Daily Marauder

GAMING by Marauder
January 14, 2009, 11:30 AM
Filed under: GAMING | Tags: , , , , , , ,


Quake Live class=”snap_preview_icon”>, the upcoming free in-browser version of Quake, is sending out beta invitations to the service. Users are directed to beta.quakelive.com This is a grand new experiment in gameplay. Instead of charging users a monthly access fee, id Software is teaming with IGA Worldwide to add advertising and sponsorships to the game to make money. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/14/people-are-now-playing-quake-live 1/14)


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Measuring viewer “engagement” on TV is simple. You count how many people tune into a given show. It stands to reason that the most popular shows would also be the most popular ones on social networks. But that is not exactly the case. Networked Insights, a company that measures brand engagement on social networks, compared the top ten TV shows for the week of September 22 to 28, as measured by Nielsens, to the most talked about TV shows on social networks, as measured by which ones were most commented on, linked to, shared, or rated. The comparison is for the 18 to 49 year-old demographic. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/27/the-most-watched-tv-shows-are-not-the-most-talked-about-online 10/27)

For most people, watching Web video is predominantly a streamed experience on their computers. But an important and substantial portion of Web video is still downloaded to be watched later, or transferred to a different screen (usually an iPod, but sometimes a flat-screen TV). The problem with downloads is that they don’t fit neatly into the advertising model that rules most other Web video. CEO Mike Hudack of Blip.tv revealed that his company has found a way to dynamically insert ads from DoubleClick into video downloads on iTunes and elsewhere. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/28/bliptv-figures-out-how-to-serve-ads-in-itunes-videos 10/28)

Microsoft made a major announcement today – they will be offering “lightweight” versions of Office applications – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote – through the browser. Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari will be supported. Users will be able to read and edit documents from the browser. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/28/microsoft-office-embraces-the-browser-thank-you-google 10/28)

MTV launched a free online music-video service this week that eventually will be supported by advertising, according to this report. The site, at mtvmusic.com, is looking to capitalize on the popularity of other online video ventures, including Hulu.com, the partnership between NBC Universal and News Corp., which currently is the sixth-most-popular U.S. video site on the Web. Advertising Age (10/27)

An update to Techcrunch’s recent post on Facebook Connect: Facebook is pushing partners hard to be prepared for an official November 30 launch.   24 of 26 announced launch partners have yet to integrate Facebook Connect. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/28/facebook-connect-launch-scheduled-for-november-30 10/28)

Some online-advertising networks are shutting down while others are cutting costs as growth in online spending slows and venture-capital funding begins to dry up. AdBrite recently cut 40% of its work force. Other ad networks “are in severe trouble and could be closing their doors.” (Iwantmedia 10/28, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122514803617173825.html 10/28)

On the heels of announcing an expanded relationship with the New York Times website last week, Brightcove is adding all of AOL to its video-distribution client list. Like the New York Times, AOL is an investor in Brightcove.  But the deal is a coup for Brightcove 3, the latest version of its online video platform. Brightcove 3 will power all the video on AOL, which is one of the top ten destinations on the Web for video. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/27/brightcove-snags-aol-video-deal 10/27)

There’s been more downsizing in the start-up space (TechCrunch’ s Layoff Tracker counts 573 tech start-up layoff so far) and cost-cutting moves have begun to hit the creative side of the business. Web studio Revision3 announced a wave of layoffs and is shutting down production on Pixel Perfect, PopSiren and Internet Superstar. Revision3 also said it will cease distributing EPIC FU and Wine Library, both of which are produced by independent studios. EPIC FU producer Smashface followed with the news it was forced to lay off three members of its production team. (Cynopsis 10/28)

The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, on behalf of a broad class of copyright holders, will join with Google to host a teleconference today to discuss a settlement agreement that would expand online access to millions of in-copyright books and other written materials in the U.S. from the collections of a number of major U.S. libraries participating in Google Book Search. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/28/authors-and-publishers-associations-settle-with-google-over-125-million-lawsuit 10/28)

