contrast to Blockbuster’s lackluster
performance), and continues to broker content distribution deals with new
partners like TiVo and Apple.

Yahoo’s Restructured Deal With AT&T: $350 Million Upfront Payment — Yahoo
(NSDQ: YHOO) restructured its AT&T (NYSE: T) broadband/DSL co-branded deal
earlier this year, and at the time, no specific amount was announced,
though Yahoo expected aggregate revenue outside of traffic acquisition
costs to decline by $150-200 million over 2007 because of the
restructuring; Yahoo also expected a $300-400 million upfront payment from
AT&T recognized over the life of the contract. Now in its 10-Q for Q308, it
has the exact number: $350 million as the upfront it got from AT&T, which
was recorded in long-term deferred revenue in Q108 and is being recognized
in marketing services revenues over the underlying service period. Also
this year, it restructured a similar Verizon (NYSE: VZ) deal, though no
specific details have come out for that.

NYTCo Takes $166 Million Writedown For New England Media Group; Faces $400M
Refinancing
— The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) filed its 10-Q with
the SEC Friday and it’s not a pretty sight. The company projected a
$140-150 million write down for the New England Media Group when it
reported Q3 results Oct. 23; the number reported in the 10-Q is $166
million with adjustments to come in Q4. That puts the Q3 loss for the News
Media Group at $153 million and the overall loss for Q3 slightly over $106
million. The company has two $400 million revolving credit agreements, one
due in May 2009 and one in 2011. S&P lowered its rating twice this year,
the second time below inv*stm*nt grade; Moody’s has lowered its rating once
and serviced notice that it may do so again. As we reported recently, NYTCo
isn’t in danger of breaching its covenants; there are also no accelerated
payments subject to ratings downgrades. But the downgrades do make
financing trickier and more expensive—and they almost certainly guarantee
that the company faces more restrictive covenants. From the 10-Q: “We are
evaluating future financing arrangements and are in discussions with our
lenders regarding the expiration of one of our credit agreements, scheduled
for May 2009. Based on these discussions, we expect that we will be able to
manage our debt and credit obligations as they mature.” (For the dramatic
interpretation, read this from SAI while listening to Celine Dion. Update:
Should have added that one of SAI’s investors is Kohlberg Ventures, which
is run by James Kohlberg, one of the dissident shareholders appointed to
the NYTCo board. ).

Former Time Vet Robin Domeniconi To Head Up MSFT Ad Sales In U.S. — After
a string of high-profile ad-exec departures,Microsoft has made a key hire:
former Time Inc. vet Robin Domeniconi. Starting January 1, Domeniconi will
serve as VP of U.S. ad sales, reporting to VP of global sales and marketing
Bill Shaughnessy; she’ll oversee sales across MSFT’s roster of digital
products, including MSN and Windows Live, Xbox LIVE, Live Search, and
Facebook. The senior executives who have left MSFT recently include Kevin
Johnson, President of Platforms and Services, and Digital Sales GM Lisa
Utzschneider. While it’s clear that Domeniconi is not taking Johnson’s
place, it’s not clear who will be reporting to her. A company spokesperson
said that the hierarchy won’t be determined until she starts.

Admeld Launches New Platform, Adds Barrett As CEO — Ad optimization
technology provider AdMeld today is expected to launch a new platform to
help publishers maximize revenue from digital ad networks and ad exchanges.
The AdMeld platform, which is emerging from an eight-month beta program,
attempts to leverage dynamic pricing and advanced targeting to better route
inventory from publishers to generate higher revenue for each ad served.
AdMeld is also announcing the appointment of new Chief Executive Officer
Michael Barrett. The online ad veteran most recently served as EVP and
chief revenue officer for News Corp.’s Fox Interactive Media.

BitTorrent In Complete Disarray: President and CEO Leave; 18 Employees Laid
Off
— Goes to the point that P2P is not a business model in itself, and
then, of course, bad management will even make it worse: BitTorrent, the
San Francisco-based company that has been trying to develop an online video
service and company around the open source P2P delivery technology, has
been in deep trouble for a while now, and the issues came to fore this
week, as the CEO and President of the company have left. The company has
also fired about half of its employees, 18 in number, and this after it
laid off 20 percent of the staff in August.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2008 by Dave Liu

Comcast Interested In Acquisitions For All Business Units — Comcast, a cable operator in Philadelphia, is interested in M&A for all its business units, said Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis at a recent conference. Pundits speculated that M&A may grind to a halt as companies grapple with valuations in today’s market, but when Comcast is ready to acquire again, its priorities are likely to be digital video content and technologies, they said. An industry banker said Comcast has to think about what good a cable system will be if all content is delivered ubiquitously over the Internet. He named three privately held potential targets, Brightcove, Veoh Networks and VideoEgg. Brightcove, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an interesting company gaining attention in the industry, the banker said. It manages, publishes and distributes content, and Comcast currently does not own the technology to do that. Brightcove did not return phone calls for comment. Brightcove has received USD 81m in venture financing. Source: mergermarket.

Wall Street Grows Bearish On Online Ad Market, J.P.Morgan Slashes Outlook For Second Time In Two Months Citing a pronounced weakening in market conditions in recent weeks, the influential Wall Street equities research team at J.P.Morgan has reduced its online advertising forecast for the second time in two months. Emphasizing that it hoped it was the last downgrade it would be making for a while, the analysts issued an advisory to investors attributing the downgrade to “further economic deterioration” that is weakening demand from online advertisers.

