Daily Marauder



CNN’s coverage of the opening night of the Democratic National Convention attracted 3.7 million viewers Monday, while Fox News tallied 3.02 million viewers of its own, both of which were about 85% higher than the opening night of the 2004 Democratic convention. MSNBC, with 2.15 million, showed an 88% gain. The Wall Street Journal (free content) (8/27)

Animal Planet scored record viewership totals for the premiere of “Animal Witness,” which spotlighted the rehabilitation of dogs owned by former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who is in federal prison for his involvement in dog fighting. The Sunday night premiere pulled in 1.1 million viewers, making it Animal Planet’s most-watched series debut ever. Multichannel News (8/26)

NBC Universal tallied 214 million total viewers for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing over 17 days, solidifying it as the most watched event in U.S. TV history, according to Nielsen. This tops the 1996 Atlanta Olympics at 209 million viewers and the 2004 Athens Games at 203 million. (Cynopsis 8/27)

TBS and “House of Payne” star Tyler Perry are developing a new sitcom based on Perry’s “Meet the Browns” movie. The series, which will be executive-produced by Perry, is expected to debut in January with an initial 10-episode order that will run over five weeks in back-to-back installments. Chicago Sun-Times (8/26) , The Hollywood Reporter (8/26)

With the start of the college football season right around the corner, Charter Communications, like several other cable providers, is closing in on a carriage deal with the Big Ten Network, according to this report. Comcast and Time Warner Cable recently finalized pacts with the network. The Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.) (8/26)

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NBCOlympics.com got off to a promising start garnering 70 million page views on Friday – 10 times the usage achieved on opening day of the Athens Games in 2004. Some 4.8 million people watched 3.1 million video streams on Saturday, more than four times the peak number of daily streams during the 2006 winter Games in Torino, Italy. Features such as a 4-screen video display, the ability to schedule alerts and the capability to jump back and forth to specific periods within an event make the Olympics online a whole new ballgame. Better yet, NBC’s exhaustive online coverage of the Games (designed to complement and protect the broadcast schedule) is only helping to boost linear ratings. More viewers tuned in to watch the first two days of Olympic telecasts than any summer games in 10 years.

(Cynopsis 8/11, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/sports/olympics/10stream.html?scp=1&sq=olympics%20online,%20with%20a%20hook&st=cse 8/9)

The stats above prove that the required download is a barrier in this case, given that no other destination allows for so many hours of online content. I am very impressed by the shear volume of content available to watch online. My only disappointment, thus far, is in the navigation of that content. I have found it difficult to find the particular video I’m looking for. Given the time difference between Beijing and NYC, I have also found it difficult to navigate the online site without reading a headline which ruins the planned TV viewing later in the night. I can see from the numbers above that the online site is complimenting the TV viewing, I’m a bit of a frustrated viewer. In essenceNBC, stop blowing up the linear TV spot.

Google pulled in $5.37 billion in revenues last quarter, and $1.25 billion in net profits (nearly ten times what Yahoo made last quarter). Yet behind the consistently amazing financial performance, a few chinks are beginning to appear in Google’s armor. The biggest one may be the increasing gap between its organic revenue growth and its total revenue growth. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/08/09/does-google-have-an-organic-growth-problem 8/9)

Google and Yahoo are releasing excerpts of the pact covering their proposed search advertising partnership. The U.S. government filing keeps secret financial terms and the extent of other ties. The contract is heavily redacted in an area that covers “other business opportunities.” (Iwantmedia 8/11, http://www.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUSN0840128220080809 8/9)

Google’s new Knol ad-supported online encyclopedia is raising new fears that the Internet search giant is becoming a “media company.” Knol is seen as a potential rival to the New York Times’s About.com. (Iwantmedia 8/11, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/11/technology/11google.html?_r=1&oref=slogin 8/11)