Leading online firms Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! along with human rights groups have agreed to a common set of principles that will serve as a guide for doing business in countries that place strictures on free speech. Under the Global Network Initiative, the companies promise to “narrowly interpret and implement government demands that compromise privacy.” The Wall Street Journal (10/28) , The New York Times (10/27)

SlideRocket, an online presentation application that produces slideshows that rival (and in many cases, better) PowerPoint, has launched to the general public. The site had previously been available under a public beta, and is now removing the beta tag and introducing a set of pricing tiers along with some impressive new features. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/28/sliderockets-impressive-online-presentation-app-hits-general-release 10/28)

Top 10 Search Providers for September 2008, Ranked by Searches (U.S.)
Provider                    Searches (000)      YOY Growth     Share of Searches
All Search                   8,089,226               9.4%               100.0%
Google Search             4,825,556              20.8%                59.7%
Yahoo! Search             1,464,478               1.5%                 18.1%
MSN/Windows Live         953,504               7.1%                 11.8%
AOL Search                   335,187             -24.6%                  4.1%
Ask.com Search             178,217              12.1%                  2.2%
My Web Search               53,825               33.4%                  0.7%
Comcast Search              51,935              -13.1%                  0.6%
AT&T Worldnet Search     30,086             237.7%                  0.4%
NexTag Search               17,775              -29.3%                  0.2%
Dogpile.com Search        17,574                -5.3%                  0.2%
Source: Nielsen Online, MegaView Search

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WIRELESS by Marauder
October 23, 2008, 1:35 PM
Filed under: WIRELESS | Tags: , , , , , , ,


Today sees the launch of LiveRail for the iPhone, an advertising platform that could help change the paradigm of free vs. paid apps entirely by allowing free applications to still monetize effectively. LiveRail allows iPhone application developers to embed brief video advertisements into their applications, which play immediately after launching an app (developers get paid on a CPM basis). CEO Mark Trefgame says that the platform is plug-and-play, allowing developers to implement it with a minimal amount of effort and only a few lines of code. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/22/liverail-lets-iphone-developers-put-commericals-in-apps-get-paid 10/22)

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GAMING by Marauder
October 17, 2008, 9:10 PM
Filed under: GAMING | Tags: , , , , , , ,


More than eight in 10 users have a positive opinion about marketers who place ads in free online games, and seven in 10 are likely to purchase a product from a sponsor of such games, according to a poll by gaming company Blockdot. The placements give marketers a venue to interact and communicate with users, rather than a forum to pitch a specific product, Blockdot found. Advertising Age (10/16)

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Warner Chappell, Radiohead’s publisher, is announcing that the band “sold” 3 million copies of In Rainbows, the album that they essentially gave away online in a pay-what-you-want scheme. The reports are that they made more on the album than they did on their previous dumpling, Hail to the Thief. Previous sales numbers were in the high hundred thousands, which makes this move particularly interesting. (http://www.crunchgear.com/2008/10/16/radiohead-sells-3-million-copies-of-in-rainbows-but-how-much-is-that-in-american 10/16)

As this album has essentially been on continue play in my house since release, I highly recommend it.  Click the image below to purchase.  That said, if you’re not a big fan of Thom Yorke’s voice, you probably won’t like it.

An off the cuff remark by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this morning set Yahoo’s stock soaring more than 15% to $13.73, adding well over $3 billion in market cap to the struggling company. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/16/ballmer-speaks-yahoos-market-cap-jumps-more-than-1-billion 10/16)

Google and Yahoo can’t shrug off the slowing economy anymore, as advertisers are forced to extend their budget cuts to the Web. The online-ad industry is forecast to lose $6.7 billion in sales through 2010. “The weakness is happening in search and display advertising and everywhere.” (Iwantmedia 10/15, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601204&sid=ahAHBdzwGWZo 10/16)

