Friday, August 3, 2007

Google Pushes Tailored Phones To Win Lucrative Ad Market

From The Wall Street Journal - Google Inc. is searching for growth in cellphones.

The company, which has made billions of dollars in Web advertising on computers, is courting wireless operators to carry handsets customized to Google products, including its search engine, email and a new mobile Web browser, say people familiar with the plans. It wants to capture a big chunk of the fast-growing market for ads on cellphones.

Google has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the cellphone project, say people who have been briefed on it. It has developed prototype handsets, made overtures to operators such as T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, and talked over technical specifications with phone manufacturers. It hopes multiple manufacturers will make devices based on its specs and multiple carriers will offer them.

For wireless operators, the plans are a double-edged sword. Google's powerful brand and its popular Web services could help operators sign up more subscribers to data packages, on which they increasingly rely as voice revenue declines. However, operators have been wary about losing control over the mobile-ad market. | Read full article

Pew: Consumers Sick of Celeb Scandals

From Media Week - Americans are sick of celebrity scandals dominating the news. According to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 87 percent of those surveyed said celebrity scandals receive too much coverage. Only 2 percent responded there wasn’t enough coverage.

The public put most of the blame for the coverage squarely on the new media, with 54 percent responding that news organizations are at fault; nearly one third (32 percent) blamed the public for paying so much attention to celebrity coverage; 12 percent said the blame should be equally shared between the public and the media. | Read full article

Discovery Shows Move Online

From Online Media Daily - DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS TODAY BECOMES THE latest TV programmer to offer free, ad-supported shows online as the season premiere of Animal Planet's "Meerkat Manor" debuts on the Web, a week prior to its cable TV premiere.

Two other shows from Discovery networks--TLC's "LA Ink" and Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs"--will debut online next Wednesday, Aug. 8, a day after their cable premieres.

All three shows will be available via the Web sites of their respective networks, with episodes of additional Discovery Communications series set to be added to the online roster on a regular basis.

At least three spots, up to 30 seconds in length, will run per hour. There will be no pre-roll spot before the episodes, although billboards may appear. The initial advertiser roster consists of nine brands representing six product categories: automotive, CPG, finance, telecommunications, manufacturing and home care. | Read full article

Google Algorithm Tweak Spurs Traffic Slowdown

From Online Media Daily - Traffic to is down some 28%, according to a statement released by the site's parent company, Answers Corp. The news highlights the struggle many Web properties face due to their dependence on Google for traffic, and consequently, revenue. | Read full article

Video Game Matches to Be Televised on CBS

From The New York Times - The magic of television has already transformed everything from motorcycle acrobatics to poker into living-room spectator sports, not to mention turning competitive singing into a national obsession. Next on the list: video games. | Read full article

Go ahead, post that dumb video online, you could get some work

From The Associated Press/CNN - Voice-over work in Indiana wasn't too lucrative, so Daniel Geduld made a classic actor's move: He headed for Los Angeles, Califronia. And like most Hollywood dreamers, Geduld didn't get hired for much.

So Geduld combined his creative talents with his abundance of free time. He took footage from the 1980s "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" cartoons, re-edited it and redubbed it to make the evil Skeletor and his cronies into a bumbling gang of losers. Geduld added incongruously peppy jazz by Django Reinhardt, called his farce "The Skeletor Show" and posted episodes on Google Inc.'s YouTube.

Geduld added his e-mail address to the credits, along with this line: "Please give me a job. I'm talented."

Actually, that was a joke. Geduld didn't think much could come of it. | Read full article

Online Video Ads: Work in Progress, says Google

From NewTeeVee - Nevermind the millions of dollars invested by venture capitalists in the online video advertising companies. Google, the company that gave a bottom line to online video when it bought YouTube for $1.6 billion, thinks the business of online video advertising is a work in progress.

“We are still in the process of trying different things,” Susan Wojcicki, Google’s vice president of product management told a small gathering of journalists at company’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California on Tuesday.

