Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Gijit on vacation

The Gijit team is taking a break for a week. We'll post sporadically but rest assured, from August 31st forward we'll be back and working harder than ever!

- The Gijit Team

In Battle of Consoles, Nintendo Gains Allies

In the competition among the makers of video game consoles, momentum is building for the Wii from Nintendo among its crucial allies: game developers and publishers.

Inspired by the early success of the Wii, the companies that create and distribute games are beginning to shift resources and personnel toward building more Wii games, in some cases at the expense of the competing systems: the PlayStation 3 from Sony and Xbox 360 from Microsoft.

The shift is closely watched because consumers tend to favor systems that have many compelling games. More resources diverted to the Wii would mean more games, and that would translate into more consumers buying Wii consoles later. | Read full article

Google Offers to Run Site Search Engines

Google expands its enterprise solutions business with search tool for small to medium sized businesses.


From The New York Times - Google Inc. is offering to run the search engines of small Web sites for as little as $100 per year, marking the company's latest attempt to make more money off technology that already steers much of the Internet's traffic.

The service scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday is aimed at the millions of Web sites that either don't have search engines or are unhappy with the quality of their current search results, said Nitin Mangtani, a Google product manager.

The price for Google's ''Custom Search Business Edition'' will start at $100 ann to sift through up to 5,000 Web pages. Larger Web sites can pay Google $500 annually to search up to 50,000 Web pages.

That's a significant discount from the fees that Google has been charging for scaled-down versions of its Internet-leading search engine. The price for the so-called Google ''Mini'' -- a combination of hardware and software introduced more than two years ago -- starts at $1,995. More sophisticated iterations of Google's search engine cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. |

Sony to launch cheaper PlayStation Portable

From Scientific American - Sony Corp. will launch a cheaper, slimmer version of its PlayStation Portable handheld game player in an effort to better compete with Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s hot-selling DS.

Japanese electronics maker Sony said on Tuesday it will launch the new PSP in Japan on September 20.

Both Sony and Nintendo released their handheld gear, the PSP and DS, respectively, late in 2004. But sales of the PSP, which can play movies, music and games, have recently been outshone by the DS.

The new PSP will sell for 19,800 yen ($162), 5 percent less than the current model, which has been sold for 20,790 yen. It compares with 16,800 yen for Nintendo's DS Lite, the lighter version of the DS. | Read full article

Radio Looks To Politics, Web For Relief

From Scientific American - With 2007 poised to be its seventh straight year of slow to no growth, the $20 billion U.S. radio industry hopes to break the trend with political advertising and revenues from nontraditional sources in 2008.

"I think it would be shortsighted to view the industry as hopeless," said Barrington Research analyst James Goss, noting that, despite slow growth and the "challenged" radio environment, these companies are strong cash generators.

"Chances are 2008 will be better due to Internet dollars or nontraditional revenues and political dollars."

While revenue from Web sites, concert promotions and other nontraditional areas amount to less than 10 percent of the total radio industry revenue base, it has grown steadily over the past few years as the rest of the industry lagged in the face of increased competition from iPods, the Web, music- playing cellphones and other entertainment devices.

Radio industry officials believe these revenue sources will contribute more over time. | Read full article

Broadband and Household Income Go Hand-In-Hand

From The Center For Media Research - New consumer research, Broadband Access and Service in the Home 2007, from Leichtman Research Group, finds that 53% of all US households now subscribe to a broadband high-speed Internet service at home. Broadband services now account for about 72% of all home Internet subscriptions, compared to 60% last year.

While broadband subscriptions continued to increase across the country in the past year, broadband penetration remains strongly correlated with household income. | Read full article

SunRocket Users May Lose Service and Payments

From The New York Times - Telephone service could be lost for more than 200,000 customers of SunRocket, an Internet telephone company that said on Tuesday that it had gone out of business, according to a person involved in its liquidation.

The customers also could lose money paid in advance to SunRocket, which offered unlimited telephone service for a year for an upfront payment of $199, said Martin D. Pichinson, co-founder of Sherwood Partners, which signed a contract on Tuesday to handle the distribution of assets to creditors.

Mr. Pichinson said the first priority would be to make sure customers were made whole, by moving their phone lines to other providers. But he said that negotiations with other providers had not yet borne fruit. | Read full article

Related article: Internet Phone Company Halts Operations

EU Backs Nokia-Led Mobile TV Standard

From The New York Times - The European Commission backed a Nokia-led mobile television broadcasting standard on Wednesday in a move that could spur growth in the fledgling but potentially lucrative sector.

