Daily Marauder


THE FUTURE OF NEWS: FLIPBOARD VS. THE DAILY by Marauder

THE FUTURE OF NEWS: FLIPBOARD VS. THE DAILY

Taking a stance on Flipboard vs. The Daily, two iPad applications which supply news content to their audiences, highlights the friction between old media and new and distinguishes the ways two companies are bringing information to users. Flipboard is a social magazine launched in July 2010 by Mike McCue and Evan Doll touted by Apple as iPad App of the Year and one of TIME’s top 50 innovations of 2010. The Daily launched in February 2011 by News Corp., designed to be the first iPad-only newspaper.

 

To fully discuss the future of news, I’ve brought together a group of folks with different perspectives for the weigh-in. Below are the three main contributors. Along with these, there are several other powerful perspectives weaved in along the way.

 

Ashmi Dang: Digital Marketing Consultant specializing in entertainment

Caroline Giegerich: Editor of Daily Marauder, Master of whimsy

David Hayes: Digital marketer in theatrical at a studio and curator of finely wrought bytes at Stilllifewithinternet.com

 

The Secret Sauce

Flipboard

 

“Flipboard is the “platformifiication” of publishing, open to anyone who wants to publish through it. The breadth of content available trumps the quality of individual pieces of content, with the experience being different for everyone that uses it. The Daily is “magazines as medium”, and is a literal interpretation of what the future of magazines can be – a multi-dimensional interpretation of a formerly two-dimensional edited, curated document.” Ian Schafer, CEO, Deep Focus

 

A:

Flipboard allows me to be the secret sauce by giving me control over what I read. My usage is mostly concentrated on my Twitter feeds. Pulling them into Flipboard offers me a way of stepping out of the live steam to do some social listening, as well as responding and ultimately boosting my Influence Score by having dialogue with what I’ve read. An application that simplifies the process of doing all that, through a visually pleasing and unique UI, helps feed my social-networking-news-consuming-junkie needs.

 

For a newspaper, the biggest draw is the editorial content. The challenge for The Daily is convincing consumers that their version of the news is worth paying for. Right now, there are five categories, one being Sports which I don’t read. Of the remaining four, I’m already able to find most through my existing news channels, and others that are of importance to me are simply not covered. The value proposition and product differentiation don’t exist in terms of my needs with The Daily.

 

C:

In the days of the newspaper, the news editor was king, culling together a meticulously curated product from the ranks of the professional journalist. In the new era of social media, the control of content has shifted from ‘professional’ to everyone. Twitter, on the short form, and blogs on the long form have empowered the masses to become an army of content creators. Flipboard simply aggregates this new army of content creators to create a new breed of broadsheet. If my broadsheet could speak to me, what would she say? Well, she would most likely say something different minute by minute as the news developed. Flipboard fulfills this promise creating a lean back experience of news that has been curated by both the reader and their amalgamation of friends and contacts.

 

The Daily, on the other hand, is a traditional newspaper that has been re-packaged simply for an iPad product. One issue is delivered and served with the sections you’ve come to expect from a traditional newspaper. No personalization. No curation of the masses. This difference evokes the glaring friction traditional media has been battling with for so long: ceding control. Content creators no longer require journalism school or fancy degrees. Recognizing this is the secret sauce of Flipboard. Ignoring it is the Achilles Heel of The Daily.

 

D:

While The Daily is attempting to recreate the experience of reading a newspaper for lean back devices, Flipboard’s aim feels more ambitious: Create a “personalized social magazine.”

 

Quality as News Source

 

A:

Flipboard is a platform driven by my work in curating the best content for me and also offers some pretty great optional channels of aggregated content. Ultimately, I’m in charge and it comes down to my willingness to ensure that I’m reading quality information.

 

With The Daily, Caroline McCarthy, of CNET.com/CBS, made an excellent point while moderating a Social Media Week panel in NYC, “For The Daily to really establish itself as a long lasting fixture, its going to have to start breaking news and getting that exclusive Steve Jobs interview that Time would otherwise be getting.” Its uniqueness in this area is most critical to its success and right now, it’s just not there for me.