John Battelle’s Federated Media advertising network is launching a new suite of tools to help marketers measure ad campaigns across social media. Actions like Twitter mentions, blog posts and comments, widget adoption and social bookmarking are to be tracked and scored. (Iwantmedia 10/15, http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3631168 10/15)

YouTube CEO Chad Hurley, seeking partnerships with content owners, claims the difference between old and new media is merely “semantics.” Perhaps alluding to Viacom’s copyright lawsuit, Hurley says: “Do you circle the wagons and push back change, or do you embrace it?” (Iwantmedia 10/15, http://www.screendaily.com/ScreenDailyArticle.aspx?intStoryID=41412&Category=  10/15)

Chad Hurley

The Google Content Network has another entrant jockeying for views and dollars on the new platform. Poptub is a video series meant to keep users up to date with what’s cool on YouTube, described by THR as an Entertainment Tonight for the portal. (It’s actually Embassy Row’s resurrection of their show The 9 also hosted by Maria Sansone, which appeared exclusively on Yahoo until it was cancelled in April.) Like Seth McFarland’s long-titled Cartoon Cavalcade of Comedy, Poptub will generate revenue by delivering demo-based impressions for sponsor Pepsi as the videos are syndicated via Google AdSense across the web. (Cynopsis 10/16)

PBS has also partnered with YouTube to empower American voters to upload their Election Day voting experiences. Some of the best videos will be showcased on PBS television, as part of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer’s Election Day broadcast. Some will also be featured throughout PBS’ election coverage, both on-air and online. (Cynopsis 10/16)

Access 360 Media and P2P voter engagement group About 18 in ’08 launched Shop the Vote, a digital out-of-home public service campaign designed to reach young folks before Nov. 4 in stores, online and on their mobile phones. Concerned citizens can upload opinion pieces on YouTube that will be featured on Access 360 Media’s retail-based screens. (Cynopsis 10/16)

MySpace added video to its Karaoke service MySpace Karaoke as part of a nicely conceived redesign. You can now record videos your hammy performances in either standard def or high-def and enter into a series of contests tied to mainstream artists’ works. Other changes include increased sharing options and a new recommendation engine.  The contests kick off with the Jesse McCartney karaoke contest from Oct. 15 – 27, 2008, followed by The Seal karaoke contest, running Nov. 11- 24, 2008. (Cynopsis 10/16)

Things are getting tough these days for our four legged friends as well, as animal shelters in many cities have exceeded their capacity. NBCU’s Petside.com has organized an event with a group of bloggers and other sites today to advocate a national day of Pet ‘Net Adoption. (Cynopsis 10/16)

In what is already a big week in the media player space Adobe launched Flash 10 yesterday, the latest incarnation of what has become the standard for viewing online video. In beta since last May, Flash’s new features include support of 3D effects, custom filters and an enhanced drawing API. New to the version shipping today is the ability to add audio files’ binary data to add a greater variety of sound filters to video. Despite Silverlight’s high-profile debut, more than 86% of online videos were viewed in Flash according to comScore’s August numbers. (Cynopsis 10/16)

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It is not enough to be a destination site anymore. Everyone now wants to become an ad network. MTV Networks today announced that it has expanded its vertical ad network strategy by building ad networks around the service’s core properties. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/09/15/mtv-launches-ad-network-just-like-linkedin 9/15)

Best Buy announced today that it has acquired Napster for $121 million in cash. The company said that it will keep Napster’s executive team and will leave the Napster service and its estimated 700,000 users in place without changing much in the near-term. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/09/15/best-buy-puzzles-with-napster-acquisition 9/15)

At a time when most social networks are still trying to figure out how to make money from advertising, one social network is bucking the trend. LinkedIn, the social network for business professionals, has so much demand from advertisers that it will be launching its own ad network on Monday. In conjunction with ad network Collective Media (which targets high-end media sites), LinkedIn will let other select sites target its users when they visit those partner sites. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/09/14/linkedin-to-launch-its-own-ad-network 9/14)