It’s not clear pre-roll (before the clip) or post-roll (after the video clip) ads will work online. Google says it is experimenting with in-stream ads for now, but looking for new ideas. | Read full article

MySpace Nabs Lonelygirl15 Finale

From NewTeeVee - In a deal that signals the ascendance of the independent video creator, MySpace will host and feature the Lonelygirl15 season finale this Friday. The finale, a culmination of the series to date, with 12 episodes released every hour over starting at 8 a.m. Pacific, is a bit of creative freedom that the Lonelygirl creators are taking to wrap up some storylines and play with the pacing of their show in real time. | Read full article

Watch Out YouTube, Yahoo Is Coming

From NewTeeVee - Yahoo’s declaration this week that it is going to take on YouTube might sound like a great soundbite, but the reality of Yahoo (or for that matter anyone) catching up with THE YouTube is going to be a tough task. In May 2007, Yahoo had 4.6 percent of the total online video streams, in comparison with YouTube’s 21.5 percent of the total market, with 1.7 billion of Google’s 1.8 billion total streams coming from YouTube, according to comScore. | Read full article

Online Video: 57% of internet users have watched videos online and most of them share what they find with others

From Pew Internet - The growing adoption of broadband combined with a dramatic push by content providers to promote online video has helped to pave the way for mainstream audiences to embrace online video viewing. Fifty-seven percent of online adults have used the internet to watch or download video, and 19% do so on a typical day. Three-quarters of broadband users (74%) who enjoy high-speed connections at both home and work watch or download video online.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project's first major report on online video also shows how many video viewers have contributed to the viral and social nature of online video. More than half of online video viewers (57%) share links to the video they find with others, and three in four (75%) say they receive links to watch video that others have sent to them. | Read full article & PDF report

Should Yahoo Try Again for Facebook?

From The New York Times - Yahoo clearly wants a seat on the social-networking train. But how much should it spend for a ticket?

After years as the Web’s de facto welcome mat, Yahoo is facing competition on many fronts. Google, with its popular search service and an increasing number of Web applications, is part of the reason that Yahoo’s growth has stalled. But an analyst at Bear Stearns suggests that Yahoo is also being left behind by sites such as MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn — and said that an acquisition could be a good way to catch up.

Yahoo has already been thinking along these lines. It offered to pay nearly $1 billion last year for Facebook, which was originally an online hangout for college students but now allows anybody to log on and link up with their friends. More recently, News Corporation was reported to have offered to sell its MySpace unit to Yahoo in exchange for a large Yahoo stake, a proposal that Yahoo never publicly acknowledged. | Read full article

Thursday, August 2, 2007

What is the state of online advertising?

From Frontline's NEWSWAR - "... You see the figures in terms of advertising on the Internet, though, and they're up 30 and 40 percent a year. So everybody, I think, is crossing their fingers that we start to make real money on the Internet. Right now we're not. Right now we're barely breaking even on the Internet. But I'm optimistic based on the numbers that I see." -- Jeff Fager

Frontline brings you interviews & perspectives about the state of online advertising from Jeff Fager, Executive producer, 60 Minutes; David Hiller, Publisher, Los Angeles Times; Scott Moore,VP content operations, Yahoo!; James O'Shea, Editor, Los Angeles Times.

Visit Frontline's website for the complete interviews.

Apple patent attack: the multi-touch gesture dictionary

From Engadget - The unstoppable Apple patent machine has struck again. This time, the Cupertino-cash-cow has applied for a patent on a new multi-touch "dictionary" which would establish gestures, or "chords" in multi-touch systems. The dictionary would not only provide a guide and somewhat-programmable system of movements, but would also function as an application which runs either on its own or in the background during other applications, allowing gestures to be recognized. | Read full article Launches Vertical Ad Network, Next Hot Thing

From Online Media Daily - IN A WAVE OF THINGS to come, has launched online vertical advertising networks for its and politics sections that give small publishers access to its content while increasing the amount of inventory it can sell to advertisers. A challenge for large online publishers is competing for greater share of inventory with the major ad networks, like Google AdSense, Guerrilla Nation, or, which in any vertical market segment are the largest single holders of ad inventory.'s new approach is powered by Publisher's Vertical Network, and seeks to help it monetize verticals where it already has market expertise.| Read full article

Study: Online Local Search Booming, But Print Still Strong

From Online Media Daily - TMP DIRECTIONAL MARKETING, A LOCAL search and yellow pages agency, releasing results of a comScore-conducted study, said a third (33%) of consumers still consider print Yellow Pages to be their primary source of local business information -- and more than 90% of all searchers believe print directories are "still a valuable source for shopping information."