 

C:

Here Flipboard could potentially fall flat much like Twitter. If not carefully managed, a Twitter feed can become a garbage can of ridiculous comments. Flipboard allows the user to pick the inputs from Flavorpill to the NY Times. If a user selects only entertainment outlets, the experience will be limited to that information removing the possibility that the budding protests in the Middle East will make their way through. In this way, Flipboard’s ability to present information is only as good as the human programming it.

 

On the flip, The Daily is collected and published in one edition and experienced as such by all users.   Flipboard is Pandora. If you decide at some point that you no longer like the blues, some energy is required to remix. The Daily is radio. I worked in radio. We DJ’s lie to you all the time about playing requests. Doesn’t happen.

 

D:

The Daily is a better way to get the day’s news for the target customer, the type of person who walks by his front door and misses that familiar stroll onto the lawn to pick up the morning paper. The Daily is a newspaper dressed up to look like a spaceship but a newspaper nonetheless.

 

Flipboard is not a very good way to get the day’s news. Why? Flipboard is the single-most pleasurable experience I’ve encountered on a touch-screen device for…browsing, but it is not a very good app for scanning. Flipboard is both an extremely pleasurable and tiresome experience. It’s a “fifteen minute app,” both in fame and in the maximum amount of time I can stand using it.

 

Business Model

Flipboard: free. The Daily: $.99 per issue of $39.99 per year

 

A:

Being free, Flipboard is contributing to their future success. Adoption and usage provide data necessary to understand what’s working and what’s not. Once they figure this out, they have the opportunity to stake a claim in what becomes the norm furthering investment and continued growth. I’d personally like to see an algorithm that pushes the most discussed topics in my feed’s front and center.

 

As a subscription-based service, The Daily is going to have to significantly set itself apart from its free competitors. More than ever, we are curating our own news. At a Social Media Week panel, Adam Ostrow, Editor-in-Chief of Mashable said, “News Corp has been one of the few companies that’s been successful at charging for content through the Wall Street Journal, and while I think its a bit of a different audience obviously, people will pay for information that moves markets.”

 

C:

In typical Murdoch fashion, the price is immediate even before the quality of the content has been proved out. This is called ego and the central differentiating feature again between old media and the start-up community. Start-ups focus on the user experience almost with little to no focus on how they will prove out revenue-positive results. Traditional media focuses on how to glean immediate profits before asking consumers if they like the experience. There must be some middle ground here.

 

D:

If Murdoch succeeds, he’ll have proven that people willpay for the news, even if that news is so bland that it appears to have been generated by content bots. People will pay for information online and that content doesn’t have to be Wikileaks caliber. This is because many people don’t pay for the information itself, but the experience of consuming the information. (i.e. USA Today) For a very specific, very large and very deep-pocketed user base, the experience of reading a newspaper in some version of the old way is worth paying for.

 

Flipboard has gone the free route and faces that long road of gaining enough users to sell ads against eyeballs. I would have charged for Flipboard. It’s the exact type of novelty I’d pay for just as I paid for FLUD and Pulse. At its core, Flipboard isn’t a magazine. It’s a feed reader, an aggregator, be they social (Facebook), Flipboard-endorsed (FlipTech) or self-curated content. This is no different from Pulse, FLUD, Feedly, Google Reader, etc. Is Flipboard one of the more unique aggregators? Certainly. Can you make real money at aggregation? Ask Google News or Tumblr. It’s tough. Content creators will give you their feeds for free but the second you try to make money off them? Watch out.

 

 

Traditional Media vs. New Media

“I’ll bet on ‘produced’ content any day. Right now, everybody aggregates the news, but few are producing. This is where The Daily stands out. It’s early, everybody is learning, but Murdoch took the right approach…conceived from the users point of view, not trying to squeeze a newspaper onto a 9 inch screen.” Rishi Malhotra, Managing Partner 212MEDIA, a NYC-based media incubator.

 

A:

Flipboard’s approach is acknowledging consumer’s changing behaviors with the widespread adoption of both the iPad and social networking. The Daily has delivered an electronic newspaper in a medium that begs for innovation. Advantage, Flipboard. It is looking toward the future, not reinventing the past.