MySpace and MTV Networks Tie Up on Videos, Ads; Auto ID of Clips — MySpace is following YouTube in trying to identify uploaded clips and then insert ads in them: it is starting with one media company first, MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA), and will likely add other media companies later. For now, when users upload clips of any MTVN shows including popular clips from Daily Show or Colbert Show, it will identify those clips automatically and insert ads, both video and overlays. The company is using technology from a seven-year old tech TV fingerprinting firm Auditude. Interestingly, Auditude’s CEO is Adam Cahan, former EVP of strategy at MTVN…he joined the startup a year ago. MySpace already uses similar ID technology from Audible Magic, but Auditude takes it a step further as ads can be inserted into the uploaded premium content. YouTube has a similar ID and ad insertion system called Video ID.

AOL BlackVoices Adds Male-Focused Blog — AOL’s BlackVoices channel has started BV Power List, a new blog that offers men tips on how to succeed in all aspects of their lives. A key feature is the editors’ weekly picks of five leading African-American influencers. The first Power List includes Barack Obama, Tyra Banks, Tyler Perry, Magic Johnson and Mellody Hobson.

Global Budgets To Boost Online Advertising — Despite advertisers’ cuts to traditional media budgets and a slowdown in the rate of growth, the total dollars spent on Internet advertising will continue to increase, according to a report from the Rubicon Project to be released today. The report suggests that millions of dollars are being shifted from traditional advertising budgets into online, and that Web advertising has become a global industry that is less subject to any one country’s economy.

Scripps Overhauls Web Ads; BusinessTargets Get Smaller, More Local — EW Scripps, one of the rare newspaper publishers to report negative interactive ad revenues in Q2, is trying a quick turnaround. NYT has an overview of the Cincinnati-based company’s plans, including altering the commission structure for online ads, reducing the reliance on convergent print/web ad sales and expanding its universe of advertisers to smaller and more local marketers. In addition, Scripps is counting on Yahoo’s new APT ad delivery and targeting system to boost revs, which slumped 8 percent in Q2. The company reports Q3 earnings Friday. The four-year goal: If all goes as Rusty Coats, VP for interactive, projects, Scripps will sell enough ads to support the staff and costs of the print and online newsrooms by 2012—all without the job cuts that have become a near daily occurrence in the newspaper industry. In order for online to start producing more revenue, Scripps believes the incentives have to change for online ads.

WaPo Profits Plummet 85.8 Percent; Online Revs Grow 13 Percent — The newspaper business has been suffering for a while, and that’s the part that pulled down The Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) Company’s Q3 earnings, as the more profitable education and cable TV units failed to offset print losses. Year-over-year, net income fell 85.8 percent to $10.3 million ($1.08 per share) from Q307’s $72.5 million ($7.60 per share). The newspaper company also said operating income declined 63.5 percent in the quarter to $40.3 million from $110.5 million from last year on a $59.7 million goodwill impairment charge and $12.5 million in accelerated depreciation at The Washington Post.

Articles of the Day

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

YouTube Adds Affiliate Links To Its Videos; Amazon and iTunes Downloads — And what took so long? YouTube has added a no-brainer: affiliate download links from Amazon and iTunes for music and other kinds of downloads, from any specific video on its site. For instance, if a user is viewing a video of music artist, then links from Amazon and iTunes will appear on the page for song download (see an example here. Another example is video game download for Spore, by EA). The Google-owned company is touting this as a larger e-commerce platform play, and will add music, movies, TV shows, concert tickets and other products down the line. For now on the music side this has only been enabled for EMI and Universal Music artists…hard to see why others would resist. Also this only works in U.S. as YouTube content partners who are using its content ID system (for managing and anti-piracy) can also enable these links on user-generated content.

Slowdown Shows In H108: Online Ad Spend Gained 15.2 Percent; Q2 Up 12.8 Percent: IAB — After the poring over the series of revisions that have gone into the latest ad forecasts this morning, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s review of ad spending during the first six months of 2008 is beginning to look like the good old days, at least in comparison: for H108, ad revenues reached $11.5 billion for a 15.2 percent increase over the nearly $10 billion during the same period last year, which represented a gain of 26.6 percent over H106. The numbers suggest that online advertising, while still seeing consistent growth, is seeing its gains continuing to slow. That fact was driven home by online advertising’s Q2 numbers. Although Q2 grew 12.8 percent year-over-year, it showed a slight sequential decline of 0.3 percent from Q1.

Local Search Is Hot, Yellow Pages Still Get Used — About 31% of consumers turn to a search engine first when they’re on the hunt for local products and services, according to new stats from TMP Directional Marketing (TMPDM). That’s up just one percentage point from 2007, but still enough to move search engines ahead of print Yellow or White pages in terms of overall usage. About 30% of consumers turned to printed directories first, down from 33% last year.

BT Crash Takes Adzilla Down With It — Adzilla.com has become the latest casualty in the behavioral targeting meltdown, with the company liquidating assets and shutting down operations, Online Media Daily has learned. Well-placed sources say pressure from congressional scrutiny and telecom operators, as well as the sudden departure of Adzilla CEO Toby Gabriner, left the company with few options besides laying off its workforce and shutting down.