Twitter isn’t for everyone, and you may have dismissed the service a long time ago. But regardless of your own use, it’s hard to dismiss the phenomenon itself and the passion of so many that has built up around it. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/08/10/why-twitter-hasnt-failed-the-power-of-audience 8/10)

Google’s YouTube is launching a Beijing Olympics channel — accessible in the United States — aggregating video from news outlets covering the activities in China. The channel does not air sporting events but offers news and footage from the New York Times, Reuters and others. (Iwantmedia 8/11, http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6585816.html 8/8)

The spoof U.S. presidential campaign video clip starring Paris Hilton is attracting millions of visitors to Funnyordie.com. However, “in terms of advertising sales, that’s yet to happen,” observers point out. “It is questionable how many of these sites the market will sustain.” (Iwantmedia 8/11, http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article4492694.ece 8/10)

The plan by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp to split itself into five parts is set to be completed Aug. 21. HSN, Interval Leisure Group, Ticketmaster and Tree.com will become stand-alone public companies. Also: The restructuring is expected to bring IAC shareholders “a lot of value.” (Iwantmedia 8/11, http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080811/iac_spinoffs.html 8/11)

Time Warner Cable is taking heat from players of the “World of Warcraft” video game who are griping over lags in their Roadrunner Internet connections. The lags, they say, are forcing them to drop TWC for Verizon’s FiOS service. TWC execs insist they are not causing the problem. (Iwantmedia 8/11, http://www.nypost.com/seven/08102008/business/twc_blamed_for_internet_interference_123880.htm 8/10)

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The New York Times is pulling out all the latest digital bells and whistles for its online Olympic Games coverage, devoting 20 staffers in the U.S. to keeping the content refreshed (in addition to two dozen Beijing Bureau members on the ground in China.) Check out the Olympics Tracker, allowing you to easily keep track of the events you’re interested in. It’s available as a web tool or a desktop application. The audio-driven After the Games feature is also very well done. (Cynopsis 8/8)

Yahoo!Telemundo is hoping to attract U.S. Hispanics in search of their Olympics fix. The site’s new Olympics portal features a full complement of news, photo galleries and video highlights (courtesy of the EFE news agency,) as well as social networking options with Flickr and Yahoo! Respuestas. (Cynopsis 8/8)

Digital revenues increased nearly 40% year-over-year at Warner Music Group during the quarter ending June 30 to $166 million, making up 20% of the company’s total revenue intake. But CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. thinks the company can do even better in the digital space. He complained in a conference call that Warner is helping to make music-themed console games like Activision’s Guitar Hero and Viacom’s Rock Band huge successes but seeing little in the way of compensation. (Cynopsis 8/8)

The music industry’s attempts to create its own digital distribution business is like a bad horror movie. It just keeps coming back no matter how badly bludgeoned it gets. Back in 2001 in response to Napster, the music labels launched two competing music download sites, PressPlay and MusicNet (the latter became a white-label music service called MediaNet. Meanwhile, Pressplay was bought by Roxio, and formed the basis for the current version of Napster). Both were utter failures. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/08/07/the-record-industrys-digital-distribution-plan-totalmusic-comes-back-from-the-dead 8/7)

Rainbow Media-owned Fuse and Microsoft have finalized a deal that will bring the network’s “Summer of Music” series to members of the Xbox Live marketplace. The deal, which includes artists such as Pearl Jam, Metallica and Jack Johnson, will run through September and be offered free to Xbox Live’s 12 million users worldwide. (Broadcasting & Cable 8/7)

TheWB.com, now in beta testing, will launch on Aug. 27, offering classic series that aired on the now-defunct WB television network along with new Web series. Comcast will offer classic WB series via its video-on-demand service; TheWB.com content will also be on Facebook. (Iwantmedia 8/8, http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/content_display/news/digital-downloads/broadband/e3ibbaddb3b39b75b77ddd52b8aa35224bb 8/7)

For the Marauder download on the site, click here or the image below.