 

C:

Flipboard represents a revolutionary way to consume news. The simplicity of the thinking is this: extend the aggregation of news outside professional editors and customize that curation by user. The end links could be the same. For example, my friend may post a link to WSJ which would be curated through Flipboard. Same as reading the WSJ? No. In this case, the WSJ was hand-selected by my friend for some reason, elevating its status like a highlighter elevates text. No one wants to think his or her job is not specialized. Flipboard makes us all editors which empowers us all. The Daily continues with the control traditional media clings to. Control the message. Control the power. Too bad the power already ceded to the community a long time ago. Democracy isn’t just for Egypt any more kids. The news is now ours to create. Move over Wolf Blitzer…

 

D:

From its old school subscription model to its print style ads to its broad sheet page layout, The Daily is 100% about making its users feel comfortable performing an activity that doesn’t really exist in the modern world: Reading – not scanning – yesterday’s news. This is precisely why Big Media wins in this case. They get their customer’s true needs and wants and are positioning themselves for a specific group of people with a high willingness to pay. That group just might be those 76MM Baby Boomers approaching retirement and ready to unwrap their next iPad.

 

The startup loses. Flipboard will basically appeal to the exact type of person who understands that it would be ridiculous to pay for yesterday’s news because they read yesterday’s news yesterday in real-time, as it happened. This is the same type of person who has enough feeds to demand a feed reader and needs that reader to be built for scanning and not browsing.

 

 

 



ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Microsoft has been talking to some major media players this week including Time Warner and News Corp. as it prepares to take another pass at Yahoo, reports the Wall Street Journal. This time Microsoft would be bidding only for its search business and partners would buy the rest, effectively breaking up Yahoo into pieces. Yahoo has also circled back to Time Warner regarding a potential merger with AOL. (Cynopsis 7/3)

The Justice Department’s antitrust division has begun issuing subpoenas as it probes further into whether a planned Google-Yahoo partnership in search advertising is anticompetitive. (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/google-yahoo-partnership-justice-is-looking-closer/index.html?ref=technology 7/2)

The ongoing Google/YouTube-Viacom litigation has now officially spilled over to users with a court order requiring Google to turn over massive amounts of user data to Viacom. If the data is actually released, the consequences could be far more serious than the 2006 AOL Search debacle. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/03/judge-protects-youtubes-source-code-throws-users-to-the-wolves 7/3)

A document in the settled Facebook ConnectU litigation reveals that Facebook’s common shares are worth a quarter of the value of the stock Microsoft purchased when it invested in the social network. (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/what-is-facebook-worth-part-37/index.html?ref=technology 7/3)

The warning came as part of Apple’s transition from .Mac to the new MobileMe online service, which was announced at last month’s Worldwide Developers Conference. (http://www.nytimes.com/idg/IDG_852573C4006938800025747A00801C71.html?ref=technology 7/2)

Ten-year-old open source initiative Mozilla officially broke its own download record, according to the Guinness World Records, registering 8,002,530 downloads of Firefox 3 on June 18. Congrats! That’s a lot of bits. Since that time over 28 million users have downloaded the browser. (Cynopsis 7/3)

Hitwise performed an analysis of top search terms that drove traffic to both Barack Obama and John McCain’s websites and found some common denominators including Health Care, Global Warming, Education and Immigration. Traffic to Barackobama.com received 79% of U.S. online visits in a custom category of both candidate websites. But traffic to John McCain’s site has been rising in recent weeks. McCain’s traffic increased 42% in June 2008 compared to May 2008 and 24% compared to June 2007. (Cynopsis 7/3)

Market Share of U.S. Visits among Custom Category of Presidential Candidate Websites
Rank     Name               Domain                    June-08         May-08          Apr-08
1      Barack Obama barackobama.com         79.25%          85.38%          84.07%
2      John McCain     johnmccain.com          20.75%          14.62%          15.93%
Source: Custom report from Hitwise

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Techcrunch has got multiple sources at both Yahoo and Microsoft telling us that official talks are back on between the two companies. But Techcrunch is hearing something different than CNET – the talks are about a full buyout again, not a sweetened search-only deal. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/06/24/sources-microsoft-and-yahoo-talks-back-on 6/24)

Fox television network is pairing with social networking service Passenger to launch an online community for audience feedback. Passenger already created a similar online resource for ABC, which is one reason why Fox didn’t turn to News Corp. sibling MySpace for the new site. (Iwantmedia 6/24, http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showArticleHomePage&art_aid=85171 6/23)

Demo Video

Late Fragment, a groundbreaking non-linear interactive feature film based on a user interface model developed by Lars von Trier, will be released on DVD in Canada on July 8. The movie, written and directed by Daryl Cloran, Anita Doron and Mateo Guez, varies sequentially based on when and how often audiences decide to click “enter” on their remotes. (Cynopsis 6/24)

Check out the trailer by clicking below.  It’s a bit difficult to navigate but interesting none the less.

