Saturday, September 8, 2007

High-Speed Video Store in the Living Room

Fascinating business model. It's almost the kind of VOD box I would go for. Almost.

From The New York Times - If you had to make a master list of all the world’s problems, “limited access to movies” probably wouldn’t appear until Page 273,996.

Truth is, life is teeming with opportunities to see movies: movie theaters, video stores, DVD-by-mail services, TV movie channels, pay-per-view, video-on-demand, Xbox 360, iTunes, Internet downloads, hotel rooms, airplanes and so on.

But according to the team at Vudu, all of those outlets are flawed.

Video stores: you have to drive back and forth, and the movie you want might be out of stock. Netflix and Blockbuster by mail: you have to wait a day or two for each movie to arrive. Pay-per-view, video-on-demand, Xbox, iTunes and hotel rooms: puny movie selections. Internet downloads: they arrive on your computer, not your TV.

Vudu’s new $400 movie box, to be available at month’s end, has none of those problems. It’s a little black box (about 7 by 9 by 2 inches) that connects to your TV and to the Internet through a high-speed link — and it comes darned close to putting a video store in your house. Its built-in hard drive permits your choice of 5,000 movies to begin playing instantaneously. There’s no computer involved, no waiting and no monthly fee. | Read full article

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Online Ads Trump Radio in 2008

From Media Research - Ben Macklin, eMarketer senior analyst and author of a new report, Radio Trends, concludes that "Traditional radio is rapidly being subsumed into a new, broader sector called 'audio'" that will include Internet radio, satellite radio, podcasting, high-definition radio and mobile audio services.

The study, reported for EMarketer, shows Online ad spending transactions through 2007 and 2008 will exceed that being spent on traditional radio. | Read full article

Viral Campaigns Falling Short, Says JupiterResearch

From Online Media Daily - VIRAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS ARE MOSTLY ineffective, reports JupiterResearch, which found that only 15% of viral campaigns in the past year achieved the goal of prompting consumers to promote the marketer's message.

In a new report, "Viral Marketing: Bringing the Message to the Masses," the researcher also found that the most popular technique used to stimulate viral behavior was targeting of influentials. But, JupiterResearch added, viral marketers plan to decrease use of this tactic by 55% within the next year. | Read full article

Analog TV in Countdown to Oblivion

From Live Science - The old TV with the "rabbit ear" antennae that brought us Howdy Doody and the original Star Trek episodes has a date with the Grim Reaper. After Feb. 19, 2009, it will only display static.

That’s because old TVs relied on analog technology, and the U.S. Government has mandated that analog TV broadcasting will cease after that date. | Read full article

Music Business Pioneer Says IPod Will Soon Be Obsolete

From The Wired Blog - The man who bet his professional life on the future success of rap music has finally come forward to offer his vision of the future of music business in an iPod age. Legendary producer and record label executive Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Slayer, Johnny Cash, Run DMC, Jay-Z) told The New York Times that the future is not iTunes serving รก la carte songs to your iPod, but music labels offering every song on the planet, anywhere, via subscription.

Rubin said, "You'd pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come anywhere you'd like. In this new world, there will be a virtual library that will be accessible from your car, from your cellphone, from your computer, from your television. Anywhere. The iPod will be obsolete, but there would be a Walkman-like device you could plug into speakers at home." | Read full article

Mary Meeker's YouTube Math

From Silicon Valley Insider - Morgan Stanley's Internet analyst Mary Meeker was a good deal more optimistic than we were about the revenue impact of YouTube's new overlay ads. Specifically, Mary concluded that the overlays could immediately add $4.8 billion of gross revenue and $720 million of net revenue to Google's annual results. This compared to the tiny $12 million to $360 million of gross revenue that we projected.

Well, we were baffled at how Mary could be so amazingly bullish, so, on a tip from a reader, we checked her numbers. And it seems Mary may soon be revising her estimates. Why? Because, in advertising lingo, "CPM" means "Cost Per Thousand" not "Cost Per One." When Mary updates her model to divide by 1,000, her numbers will look a bit different.