The lack of a single technology has held back wider take-up for television on cell phones and the EU's support for digital video broadcast handheld (DVB-H) could be the decisive factor in the battle to establish a global standard.

The Commission said on its Web site that DVB-H "appears to be the strongest contender for future mobile TV deployment in Europe" and is already the most popular standard in Europe.

"The Commission therefore considers that DVB-H will form the basis for successful introduction and take-up of terrestrial mobile TV services in the EU," it said. | Read full article

Podcasting Real Estate in Europe and Asia

From The New York Times - House and apartment listings that are read aloud so they can be loaded onto an iPod player for the morning commute; video tours of faraway villas, accessible with the click of a mouse. Video and audio file-sharing, technologies already so popular for entertainment and communications, are giving real estate buyers and sellers a variety of new tools for finding and marketing properties.

It is in American real estate that the sharing of audio and video files over the Internet has caught on most quickly — with video tours of homes now widely available — but property markets in the rest of the world also are beginning to embrace the idea. | Read full article

Google to Expand Program, Giving Newspapers a Lift

From The New York Times - NEWSPAPERS reeling from major losses of advertising revenue to the Internet are getting a lift from the company that helped lure advertisers away: Google.

Google plans to announce today a significant expansion of its Print Ads program, in which advertisers purchase ads in newspapers through the Web. The company introduced a limited test program last November in which 50 newspapers sold ads to 100 selected advertisers through Google’s computer system.

But now, more than 225 newspapers are participating, and hundreds of thousands of Google advertisers on the company’s main advertising system, AdWords, are eligible to buy ads from those papers. | Read full article

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Taking Aim On TV: An Old Ad Model Learns a New Trick

From Media Post's Video Insider - Scanning through the agenda at a recent Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco, it was interesting to note that only one panel was devoted to television. Indeed, the phrase “advertising technology,” for most, probably conjures up associations with the Internet. Yet while advertisers have been obsessively watching their cost-per-click, television service providers have been positioning themselves to take back ad dollars that might be earmarked for the Web — through a new phenomenon called addressable advertising, which has the potential as a change agent that the Internet once did. | Read full article - What Happened? launched in trial markets as a hyper-local content site, poised to revolutionize local media in North America. But this week it announced it's shutting down. What happened? PBS MediaShift asked Backfence co-founder Mark Potts to give a post mortem.


"There has been a lot of speculation about what went wrong at Backfence. To date, the company’s investors and I have tried to stay out of the second-guessing in the blogosphere and the trade press, largely because there are private business matters involved that we’ve chosen not to discuss.

"Indeed, as with many early-stage companies, some of Backfence’s problems were internal and self-inflicted, and actually had little or nothing to do with the many reasons wildly speculated about in industry blogs and in the trade press in recent days..." | Read full article

Vista plodding along six months after release

From CNN Technology - Chris Pirillo leaned away from his webcam and pointed to his printer/scanner/fax machine, which stopped scanning and faxing after he installed Microsoft Corp.'s new Windows Vista operating system.

"I can't live in Vista if the software that I use in my life for productivity does not work," said Pirillo, in the third minute of a 52-minute video he posted on YouTube.

Nearly six months after it launched, gripes over what doesn't work with Vista continue, eclipsing positive buzz over the program's improved desktop search, graphics and security.

With Vista now shipping on most new computers, it's all but guaranteed to become the world's dominant PC operating system -- eventually. For now, some users are either learning to live with workarounds or sticking with Vista's predecessor, Windows XP. | Read full article

Wii could top record-holding PS2

From CNN Technology - Sales of Nintendo's quirky Wii video game machine could top the legendary PlayStation 2, making it the biggest hit in the industry's history, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said on Thursday.

Nintendo Co. Ltd. sped past Sony Corp. in market capitalization last month to become one of the 10 most valuable companies in Japan.

Iwata in an interview also played down the threat to Nintendo's business of a price cut in Sony's PlayStation 3 and the introduction of a thinner PlayStation Portable.

The Wii has outsold Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 monthly since its November launch, helped by its relatively affordable $250 price tag and a motion-sensing controller that can be swung like a bat, for instance. | Read full article

Online radio tops growth in June

From Online Media Daily - RADIO WAS THE TOP-GAINING WEB category in June--up 34% from May to 48.9 million unique monthly visitors, according to comScore MediaMetrix's latest rankings and analysis of U.S. online activity. Yahoo Music led the growth in the category with more than 25 million visitors--up 11%--while AOL Radio rose 11% to 3.2 million visitors, and Disney Music 16% to 1.1. million visitors.