(Below) The recommended videos were pretty spot on in terms of things I would actually be interested in seeing.

YouTube officially launched its personalized homepage allowing users to manage subscriptions, connect with other users and view friends’ activities. One of the coolest additions is a Featured Videos section based on videos you’ve favored in the past – an example of how Google’s algorithmic genius is helping to improve the site. (Cynopsis 6/24)

Google plans to unveil a new service that measures Internet usage utilizing data from Web servers. The new tool, which aims to help advertisers find the best places to buy online ads, has the potential to be a major threat to comScore and Nielsen Online. (Iwantmedia 6/24, http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/google-unveil-service-measure-internet/story.aspx?guid=%7BA5D708DA%2D0EB4%2D4250%2DA733%2DDF0F9020E12B%7D 6/23)

Google News, six years after its start, is experiencing sluggish growth in traffic growth. With content is compiled entirely by computer programs, Google News still shows no ads, and there are no signs that Google is serious about making money from the site. (Iwantmedia 6/24, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/24/technology/24google.html 6/24)

Internet video series like “Break a Leg” are luring millions of viewers — but little cash. While media analysts agree that the future of television will be online, no one knows how it will make money. One problem: audiences are accustomed to free content on the Internet. (Iwantmedia 6/24, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/23/DDII10U5LH.DTL 6/23)

Ticketmaster plans to complete its spin-off from IAC/InteractiveCorp by late July or early August and borrow $750 million to give a dividend to the parent company. Other IAC subsidiaries, including HSN, will also pay dividends to IAC after completing anticipated spin-offs. Iwantmedia 6/24, (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080623/FREE/568774523/1084 6/23)

CNET shareholders approved CBS‘ $1.8 billion acquisition of the technology portal. The deal is expected to close during the third quarter. (Cynopsis 6/24)

As part of its recent Clearwire deal, Comcast will gain access to 5 MHz of spectrum that will be set aside for WiMAX femtocells, according to Dave Williams, Comcast’s senior vice president for wireless and technology. He added that any of the firms that joined in the Clearwire consortium would be able to use the spectrum, but it would be particularly appealing to cable firms looking to enhance subscribers’ wireless experiences. (Light Reading 6/23)

Viewers will be confronted with “a dozen video platforms a day” in the near future as the medium proliferates across devices and surfaces, according to a new report from Forrester Research provocatively entitled How Video Will Take Over the World. Total viewing time will increase from 4 to 5 hours a day by 2013, a majority of it viewed on demand:

OmniVideo Viewing Across Platforms, 2008-2013
Video Metric                                 Drivers                                         2008          2013
% viewed on demand            Cable, telco TV/VOD, online video, DVR        20%           45%
% delivered via IP                Online video, IPTV, over-the-top TV            10%           35%
% viewed via mobile device   Phones, personal/dockable media players        8%           15%
% personal video consumed  Cell phone/digital cameras, social net sites      2%           10%
Source: Forrester Research

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Apple has announced that people have downloaded 5 billion items — and counting — from its iTunes Music Store. The online emporium features more than 8 million songs, 20,000 TV episodes and 2,000 movies. (Mediaweek/Billboard 6/19) (

In April, Facebook caught up to MySpace in worldwide unique visitors (actually nudging past it with 116.4 million unique visitors versus 115.7 million for MySpace). Now the worldwide comScore numbers are out for May and Facebook continues to blow past MySpace with 123.9 million uniques (up 6 percent), versus 114.6 million for MySpace (down 1 percent). Facebook also boasted more pageviews worldwide (50.7 billion versus 45.4 billion). Maybe MySpace’s redesign which just went live this week will pick things up for them again. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/06/20/facebook-blows-past-myspace-in-global-visitors-for-may 6/20)

(Below) Well, here’s an interesting way of addressing the competition.