What happens to Mary's estimates when you do the math right? Well, that $4.8 billion of gross revenue becomes $4.8 million, and the $720 million of net revenue becomes $720 thousand. So if, as Mary suggests, Google can float ads on top of 20 million streams a month, secure a $20 CPM, and keep 15% of the gross revenue, the overall impact will actually be, as we suggested yesterday, immaterial. | Read full article

NBC in Deal With Amazon to Sell Shows on the Web

From The New York Times - NBC Universal significantly deepened its relationship with Amazon’s digital video download service after a dispute with Apple over the pricing of television shows on iTunes.

The media conglomerate, part of General Electric, said yesterday that Amazon had agreed to give it something that Apple would not: greater flexibility in the pricing and packaging of video downloads. As a result, NBC Universal said it had agreed to sell a wide variety of television programming on Amazon’s fledgling Unbox download service, including the drama “Heroes” and the comedies “The Office” and “30 Rock.” Episodes will be available on Unbox the day after they are shown. | Read full articles

Yahoo to Buy Behavioral Ad Network

From The New York Times - Yahoo said Tuesday that it would buy BlueLithium, an advertising network that specializes in targeting ads to users based on what Web sites they have visited, for $300 million.

The deal will build on Yahoo’s growing efforts to become a broker and seller of ads across the Web. The company began those efforts with deals to sell ads on the Web sites of a consortium of newspapers, as well as on eBay and It followed with the acquisition of Right Media, an auction marketplace, where publishers sell advertising space in real time. | Read full article

Sir Howard’s Download Mess

From The New York Times - If there was ever a measure of how little traction Howard Stringer is having as chief executive of Sony, it is the company’s comical inability to have a coherent approach to delivering content online to its wide range of digital devices.

The consumer electronics market today, after all, is one that Sony’s sprawling corporate structure was designed for. Cellphones, game consoles, TVs, portable players and computers (all of which Sony makes) are linking in ever more complex ways with video and music (which Sony also makes). | Read full article

A Global Vision From the New Man at EA Sports

From The New York Times - EA Sports is one of the most powerful, lucrative brands in the video game business. That’s not enough for Peter Moore.

Two months ago Mr. Moore stunned the game world with the announcement that he would step down as head of Microsoft’s games operation to be president of the sports division at Electronic Arts, the No. 1 game publisher. He started his new job yesterday, and today in a presentation to journalists at the company’s headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., he is to share his vision for moving EA Sports beyond video games to a global sports and entertainment enterprise. | Read full article

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Yahoo-Microsoft Chatter Rises Again

From The New York Times - School kids aren’t the only ones returning from vacation. Dog-eared speculation about a potential deal between Yahoo and Microsoft is back as well.

Rumors flew about a possible transaction between the two companies in May, after various reports suggested that Microsoft was considering a joint venture with Yahoo, an acquisition of Yahoo’s search business or an outright merger. The chatter largely died down for the summer (except for a brief flare-up in June when Yahoo’s chief executive Terry Semel resigned). Now, an analyst’s report has given new life to the speculation. | Read full article

Fake Steve on NBC/iTunes - "A boring rant"

From Fake Steve - In the interest of keeping items brief I've cut the previous post and put the boring stuff here. Enjoy. Or don't enjoy, as the case may be. Skip over it. Whatever.

It's not just Disney and ABC that are out of touch. Look at the management team at NBC Universal. Look at the GE board of directors. Do these people scare the living shit out of you? They sure scare the hell out of me. They're all buffed and polished and about a hundred and fourteen years old. They look like cadavers who've been done up by the world's best funeral home makeup artist. A lot of them are just GE lifers who did time in plastics and then airplane engines and then somehow got dropped into the TV group. | Read full article

Why I believe Facebook's days are numbered

From The Globe And Mail - After Facebook, what?