In more good news for Yahoo, it once again led comScore's list as top U.S. online property, with 133 million unique visitors. However, in the ad network rankings, Yahoo moved down from second to third place, falling slightly to flip places with ValueClick, with both reaching 73% of all Americans online. | Read full article

Lowdown on Loudoun: Hyper-Local For Upper Crusts

From Online Media Daily - LOUDOUN COUNTY, VIRGINIA IS PROBABLY best-known in the Internet world as the home of AOL. As of Monday, it is also the home of Washington Post Newsweek Interactive's "experiment" in hyper-local Web

Caroline Little, WPNI CEO and publisher, said that other DC communities for potential future hyper-local sites have yet to be determined, but that Loudoun was "a good place to start," since "it's a county with a real local identity" and "very fast-growing." ...

One of the print paper's long-time advertisers, DC-area retailer Long Windows, has come on board as the launch sponsor for The window replacement company has "bought out most of the site for several months," noted Little. | Read full article

Four Out of Five Newspaper Website Readers Also Read the Printed Edition

From The Center For Media Research - A new study recently released by the Newspaper National Network LP, conducted by Scarborough Research, found that 81% of newspaper website users also read the printed newspaper in the last 7 days. Crossover users (those who used both print and online newspapers in the past 7 days) have deep affinity with both their printed newspaper and their newspaper website, and 83% say "I love both my printed newspaper and visiting my newspapers website." Crossover users visit their newspaper website to:

* Access breaking news (96%),
* Find articles seen previously (85%)
* Find things to do/places to go (72%)

Jason E. Klein, President and CEO of Newspaper National Network, said "The study shows that the core newspaper reader now accesses his or her local newspaper across multiple formats, print and web, and is deeply engaged with both... 83% of crossover users say their newspaper site will be among their primary destinations 5 years from now." | Read full article

More information: Download the study (PDF)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Greatly Exaggerated: The Death of TV

From Contentinople - The upfront sales for broadcast networks closed a few weeks ago, with the Big Five commercial broadcast networks taking in $9.15 billion in prime-time ad dollars for the 2007-08 season, a 3.4 percent rise over last year. This, in an environment where technology vendors and internet video companies have been aggressively predicting the demise of television. | Read full article

The Future of Online Ads Is Still Being Written

From Contentinople - The future of online advertising is a veritable Wild West of content and capital. According to eMarketer (via BusinessWeek), Video ad sales are expected to jump from an estimated $775 million this year to $3.1 billion in 2010 and up to $4.3 billion in 2011. What this represents is that with all of this money, advertisers will be doing a lot of experimentation to find the right way to deliver ads.

Part of the thinking is that the line between online and television ads will have blurred by 2010. Already, services like TiVo are offering new (and perhaps better) ways to track ad performance utilizing the very features advertisers fear: time-shifting program viewing and fast-forwarding through commercials. What it says to advertisers is that while TiVo changes the way content is delivered to your TV, change isn't necessarily bad. | Read full article

Intel aims to speed Linux gadget development

From The New York Times - The iPhone doesn't run Linux, but Intel has begun work to help improve the operating system for future devices of its ilk.

The chipmaker on Monday is launching its Mobile and Internet Linux Project Web site, which consolidates a number of new and existing Intel projects to improve the Linux kernel and other open-source components. In addition, the company employs "quite a bit more than a dozen" programmers for coding work, said Dirk Hohndel, Intel's chief Linux and open-source technologist. | Read full article

Internet Phone Company Halts Operations

From The New York Times - SunRocket, one of the largest start-up companies offering Internet phone service, has ceased operation and is moving its customers to one or more other companies, a person briefed on its status said yesterday.

A message on SunRocket’s customer service line said the company was “no longer taking customer service or sales calls.” Executives of SunRocket, which is based in Vienna, Va., and had 200,000 subscribers as of April, could not be reached for comment.

The development underlined the struggles of start-ups trying to make a business out of providing Internet-based phone service, telecommunications industry analysts said. | Read full article

New Gaming Trends Widen Market

From The Washington Post - Parents and politicians will be impressed at two new themes the game industry is embracing. The first is the rise of the exercise game.