Comcast is entering deals with ABC, CW, Showtime, HBO and The Food Network to offer free advertising-supported television episodes and clips on its entertainment site, Fancast.com. Comcast recently added an online store to Fancast where consumers can buy or rent video. (Iwantmedia 9/12, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080912/ap_on_hi_te/comcast_web_sites 9/12)

Note to TV syndicators: serialized shows may be more valuable in second runs if online components are used to help keep audiences engaged. Comcast’s G4 and NBCU’s Sci Fi both kick off reruns of Lost with a little help from other platforms. G4 is calling its interactive play Lost in 2.0. Enhancements include facts, character profiles and creators’ commentary appearing on screen with the broadcast and polls, games and chat functionality available online. SciFi.com’s Lost minisite, (not to be confused with the one for miniseries Lost Room) features more of the same. It will be interesting to see how many Lost fans return to cable to relive the experience. G4 is stripping the show M-F at 9 pm while Sci Fi is airing 4 episodes at a time each Monday night beginning at 7 pm/6C. (Cynopsis 9/15)

Online studio Generate struck a distribution arrangement with Vuze for season 2 of its Webby-Award honoree comedy Pink: The Series. (Pink is about a reluctant government assassin who yearns for a more conventional life.) The first of season-two’s 10 webisodes premieres today exclusively on Vuze’s P2P-powered HD platform. The series will also be syndicated across other portals including Blip.tv, Break, Dailymotion, Hulu, iTunes, Joost, Metacafe, MSN, MySpace, Veoh, TheWB.com, Yahoo and YouTube. (Cynopsis 9/15)

Microsoft introduced a new platform that will allow Media Center PC and TV tuner makers to support premium broadcast TV channels. Microsoft’s previous Broadcast Driver Architecture had become outdated as digital content providers now routinely require DRM in order to protect unauthorized broadcasts. The company says it will continue to advance the platform, aiming to make pay TV reception over-the-air possible by next year. (Cynopsis 9/15)

Microsoft also unveiled its Mediaroom Advertising Platform over the weekend at the IBC 2008 conference in Amsterdam. The IPTV platform will allow service providers to insert traditional and new ad formats into programming (including video-on-demand and DVR content) and alongside program guides. Because content is delivered over a two-way internet connection, ads can also be interactive. Mediaroom is currently used to power AT&T’s U-verse service in the U.S. (Cynopsis 9/15)

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Discovery Channel’s 21st annual “Shark Week” of programming attracted more than 29 million viewers from July 27 to Aug. 2. “Shark Week” also performed well online, where Discovery racked up a record 7.5 million page views and more than 600,000 total visits. Multichannel News (8/5)

News Corp. reported revenue of $8.59 billion for Q2, up 16.5% over the previous year on income of $1.48 billion. Television was hard hit due to lower ratings and revenue, with income dropping 28%, while investment costs at Fox Interactive Media were high, driving operating income at FIM down to just $6 million. A silver lining was MySpace’s new contextual display advertising efforts; advertisers are paying double CPMs on hypertargeted branding campaigns within the social network. (Cynopsis 8/6)

Time Warner Cable added 200,000 digital-video subscribers in the second quarter and earned a profit that exceeded the expectations of Wall Street analysts. The company, which is being spun off from Time Warner, said that revenue was up 7%, to $4.3 billion, and that net profit hit $277 million, up from $272 million in the comparable period a year earlier. Reuters (8/6) , American City Business Journals/Buffalo (8/6)

Cablevision Chief Executive Officer James Dolan said the company was “actively looking” at a number of strategic alternatives to boost the firm’s stock price. One of those alternatives, according to analysts, would be to spin off Rainbow Media — which holds cable networks such as AMC, the Independent Film Channel, the Sundance Channel and WEtv — for an estimated $4 billion. Los Angeles Times/Associated Press (free registration) (8/5) , Bloomberg (8/5)

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