Blinkx, an Internet video search company, is proposing buying U.S. search-based advertising network Miva for $39 million to accelerate its expansion in targeted Web ads. Blinkx’s proposed bid “has the potential to significantly change the shape of the business,” analysts say. (Iwantmedia 8/8, http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSL869961320080808 8/8)

The 5% stake in AOL that Google bought in 2005 “may be impaired” and worth less than the $1 billion the search giant originally paid, according to regulatory filing. As part of its investment, Google has the right to demand that Time Warner spin off AOL or buy back its stake. (Iwantmedia 8/8, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080808/ap_on_hi_te/google_aol 8/8)

Google is developing a system that lets advertisers limit and measure the number of times users view ads on its partners’ sites. Clients will be able to better place ads based on the number of views they get and the number of users that visit a Web site after seeing it. (Iwantmedia 8/8, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601204&sid=adXENueI5QbQ 8/7)

Yahoo is set to announce that it will allow users to shut off targeted advertising on its Web sites, as a U.S. congressional committee continues to air concerns about consumer privacy. As media companies struggle to make money online, Congress is mulling what kind of ads ought to be allowed. (Iwantmedia 8/8, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/07/AR2008080703104.html 8/8)

The beta version of Sling Media’s SlingPlayer 2.0 is now available for Windows PCs as a free download on the Sling site. The new software suite adds a bunch of new functions including a live video buffer for more DVR-like controls, an interactive player guide and multiple viewing modes and sizes allowing you to shrink the feed on your desktop. However the much-hyped Clip+Sling feature, allowing you to clip up to 5 minutes of video to share with friends online, is not a part of the beta. (Cynopsis 8/8)

Video metadata management company Gotuit announced a partnership with Move Networks integrating services to better define logical ad insertion points within video libraries. The Gotuit-Move solution will create an ad timing system to insert ads at strategic places within a clip using rich scene-level metadata. The idea is to improve engagement and enhance search functionality by enabling video to be indexed scene by scene. (Cynopsis 8/8)

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NBC Universal unveiled a detailed description of how its ambitious digital coverage of the Olympic games will play out online, on mobile devices, on VOD and via interactive television systems (Cynopsis 7/29):

  • NBCOlympics.com on MSN will be the hub for news, results, schedules and 2,200 hours of live streaming broadband coverage. Also look here for tutorials on how to connect to mobile, gaming, VOD and other outlets
  • The Olympics will be a major coming out party for partner Microsoft‘s Silverlight 2 video platform, powering 20 different concurrent streams of 25 different sports. Functionality includes picture-in-picture and quad-screen viewing
  • An online viewing guide will detail complete coverage across NBCU broadcast and cable outlets with localized listings and athlete news sourced by zip code
  • A full complement of widgets will keep web surfers updated on news, video, athletes, metal counts, results and tune in schedules. (Digital agency partner 360i has been spreading the word about these across the blogosphere)
  • Two-screen companion games will challenge viewers to answer trivia questions, polls and other games while watching the telecasts
  • NBCU Olympics Mobile will offer on demand news, video coverage and breaking news alerts. A WAP site will feature a scaled down version of much of what’s on the main site
  • Olympics content will be downloadable via Amazon’s Unbox and Microsoft’s Windows Media Center and Zune player

ESPNU will launch an HD simulcast network on Aug. 28 just in time for College Football season. The collegiate sports network, ESPN’s 4th HD net, expects to broadcast more than 70 live College Football games and over 200 overall events during its first year. Go to ESPNU.com for a schedule of this year’s televised football matchups beginning with Vandy at Miami (Ohio) on Aug 28. (Cynopsis 7/29)

Since its debut on iTunes on July 14, the full seasons of MOJO HD‘s Wall Street Warriors, seasons #1 and #2, have been the number one and number two most downloaded TV series on iTunes in the reality TV category. The series, which launched on MOJO HD in late 2006 and aired its second season earlier this year, is a behind-the-scenes look into the high pressure world of financial investors. (Cynopsis 7/29)

I watched only 30 seconds but I’m already into it.