Still, a majority of users (60%) go to the Web first for their local searches--with 30% of all users tapping general search engines like Yahoo or Google, 17% choosing Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), and 13% local search sites like Citysearch. | Read full article

Social Networking High On Time's Web Agenda

From Online Media Daily - THE SHIFT IN MINDSET TO time spent from pages viewed will work to the advantage of Time Inc.'s Web brands as the company plays up the consumer "engagement" factor of such flagship sites as and, and works to land some big advertising deals, predicts John Squires, executive vice president of Time Inc.

Visitors to Time Inc.'s portfolio of sites average more than 21 minutes monthly, he said during the company's second "Digital Showcase" on Wednesday to discuss its latest online ventures with the media.

"We're now thinking about the portfolio as a true portfolio," akin to an ad network, said Squires. Fifteen Time Inc. brands are involved in the contextual ad partnership with Quigo, and will generate an estimated $100 million in revenue over the first three years. | Read full article

Parents Watching More Media Than The Kids

From Research Brief - According to IMMI data, women 45-54 will watch a cumulative 1142 hours of TV, DVD's and movies in the theater in 2007. That's 47.6 days of media, while their male counterparts will consume only 40.2 days of media. In the 35-44 parental age group, females are predicted to watch 38.3 days of media, males 33.9 days.

On the other hand, teenagers ages 13-17 will spend an average of 33.4 days in front of the television, playing DVD's, and going to the movies in 2007. | Read full article

Content Makers Are Accused of Exaggerating Copyright

From The New York Times - An association of computer and communication companies, including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, on Wednesday accused several professional sports leagues, book publishers and other media companies of misleading and threatening consumers with overstated copyright warnings.

In a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, the group, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, said that the National Football League, Major League Baseball, NBC and Universal Studios, DreamWorks, Harcourt and Penguin Group display copyright warnings that are a “systematic misrepresentation of consumers’ rights to use legally acquired content.”

The complaint alleges that the warnings may intimidate consumers from making legal use of copyrighted material, like photocopying a page from a book to use in class. | Read full article

Disney Acquires Web Site for Children

From The New York Times - Racing to solidify its dominant position in children’s entertainment on the Internet, the Walt Disney Company said Wednesday that it had acquired a subscription Web site aimed at preteenagers, Club Penguin, in a deal that could total $700 million.

Disney said it would pay $350 million for Club Penguin, a virtual community that has soared in popularity since its founding in late 2005. More than 700,000 users now pay $5.95 a month to customize penguin characters and then chat and play games with other “penguins.”

And Disney has agreed to pay the founders, three fathers based in Kelowna, British Columbia, up to $350 million more by the end of 2009 if the site meets growth targets. “They could earn all of it or none of it,” said Thomas O. Staggs, Disney’s chief financial officer. “The growth they have to achieve is attractive enough that we would be pleased to pay.” | Read full article

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Online Newspaper Readers a "Sophisticated Audience"

From Research Brief - According to the Newspaper Association of America, more than 59 million people (37.3 percent of all active Internet users) visited newspaper Web sites during the second quarter of 2007, a record number that represents a 7.7 percent increase over the same period a year ago,.

In addition, newspaper Web site visitors generated nearly 2.7 billion page views per month throughout the quarter, compared to slightly more than 2.5 billion during the same period last year. And, more than 60 million people visited newspaper Web sites during May 2007 that month, more than any month on record.

NAA President and CEO, John F. Sturm, said "... readers are visiting newspaper Web sites in record numbers for in-depth news and information as well as hyper-local information... These sites ... (offer) thought-provoking blogs to complement the journalistic excellence that makes newspapers a community's most trusted resource." | Read full article

Subscriber Gain Helps Sirius Narrow Loss

From The New York Times - Sirius Satellite Radio, the pay-radio broadcaster planning to buy XM Satellite Radio Holdings, posted a narrower second-quarter loss after gaining more subscribers than analysts expected.

The net loss shrank to $134.1 million, or 9 cents a share, from $237.8 million, or 17 cents a share, a year earlier, Sirius, based in New York, said yesterday. The result was 1 cent better than analysts had expected, according to the average estimate compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 51 percent, to $226.4 million.

Sirius, which broadcasts the talk-show host Howard Stern, added 561,500 net subscribers during the period, about 80,000 more than analysts estimated. Sirius ended June with 7.14 million subscribers and expects to have more than eight million by year-end. | Read full article

Online Video Ad Spending On Track To Rise 89% In 2007

From Online Media Daily - Online video ad spending will register its greatest year-over-year growth in 2007--rising 89% to $775 million, forecasts eMarketer. Even more significant, the researcher says, the growth rate will remain near or above 40% through 2011, when video ad spending will reach $4.3 billion. | Read full article

The New AOL: From Ugly Duckling To Swan

From Online Media Daily - LOOK FOR TIME WARNER'S UGLY duckling AOL to emerge as a swan when earnings are announced next week.