Konami launched this revolution in Japan years ago with Dance Dance Revolution and had two new games on display at its bungalow outside of the Fairmont Hotel during this year's E3 Media Summit. Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party includes both the dance mat for leg exercises and introduces new a Wii controller for arm movement that lets players get a full body workout. Dance Dance Revolution Supernova 2 for PlayStation 2 adds 70 new songs to the hit franchise. | Read full article (registration required)

London Gets Free Wi-Fi

From The New York Times - A free metropolitan Wi-Fi network has been launched in London, continuing the gradual trend towards free public wireless access in Europe and the U.S. The group, which serves as a resource for those looking for Wi-Fi hot spots, and the Wi-Fi network-infrastructure firm MeshHopper have joined forces to offer free Wi-Fi access to businesses and the public along a 13.6-mile stretch of the River Thames. | Read full article

Reaching More Customers With a Simple Text Message

From The New York Times - ... Mr. Wolfe said the campaign is helping sales, although he declined to say how much. In future versions of the texting campaign, he said, the company would take a page from past marketing initiatives and include coupon codes for those who reply. The logic of that approach, he said, may be lost on more mainstream e-commerce executives.

“We sent out a mailer once that said text us back for a coupon code to get a free Moosejaw T-shirt with any order,” Mr. Wolfe said. “A real Internet business person would say it’s a mistake to do that, because the customer has to receive the e-mail, get on the phone and text us, then wait for the reply to get the code, then go back to the computer to put in their order.

“We could’ve just sent out a coupon code in an e-mail,” Mr. Wolfe continued. “But texting is cool enough that we were willing to risk some friction, knowing the upside was that people would talk about it in their dorm rooms.” | Read full article

A Sony Web Site to Offer Videos by Aspiring Filmmakers

From New York Times - Sony is trying to edge into Internet videos with a Web site to be introduced today called Crackle that will feature short segments by aspiring filmmakers, many of whom Sony paid for their productions.

Crackle is the latest incarnation of Grouper, a Web site that began as a way for people to share music, photos and videos with friends. It transformed itself into a YouTube clone and was bought last August by Sony Pictures Entertainment for $65 million. At the time, Sony said Grouper would be focused mainly on user-created video, which it hoped would spur the use of its home video equipment. Read full article

Teens prefer media to dating

From Media Post - Online Testing eXchange recently released results of its teen study today revealing that 58% of teens sacrifice watching TV for going on dates. Internet surfing, playing video games, and listening to music take losses as well. But when teens go on those dates, they sacrifice free social options like cruising or school events for the marketing-laden options of movie theaters (87%), malls (64%) and restaurants (58%).

Bruce Friend, President of Media and Entertainment Insights for OTX, said "It's this kind of information marketers are looking for... how and why teens are swapping one activity for another, and where they're spending their dollars... " | Read full article

Internet Radio Lives On, But Yahoo and AOL Must Pay Up

From Media Post - INTERNET RADIO HAS SURVIVED...FOR NOW, at least. Smaller radio Webcasters, which were most threatened by the greatly increased royalty fees officially due yesterday, were expected to continue streaming. The SoundExchange collection organization apparently agreed on Friday to at least hold off on suing them for non-payment while negotiations continue.

Larger radio Webcasters were another story, however, as SoundExchange Executive Director John Simson stated: "We do expect commercial Webcasters like Yahoo and AOL to pay the new royalty rates set by the CRB [Copyright Royalty Board]." | Read full article

China second to the U.S. in number of Internet users

From Pew Internet - There are now an estimated 137 million internet users in China, second in number only to the United States, where estimates of the current internet population range from 165 million to 210 million. The growth rate of China's internet user population has been outpacing that of the U.S., and China is projected to overtake the U.S. in the total number of users within a few years.

Read the full report

U.S. Home Broadband Adoption 2007

Pew Internet has updated broadband penetration statistics based on a recent survey of American adults

47% of all adult Americans have a broadband connection at home as of early
2007, a five percentage point increase from early 2006.
- Among individuals who use the internet at home, 70% have a broadband
connection while 23% use dialup.
- Home broadband adoption in rural areas, now 31%, continues to lag high speed
adoption in urban centers and suburbs.
- Internet usage in rural areas also trails the national average; 60% of rural
adults use the internet from any location, compared with the national
average of 71%.
- 40% of African Americans now have a broadband connection at home, a nine
percentage point increase from early 2006.
- Since 2005, the percentage of African American adults with a home
broadband connection has nearly tripled, from 14% in early 2005 to
40% in early 2007.

Read the full report

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