Amie Street, the indie music store that prices songs by their popularity, has pre-released The Walkmen’s new album You & Me three weeks before its scheduled launch date. The entire album is available for $5, with all proceeds going to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as part of the site’s “Download To Make a Difference” campaign. You can download the album here. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/28/get-the-walkmen-album-early-help-charity-on-amiestreet 7/28)

Hewlett Packard, Intel and Yahoo announced the Cloud Computing Test Bed this morning. Executives from the three companies are holding a 9 am PST conference call to discuss the new venture. Participating are Prith Banerjee, Senior Vice President, Research, HP and Director, HP Labs; Prabhakar Raghavan, Head of Yahoo! Research; and Andrew Chien, Vice President, Corporate Technology Group, Intel and Director, Intel Research. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/29/cloud-computing-test-bed-live-notes-from-the-conference-call 7/29)

Long outplayed by two Indian brothers, Hasbro finally delivers a massive counter blow to Scrabulous, one of the most loved games on Facebook. Scrabulous fans in North America will see the below message when they try to play the game.  (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/29/endgame-scrabulous-gets-wiped-off-facebook 7/29)

Newly formed media-buying group Mediabrands will buy at least $1 million in ads from cable providers under a new partnership with Microsoft-owned Navic Networks, whose interactive ad-buying technology mimics the process of buying online ads. A part of the Interpublic Group, Mediabrands is composed of four agencies that will each assign employees to explore Navic’s technology. The Wall Street Journal (free content) (7/28)

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Only 15% of the country knows about online video site Hulu.com, but those that do rate the NBCUNews Corp. joint venture highly, according to a report by Solutions Research Group. The report also showed that the average age of a Hulu user is 32, that their income is 22% higher than the U.S. average and that two-thirds are male. TVWeek.com (7/17)

Not everyone is going to watch the Olympics on their PCs, but they will want the ability to catch events that occurred in the middle of the night. DirecTV announced an agreement with NBCU to help fulfill this need, offering more than 500 titles on its new on demand service available through the end of the games in both standard and HD. But viewing on NBCOlympics.com should be something to behold. More than 2,200 hours of content will be streamed, giving users the ability to track live stats, access athlete profiles and toggle back and forth between live events being held simultaneously. Note that many of the higher profile track & field events will not be shown online, however. They will be held for later use in NBC’s prime time line-up. (Cynopsis 7/18)

The first trailer for one of the most highly-anticipated comic book film adaptations ever hit Gizmodo today. Yep, it’s the trailer for Watchmen that’s debuting before The Dark Knight. Directed by Zack Snyder of 300 fame, it’s sure to be the biggest fanboy magnet of the decade. (http://gizmodo.com/5026434/nerdgasm-watchmen-trailer-hits-web-a-day-early 7/17)

Yahoo reiterated that it is still open to a full takeover at a price of $33/share and that it would seriously consider an offer for its search businesses in a letter to shareholders. CEO Jerry Yang and Chairman Roy Bostock also defended its search partnership with Google, claiming it will bring in more revenue than a similar proposal from Microsoft. (Cynopsis 7/18)

Yahoo is pulling out its biggest gun in the showdown with Carl Icahn: the Yahoo homepage itself. Right now on Yahoo.com, the single most-visited page on the Web (with 304 million unique visitors worldwide in May, according to comScore), there is a big purple button the third box down aimed squarely at Yahoo shareholders. The button takes people to this page where Yahoo outlines its argument against investor Carl Icahn, who wants to replace Yahoo’s board, fire Jerry Yang, and then restart negotiations with Microsoft (an effort that is not going so well). (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/18/fighting-for-its-life-yahoo-uses-its-homepage-to-battle-carl-icahn 7/18)