Smart acquisitions, new hires, a move to drop the subscription wall, and a focus on original content have both analysts and agency heads praising the unit for the first time in years.

As its unit continues to perform strongly, AOL added another asset this week--announcing its intention to buy behavioral ad-targeting network Tacoda for a reported $275 million.

"They're definitely turning into a bright spot for Time Warner," said Ed Montes, managing director at Havas' Media Contacts.

Clark Kokich, just-named CEO of Avenue A|Razorfish, said he's seen a spike of more than 300% in client spending with AOL over the past year--a trend he attributes to three causes: service, technology, and products. | Read full article

You Tube Tops Video Stream Watching

From Research Brief - comScore recently released its Video Metrix report for May 2007, showing that nearly 75 percent of U.S. Internet users watched an average of 158 minutes of online video per user during the month. Americans viewed more than 8.3 billion video streams online during the month, and Google Sites ranked as the top U.S. streaming video property with 1.8 billion videos streamed, 1.7 billion of which occurred at

Fox Interactive Media ranked second, followed by Yahoo! Sites and Viacom Digital. | Read full article

Peer Reviews Significant To Shoppers in Consumer Brand Trust

From Research Brief - A recent survey on current attitudes towards customer ratings and reviews by Bazaarvoice and Vizu Corporation, shows that about three out of four shoppers say that it is extremely or very important to read customer reviews before making a purchase, and they prefer peer reviews over expert reviews by a 6-to-1 margin.

The summary notes that and MarketingSherpa report usage of ratings and reviews nearly doubling in the US over the last year, while the Bazaarvoice and Vizu survey revealed that 44 percent of US shoppers consider ratings and reviews to be the most useful eCommerce site feature. Product comparison (15 percent), product navigation (12 percent), and privacy information (11 percent) followed in the distance. | Read full article

Cable Operators Want To Eliminate Must-Buys Of Local TV

From TV Watch - The cable industry is at it again, trying to avoid carrying local TV station signals. Industry members claim that DirecTV and EchoStar Communications don’t have to do it — so why should they?

The cable industry argues that under the 1992 must-buy rules, it costs money to carry stations (absent of any retransmission consent monies). A repeal of those rules would give cable subscribers the option of not buying those channels in a package - and reduce their monthly fee.

If that happened, the FCC would be concerned that some lower-rated local TV stations would go out of business. Maybe the marketplace would rule instead. | Read full article

Facebook Rate Card Leaked To Blog: $10 CPM +

From Online Media Daily - WANT TO SPONSOR A FACEBOOK page? It will cost you $10 a CPM plus $2 to $5 extra for targeting costs, according to a February rate card leaked to industry blog Valleywag this week.

According to the rate card, which Facebook refused to authenticate, marketers have to shell out a minimum of $50,000 for the prized sponsorships. | Read full article

MTV/Microsoft Study: Kids Love Technology, Don't Care How It Works

From Media Daily News - WHILE KIDS AND YOUNG ADULTS may be immersed in digital media, there are limits on what they want to know about the technology, according to new research.

A massive study--jointly produced by MTV Networks and Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions--surveyed 18,000 kids ages 8-14 in 16 countries, offering a wide range of results on digital entertainment and communications platforms.

One major finding is that kids are not focused on the detailed workings of the technology itself. It's how technology lets them communicate and be entertained. Only 20% of teens and young adults showed any "interest" in technology.

For the still TV-centric MTV, the study showed promising data for television viewing--59% of kids 8-14 still prefer traditional TV over the computer and the Internet. One major exception is in China, where the study noted that 8-14s prefer online over TV. | Read full article

Massive Adds Five EA Sports Titles To In-Game Ad Network

From Online Media Daily - MICROSOFT'S MASSIVE INC. ANNOUNCED THE incorporation of five new sports titles from Electronic Arts (EA) into its in-game advertising network--further strengthening the in-game ad value proposition in a booming U.S. video game market.

With video game hardware and software sales topping $1.1 billion in June according to market research firm NPD, advertisers seeking to reach gamers have more consoles and games than ever to do so. The EA titles joining Massive's network include both perennial bestsellers and a number of new releases to connect brands with highly engaged sports gamers.