The rise of Facebook did MySpace a favor by galvanizing the social network, says News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin. Facebook spurred MySpace into change, culminating in a major redesign this week. “We owe a great debt to Facebook. It knocked us on the head.” (Iwantmedia 6/20, http://www.nma.co.uk/Articles/38479/News+Corp+COO+gives+thanks+to+Facebook.html 6/20)

Google may have some unlikely allies in defending its proposed partnership with Yahoo: the very advertisers that critics say may be hurt by the deal. “It’s simpler to reach people if the access to the marketplace is controlled by fewer sources,” claims one marketer. (Iwantmedia 6/20, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aC75mgm67PNc 6/20)

MTV Networks’ virtual worlds at vMTV.com are giving fans a chance to pick their favorite of six up-and-coming bands in the “Battle of The Bands II” contest. Music fans decide which band will have a shot to move on by campaigning for votes and throwing in-world parties and events. Competing through June 22 are 2*Sweet vs. Desoto Jones. (Cynopsis 6/20)

Yahoo! announced the global availability of two new email domains – ymail.com and rocketmail.com – to give users a better chance at creating an email address or Yahoo ID they like. (Yahoo Mail, still the leading web-based mail service, has some 260 million worldwide users, which means most users must resort to cryptic combinations of names and numbers.) (Cynopsis 6/20)

Tribe Pictures is producing an original web series debuting Monday called Get Fit with Alyson sponsored by Nintendo and starring Alyson Stoner (of the upcoming Disney kids movie Camp Rock.) Each 3-minute webisode sets out to inspire teens to live a more active lifestyle (such as trying new games on the Wii Fit device). Additional content will be featured exclusively on the Nintendo Channel, accessible only through broadband-connected Wiis. (Cynopsis 6/20)

These children scare me much like the children on the Mickey Mouse Club did. . .  Could Alyson be the next Britney?  For her, I hope she’s more of a future Christina.

The Associated Press says it has “had a constructive exchange of views with interested parties in the blogging community about the relationship between news providers and bloggers.” The news organization and the Drudge Retort blog consider their contested matter “closed.” (Iwantmedia 6/20, http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003819095 6/20)

Internet Advertising Revenue rose by 18.2% year-over-year during Q1 08 according to the latest IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers revenue report. However, growth slowed slightly from Q4 of last year when revenues totaled $5.9 billion, the highest ever recorded. (Cynopsis 6/20)

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GAMING by Marauder
May 22, 2008, 2:51 PM
Filed under: GAMING | Tags: , , , , , , ,

GAMING

News Corp. is said to be interested in acquiring Newsgrounds.com, an online video game company, through its IGN division. The Glenside, Penn.-based Newgrounds, founded in 1995, receives 500,000 unique visitors per day and describes itself as “the largest Flash portal on the Web.” (Iwantmedia 5/22, http://pulse2.com/2008/05/21/rumor-news-corp-wants-to-acquire-newgrounds 5/21)



ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Microsoft is continuing to distance itself from Yahoo, telling the people it had lined up to nominate to the board as part of a prospective hostile takeover battle that their services are no longer needed. The software giant insists that its pullback is not a negotiating tactic. (Iwantmedia 5/9, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-microsoft9-2008may09,0,5935072.story 5/9)

Google expects to launch new products for YouTube in the next few months and sees reason for closer cooperation with Yahoo, says CEO Eric Schmidt, speaking at the Internet giant’s annual shareholder meeting. Getting YouTube to make money is said to be a top priority. (Iwantmedia 5/9, http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSN0841442520080508 5/8)

News Corp.’s MySpace plans to give users the option of sharing their profiles and other personal data with other Web sites, a move that could dramatically expand the reach of the Web’s most popular social network. The “data-availability initiative” will be open to rival Facebook. (Iwantmedia 5/9, http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/social_network/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=207601084 5/8)

Facebook is announcing an agreement with 49 U.S. state attorneys general and the District of Columbia to take significant steps to protect children on the social networking site. The move comes after a similar agreement was reached with MySpace in January. (Iwantmedia 5/9, http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2008/05/08/facebook-agrees-to-child-safety-plan 5/8)