The delicious riddle of Facebook's future is part parlour game, part billion-dollar question. It might just be me, but I'm hearing more grumbling than raving about the site these days. For people who joined earlier in the year, the novelty has worn off. The rush of long-lost acquaintances clamouring for renewed “friendship” has petered out. After all, one can only have gone to grade school with so many people.

There's also the fact that the only thing with tastes more fickle than a teenager is the media. In this corner, anyway, Facebook got so overexposed so quickly that we're getting loath to raise it again, what with readers' groans echoing pre-emptively in our ears. | Read full article

Google Shift on Handling of News

From The New York Times - Google is playing host to articles from four news agencies, including The Associated Press, the company said Friday, setting the stage for it to generate advertising revenue from Google News.

The news agencies — the Press Association of Britain, Canadian Press, Agence France-Presse and The A.P. — now have their articles featured with the organizations’ own brands on Google News. The companies have agreed to license news feeds to Google. | Read full article

Do the Mash (Even if You Don’t Know All the Steps)

From The New York Times - POP music has its mash-ups that combine tunes and vocals from different songs. YouTube viewers do it, too, mixing together segments from various music videos.

Now mash-ups are poised to hit the mainstream, and to spread well beyond music. Yahoo, I.B.M., Microsoft and others are creating systems to let ordinary people who’ve never been near a Java class create useful computer applications by combining, or “mashing up,” different online information sources.

If the technology catches on, many of us may become part-time programmers, instead of waiting for the people in information technology to help. | Read full article

Whiting Out the Ads, but at What Cost?

From The New York Times - MORE white space.

I sent an e-mail message to a friend telling him about Adblock Plus, an easy-to-use free addition to the Firefox Internet browser that deletes advertisements from Web sites. That subject line of his reply summed it up quite nicely.

What happens when the advertisements are wiped clean from a Web site? There is a contented feeling similar to what happens when you watch a recorded half-hour network TV show on DVD in 22 minutes, or when a blizzard hits Times Square and for a few hours, the streets are quiet and unhurried, until the plows come to clear away all that white space. | Read full article

Software via the Internet: Microsoft in ‘Cloud’ Computing

From The New York Times - The empire is preparing to strike back — again.

In 1995, Microsoft added a free Web browser to its operating system in an attempt to fend off new rivals, an effort ultimately blocked by the courts.

This week, it plans to turn that strategy upside down, making available free software that connects its Windows operating system to software services delivered on the Internet, a practice increasingly referred to as “cloud” computing. The initiative is part of an effort to connect Windows more seamlessly to a growing array of Internet services. | Read full article

Joost Acquires OnTheToob

From NewTeeVee - Back in July we wrote about the phenomenon of independent developers contributing much-needed features to Joost, such as a frequently updated programming guide and a browser-based interface built in Flash.

Well, one such project, Hal Schechner’s OnTheTube — the programming guide that helps Joost beta testers create customized channels and RSS feeds out of Joost’s some 238 channels and 10,298 programs — has been acquired by Joost, according to the blog JoostTeam (which is not affiliated with Joost, the company). | Read full article

Sony Bets Big on Video Downloads

From NewTeeVee - It’s an understatement to say the commercial viability of paid video downloads is a crapshoot, but that doesn’t stop new entrants from placing expensive bets, hoping that they will hit the jackpot. Apple (AAPL), Vuze, BitTorrent, Blockbuster, Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) — these are some of the existing players that Sony (SNE), the newest entrant, will have to contend with in the near future.

Undaunted, Sony, under the aegis of its CEO & Chairman Howard Stringer, has developed a new strategy to revive its rapidly declining fortunes. The Wall Street Journal reports (citing unnamed sources) that the new video download strategy revolves around PlayStation, PlayStation Portable and other Sony brands, such as Bravia televisions. The news of such service had first surfaced in December 2006. | Read full article

Mobile TV among highlights at Berlin consumer electronics show

From - Mobile TV and 3-D TV are among the consumer products being pushed at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin.

The show, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5, bills itself as one of the largest such shows in the world. This year, it included 1,212 exhibiters from 32 countries. | Read full article

Blog Archive