Google disappointed investors when it reported a mere 35% increase in net income yesterday (up to $1.25 billion) on revenue of $3.88 billion, falling short of lofty expectations. CEO Eric Schmidt put on a happy face, blaming the downturn in the economy. (Cynopsis 7/18)

CEO Eric Schmidt, on a conference call after Google reported disappointing second-quarter earnings, says he expects to hit the mother lode when YouTube finds a way to make money. Monetization “is likely to be very large because of the scope and scale of YouTube.” (Iwantmedia 7/18, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-9993929-93.html 7/17)

Warner Bros. is releasing an online Batman series to tie-in with the film “The Dark Knight,” a hybrid of comic books and animation that the studio calls “motion comics.” The Web shorts will be distributed via Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game consoles and Verizon’s V Cast mobile phones. (Iwantmedia 7/18, http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB121634908179464605.html 7/18)

With the highly successful launch seen by Pandora’s iPhone app, streaming digital radio seems ready to finally go mainstream. Unfortunately, as great as Pandora is, its music recommendations can shy towards music you already know – you may like the song that gets recommended, but there’s a good chance you’ve heard it before. For listeners looking for something that’s entirely new, there’s StumbleAudio, a streaming music service exclusively for indie music that is launching today with a catalog of over 120,000 artists and 2 million songs. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/18/stumbleaudio-is-pandora-for-indie-music 7/18)

I wouldn’t recommend this site.  Pandora may produce music that I’ve already heard but StumbleAudio produced music that I hated.  I searched for music like Beck and got a random selection of really awful music.  I’ll take Pandora thank you very much.

Legendary animation producers (and goofballs) Spike & Mike, creators of the long running Spike & Mike’s Sick and Twisted Animation Festival, have staked a claim on the web, offering selected shorts, merchandise and even a UGC section. The site is part of the Mondo Media Network. (Cynopsis 7/18)

NPR entered the web 2.0 world releasing a public API enabling developers to create applications to help spread its content to third party sites, blogs and profiles. Click here for a few widgets that have already been built, including a radio search tool for the iPhone from Axiom Software and a NPR podcast player for Facebook. Not everything is being let free, unfortunately – no Car Talk, This American Like or Fresh Air, for instance. (Cynopsis 7/18)

Eighteen of the country’s largest cable companies have agreed to block Internet access to Web sites known to contain files related to child pornography, the NCTA announced Thursday. The group also pledged to work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Association of Attorneys General to combat the problem. PC Magazine (7/17) , Multichannel News (7/17)

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NBC Universal announced it will offer more than 3,600 hours of coverage from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics which includes spotlighting all 34 Olympic sports in some fashion. Approximately 2,900 of those hours will be presented live and coverage of the Olympic Games will be distributed over the company’s stable of networks and various platforms presented in three blocks: afternoon, primetime and late-night, starting with opening ceremonies beginning at 8p on August 8. (Cynopsis 7/9)

Showtime is developing “Exterminators,” an adult animated series based on the comic books by the same name. Sara Colleton, the executive producer of Showtime’s “Dexter” series, also will work on “Exterminators.” (The Hollywood Reporter 7/9)

Cablevision-owned Fuse announced plans for three original series that will focus on aspects of the music world. The shows, expected to premiere in the fourth quarter, are “Redemption Song,” about 10 women vying for a record deal; “Rock Bottom,” a look at band members helping their mates overcome problems; and “Tour Me a New One,” which involves a quest to find the most passionate music fans on the planet. (Variety 7/8)

The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA) voted in favor of ratifying the primetime agreement, effectively quashing SAG’s efforts to have the contract voted down. The terms in the AFTRA deal, passed by 62% of voting members, echo those signed previously by the WGA and DGA. SAG’s interest in seeing this deal crash and burn was to give it more leverage in its deal with producers, while arguing actors should get better terms in the areas of new media, DVD residuals and salary minimums. AFTRA contends that approving the contract keeps people employed, and it offers increases in salaries and new media without rollbacks or concessions. (Cynopsis 7/9)