Cablevision announced Thursday that it would spend about $300 million to build a wireless-broadband network that will cover its footprint in the New York City region. The company also announced that operating income jumped 44% in the first quarter on strong additions of video, broadband and phone subscribers, but that its deficit widened. (The Wall Street Journal 5/9, Light Reading 5/8, Google/Associated Press 5/8)

What’s this?  A cable company thinking outside the box?!!?  No. . .it couldn’t be.  Dear Cablevision, thank you.  Thank you for envisioning ways to bringing Wi-Fi for free to your broadband customers rather than solely thinking about ways to restrict access [cough, cough] Comcast [cough]

Twisney.com, created by a 34-year-old software developer and Disney fan, offers live updates from ordinary people walking around the Disney World recreational resort, using their cellphones to share their experiences via text and photos. Twisney allows users to share “real-time intelligence.” (Iwantmedia 5/9, http://blogs.wsj.com/buzzwatch/2008/05/08/citizen-journalism-live-from-disney-world 5/8)

Turner’s SuperDeluxe.com comedy site is being folded into AdultSwim.com with much of the SuperDeluxe staff being let go, reports paidcontent.org. (Cynopsis 5/9)

The price war over bandwidth, its patent fight with Akamai and the loss of Divx Stage6 as a customer took its toll on CDN Limelight Networks during Q1, as the company missed its revenue targets by $1 million. On the bright side Limelight signed up 183 new customers during the quarter and got major accounts such as MySpace and Viacom to renew. (Cynopsis 5/9)

(Below)  Step 1: Upload application.  Step 2: Send out press release.  Please do not confuse step 1 with step 2.

NBC is launching an application on Facebook based on its “American Gladiators” series. “The Official American Gladiator Challenge” will present interactive games based on the show’s competitions. Users will be able to compete against their friends and the greater Facebook community. (Iwantmedia 5/9, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3if1d4beff617a2bbe837c6b395affd965 5/9)

Facebook will soon remove a limitation that restricts users to no more than 5,000 friend connections, someone close to the company told us this week.  There are stories around why the limitation exists at all. The official reason is that Facebook wants to make sure that people only add “real” friends to their account, and the restriction is on the high end of the number of friends that any one person could reasonable have. The unofficial (and actual) reason: scaling problems made this necessary. I’ve heard this directly from Facebook employees, as have others. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/05/09/facebook-to-lift-5000-friends-limit 5/9)

The IAB issued revised Ad Unit and Rich Media Creative Guidelines yesterday, asking for input from ad agencies, advertisers, online publishers and technology vendors. The guidelines cover formatting standards for banner ads, buttons, floating ads and other rich media products. Companies have 30 days to comment via the IAB site. (Cynopsis 5/9)


The IAB’s Audience Measurement Working Group also expects to release guidelines soon that will finally define many of the metrics terms publishers throw around. If only standards could be set in time for the upfronts where web metrics are expected to play a major role. Experts say inconsistencies and confusion over web measurement issues have a more adverse affect on digital ad spending than practically any other issue. (Cynopsis 5/9)



ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Microsoft is said to have informally approached Facebook to gauge its interest in selling itself. Microsoft contacted the social-networking site as the software giant looked likely to back away from buying Yahoo. Discussions between the two are not believed to be active. (Iwantmedia 5/8, http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB121017846020274243.html 5/8)

Social networking platforms are still waiting for traffic to translate into revenue. MySpace parent Fox Interactive Media’s revenue actually fell during Q1 from $233 million to $210 million as News Corp. CEO Peter Chernin admitted in a conference call that FIM will fall about 10% short of its optimistic $1 billion revenue projection for FY ’08. The company is still dealing with several challenges, he said, including an abundance of inventory, a dearth of top shelf sponsors and the difficulty of establishing new metrics to prove FIM’s value to advertisers. (Cynopsis 5/8, http://www.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUSWNAS255720080508 5/8)

Google is considering running display advertisements alongside the results of Web queries for pictures, moving beyond text-based ads. “There’s lot of potential for advertising revenue there,” says VP Marissa Mayer. Google is seeking new revenue sources as its growth slows. (Iwantmedia 5/8, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a1t9ASFGIJlY 5/7)