The Xbox 360 and PC titles include Madden NFL 08, NASCAR 08, NHL 08, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08, and SKATE, and all five will feature the ability to incorporate dynamic in-game ads via the Massive Network.

Available ads include 2-D units (such as a movie poster or soda machine), embedded sound and video units (say, a movie trailer or music video), interactive units, and even 3-D object replacement, which can insert branded objects into the game play over a certain period of time. | Read full article

Behavioral Targeting: Not Quite Ready For Prime Time

From Online Media Daily - THE PROGNOSTICATORS SAY 2008 IS supposed to be the year behavioral targeting hits it big in the U.S.--reaching the $1 billion mark in terms of online ad spend, according to eMarketer.

But at the Behavioral Marketing Forum Tuesday, it was clear that obstacles exist ranging from definition to education.

"Behavioral targeting is any method of targeting a consumer after they've taken any kind of measurable action," said Carrie Frolich, digital practice lead, Mediaedge:cia. "And it's not only online."

Joe Weaver, associate media director, Media Storm, added: "It's not a line item on an Excel sheet. Behavioral targeting is a strategy."

Advertisers are also struggling to find metrics that can justify the premium prices for behaviorally targeted ads while providing quantification of ROI at the same time.

"We have to explain effectiveness in terms of traditional buying metrics like GRPs," said Frolich. The panelists said that sometimes those metrics don't fit if the desired outcome is engagement or brand awareness.

Developing effective behaviorally targeted creative also poses a challenge, as it often requires customization that may be out of a client's budget, or simply out of their capability because it involves conversation. | Read full article

DoubleClick Launching Video Ad Feature

From Online Media Daily - DOUBLECLICK THIS WEEK IS LAUNCHING a new video ad feature that allows developers to create high-impact teaser ads with short flashes of video. | Read full article

iTunes Store Tops Three Billion Songs

From Apple - Apple® today announced that more than three billion songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes® Store ( iTunes is the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store featuring a catalog of over five million songs, 550 television shows and 500 movies. iTunes recently surpassed Amazon and Target to become the third largest music retailer in the US.* | Read full article

Sprint, Google Vow To Make WiMAX Widespread By 2008

From Online Media Daily - SPRINT HAS PARTNERED WITH GOOGLE to create a WiMAX portal that will house Web-based applications, social networking and search--creating an opportunity for marketers to reach consumers with a digital message wherever they are, and on any available device.

In the as-yet unnamed portal, Sprint's high-speed wireless service (which includes location detection) will be combined with Google Apps (including e-mail, chat and calendaring), allowing consumers to browse the Web, buy products on-demand, and stream media on devices ranging from laptops and PDAs to phones and music players.

"This is a play to get Internet access in a very broadband way through a number of different devices," said Peter Cannistra, director of Sprint's mobile broadband business. "WiMAX is being built out for laptops and fixed computers, but we're working to put the chips into wide array of consumer electronics." | Read full article

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where are the Wiis?

While on vacation in Northern Virginia, I figured it would be a cinch to find a Wii console. After all, the region is full of stores selling consumer electronics. I wasn't prepared to leave empty handed.

After visiting at least 5 stores and calling another 8, I was laughed at by staff at leave 4 times. Their typical response to my question about whether they had a Wii was, "No, we don't have any. We got 10 in last week and people lined up around the block..."

I have heard that Nintendo is playing up the shortage to keep hype around the console at a high pitch. But it could backfire. Do I want a Wii? Hell yes. Am I willing to wait in line or spend $100 more than the retail price to pick one up? Not a chance. At this rate, my Wii envy may disappear in a month or so, to be replaced by the next big thing. Until then, I will still dream of Wii Sports and the fabulous Wiimote.

Jesuits say take word of God to Second Life

From CNN -- Catholic missionaries have always trekked to dangerous parts of the Earth to spread the word of God -- now they are being encouraged to go into the virtual realm of Second Life to save virtual souls.

In an article in Rome-based Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, academic Antonio Spadaro urged fellow Catholics not to be scared of entering the virtual world which may be fertile ground for new converts wishing to better themselves.

"It's not possible to close our eyes to this phenomenon or rush to judge it," Spadaro said. "Instead it needs to be understood ... the best way to understand it is to enter it."

Second Life is a simulation game where players can create a virtual version of themselves -- an avatar -- and interact with other people in the three-dimensional world. | Read full article

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