Saturday, October 20, 2007

I Want My Web TV

From The New York Times - LAST month, CBS started EyeLab, a production studio that creates short clips of the television network’s shows for online viewers. Even though CBS was offering many episodes in their entireties on its site and on services like iTunes, the blog paidContent.org called EyeLab “a small step backward.” Quincy Smith, the president of CBS Interactive, told The Wall Street Journal that, according to network research, less than a third of CBS’s Web audience expressed an interest in watching full-length episodes online.

That may be changing — and more quickly than many people had thought. This week, two research organizations, TNS and the Conference Board, issued a report indicating that the number of people who watch TV shows online has doubled in the last year. Close to 16 percent of American households now watch some programs online (conference-board.org).

This month, soon after the introduction of EyeLab, Chris Albrecht of the blog NewTeeVee asked whether putting full-length shows online was a “waste of time.” His readers answered with a resounding no, three-quarters of them indicating an interest in full-length shows (newteevee.com). This week, Mr. Albrecht wrote that the Conference Board/TNS data “bodes well for networks putting their shows online and the advertisers who pay to reach audiences.” | Read full article

Friday, October 19, 2007

What I Meant to Say Was Semantic Web

From The New York Times - One great way to start a fight in a crowded Silicon Valley cocktail party (and there are a lot of them these days) is to mention Web 3.0.

There is no easy consensus about how to define what is meant by Web 3.0, but it is generally seen as a reference to the semantic Web. While it is not that much more precise a phrase, the semantic Web refers to technology to make using the Internet better by understanding the meaning of what people are doing, not just the way pages link to each other.

Amid the new Silicon Valley gold rush under way, a lot of entrepreneurs seem to believe that to define something is to own it. And Web 3.0 seems like a great thing to own.

So companies are bubbling up all over the place that claim to be building part of the semantic Web. Some are building voice recognition systems to use while browsing the Internet on a cell phone. Some want to challenge Google head on with a better search engine. | Read full article

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Reason to exclaim?

From The Globe And Mail - For the first time in months — if not years — investors in Yahoo! Inc. have at least a few reasons to believe that the exclamation mark in the company's name isn't out of place.

In its latest quarterly report, released late on Tuesday, the search engine and online-entertainment company turned in a financial performance that was better than many investors and analysts had expected.

Unfortunately for Yahoo, that's not saying very much. | Read full article

Publishing is no longer just about the portal

Here's an interesting NY Times quote from the head of AOL that articulates the company's direction:

"Instead, they envision a network of loosely confederated Web sites, services, blogs and widgets that operate under a variety of names.

'Publishing is no longer just about the portal,” Mr. Falco explained in a conversation earlier this month. “We are going to be in as many different places as possible.'"

Read the article for the full story

The Fear Bubble

From The New York Times - Brad Stone and Matt Richtel write today on the front page of The Times about the surging values of Internet companies, a trend that evokes the madness of the late 1990s. The values might be mad, but this is a very different world now.

This is a bubble inflated by fear. The last one exploded from greed.

In 1995, people woke up, saw the Netscape browser, said, “This is going to change everything,” and started the world’s biggest land grab. They raised billions of dollars for grand schemes to reinvent entire industries — Webvan, VerticalNet, Homestore, and so on. Meanwhile, hoping to cash in on the revolution, investors bid up the prices of the flimsiest shells of companies to astronomical levels. | Read full article

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Watching TV on the laptop--and on the cheap

From The New York Times - I know this may sound crazy, but I don't have a television.

This isn't a problem, except when I get glimpses of what I might be missing, like when the New York Mets choked and it was all anybody could talk about in the office that day.

I also happened to catch some episodes of Animal Planet's Meerkat Manor on a public hospital TV recently. I was captivated by the story of matriarch meerkat "Flower" and her tragic death from a cobra bite while saving her pups in the Kalahari desert. I just had to watch the next episode to see which of her daughters would win the power struggle to succeed her. But how could I do that without cable or even a TV? | Read full article

People Do Watch Commercials

From The New York Times - Nielsen’s hotly anticipated commercial ratings landed with a thud on Tuesday, and network executives and media buyers quickly analyzed the premiere week numbers that most of this season’s advertisements were bought and sold based on.

And the spreadsheets contained… hold your breath… no big surprises, according to Alan Wurtzel, the president for research at NBC Universal.

“It was literally a confirmation of what we expected to see,” Mr. Wurtzel said. | Read full article

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Apple Backs Down on Premium Prices for Unprotected Music

From The New York Times - Apple these days may well have market clout, but it is not bigger than the market.

Today, Apple dropped the price of music downloads that are not protected by copy restrictions from $1.29 to 99 cents.

In April, Apple introduced iTunes Plus, offering songs from EMI with better sound quality and no copy protection. It attempted to create a premium price tier for songs, although full albums were priced the same as its regular downloads, which limit the number of devices on which they can be played. | Read full article

Google Takes Step on Video Copyrights

From The New York Times - Google is seeking to put an end to the copyright wars over online video.

On Monday, the company unveiled a long-anticipated system that, if effective, would allow media companies to prevent their clips from being uploaded to YouTube without permission.

Whether the system will work well enough to satisfy media companies who have been irked by the proliferation of unauthorized copyrighted clips on YouTube is not yet clear. But if successful, the system, which Google is offering to all media companies, could usher in a d├ętente between them and Google. | Read full article

Bill Gates Presents the One (Really Big) Ringy Dingy

From The New York Times - For Cisco, Nortel, Avaya and the other companies that make telecommunications equipment, this Tuesday is a sort of D-Day.

That day, Bill Gates plans to introduce Microsoft’s invasion into their business, with a new line of software for what the company calls “unified communications.” That means it is meant to integrate all the ways that people talk to each other: voice, video, instant messaging and more elaborate forms of online collaboration.

If it is successful, this software will accelerate the shift of communications from specialized devices and networks onto Internet-based networks, desktop PCs and microprocessor-based servers. And that, in turn, could challenge the economics of the remarkably profitable telecommunications industry. | Read full article

Monday, October 15, 2007

P.&G., the Pioneer of Mixing Soap and Drama, Adds a Web Installment

From The New York Times - Can young Ashley find success and happiness in the big city? Will the dashing Eric win her heart? Can she make consumers buy more Tide detergent?

Stay tuned. Or logged on.

The company that brought soap operas to radio, then television, Procter & Gamble, is trying the same strategy online with “Crescent Heights,” a new show intended to reach young viewers where they watch the most — their PCs and cellphones. | Read full article