Google and Viacom are prepared to take their battle over whether or not YouTube is responsible for pirated uploads all the way to the Supreme Court, according to comments made executives from each company. (Cynopsis 5/8, http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2008/05/07/google-viacom-draw-lines-in-youtube-suit 5/7)

Beginning Thursday, the latest news, scoops and analysis from the blog TechCrunch will appear on washingtonpost.com. TechCrunch, founded in 2005, describes itself as “a weblog dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies.” (Iwantmedia 5/8, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2008/05/07/LI2008050701103.html 5/7)


Women’s content is all the rage in the digital world these days. NBC unveiled a new Virtual Woman’s Network dubbed Women@NBC that will differentiate itself by firing on multiple platforms and brands including Bravo, Oxygen, iVillage and Green is Universal as well as other female-skewing properties such as the Today show, The Biggest Loser and Lipstick Jungle. Bravo & Oxygen Media President Lauren Zalaznick has been chosen to oversee the venture with the new title of President, Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, still reporting to Jeff Gaspin, President & COO, Universal Television Group. Women@NBC gives the company another shot at mastering the demo after the $600 million iVillage acquisition has failed to bear much fruit. (Cynopsis 5/8)

Former CBS Early Show anchor Rene Syler will join Meredith’s multiplatform network Parents TV hosting its first long-form show, It Moms, beginning in June. Parents.tv is available as a Comcast VOD channel, a Sprint TV offering and on broadband at parents.tv. (Cynopsis 5/8)

Facebook’s webmail platform is so inefficient that even minor changes (like adding the ability to send to outside email addresses last year) can make a big difference in usability.  They are now adding basic search functionality to email (see screen shots). Previously there was not way to find emails other than scrolling through the pages one by one. Some users have thousands of emails in their inbox, so old messages became essentially unfindable. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/05/08/facebook-email-gets-better-with-search 5/8)

Viacom’s MTV Networks, which is building hundreds of Web sites around its content, is launching video hub from its Logo network for gay audiences that will feature 3,000 ad-supported clips. LogoOnline.com aims to be the largest central library of videos for the gays and lesbians. (Iwantmedia 5/8, http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9938035-7.html 5/7)

The MPAA won their copyright infringement case against P2P file sharing site TorrentSpy.com. Site operator Valence Media was ordered to pay $30,000 per violation for facilitating nearly 3,700 illegal movie and TV downloads. The site has been shuttered since March. (Cynopsis 5/8, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080508/ap_on_hi_te/mpaa_torrentspy 5/7)

Comcast, with 14.1 million Internet subscribers, is weighing a plan that would set a limit for monthly online downloads and charging those who go beyond that amount, the company confirmed Wednesday. One plan being bandied about would set the limit at 250 gigabytes per month, which is enough to download about 250 standard-definition movies or 6,000 songs. (MSNBC/Associated Press 5/7, INQUIRER (U.K.), the 5/8)

Brad Greenspan’s Live Universe continues its acquisitions spree: they’ve bought troubled Silicon Valley startup MeeVee, we’re heard from multiple sources. This comes less than a month after they announced the acquisition of Pageflakes, another northern California startup. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/05/07/meevee-acquired-by-live-universe 5/7)

Adobe has beefed up the beta version of its new online Photoshop application by including support for the Flickr photo service and introducing other features. (Pocket-lint.co.uk 5/8)

Forbes.com is announcing the launch of AnswerNetwork, a social network for business execs. The network, which Forbes is developing with Cisco Systems, allows business professionals to set up profiles and exchange data on industry topics and business issues. (Iwantmedia 5/8, http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080507/FREE/842905424/1078 5/7)

MySpace received nearly 3/4 of the market share of U.S. visits to social networking sites in April 2008, according to a custom report from Hitwise. (Cynopsis 5/8)

Top 5 Social Networking Websites Ranked by Market Share of U.S. Visits
Rank       Name                Apr. 08     Mar. 08   Apr. 07    YoY% Change
1         MySpace            73.82%      73.59%  77.87%       -5%
2         Facebook            14.80%     14.70%  11.21%        32%
3         myYearbook          1.33%       1.29%     .23%      475%
4         Bebo                    1.09%        1.20%   1.25%       -13%
5         BlackPlanet             .98%          .95%     .85%       15%
Source: Hitwise




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