For the first time, AT&T, Verizon Communications and Qwest are joining forces to keep residential business in the telecom family. The three said that when customers relocate, service agents will advise them to go to a Web site called Movearoo.com, which has information on telecommunications firms … but not cable companies. (Chicago Tribune/Bloomberg 7/9, CNNMoney.com/Dow Jones Newswires 7/8)

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NBC Universal‘s Olympic Games promotional plan for affiliates includes spots in 20 markets starring local Olympians, a free-video-on-demand campaign, both in advance of and during the event, 2,000 hours of live content on broadband, with placement available on individual station sites and on-air, direct mail and bill stuffers to tout HDTV ad sales. (Multichannel News 6/11, Broadcasting & Cable 6/11)

A Piper Jaffray analyst painted three possible pictures for the revenue for Apple‘s new iPhone App store, saying the market could be as low as $416 million in a worst-case scenario to as high as $1.2 billion if iPhone users spend an average of $15 a year downloading two applications. But skeptics say Apple will price the games much lower than many observers anticipate. (InformationWeek 6/11)

Google should be seen by media companies as an ally that is trying to make advertising work on the Internet, says CEO Eric Schmidt. “It’s a huge moral imperative to help here.” Google’s goal “isn’t to monetize everything. The goal is to change the world. . We don’t have an evil meter.” (Iwantmedia 6/12, http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9966236-7.html 6/11)

Hmm.  Perhaps the TV networks have finally figured out that Google could potentially be the next online TV network?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt speaks in San Francisco.

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET News.com)

Martha Stewart’s Video Podcasts reached #1 on iTunes during their first day on the platform. The company is delivering about 2 hours of ad supported content (in 27 segments), all selected to tie-in to seasonal themes. The segments are also offered on the Martha Stewart On Demand service, currently available in 13 million Comcast and Cox digital homes. (Cynopsis 6/12)

Starting June 16th, for eight straight weeks, Hulu will be premiering TV shows and full-length movies daily in a campaign called “The Hulu Days of Summer.” (Iwantmedia 6/12, http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2008/06/hulu-days-of-su.html 6/10)

Angel premieres on Hulu 6/23.  Hulu is becoming more of a TV network every day.  Interesting. . .

Online auction house eBay is shutting down its Internet-based system for buying and selling television and radio ads. The 1-year-old system won little support from the cable networks, which mostly stayed away fearing the process would cheapen the value of their ads. (Iwantmedia 6/12, http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/media/e3i95a8c8893ac9738a77d4f8849f19c1b0 6/11)

Microsoft’s Office Labs team, a testbed for ideas from company employees, is testing a Facebook-like social network to help employees keep tabs on each other. The network, called TownSquare, is intended to operate as an internal service within a company. (Iwantmedia 6/12, http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Messaging-and-Collaboration/Microsoft-Goes-Facebook-on-its-Employees 6/11)

Michael Eisner’s latest web project Foreign Body, meant to be a prequel leading up to the latest Robin Cook novel, is nearly DOA, points out Silicon Alley Insider, racking up only 140,000 views since launching May 27 according to Tube Mogul. That’s hardly enough to justify its $500,000 budget. (Cynopsis 6/12)

Why buy the Weather Channel? News Corp.’s Fox Interactive Media is launching Fox Weather, at weather.fox.com, a Web site with social tools intended to help build a network of amateur weather watchers. Users can register profiles and write blogs and post photos and videos. (Iwantmedia 6/12, http://mashable.com/2008/06/11/fox-weather 6/11)

Video-based Entertainment Shares by Platform 2008, U.S. Online 12+
Platform                        % of total viewing
TV (cable/DBS/OTA)               63.9%
Video Games                         13.0%
PC Video                              10.3%
DVDs                                    7.2%
Video on personal devices        3.9%
Video on cell phones                1.7%
Source: SRC

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